caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Back from America, back to work, and shall be back to posting shortly.  I'm going to be trying a few new things on the blogging front: more to follow.

I've got my new computer, and am breaking it in.  The Great Changeover is about a week in the future, and I'm ironing out all the problems I can before I big-bang it.

Finished In Dreamshredder's Hall, the first all-new chapter (now 8 of ~38) of Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland.  Some new characterization, tension, and plot clues for Katy Elflocks, Luke, and indirectly the Big Bad.  Long-standing but previously implicit episodes from the Untold Backstory make their first appearance.  Now I'm back to revising existing chapters for a bit, with Scene 19 my next target.

Kith and kin descending in all-conquering hordes this afternoon.  Nearly ready, but last-minute foraging remains.  Posting and running... NOW!


caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)

First and foremost, thanks to everybody who has offered comments, encouragement, or simple patience with my constant progress-spamming to my journal over the past couple of years.  Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland is probably the hardest project I've ever completed, even in the limited first-drafty sense, and I don't think I could have done it without being able to talk about it a lot to people who were not me.  The blogging also made me think twice about everything I'd written, and forced me to understand its successes and failures at a much more conscious level as I went along.  This ought to stand me in good stead during the revision process.

Secondly, I'm already starting on the revision reading and planning, and about this I'm going to blog in a slightly different manner.  Even if I could do detail without killing spoilery, I can't imagine anybody's finding any entertainment in the tedious technical necessities of the Blue Pencil's Progress.  But because talking has proved so good for the work so far, and because this revision is such a big job, I'm going to be offering something a bit different.  Taking each layer of revision onion-wise as I hit it, I'm going to take as a point of departure the kind of stuff I need to be doing in it, and write a short essay to get my thoughts in order about what that aspect of revision means to me, and why that sort of change is important and/or dangerous or whatever, and how it relates to the sort of books I actually like to read.  Comments will, as ever, be more than welcome - this process is going to be much more about public subjects than most of what I've been posting up until now, and less about my unpublished MS in particular.

We'll see how that works out shortly.

The first question I need to answer, before any others, is the highest-level one possible: Now that the story is finished, what kind of a story is it?   Because I'm not the first story-teller, nor will be the last, to write something that has ended up a very different line of yarn to the one they began spinning in the first place.


caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 1,850 words in two days.  These will probably come in for some very chilly condensation later.  Kate's party passes the outward adventures and persisting inward horrors of the Swale Road, and returns for the last time to her home country of Alland.  The bitter, conceited, indoctrinated Widow has better points and better reasons for pressing them than I'd expected.  The claw of Kate's own very peculiar and personal harpy is closing about her heart.

Some very interesting stuff is going on with this yarn's gradual expansion from our heroes' grandiose romantic narcissism in the beginning, towards a fantastic sprawl of common powers and agencies and agendas, as this most democratic-spirited of revolts reaches its physical and spiritual apogee.  I'm having to invent some fairly specialized techniques on the hoof in order to convey the simultaneous real significance and narrative marginality of the ever-expanding named cast.

Masters I've found myself most conspicuously borrowing from in this connection: the Icelandic saga-writers; Tolkien; Diane Duane (Tale of the Five rather than Young Wizards flavour).  Malory and William Morris, fainter echoes of.  I've seen some other impressive approaches to similar problems, and had relative success one other way of my own, but here I have the answer that most obviously belongs to my world. I also have a bit of work or three to do, refining it.

There has been a lot of sick and tired lately.  Now there must follow an even bigger lot of rushing about: my blogging may be sporadic or non-existent over the next fortnight or so.  The sickness and tiredness is probably going to deprive me of finishing this chapter before the real rush gets going.  It's got conspicuously better over today, though.  One good night's sleep, and I ought to be set up for my adventures.

Night!

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
After a pleasant week of Family Stuff, I returned to work to discover a defrosted freezer.  The contents, which were mostly liver and lights, had reached the stage of sending out miasmas and pseudopods.  The Offaly Civilization has now been destroyed, but long shall its memory be green.  Crimson, purple, billy-brown and black also.

My back is staging demonstrations for shorter weights and better pay.

My home access to LJ seems to have mostly gone away, hanging forever whilst contacting "userapi.com".  Some folk report solving a similar problem by forcing their router to grab them a new dynamic IP address.  Doesn't work for me.

In a more encouraging development, I've finally achieved my perfect sausage risotto - my previous standard being mediocre at best.  The secret, such as it is, involves more chilli and garlic, more carrot and coriander soup, and the introduction of small quantities of olives and tomato salsa.  This advance was achieved by one part instinct, three parts advice, and nine parts blind ridiculous luck.

Aaaand it's time to get writing again.
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Only for 85 words this morning, but after weeks of "I got nothing!", that feels like a bigger deal than it sounds.

Been quietish as well as story-dry lately - partly through a sort of bloggetty exhaustion, partly due to RL stuff of the mostly-good kind. I may mention some of this biz at a later stage: can't just yet.

