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21 posts from November 2006

November 29, 2006

11/29/06 Tally

Arggh. The first day I fell below quota. I'm tired, though, and I came to the end of the part I had planned out from the beginning. I am now fully in terra incognita. I stopped writing tonight when my two main characters really got into a discussion about plumbing. No shit, plumbing. I'm gonna go to bed and watch "Heroes."

InNoWriMo Tally:
Today's wordcount: 1392
Total wordcount: 26,410

November 28, 2006

Question About Dialogue Format

Hey, does anyone know the answer to this? I've been writing a lot of dialogue and I need to know how to format it properly. What's been happening is I'll have a line of dialogue from Char. A and then Char. B will react to it, and then reply. Like this:

"You're ugly," Character A said.

Character B froze in shock. "How can you say such a thing?" she cried.

Okay, so the question is, should I do as I have done above, i.e. put in the action sentence and then the line of dialogue in the same paragraph? Or should I give each its own paragraph, like this?:

"You're ugly," Character A said.

Character B froze in shock.

"How can you say such a thing?" she cried.

Anyone know?

Also, when I was trying to google the answer, I came across these rules of dialogue, which make a fook of a lot of sense to me, so I will reproduce them here:

  1. Dialogue should be brief.
  2. It should add to the reader's present knowledge.
  3. It should eliminate the routine exchanges of ordinary conversation.
  4. It should convey a sense of spontaneity but eliminate the repetitiveness of real talk.
  5. It should keep the story moving forward.
  6. It should be revelatory to the speaker's character, both directly and indirectly.
  7. It should show the relationships among people.

... none of which rules I am following.

***** UPDATE

Strange. I had a moment, about 1000 words in tonight, where I hated the whole project and was ashamed of myself for writing such crap. I even wrote into the MS "God, this is crap." Then I went home, had a glass of wine and some soup, and reread what I had written and realized that it was actually pretty good. Then I finished my quota for the day.

We can now celebrate the fact that I have finished half of my words. I have broken 25K tonight, and have, officially, half of a novel.

InNoWriMo Tally:
Today's wordcount: 2219
Total wordcount: 25,018


The honeymoon is over. I've been in this cafe for nearly an hour, reading crap on the internet, in an attempt to avoid getting to my 2K words today. Yep. Writin' a nobble.

Now, for something completely different ...

November 27, 2006

11/27/06 Tally

Took a break yesterday because I was so tired. It's okay, I was planning on taking a break at Thanksgiving, but didn't, so this was it.

InNoWriMo Tally:
Today's wordcount: 2025
Total wordcount: 22,799

November 25, 2006

11/25/06 Tally

Well, I'm learning a lot about plowing through a novel fast. For one thing, the writing is crap. For another, I'm not getting to think things through, so the characters aren't maintaining their moods consistently. In a single dialogue people will go through five or six emotions in rapid succession. It sounds stupid.

Plus, there's waaaay too much dialogue. I have whole chapters of dialogue. Dumb. Anyway, learning lots.

InNoWriMo Tally:
Today's wordcount: 4002
Total wordcount: 20,774

SF Story Call for Submissions

I'm calling for submissions for my blog! Okay, it's a new idea, and it may die out very, very soon if I get a great job and can't keep this up, or if nobody submits anything, which is far more likely, ... but here's the idea:

The Idea: Once a month I would like to post an SF story (for our purposes, "SF" means "Speculative Fiction", i.e. science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, magical realism, combos thereof, or etc.) based upon a particular idea, topic, or new technology.

How It Will Work: I will post an idea, topic, or ... thing here, will sit back and wait for submissions, and a month later, will close submissions and post the best story. That is to say, post the story I think is best according to constantly shifting criteria which I will not explicate. The stories must address the topic or technology or thing as an integrated part of their central conceits or plots. That is to say, don't pull some random SF story out of your drawer, add a scene in which somebody talks about or uses the thing, and think that's going to cut it. It won't.

The Purpose: is to get people to write new stories --- and they can be bad, I don't expect them to be great --- to get them thinking about current topics. Also, to get people to write things quickly and not be afraid. You know already that this story won't end up in Interzone (since if I "publish" it, they probably won't take it.) I also want people to get an opportunity to try something new in terms of technique, writing strategy, world, characters, etc. So just let yourself go and devil take the hindmost.


