tcastleb: (Default)
( Jun. 18th, 2007 12:13 pm)
I think the book's done.

I say "think," because I put the end on it, and I'm satisfied with it, but there's a few nagging, nitpicky things that I need to go back and fix. Still, for all intents and purposes, this draft of Orossy is finished. Hooray for that!

Still have to go through and put chapters in it. I went through the hardcopy I have last night at work and wrote in where the chapters should go so it should go fairly quick. There's approximately fifty-four chapters. 151,000 words. And some more of going through notes in the hardcopy and seeing what I can cram in there before I go to residency and print it out for my mentors. I also got some of those giant bubble wrap envelops so they can mail it back to me. :>)

And then, hopefully, I can set it aside for a while and work on some other stuff.

And may this be the last complete rewrite. Four is enough, thank you, and the darn thing keeps getting longer every time.

In other news, I'm ecstatic to see that [ profile] otterdance, aka Lynn Flewelling, is coming to Comic-Con. Yaaaay!

Clarion here starts in a week, and I get to go meet with all the folks for that next Tuesday night. Yaaay!

Laundry: check. Packing: almost. Dishes: done. Trash: TBD Cat boxes: TBD Airport shuttle reservation: made. Boarding passes: printed. SHU critiques: taken care of. Lizard edits: started. Food: good idea.
. . . when you go back and re-read earlier parts of your book, and you find out, "this wasn't followed up, or this, or this, or this," or, "This was a cool idea and I meant to keep going with it . . . and didn't."

-bangs head on table-

Off to make a list of things that need followed up on now. And I think I identified the pivotal scene in which Orossy's character needs tweaked into a more certain direction, but I don't know where to take him yet. Arrrgggh. It's like a bad knot I can't figure out how to untangle; lots of possible threads, but only one's going to lead in the right direction.

Oh, and the other good news is I started writing a new and (hopefully) gut-wrenching scene for later in the book (and had to go to work in the middle of writing it. Grrr.) Yes, it involves torturing a character, which is always fun. But it does solve a couple minor plot problems (mostly, reasons why a couple people need to be somewhere other than where they would normally be) and gives me something to do with a side character rather than just not writing about her any more.

Actually, it's funny, I have all these papers covered in miniscule cursive legible only to me, little scribbles of scenes and ideas I wrote at work when I didn't have web access.
tcastleb: (Default)
( May. 12th, 2007 10:25 pm)
My brain is tired. Worked from 6:30am to 9:30pm for both jobs (and I'm counting the drive time, since finding parking was a pain at the store.) Funny that retail is actually a relief to do and less stressful than the hotel sit-on-my-butt-and-do-almost-nothing job. Mostly because the store job is some 85% tourists, and they're generally in a good mood, and if they're not, they don't hang around to give us trouble. I do like the store. Nice people to work with, fun stuff to sell and a nice environment.

Printed out the updated first 3/5's of the novel. Still finding a few plot snags, and still having trouble trying to figure out Orossy's angle. It'll get there . . .

I should go write . . . but it's late and I think my brain is fried for the day, and maybe I'll just go watch a movie . . .
tcastleb: (Taste)
( May. 11th, 2007 11:06 pm)
Sent off the deadline stuff to my mentor yesterday--all 107 pages. Eeek. And I'm still not totally satisfied with it. It's the middle, something's wrong. -sigh-

On to the downhill side of the book, which (so far) seems easier to deal with. I still haven't figured exactly how to end it. I hope it works out when I get there.

Actually, Orossy's motivations are . . .off, somehow. Which means some of the later parts are going to be screwed up too. Arrrgggh. -bangs head on table-

And I feel so horribly out of the music loop--I just figured out today that saxophonist Michael Brecker died this past January. I mean, I never met him, only had one CD of his (which, admittedly, I appreciated for his technique but didn't enjoy because there were too many notes for my taste) but, still, being a sax player, it's like a kick in the gut to lose someone good like that. I bought my best saxophone from his repairman.

