February 7th, 2011


[links] Link salad still wishes we had single payer in the US

Boondocks Fantasy reviewed — Not so much with the liking of my story "Jefferson's West".

Space Stasis: What the strange persistence of rockets can teach us about innovation. — Neal Stephenson on space technology. An objection to this essay from Stirling Newberry. (Nicked here from james_nicoll.)

Twenty reasons why it's kicking off everywhere — Some social speculation on a BBC blog about the progress of revolution worldwide. (Via danjite.)

What the Bible Really Says About Sex — This just in: conservative beliefs at odds with objective reality, reality loses. Again.

Melissa Mia Hall — Liz Williams on healthcare and what happened to Ms. Hall. If you're a conservative who opposes HCR without offering a credible alternative (pretty much everyone on that side of the aisle, so far as I can tell), deaths like Ms. Hall's are what you are voting for in your rush to protect the profits of insurance companies and stall a plan that your own side spent years advancing when it was more politically convenient.

?otD: Do you believe full access to healthcare is a right or a privilege? Why?

Writing time yesterday: 2.75 hours (2,800 new words on Sunspin book one, plus revisions and editorial)
Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 253.0 (yesterday's momos...)
Currently reading: Between books


[personal] In which your humble narrator had a very busy day

Yesterday I:
  • Woke up quite early

  • Biked for 30 minutes

  • Breakfasted

  • Wrote for 90 minutes, producing 2,500 words on Sunspin

  • Went walking for an hour with a friend

  • Went walking for another hour with a different friend

  • Made pickles with the second friend

  • Answered some email

  • Spent four hours with my family cooking and then eating momos with the help of the_child

  • Wrote for another 75 minutes, producing 300 more words plus doing a bunch of editing

  • Watched an episode of Babylon 5

  • Answered some more email

  • Read part of the archives of the Web comic Least I Could Do

  • Went to sleep early because I was dog tired

Saturday was busier. What did you do yesterday?


[process] How I'm writing Sunspin

It occurs to me that I keep mentioning exceptions to my novel writing process, but it's been a while since I've actually reviewed what that process is. So, both for the sake of my own clarity, and for whatever interest it might hold for all of you, here's how I'm approaching the Sunspin project.

I measure my productivity in terms of daily output of word count. I know some folks object to that as a metric, because of the pressure they believe it creates on me, as well as on others observing. However, in my case, I find word count a useful tool for personal accountability. Writing isn't in the word count, of course, it's in the plot, characters, setting, voice, style — all the myriad components of story. But given that I trust my own writing mind, I know I can drive those components forward. Word count is my vehicle for that progress.

In that context, my goals for myself on the Sunspin project are 2,500 words per day, five day per week. In effect, if I manage at least 12,500 words per week, I have achieved my goals.

This has been complicated by the fact that in Sunspin, due to the complexity and overall size of the project, I have to keep stopping to revise both the manuscript in progress and the outline. This is rather contrary to my usual process wherein I strongly prefer not to pause for revision while drafting. My need to calibrate progress and maintain the balance of the complexity trumps my sense of wanting to power through the draft in the interests of maintaining control of the story voice. This book is for several reasons well outside my span of control, the first such major project for me in years.

As of last night, Calamity of So Long a Life, the first volume of the Sunspin trilogy, stands at 59,500 words. That's the completion of section one of three in the book. I'm 1/9th of the way through the whole project in draft.

However, because of this issue of span of control and calibration, I'll spend the next couple of days doing a close read and light line edit of this first section. That's in lieu of my 2,500 words per day. Which will, honestly, make me a bit twitchy. That's the downside of holding myself accountable via a word count metric. But I'll still be working on the project.

By Wednesday or so, I'll have this wrapped and be on to section two of Calamity of So Long a Life. At that point, I'll be placing this first section out to beta readers, and thinking ahead again, 2,500 words at a time.