  • Because this is a blog format, we don't want a post that will go on forever and ever. So let's say you keep it under 2000 words, exceptions only for really fantastic stuff (that is to say, if it's 5000 words and the first paragraph makes my teeth grind at night, you will get no benefits, doubt or otherwise, and the delete button will get an early workout.) I don't feel bad about imposing this limit because you're all writing these stories from scratch, right?
  • Once again, the stories must address the topic or technology or thing as an integrated part of their central conceits or plots. Seriously. Don't try to fake it. I will nail you.
  • Please paste the story into an email and send it to seelight44 down yahoo way. This means no funky fonts or formats. Just paragraphs full of sentences full of words. Please put "SF Story Sub" and your name in the subject line.

A Note On "Quality": If I don't get any good submissions, then I just won't post anything. "Good" in this case, does not mean perfect or polished. You only have a month at most and I don't believe that most writers can turn out a perfect story based on somebody else's theme in a month or less. What I want to see is a story that's full of life and energy, full of that juice that makes the world and characters and situations come alive for you, that makes you forget that there's a real world outside your head for 20 minutes or so.

A Strong Desire: Anyone who reads this blog will be aware that I am very conscious of race, class, and gender issues, and have strong words for published writers who use literature to reify existing hierarchies, or simply fail to note the mechanics of said hierarchies and reify them by default. If you have never thought about such things, your new little 2000-word story is a great place to start. Try writing a protag who is much older than you, or a different gender or race than you (with gender, I particularly encourage people to try characters who are transgender or whose gender identities aren't simply female/male but more complex), or comes from a signifcantly less, or significantly more, advantaged background than yours. Try to get deep and avoid stereotypes (you know stereotypes: those easy "ideas" that jump into your head, seemingly as a gift from your muse).

So Here's The First Topic:
"Robotics used to create custom-themed interactive game park rides."
Submissions Due Date: December 25, 2006, Christmas Day.
Will Post (or try to post): Jan 1, 2007.

November 24, 2006

11/24/06 Tally

InNoWriMo Tally:
Today's wordcount: 2097
Total wordcount: 16,772

November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of Thanksgiving, I'm blogging what my Thanksgiving dinnermates are most thankful for:

Gusty: "that I'm still alive today."
Monique: "that Gusty's still alive today."
John: "for the beautiful day."
Pooky: "for John's six pack."
Lisa: "for the image of the Giants and Kochimi."
Pauline: " ... " (asleep)

et moi: for a great Thanksgiving in the desert nine thousand feet above sea level with some great people, a view of the Sierras and Mono Lake, and five people cooking at once.

InNoWriMo Tally:
Today's wordcount: 2345
Total wordcount: 14,675

11/22/06 Tally

InNoWriMo Tally:
Today's wordcount: 2037
Total wordcount: 12,330

November 21, 2006

Distracted By the Combover

So I'm sitting in a cafe right now, rehearsing my arguments for my job interview today (introductory phone interview), and a guy walks into the cafe, with fine, longish dishwater brown hair that looks wrong somehow. He keeps touching it self-consciously.

He passes me and I look back and see that his hair is arranged in a combover, but not a side-to-side combover, but rather a back-to-front combover. Sad thing is, although the dude isn't particularly attractive, he'd be okay if he buzzed his hair into that I'm-going-bald-but-I'm-too-cool-and-tough-to-deny-it-and-don't-you-like-the-shape-of-my-skull-I-look-just-like-Vin-Diesel-okay-not-really-but-I-am-cool style. Yeah, and wore different clothes. And stopped moving like he was a rabbit.

Anyway, it drove my pitch entirely out of my head and now I'm gonna have to start over.

Uh Oh. Now he's sat down in my line of sight. He caught me looking at him, twice, and probably thinks I'm interested. Shit, am I gonna have to leave?


Yay! the interview went well and I'm scheduled for an in-person interview next week!

InNoWriMo Tally
Today's Wordcount: 2432
Total Wordcount: 10,293

November 20, 2006

Takei Joins "Heroes" Cast!


Hyphen mag tells us that George Takei, a.k.a. Mr. Sulu from the original "Star Trek" series, is joining the cast of "Heroes" as Hiro's father.


