Blog Without A Name

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder

So, the other day I had occasion to count on behalf of a Sekrit Project. And my counting revealed to me — and I revealed to Steve — that we have thus far in our careers committed (rounding only slightly up) 323,000 words of Liaden Universe® short stories.  (This number includes the not-quite-yet-published “Skyblaze” and the author-written fanfic “King of the Cats,” but does not include “Intelligent Design,” which is still in process.)

We’ve also written almost a million and a half words of Liaden Universe® novels.  Add in the rest and we’re at a cool 2mil.

All of which sounds, yanno, like A Lot, until you start putting perspective into the picture.  That’s only 34 stories, and 14-or-21 novels.  Which suddenly doesn’t sound so impressive, after all, but does bring me to my point.

Why yes, there was a point to this, besides the public display of an unhealthy fascination with numbers.

I was once stopped, nicely, correctly* by a young writer at a convention.  They were working on their first novel and had a couple of specific questions.  Clearly, they had put some thought into what they were doing and were not just haring off in all directions at once (which I admire; being a hare of long standing), and we had a very pleasant talk.  They spoke of their hopes for their story and the characters living inside it, but, suddenly confessed, with a sort of half-glance under the lashes, that they were afraid that the manuscript was getting a bit. . .long, and there was still a lot of story left.

How long was it?  I asked. Words, not pages.

Gratifyingly, they knew this (really, this was a very serious and thoughtful writer; I want to read them somebody, and I think I will).  “Thirty-five thousand words.”

“Oh,” I said, “you’ve got plenty of room!”

“I do?”

“Sure — at least seventy thousand more words.  Try not to go more than one hundred fifty thousand, total, though.”

“I had no idea novels were so. . .long,” they said, which seems funny from someone who (as this writer was) had read reasonably widely in the field, but which also seems true of nearly everyone.  No one has any idea how long novels are, except novelists.  And editors, of course.

So, that’s the point — novels are long.  Not only that, but it takes a significant chunk of time to write a 100,000 words, not to mention revising, polishing, so forth &c.

Because novels are long and take so much time and effort to produce, it’s important to chose a project that you’re excited about; that you can live with, day in, day out, morning-noon-night, for four months to a year.  It’s important that your characters are interesting to you, and are people with whom you have empathy.  I can’t imagine anything much worse than having someone I loathe living in my head for a year.

If you want to write a book, try to have fun.  I know, I know; it’s Serious and Important Work, and we’re taught that Serious and Important Work ought to be dealt with, well. . .seriously.  Soberly.  It’s this mindset that for many years contributed to my referring to my writing as play, as in: “I’m going to go play now.”

. . .and so I shall.


*They came up to me as I was leaning against the wall — waiting for Steve, as it happened — introduced themselves, explained that they were writing a novel, realized that, as Guest of Honor I was of course very busy, but wondered if I would have perhaps ten minutes over the weekend to talk to them; they were writing a novel and had some questions.  Polite and respectful.  Well done.

And that’s a draft

Wrote all day to the tune of 4,082 words, including those perennial crowd-pleasers “the end.” The first draft of “Intelligent Design” is complete. It needs work. Oh, my, doesn’t it just need work. But what it gets right now is a comfy rest while I reap the just rewards of industry.

By which I mean that, tomorrow, I’ll start doing the taxes.

Why no, the fun never does stop; why do you ask?

“Intelligent Design”
10,351 words/First draft complete

Night off

So the power went down at 4:45 last night, just when I was starting to fill in the DMCA form because Yet Another person thinks it’s Perfectly OK to steal from us.  I was in a foul mood, because, well, people stealing from us — and instead of writing, I’d be form-filling, and it’s not like I have enough time in the day to write anyway. Then the power went off and that was Just. . .Ducky.

Which, as it turned out, it was.  Steve hooked up the reading lamp in the living room to the Big Green Battery and we read together on the sofa for the next five hours.  Very pleasant and cozy.  We should do this more often.  Possibly without requiring the destruction of innocent utility poles as a prompt.

In other news — The Catechism of Cliche — or at least parts of it.  Go, read, enjoy.  Then get thee to the Dalkey Archive Press and purchase for your own The Best of Myles, which collects all the “Cruiskeen Lawn” columns from the Irish Times, giving you access not only to the Catechism, but to the sordid details of the Ventriloquists War, news of The Brother, and all the various schemes launched by Myles na Gopaleen, the Da, to make money.

Also highly recommended are the na Gopaleen novels The Third Policeman and At Swim-Two-Birds.  The former is a science fiction novel disguised as a literary novel.  The latter is a writer’s novel, detailing the adventures of  a young, layabout writer, whose characters, fed up with his sloth and his bad treatment, turn on him.  Both are very, very funny.

And now — no, wait!  Everybody saw the article about the “Rosie computers” during the war, right?  Here, in case you missed it — worth a read.

And now I better get some coffee and get on the road.

I was born one morning when the sun didn’t shine; I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine

Day job surreal.  Send Winslow Homer.

Headache.  Applied ice cream therapy.

Submitted proposals for two novels.

Packed box for shipping tomorrow*.

Going to go collapse now.


*Pending outcome of this:

Winter Weather Advisory in effect from midnight tonight to 5 PM EST Tuesday…
Snow developing. Snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Lows in the upper 20s. Light and variable winds. Chance of snow near 100 percent.

Snow. Total snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches. Highs in the mid 30s. Light and variable winds…becoming northwest 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Chance of snow near 100 percent.