Which brings me to another sax player, John Stubblefield, whom I did meet when I was in high school when I got to do a clinic with the sax section of the Mingus Big Band, and was a very sweet guy and happily signed the CD covers I mailed him and mailed them back along with some encouraging letters, which was awesome for a naive and wannabe sax player. I didn't know he'd passed until I heard him mentioned on the local jazz station as "the late John Stubblefield" about a year afterwards. So that hurt. Still does, actually. And I was so excited to go see the Mingus Big Band when they came out to San Diego a couple years ago, because I thought I'd get to say hi to John again, but he wasn't there, because he was too sick, and I didn't know.

Damn. I hate it when things work out like that.
tcastleb: (Man)
( May. 9th, 2007 11:27 pm)
I didn't make it to the zoo today, since I spent most of the day trying to finish my submission for the deadline on Friday. It's almost done, some 110 pages (la la la, thank goodness for a VERY generous mentor) but I'm not entirely happy with it . . . as I said before, it's the middle, and the flow and Orossy's motivation is a bit screwed up, so I'm hoping Mentor will be able to find the things I know are there but I don't know how to fix.

And then it's just, um, some 180 pages left to fix up and finish. I can do that in a month, right?

I still don't know what to send for the SHU residency workshop. -sigh- Guess I'll worry about it after Friday.

Fitz's new name is "No, dammit cat!" As in, "No, dammit cat, stop chewing on my computer cord! Ow! That hurts! No chewing on my arm! Or my foot! Or my thumb!" And my DVD's are currently scattered across the floor because every time I put them back, he has to go crawl back into the entertainment center and knock them out again. The joys of kittenhood. Not.

The new job is going good. It's fun. Except I could really use another day totally off from either job this week. Oh well.

Here's one of my favorite pics from last week, so I have at least one zoo pic in.

Anyway. Back to trying to get these last few scenes taken care of . . .
tcastleb: (Tainted)
( May. 2nd, 2007 08:49 pm)

Okay, we know that TV shows really don't reflect real life.

Especially when, in L-Word, and editor FLIES all the way to LA from New York to meet the person who wrote the book and personally hand them the advance and say "We want to publish your book this fall, and we're giving you a tour! Survivor memoirs are the in thing right now!"

Dude. Ain't gonna happen.

Either that, or I'm just jealous.

But this show is making me want to meet Alan Cumming in real life, or at least watch X-Men II again.

Oh, and the Padres must have won their ball game. I went out on the balcony to watch the fireworks.
tcastleb: (Deer)
( Apr. 29th, 2007 11:47 pm)
Worked on the deer story today just because it was nice to be able to write new stuff and not fret about little tweaks I need to do on the old stuff for Orossy.

Go check out this blog post by YA author Maureen Johnson, who got one of her books banned for a dumb reason. I got the link from [profile] blackholly, but you should go read the blog post by the author over here She's a very funny and witty lady, and has a lot of other good writing posts too. Go read even if you don't write YA.

And check this out. Did you know highways could melt?

I mean, it's not funny at all for the commuters, but, I've been staring at the pictures all afternoon, just dumbfounded.

And, just because this is a weird, random post anyway, have a wombat.

tcastleb: (Cowboy)
( Apr. 26th, 2007 11:12 pm)
Little to report today. Took out the trash at the house, and managed not to hurt myself this time. Actually, the highlight of the day was going to the grocery store by the house (yaaay! grocery store!) and getting food. Like ice cream. I miss being able to walk to a real grocery store. There's little markets scattered around here, and a big store a little over a mile away, but it's just not the same.

And stopped by the used bookstore to pick up a used copy of HYPERION, which I have to read for SHU, and George R.R. Martin's first book (at [profile] devilwrites insistence, er, recommendation) so I don't get lost in the second book, which got turned into the lost and found at work and eventually found its way to me. Free is good. :>)

Got comments on my last novel excerpt back from my mentor which were largely positive, and the things that weren't are easy enough to fix. So I spent some time doing that, and then tweaking other stuff. It's still (estimated) way over 125,000 words, and needs to go down. -sigh- And I cut scenes. I swear.

And here's another pic I took yesterday, and cool, because hummingbirds are generally hard to get. I startled this one, who jumped off the leaf and flew around and landed long enough for me to get a couple pictures.

And now I should go sleep so I can get up for work tomorrow. Boooooo.
tcastleb: (Gecko)
( Apr. 24th, 2007 09:20 pm)
Played with the layout of my journal . . . and now I have "The Tiki Room" stuck in my head.

