http://hollylisle.com/community/temp_chat.html is the Temporary Chat room for Forward Motion community, which is presently down and might be moving to a new host. Weekends were often rough on N54. The link to that isn't there on Home at the moment, so I've posted it here if any other refugees get as lost as I did a few minutes ago.

I'm within the three day window for Breakout Novel Course auditions and I have to write the new last chapter today, then revise while it's hot and fresh. I can do this. I did 2,500 words of it last night and I may toss them. That doesn't matter. I don't care how many new scenes I do and throw if I get the ending written RIGHT and then polish the last fifteen pages of it till they shine and send it off.

The whole rewrite doesn't need to be done today. Dare's over, I made six out of seven Master Dares and that's pretty darn good. If this rewrite takes more work - well, I'm doing it on spec, aren't I? I made the commitment to send it out and that's what matters. Those sample pages, only thirty pages of work, are what really matters right now and the sooner I get them to that "this is done, I can't do anything better with it today, I'm happy with it" state the sooner I can send them to Holly with the letter already composed. That means just getting into the flow of it and deciding point of view.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (He should invite lady cats into our house.)
Dramatic reversals and odd twists. Those hit me, not just my characters. The last batch of crits came in on the end of Quest of the Perilous Blade and Allikat (Staring at the Walls) threw a zinger that changed the end - so much for the better that it flattened me. 2,525 words later, an insert scene in the last chapter clarifies the magic - and the deep conflict - between Blade and Karactis when Blade goes into the final battle. It's not offstage now. It's onstage and haunting. That was tonight's rewrite - onward.

Tomorrow, a new chapter. Tomorrow the dark cliffhanger ending becomes the happy romantic ending in a way that really works, but still has that edge to it thanks to the curse of Karactis.

Registration for the Breakout Novel Course at Forward Motion began at midnight and my rewrite of the final chapter began about half an hour before that. Well, plans change. I don't need to get it in at the start of registration as much as I need to get it in whipped to peak form and good enough to send to agents and publishers. That's where I'm at with the Quest rewrite. The rest of the Quest rewrite will take place after I get the audition submission packet made up in two clean Word documents along with that email that I already composed and edited.

Then I'll know I gave it my best.

Robert and Ari >^..^<


My blog is back! Ari and I survived a three day offline adventure in insanity... and with a lot of help from my friends, I'm back online. Ema, my faithful emachines etower 366i2 PC, is back from the dead. It was worse than I thought. Not just the power supply but the CPU fan was wrecked. I am lucky the motherboard and processor didn't fry during her last days. Maybe that thunderstorm was Thor warning me not to push it too far - she was still in revivable condition.

Floppy drive is still out even with the replacement, because either the used replacement floppy drive isn't working right or, she needs a proprietary emachines floppy drive. I'll know this when Lynx, the Linux box arrives, because I'll try to set up the floppy on Lynx to see if it's just "Ema is picky about her components" or "this used floppy drive's dead, toss it."

And Lynx is on the way. Lynx will be here next week. Lynx is insurance against it ever being that bad again. Lynx has got a modem, a 33k rather than 56k but that's still a modem. Slow is lots better than dead.

I've got a zip drive with no power supply, but I've got that coming in the mail and so all my backups will now be available to me in portable form. The zip drive is on a parallel cable and it's external. It's not installed in Ema, its drivers are - but its drivers will also be installed in Lynx. So all of the important stuff - my personal stuff - will move in one or two packed zip disks into Lynx's hard drive and Ari's pictures will be backed up along with all my writing.

My entire apartment got cleaned up during the great long dull period of solitude. I caught up on reading and I cleaned up my tiny apartment. I've got almost everything packed. I've packed everything but what I use everyday, since I did make the Wal Mart trip and get storage tubs.

Storage tubs? This is the first time in my life that I've got enough storage objects for all the loose stuff I own. You need to understand I'm a recovering packrat. Fellow pack rats may understand how books, stuff, crafts materials and things you intend to fix or refinish and recycle can get way out of hand real fast.