Slouching toward Bethlehem

. . .or maybe only Monday.

Well, I had great plans for today, chiefest among them wringing a complete first draft out of my underachieving brain and onto the page.  This did not happen.  Honest to ghu, how long can it take to write a single story?

I did shovel snow — the snow was wet, the day was warm — and took care of bidness correspondence, some of which begat more correspondence to be done, um, later.  I paid medical bills in-hand, and there’s still money in the checkbook.  I did the laundry.  I fell on Mozart, which may have been his plan, but wasn’t mine.  Just generally speaking, I’m at a point in my life where the less I fall down, the better I like it.  Reprising the role I play in Real Life, I have been an Evil Liberal on teh intertubes.  I did not do the dishes, because I didn’t want to.   I received the wisdom of the LJ Flist on iTunes, for which I thank everyone who shared very much.

. . .and that’s all the news &c.  Time for lunch and the girding of one’s loins for the morrow.

Progress on “Intelligent Design”
5,373 out of 10,000 words OR 53.73% complete

She makes the moon go ape and the monkeys go bananas

Kind of a tiring week in which nothing of note really happened.  So, I’m tired and I’m taking the night off.  Tomorrow, Steve and I need to run down to Old Orchard Beach in the morning, and further than that?  I’m not planning.

In-between and around the corners, I did get a little bit of work done on “Intelligent Design.”  I’m looking for a good chunk of time, say, Sunday, to buckle down and get the first draft done.  Right now, this is what it looks like:

Progress on “Intelligent Design”
4,110 out of 10,000 words OR 41.10% complete

And, finally:  I want to be completely clear that this is Oz’ (aka birdhousefrog)’s fault.  Completely.

King Kong Tonight, Rhoderic Land

Layin’ out another lie; thinking ’bout a life of crime

Well, so.

It’s snowing here, but, then, it’s snowing everywhere.  The weatherbeans are calling fourteen inches on tomorrow’s storm. I guess there’s an inch, inch-and-a-half down now from today’s little effort; fluffy enough that I could sweep what was there away when I got home, and not have to worry about going back out, oh, now to do some more.

The day-job having no snow policy for staff  saving, “Come to work, tho’ Hell should bar the way,” I’ll be depending on Wiser Heads for tomorrow’s plan of action.  If the state police say that only essential personnel should risk their necks in the weather, I will be listening to the nice policeman.  And, no, so not essential personnel.

In the meantime, though I meant to get on with “Intelligent Design” — of which more later — this evening, instead I wound up balancing the checkbook, doing some odds and ends of SRM bookkeeping, and dealing with the mail.

Ah, the mail! Among other items of interest, today’s mail brought a 1099-Misc from Fictionwise for my sales through them last year, totaling a whopping $156.48.  Not going to Vegas on that.

Also of note was the arrival of the W2 from the day-job, which confirms that income from writing (we’re just counting my half, here, right?  That’s fair, innit?) outstripped income from Honest Labor last year.  This year, I fear there will be No Contest. I’ve already had to take so many days without pay, and with the upfront for three novels due in, not to mention the Odd and Unexpected bits of money that wander in from time to time — well.  It wouldn’t be sporting.

The highlight of the day’s mail, however, was — Mr. Timpani, if you would?


The highlight of today’s mail, I say, was the contract for “Intelligent Design.”  And now?

Now it can be told — “Intelligent Design” has been commissioned by Baen and will be appearing on the front page of the Baen website as a free! story! in the merry monthe of mid-July.  And, what’s even cooler, than, yanno, a free Liaden story?

There’s a free story up there right now, by Larry Correia, and there’ll be another one, come mid-February, by another Baen author.  So what you really want to do?  Is bookmark this page, so you won’t miss out on any great free stories from Baen authors.

I think that catches everybody up on the excitement here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  Everybody stay safe, stay warm, and be careful.

We are Siamese, if you please; we are Siamese, if you don’t please

All righty, then!

Last night, we discovered that neither of the disks we had in from Netflix actually worked in the DVD player of my computer.  Whether this is DVD player fail, or DVD fail remains to be seen.  Still, we were in the mood to watch a movie, dern it, so we went out onto the intertubes and streamed “My Man Godfrey” straight out of Netflx Central.

The streaming worked a treat; the movie, despite my deep and abiding adoration of William Powell — not so much.  I don’t see why a perfectly sensible man ought to be stuck with an empty-headed screwball just because she loves him — but that’s probably just me.  I think he’d done perfectly fine with Molly, if the plot demanded romantic closure, a point of which I am doubtful.

Today, I filled out my Worldcon panelist survey.  Truly, I am made of energy and crunchy goodness.  I also made rice to serve as the base for day-job lunches throughout the coming week and did a bit of work on “Intelligent Design.”

I tried mightily, and failed equally so, to design a t-shirt at Cafepress, which aggravates me much more than it’s probably worth, but enough to ask — if you sell t-shirts on the internet, and you don’t use Cafepress, what do you use?

For those who keep count, tomorrow’s Monday, and hereabouts the weatherbeans are calling for cold.  Also, I have no window washer left in my car and I can’t get the hood open, though it reports that it’s unlocked.  Tomorrow’s drive to the day-job will therefore be Fraught With Peril.

Note to self: Laugh at Peril.

Next on the list here is doing the dishes, which I shall undertake immediately upon saying g’night to y’all, and then a wee bite of lunch.

Progress on “Intelligent Design”
3,072 out of 10,000 words OR 30.72%