Takei is a bit of a hero of mine, one of the best-known Asian American faces, an actor who has never sold out, or (that I know of) taken any roles that denigrate Asian Americans, and who has remained true to the Asian American community throughout his career, acting in community independent films, sitting on nonprofit boards, and turning out appearances at community fundraisers over and over.

He raised this to another level last year when he came out as gay, uninspired by any Perez Hilton-style outing shenanigans, and then connected that experience with his childhood experience in the Japanese American internment camps. He's also long been active in LGBT organizations. He followed this up with a Human Rights Campaign-sponsored "Equality Trek," a speaking engagements tour around the country.

The campaign to get Captain Sulu his own "Star Trek" series failed, but honoring not just the stature of the Sulu character, but also the stature of the actor who plays him, should be a priority down "Star Trek" way. If they ever do another series ...

Meanwhile, we get to see him on "Heroes." How appropriate!

(Cross-posted at Other Magazine Blog.)

InNoWriMo Tally:
Today's wordcount: 5037
Total wordcount: 7861

November 19, 2006

InNoWriMo Begun

So yes, I started today. I spent the late morning, early afternoon collecting together all my notes on this YA novel, which is working-titled "The Sixth Element." I added a bunch to the notes, then I wrote half of the first chapter. Then I went to dinner and the theater with some friends, lost track of the play halfway through, started daydreaming about the new nobble. Then came home, poured a glass of wine, and finished chapter one.

Off to an excellent start. I'll give you a hint: an oil refinery shaped like a dragon.

InNoWriMo Tally:

Today's wordcount: 2824
Total wordcount: 2824

November 17, 2006

InNoWriMoPocalypse Now

Okay, so after writing the InNoWriMo post (below) in which I said I would start InNo once I had settled in to a job, and after having yet another job interview


Interviews = 5
Second Interviews = 2
Rejections = 3
Offers = 0),

it occurred to me that I'm hanging absolutely everything on my getting a job. Contingent much? This is bad because it lays waaaaay too much pressure on getting the job.

(tally of things contingent upon getting a job:

1. finding an apartment
2. buying a car
3. getting health insurance ->
4. expensive health measures I shall take once I have health insurance which I shan't specifiy here
5. getting my kitty back (he can't live with me here 'cause my roommate's allergic)

and now

6. writing a novel)

I think that's waaay too much, don't you?

And sooo, in the interests of not putting my entire life off until I have that elusive job, I'm going to:

1. start at least looking into getting a car (yes, Ernest, I know I said I would weeks ago)
2. start InNoWriMo

That's right, you heard me, I'm going to start the new nobble, and I'm going to start it on


Which means that (time for another list):

1. my WriMo will be from Sunday Nov. 19, to Tuesday Dec. 19, which is thirty-one days, but I'm planning on taking Thanksgiving off.
2. I will aim at 3000 words/day and accept 2000, for a grand total of 60,000 -- 90,000. Is this unrealistic? We shall see.
3. I will not freak out, whatever happens. If I fall below my wordcount, I will not freak out. If the writing sucks, I will not freak out. I will stay the course, no matter how many soldiers die ... uh, I mean no matter how worthless the campaign-- er the nobble is. Wow, I know he's still alive, but I feel like I'm being haunted by the ghost of Rumsfeld. (Is he still alive? Was he ever?)

Sealed with spit and ... uh, pee, which I'm going to go take right now. Bye.

November 16, 2006

National Stupid Book Award

Bummer. Gene Yang didn't win. Sigh. I guess that would've been too much to ask.

November 14, 2006


Okay, so all the brouhaha stuffs around NaNoWriMo has got me thinkin' (... ... ...)

What I'm thinkin' is that I've always (since I heard about it four years ago) wanted to do NaNoWriMo, but for the past four years I've been working slowly on my nobble and that wouldn't have worked with NaNo. But I'm now taking an indefinite break from the nobble and I need another long-term, but not as long, project to put a space between first draft and second.

So here's what I'm thinkin'. Once I get a job (whenever that will be) I'm going to give myself a week to settle in, and then I'm starting my InNoWriMo (Individual Novel Writing Month). Whenever, wherever that happens to be. My target is 3000 words a day, but I'll let myself get away with 2000. (I can do this and have done it, only my tendency is to stop when I don't understand the psychology of a situation and not push through it but simply wait until I do understand it. This is something I need to get over.)

