October 11th, 2008


[contest] Why should you be a character in Tourbillon?

I have decided to name a slightly dim-witted British Army lieutenant in Goa after one of my blog readers. Here in comments, leave a brief explanation of why you should be immortalized in Tourbillon. Around Tuesday I’ll make a poll out of the answers, and we’ll vote in the winner of this fabulous Tuckerization.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your comment engines.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[links] Link salad for a Saturday

A video review of Mainspring [ Powell's | Amazon thb | Audible ]

Don’t forget the Tourbillon tuckerization contest. [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

profbrotherton asks what is the matter with science — Why are there no more Einsteins?

Goldmine bug DNA may be key to alien life — My favorite bit: “Chivian’s analysis shows that D. audaxviator gets its energy from the radioactive decay of uranium in the surrounding rocks. It has genes to extract carbon from dissolved carbon dioxide and other genes to fix nitrogen, which comes from the surrounding rocks.” (Thanks to lt260.)

pharyngula references Dan Savage on dying with dignity — I am very much with this perspective.

Palin’s religious certitude — “I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime.” How can someone who literally believes this be trusted with stewardship of our nation, our people and our resources? Her long-term thinking hits an endpoint beyond which nothing else matters. That has extremely serious implications for every branch of Federal policy.

The Palin Fallout — Canadian columnist Heather Mallick on how American conservatives reacted to her column about Palin. And conservatives wonder why liberal-progressives think they’re crazy. You guys have the “kill all the traitors” vote sewed up, not us. (Nicked from james-nicoll.)

Anger Is Crowd’s Overarching Emotion at McCain Rally — Will McCain and the GOP own up to the results of this kind of deliberately divisive politicking? This is where bullets come from. Every conservative in America should be examining their conscience right now. Are you really behind win-at-any-cost politics? (And yes, I’m aware he’s starting to reverse his rhetoric. Have you seen the video? McCain looks like a 6 year old being forced to apologize — his tone and body language make it abundantly clear he does not intend his conciliatory words.)

The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind — Back during the Clinton administration, we were told incessantly that “character counts”, and the state of the Clintons’ marriage was widely discussed in the media across the ideological spectrum. Memo to conservative America: where are those voices now? (Nicked from spencimusprime.)

More liberal media bias — A comparison of the media’s discussion of Obama’s relationship to Ayers and McCain’s relationship to Liddy. (Hint: those liberal bastards have covered the Obama side — a much thinner story on the bare facts — 18x more often than the McCain side.) Your Liberal Media at work!

Body movement: 2 hour, 10 minute suburban walk
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 230.2
Currently reading: Back issues of Fortean Times

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[process] On how I pace my work

If you look back at the writing history of some of my previous novels (I believe I started posting daily wordcounts with Madness of Flowers), you’ll see that I tend to be pretty consistent in applying effort once I launch a draft, but historically my daily output has varied widely from <2,000 words per day to >20,000 words per day, even on the same project.

One of my commitments to myself in this post-cancer [yes, I am in 95%/five year survival category, so medically I'm not post-cancer] phase is to smooth out my writing so it doesn’t eat my life. Which is to say, spend time with friends, dating, hanging out, going to movies, reading and other things, even while cranking out my minimum 2,500 words per day.

This isn’t always easy, but today is my 28th continuous day of working on Tourbillon, and after putting in my two hours this morning, I’m at 105,300 words. (If you’re wondering, that’s an average of 3,760 words per day; or 1,700 words per hour.) But my outliers are much more controlled — only one day of production over 5,000, and 2,800 has been my lowest. What has varied considerably more is my pace.

Ie, I used to draft a novel a fairly consistent 2,000 to 2,500 words an hour, with occasional binge days of 15,000 to 22,000 words. Now I am drafting at a relatively inconsistent rate of words per hour, without the binge days. I think this means I am spending more time on story and less time on words. Which, fundamentally, is my craft challenge at this stage of my career. No one doubts I can sling words, sling them pretty and fairly well. Making the story underneath that shimmering skin work better is what will take me to the next level, and the levels beyond that.

I can’t promise I won’t binge as I get near the end. There’s a point where the inevitability of the plot and story take over and the writer is riding the glissade all the way in. But so far this experience has been qualitatively different. We’ll see how it impacts the work. I have hopes.

(N.B., in the interests of full disclosure, allow me to state that I am thoroughly seized with “muddle in the middle” angst right now. This is of course as normal as breathing for most novelists. The one first reader who is keeping up with my dailies assures me that the book is doing fine, and to please shut up and write. Shutting up. Writing.)

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[conventions] Upcoming events and writing related program activities

Been a while since I’ve done this, so here’s a forthcoming schedule.

10/13 - 10/17 Omaha, NE for day job

10/18 OCPWW wrap party (Lincoln City, OR)

10/30 - 11/2 World Fantasy Convention (Calgary, AB)

11/10-11/11 Wordstock, sharing a Sunday morning reading with David Levine, teaching a Sunday afternoon workshop (Portland, OR)

11/17 - 11/21 Omaha, NE for day job

11/21 - 11/23 OryCon (Portland, OR)

12/11 - 12/14 Various events in San Francisco with Ken Scholes

12/15 - 12/19 Omaha, NE for day job

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.