Wal Mart had a bookcase within budget. The bookcase was only $29 and 72" tall with five shelves, no wasted space like one of those short three shelf jobbies. By amazing luck, I was the one this time who got the black one! The black and oak colored ones always vanished before I got to the store even when they'd put things like that bookcase on sale. I've had this one in white maybe four or five times in my life and had to abandon it on out of state moves. This time it's black. It matches all the rest of my furniture - the only thing that doesn't is my desk and I might someday get around to painting its metal parts black and get black linoleum for the top instead of the mint green. But there's something nice about keeping it in its original, utilitarian, back of a gas station or deli look as that makes it look like Small Business Office while the rest of the house looks like Residence.

I'm killing time before my fourth appointment with my new therapist, which I need to have about five or six documented in order for my lawyer to bring my case back for SSI - the judge wanted more documentation. She's not awful, she's not another Roland or Betsy though. It may take a while to establish anything with her, because she really lacks context. And she's a bit busy with a lot of patient load. Does not know me well yet. Didn't understand my priorities, and got confused on a fairly basic thing. I have a dread of drugs that probably does a lot to keep me from being a drug abuser. I have a personal, particular terror of pill popper addictions because that's what the addict that got me into the whole codependency thing suffered - legal, prescribed, socially acceptable addiction. I've also had more misprescribed drugs in my life than anyone else I know, from attempts to give me fatal penicillin to sick side effects on stuff I'd think of as harmless. I am cautious about drugs and have seen friends almost killed by prescriptions. She tried to push pills last time. She forgot that was part of the central problem - a dread of doctors and prescriptions brought on by too many close calls with minor malpractice in real experience and a codependent's fear of the dangerous substances.

So we need to get that sorted out today. But I'm in a good mood today and can get that sorted out with her.

I'll blog again later when I'm back. A lot of stress got relieved when I got back online!

Robert and Ari >^..^<


Fourth nonfiction article Done!! Dare Done! That's six out of seven Master Dares and I'm still keeping up the Critiques with at least two a week, only slipped one week and already went way over what was required. Only one to go. The tough one. And I did get started on the Quest Rewrite, so I've got nothing to complain about there.

It'll get done by Friday. It'll get done and so will the query and synopsis, at least the short synopsis.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (I get a byline! Oh boy! I haven't had a byline since I was a kitten! He loves me!)


Laughing at myself today... because if I get the willies at spending a few hours without getting fiction done, I'm really pushing too hard. It's okay to relax a little. Especially during the day before I get going. Night's when the writing gets done! After yesterday, I will remember this and relax accordingly.

That story restored my confidence.

On some level, I have to start counting rewriting as real writing. I feel good about myself when I finish chapters and stories. I feel like a real writer, not a cripple wasting time. Fine. Good. Real pro writers get the stuff cleaned up and sent out too. So I'm going to post progress on the rewrites - and I feel a lot more confident about it today.

This is Monday. I got up at 1pm my time. I did my mail, I posted on boards and chatted. All good. I got an idea for a good Vision article that's more of a research topic - and research I need to do anyway if I ever want to use cavalry in fantasy fiction when the mounts are horses, not dragons or some made-up fantasy creature that I decide how they work. War horses, war horse maneuvers and cavalry tactics would be a good solid salable research article any fantasy or historical writer might want to bookmark for future reference.

So I can tear off and do that now, then jump in with Quest in tonight's Rewrite Wars late at night, around 2am EST when I'm raring to go and in my peak biorhythm time for getting writing stuff done. All my life I've done my best between midnight and dawn. Why should I expect to be different just because it's a lousy cold that woke me up early in the day one day?

Big gusting belly laugh at myself and relax - and knock out another of the things I have to do to finish my Dares.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (I'm a cat. I sleep when I want to. I'm sleeping now but cute when I sleep)
Result of Attitude Wrestling

First, a dazy afternoon promising myself it was OK to draw or fiddle with crafts or do anything but writing if I wanted to. Then the recognition that with a cold and so much drowsiness I didn't even pick up the hobby stuff, a nap and Nyquil were just the thing.

So I felt better when I woke up after only two hours of nap. Medicine does a lot to knock down the aches. That and improve breathing.