Orossy is trucking along. I'm about over the hump of the middle, except I'm not totally satisfied with the scenes there, which is why a couple of them aren't quite done. It's Feisal takes Orossy home and Feisal meets Rossa, and the timing feels off. Everything there is taking place in a span of two days, where it used to take longer, which might be all right, but it's just odd at the moment. Oh well. I'll get to the end soon and maybe figure out what should have happened there and when. Good news is, I cut some scenes from the last version.

Walked to Goodwill, which is eight blocks away, for the heck of it, and didn't spend money, although I was mighty tempted by a Robin Hobb book I haven't read, and a Melissa Scott book. They'll likely still be there for a while if I change my mind . . . Then I went to Target and spent money. -sigh- legitimately, some was food, some was cat stuff (who wants to haul the thirty-one pounds of cat litter up two flights of stairs for me?) and they had bags of sticky lizards for $1. Promotional materials, ya know.

Still no title for the lizard story. Help me out, I'll send you a bag of lizards. :>)
It seems the title it took me ages to think of for the lizard story is already taken. -sigh- Time to think of a new one . . . Orossy is clipping along nicely, though.

And, since all kinds of folks are doing it, happy International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

It all started because of a rant over here:

And here's the premise thrown out by author Jo Walton: "In honour of Dr Hendrix, I am declaring Monday 23rd April International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day. On this day, everyone who wants to should give away professional quality work online. It doesn't matter if it's a novel, a story or a poem, it doesn't matter if it's already been published or if it hasn't, the point is it should be disseminated online to celebrate our technopeasanthood."

And, while I do have some free excerpts up over at my website ( )I figured I'd but something complete up too. So here's mine, my little second-person demon story that got accepted in a couple of college literary magazines.

Sweetling: a Demon Story )
tcastleb: (Deer)
( Apr. 18th, 2007 11:29 pm)
Got very little done on Orossy. I'm in the middle of it, and middles are just a pain. So it's not going anywhere because I don't quite know what to do with it.

Got more done on the--um, we'll call this one the deer story. Except I keep having typos and spelling deer as "dear." Yes, the deers will be dear to each other, but I won't refer to them as dears. And they're usually not deers anyway. Just sometimes. Have to keep with the animal motif I started in the lizard story. And there are no telepaths in this one. Amazing, ain't it? Nearly everything else I have has telepaths or some sort of mental manipulation.

Got a new cell phone because I changed my plan a bit, and figured I might as well get a free phone to go with it. Waited most of the day for it, sitting on the bed and watching out the window for the FedEx guy. Bus. Bus. car car car skateboarder bus Pepsi truck car car cop fire truck bus school bus bus bicyclist car car bus postman DHL bus car car bus FedEx, yaaay!

Watching "to Kill a Mockingbird" for the second time tonight after I got it from the library last week. It's really a good movie. I never read the book, though, and am embarrassed to say that I never knew Harper Lee was a lady until I watched the movie "Capote," where she showed up as Capote's friend.

Anyway. Back to one story or the other.
tcastleb: (Turnip 2)
( Mar. 29th, 2007 08:25 pm)
Wheee! Just got back from going to see one of my Clarion teachers, Cory Doctorow, read and sign over at Mysterious Galaxy. That was cool, and he's always fun to see. Met a Clarionite-to-be, and one Clarion hopeful who hasn't heard anything yet. So, yaaay!

I sent the lizard story to Ellora's Cave for the hell of it. I didn't think they would take it, and they didn't, but they did say, ". . . while we found the writing good and story line very well done, we feel that this story is not right for us." So that's something, and about a three week response. Still waiting to hear back from Loose Id on it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Um. That's about all. Cleaned out the spare room, mostly. Just have a pile of boxes to dump in the recycle bin. Would've put more out there, but the yard guys put the fallen leaves and flowers in it, which is a big no-no (says so right on the can in Spanish and English, but oh well) so I had to scoop all those out. Fun.

Yeah. We'll see if any novel writing gets done tonight. Must get something done.
tcastleb: (Default)
( Mar. 24th, 2007 12:39 pm)
Slow enough here at work I got a working synopsis/outline done. Makes me feel better, because now I think I've figured out how to get through my book and keep several of the things I wanted to keep. So, with luck, I'll be able to get more of this done faster since I know where I'm going and how to edit written stuff to fit in this version. I'm sure there'll be some more roadblocks along the way, but this helps a lot. I'm not usually one for sitting down and writing outlines before something's done, but I'm starting to see the value of doing so.

