March 30th, 2011


[links] Link salad wraps the draft

A review of Visitants, ed. Stephen Jones — Including favorable mentions of my little collection of linked tales therein.

MIND MELD: How Important is Plausible Science In Science Fiction? — Another squib from SF Signal and assorted authors.

Deciphering Old Texts, One Woozy, Curvy Word at a Time — The true secret of captchas. Fascinating stuff about extremely distributed computing. (Thanks to Dad.)

Complaining About the Smartphone: a Lesson in Diminishing Returns

Changing corporate gender: a case studyNo Fear of the Future with a fascinating essay on high risk occupations.

How Western Diets Are Making The World Sick — Comparing local combat casualties Afghanistan with U.S. and Canadian casualties.

Using Heat to Cool BuildingsNovel materials could make practical air conditioners and refrigerators that use little or no electricity. Some cool materials science here.

Quadrocopter Ball Juggling — This video is pretty bizarre. (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

First Image of Mercury From Orbit — I think I've seen that face before...

Asteroid Mining: A Marker for SETI?

Who Wrote The Bible and Why It Matters — Pseudographia and faith.

Bryan Fischer is a Dolt (Constitution for Me but Not for Thee Edition) — Words from the Founders on religious freedom and Constitutional protections. Oddly, the original Originalists don't conform to the modern conservative position. Rush Limbaugh can surely explain this away.

Top Fox News Executive Admits Lying On-Air About Obama — Fox News knowingly lying. Who knew? Also, who knew water was wet? They distort, you decide.

?otD: What did you finish yesterday?

Writing time yesterday: 1.75 hours (revisions on Sunspin, net 200 word gain to manuscript; plus extensive WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 248.8
Currently reading: A Bard's Eye View, ed. Michael A. Ventrella; Honeyed Words by J.A. Pitts


[writing|process] Sunspin milestones and metrics

Yesterday afternoon, I finished the light revision pass of section two of Calamity of So Long A Life, which is book one of Sunspin. The further adventures of the Before Michaela Cannon and her crew of antagonists and allies is off to first readers.

For this tranche, I wrote and lightly revised 72,800 words in the course of 52.5 hours. That's over 36 calendar days, of which I worked 31 days. Time expended included a nontrivial amount of effort revising and poking at the outline, as well as the revision effort itself (approximately 6.75 hours). The total word count, 2/3 of the way through the draft, stands at 133,000 words, which jibes nicely with my estimate 180-200,000 words. My throughput in this revised process is 1,400 words per hour, which means that when I start working again on this project I can expect another 50 or so hours of effort to wrap this first draft.

I know some people are pretty critical of me reporting these numbers. A few people have been critical of me even tracking them.

Tracking these statistics just part of my process. By evaluating my throughput, I can size future work efforts and plan my time. This is how I know it will take me 5-7 more working months to finish this project in first draft. That's not a guess or a hope, it's a projection drawn from existing baseline data. As a working professional, it's crucial for me to know what dates I'm going to hit.

Reporting these statistics is perhaps a more arguable act. The arguments I get run along the lines of "You're intimidating other writers" or "You're misleading other writers into thinking this is how it should be done". Really, this is my accountability to myself. If I report in public every day on the state of my work, I have a strong incentive to keep working.

With rare exceptions, everything I say about writing is descriptive rather than prescriptive. When I talk about my productivity and my work, that's all I'm talking about. My productivity, my work. I would hope that anyone paying sufficient attention to my blog to know what I have written and how I've been writing it would be inspired rather than intimidated or misled. This is how I inspire myself.

Meanwhile, Sunspin marches on. As previously mentioned, I'm laying the project aside for several weeks to knock out some short fiction efforts and then revise Kalimpura, which I owe to [info]casacorona by June. So my poor characters shall wait within their wells of tension until I return with my bucket of words to once more draw them out into the light of story.