I even know what I'm going to write: I have a YA novel idea, which I've partly outlined already and written two initial pages of, but which I have since shrinked from working on because, you know, I haven't finished the last one yet. But if I'm going to plug through this one in 30 days, somehow that seems fair.

This means that the likelihood of my being in InNoWriMo during the holidays is high. So be it. In fact, Let's Hope So, because if I got a job tomorrow, I'd still be writing through Thanksgiving at least.

A spit handshake on the deal.

November 10, 2006

Revenge of the Rose

Hey, it's a little late, but I finally got around to reading my friend Nicki Galland's second novel Revenge of the Rose.

(This next paragraph will be familiar to some of you, if you replace "historical romance" with "science fiction") Revenge is technically a historical romance. No, well, it's actually a historical romance, with the period detail, and the complicated love triangles and quadrangles and pentagons 'n' stuff, and the court intrigue and the troubadours and the hookers with gold hearts and the dresses. It's more complicated than Ivanhoe (and as satisfying, albeit in a very different way. There are no action scenes, frex.) But it's really good, character-driven historical romance, which is what we like to see in genre fiction, isn't it?

The knight Willem of Dole, a pure soul, an excellent fighter, and a babe in the woods, is taken under wing by Jouglet, the favorite troubadour of Holy Roman Emperor Konrad. Jouglet, who has a wicked flirtation with Willem's virginal but strong-willed sister Lienor, wants Willem to succeed in court and Lienor to end up Holy Roman Empress. For some reason he wants this, and you'll have to read the book to find out why.

Already you can see the possibilities, but it gets better. Emperor Konrad's steward, the second most powerful man in the empire, yet a serf in status, is in requited and secretly consummated love with Konrad's cousin Imogen, the heir to essential duchy Burgundy. Konrad needs to marry Imogen off to somebody important and can't decide if that will be his steward or Willem. Jouglet wants it to be Willem because Imogen's father stole Willem's land when Willem was just a boy and marrying Imogen would be a great way to get it back. The steward wants it to be himself, because otherwise he'll be executed for stealing Imogen's virginity, and she'll be publicly humiliated.

Confused yet? Did I lose ya at the beginning of the paragraph? There are more and twistier twists to be had here and, unbelievably, Galland makes them all clear and organic within the narrative. I'd give you hints, but it would ruin the story and I'm not that into spoilers.

Just get the book and read it! It's fun, it's good writing (good plotting, good characterization), and those of you aspiring writers out there, like me, can learn something from it, but not in a spinach-and-peas sort of way.

November 08, 2006

Victory Dance

Nyah, nyah, nyah-nyah, nyah!

So long, Suckah!

Congrats, Jane Kim!

And in election-unrelated news (and a little late): Gene Luen Yang is finalisted for a National Book Award for American Born Chinese!

November 06, 2006

Dirty Republican Robocalls

According to Alternet, Republicans are programming excessive robocalls to progressive voters in vulnerable voting districts to try to annoy them into not voting Democrat.

Robocalls are the computer-dialed calls you've been getting that sound like a bootycall from HAL. These dirty calls are made repeatedly to the same numbers and begin with text that sounds like the calls are being made by Democrats. Most callees hang up early on in the call and are therefore left with the impression that they are being harrassed by Democrats. It's only much later in the call that the robocaller identifies its source as the Republican party.

Spread the word! The only way to counteract this effect is to get the word out to Democratic voters who are being annoyed by dirty Republican tactics!

Innnnnteresting ...

Yeah. Um ...

Checking my web stats, I found that someone linked to my Why are interracial relationships important to society? post from this webpage (WARNING! NOT SAFE FOR WORK! DO NOT CLICK IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED!

It's a large, large life.

November 05, 2006

Vote! Vote! Gaaaah!


by all that is holy and sacred in your lives, people, help turn out the vote! Look at this shit! We can take back both houses!

Take the day off work on Tuesday and go canvassing. Sign up to call voters on Monday night. Do something!

November 02, 2006

Woo Hoo!

Ver' ver' busy with:

1. Job Interviews
2. Moveon.org volunteering



So a

hiatus is to be expected.


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