But I can hear the Muses singing...
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

Every year, I look again at my blogging activity and decide where to go with it. As far as this journal is concerned, the answer is pretty much "straight on". As to the miscellany of politics, writing, and random caprice that is my main blog Goat in the Machine, I might be doing some new things with that. A first step in this direction is to come up with a short, user-friendly description that conveys its general flavour, so that people who encounter it on blog lists can gauge whether it's apt to be their kind of thing.

This is my first attempt:

Goat in the Machine

[Categories: Writing, Politics, Arts]

Fantasy as if common people counted. Freedom as a banquet not a diet. Life as a stream too strong for narrow channels. Humour, curiosity, creativity, pratfalls; the kindly and the sorrowful and the shiny. Playing the goat as the great antidote to sheepishness.
Any thoughts?

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

I am now back on phone and net.  Also on Hello World! this morning, I slept horribly, and presently exhibit the mental characteristics of a rather surly oyster.  Managed about three sentences of the Beastly Tale in an hour.  Working title now changed from Cosara Town to The Popinjay.  It's almost as much about Beauty's family and their friends as it is about the monstrous liaison.  Don't know where that's been done already.  Probably not this way, anyhow.  Looking to be a novella or short novel, at present.

Clamming up now until I wake up.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

Returning to London last night, I found my phone/Internet connection dead, apparently from a fault at the BT exchange which may take up to 3 days to resolve.  So my communications may be kind of hit-and-run for a time.

A few hundred words of a side-project fairy-tale, attempting to do for Beauty and the Beast something vaguely akin to what Arthur Machen did for Mustardseed and Peaseblossom, only with happier ultimate  tendency.  This has been hanging around in stub form for most of a year, and has suddenly put forth several questing roots and a slightly kinky shoot.  More of this if I finish it. 

No Katherine words are coming, though I did have a dream last night in which I was working for C. the Great, Empress of All the Russias.  As something pretty much like one of Mercedes Lackey's Heralds, bizarrely enough.  Luckily for C. the G. and my brain bleach budget, some oneiric Health and Safety appears to have embargoed the presence of large white superhorsies.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

300 words, and a relief to write as the Gordian knot of the main plot tightens.  Rumour of Katy Elflocks, of childbirth changed out of wreck to joy, of bullies fleeing home on an hour's notice with faces sick as old cheese by moonlight.  The grand struggle between Good Witch and Big Bad continues on levels neither we nor my protagonists can see or follow - but here they get a glimpse of it, as before Luke glimpsed the curse and the doom.  For where there is Katy, there will be random acts of sensible kindness, though her life and her cause must ride the hazard.  She is not at all a safe person to follow.

But beneath the great folk's notice, the little lanes of Allingdale begin to echo with her.

And it turns out, much to my surprise, that there is strange method in this madness of doing the things Katy would certainly do anyway.  This could prove Rather Important before the end.

One of the best things this journalling does for my writing is to make me think a third time about everything after I've told it.

I Gloat!

Aug. 30th, 2010 06:21 pm
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
I just replaced the wireless card in my desktop PC, after the old one gave up the goat.  Somewhat to my surprise, the installation was plain sailing, and my connection is now faster than on its best day ever before.

Also, a nice new flatscreen display that actually works right.  Additionally, a terabyte external backup drive, ditto.  (Terabyte!  Terabyte!)  Last in line is picking a good workhorse printer-scanner.  Soon.  Soon.  The electronic component of life is very good just now.

Back in town, back to work, and back on the wire again.
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
I should be returning to netly life real soon now, but there is a last unexpected delay: both my home computers are indisposed, and the prognosis for the laptop's looking grim.  Off this evening to buy a new WLAN card for the desktop.  If the subsequent surgery does the trick, then I shall resurface over the long weekend.  Otherwise I'll submerge again until my next tea-break - which, at the beginning of a school term, may be some time coming.

Not much writing this summer, as it turned out; but a very great deal of everything else.  More anon.


caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

'Ello 'ello!

Although my main blog continues here, that's really for articles and think-pieces great and small.  Since I'm hanging out more here now, I've decided to dedicate my LJ account to short informal entries that don't really match the Goat in the Machine style.  Journal entries, like....

Also for posting wordcountery, and other nuts-and-bolts stuff like that about my writing that doesn't naturally turn into an essay all of its own.  The trouble with the essays is that whilst they often help with my writing, they also compete with it for time and Muse's fire.  So this is basically an attempt to supplement them with chit-chat, which is where LJ's connectivity wins out over Blogger.  We'll see how the experiment goes!

With my usual exquisite timing, I find myself going back to work five hours after I finally broke out of my week-long funk on Three Katherines of Allingdale.  Waking up before the dawn did at least give me time to think myself through all the siren voices, and push through a couple of hundred words in the direction I needed to go.  Unless that was the siren all along, but I really think not.  Eh well.

Now it's back to the paying grind for a bit.

Paperwork, paperwork - so good we did it twice!

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