So what did I do when I felt at all better? Write. Knocked out another story. Decided that feeling grumpy with a cold meant it was okay to do whatever the whim of the moment dictated. Tonight that was sword and sorcery - and to my somewhat pleased surprise, I wound up doing a swashbuckling sorceror with a non stereotypical halberd. He stuck a blade on a wizard staff, he'd use the staff end for magic and fight with the blade end, he fought pretty well for a wizard. Got a good short story just over 4,000 words - enough elbow room I can tighten for a market that wants 4,000 and under, but enough meat for one that prefers longer short stories. And for once in this kind of thing, it's the sorcerer who's the good guy. I have yet to really write a swashbuckler who's not a magic user. Or for that matter, a distance runner.

That's still on my to do list - someday write someone who's predominantly physical and athletic rather than psychic, smart and magical. I've done the combination - big strong mages who can fight - but not someone who really gets into the physical and turns to that first rather than the mental. Maybe it's just hard for me to look up to that - to look up to some guy as a hero because he happens to be large and strong, or goodlooking and large and strong, to think of those qualities as more important than the strengths I do really have. Obviously heroes have to have grit. It's not that physical-oriented heroes don't have strength of character or depth - a lot of them do and I enjoy them when other authors do them. I just don't think of doing that in my own stories. Sometimes when I do, what comes back is the idea of Siegfried "the man without fear" who didn't really listen to the dragon, killed Fafnir and got a bad case of dragon greed curse out of it. I find it hard to let heroes have that flaw. It's one of those little things that bugs me - that there are types of stories I enjoy but don't write. They're all sitting in the to do stack waiting for the day that I get the right idea and give it the right rendition.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (I slept in his lap all day like a good kitty)


Round Two, Attitude Wrestling

This actually is Sunday. I wound up sleeping early last night, totally wiped at around two or three in the morning. Decided to crash around two and took another hour of lurking in the chat room to actually move toward the bed and pass out. This isn't like me. Woke up still with a sore throat, sneezing, great lot of body aches especially in legs. Though the swelling's down to about half what it was yesterday and that's good. I'm not sure why I'm listing all the symptoms unless I'm trying to come up with enough excuses for why I didn't do anything.

Except, yesterday, it's not that I didn't do anything. Yesterday, I did rewrite the first scene of Quest twice over and the second time is a lot better than the first replacement scene. The first was full of infodump, the next less infodumpy and Blade had better dialogue.

I've been up for about five hours and haven't written anything. I cleaned half my desk. The other half of the desk will have to wait for the book case on Tuesday, since it mostly consists of an overstuffed milk crate on its side with too many books in it. That and a little bit of desk stuff that really ought to be there: a lamp, the Post-It notes, the index cards and my Swiss Army knife which would wander back into my pocket if I went out. It isn't that bad. It just looks it because there's loose papers and envelopes stuck in with the books and no other place to put them.

I had some coffee and some cough syrup and lunch. This helped a lot, when I woke up I felt a lot worse. This is where attitude wrestling comes in.

Realistically, since April 1, I have been running full steam ahead working on those Dares. I did get a lot done. I also did identify what's going on physically - it's exhaustion and that's from the hill and I will get the book case on Tuesday and the new crates and all and that will help with moving out of the situation that's wearing me down. That will all happen. There isn't anything I can do for it right now.

It's very hard to take time for anything but writing. It just is. I posted an article on this at selfhelp a while back, but, when I think about it, that was a long time ago around the new year? Like, I don't stop to think about taking time off other than Thursdays except but twice a year?

I'm riding deadline. I've got a week to get that rewrite done. I'm only somewhat pressured about it because it didn't take the whole week to do the rewrite on Strigler's Succubus and I like to immerse on doing that as much as I do when I'm writing.

What is very tempting today is to pull out the crafts stuff or my sketchbook. I took a little while and did that blue flower a while back, liked it a lot and used it as an illustration for a SelfHelp article. Now maybe if I do just do something like that it'll be relaxing and I'll quit beating myself for having gone five hours without writing and just enjoy it for a little while. And maybe that will give me the energy to do a column or something later. I do not have that much left to do.

I just have the stuff that has to be done really well, that's all.

Robert and Ari >^..^<