And it's another thing that makes me wonder just how inter-connected life and writing is . . . since I was stuck on apartments, the book was stuck. Now, since I'm not worrying about where I'm going to be living in the near future, the book moved ahead. So, the answer would be to stop having mini-crises, and the book would be done by now. Right?

Right. ;>)
tcastleb: (Lizard)
( Mar. 13th, 2007 12:28 am)
Haven't had much to report lately . . . been working on the lizard story, trying to work some more romantic elements in there, and got some great tips from the SHU folks on the boards. Yaaay!

Have some vague ideas on where to go next in the novel. Well, more than vague, but I think I'm letting them settle a bit before I plunge ahead. Hence the tangent for the lizard story, which shouldn't take that long to fix up. Thought of a couple small things I need to go back and fix in the part I already have done. Goal is to get it done by residency in June, so I can save myself the postage of having to mail the darn manuscript for my mentors to read. I can do it. :>)

Today's my Friday. Yaaay! Going to see 300 tomorrow with a friend from work, which should be fun.

Oh, and it's nice and warm here. In the 80's. Time to dig out the shorts. Yaaay! I like hot weather. And I can finally wander around my house without shivering.

Anyhoo. Back to the writing thing.
tcastleb: (Vulture)
( Mar. 7th, 2007 05:42 pm)
Today was a pretty good day. Got some writing done (except, it's sort of before where I wanted to start the story, so I don't know if I'll keep it or move it or what, but since the SHU deadline is this weekend I may just foist it onto my long-suffering crit partners and see what they have to say.)

Got a book I ordered in the mail today. After poking around on Melissa Scott's website, I found a copy of her CONCEIVING THE HEAVENS, which about writing SF novels. I figured it looked interesting. And--bonus--it's autographed! Woohoo!

Then I went to the zoo and got lots of good pics. Went to the Children's Zoo, where there's usually something of interest, and, lo and behold, look who came out to take a walk! This is Agra, the Indian crested porcupine, which is the largest species of porcupine.

And then I wandered over to see Mozat the otter, and he hopped out of bed and came right up to the glass for this cute shot.

Then I went down the hill to visit the kitties and to see the zoo's newest resident, Koya, the five-month-old mountain lion. She's about my kitten's age, and is still very sweet looking and playful.

Then it was up the escalator toward horn & hoof mesa, and look who I finally got to see out and running around! These are some of my favorite critters, just because they're so neat looking. They play like dogs, nipping and biting and stuff, but they play hard. These are African wild dogs.

Then up at the top I headed over to see if the Valentine's Day baby gazelle was out. Went a couple weeks ago and I didn't see him, so I was worried that maybe the storks in the exhibit teased him too much, but here's Val (my name for him/her) being shaded by mom, with another juvenile laying down nearby.

Finally getting a little ways in the writing. Well, I am when I'm not writing in LJ. Or eating. Or yanking the kitten out of my food. Or working. Or taking a nap. Or keeping my bare feet out of harm's way in the form of a grabby kitten.

Really. I've gotten something done. I swear. Thing is, I don't know exactly where it's going (sort of editing the original, original opening scene to change Orossy's motivations a bit and to introduce Feisal earlier.) Still not much of an idea what to put in the inevitable prologue. I've still been spending an inordinate amount of time at work just thinking (though I did manage to finish my last required book for SHU today) and not getting very far. Arrrggh.

And then I keep remembering I owe crits to a few people. Bad me. Bad, bad.

The good thing, now that I've been knocked over the head with people telling my Orossy is a wimp, I'm finally starting to notice what a *good* thing it is to have a strong character, and the little things authors do to make them strong, even if they're in an indefensible position. So, I'm learning, and that's a good thing too.

Watching Stargate the movie. Bought it at Target for $5, just so I could watch Jaye Davidson, who, in The Crying Game, has lately been something of an inspiration for the new, improved Orossy. Pity he never gets to talk normally as Ra in Stargate, but he's still nice to look at. :>)
tcastleb: (Orossy)
( Feb. 18th, 2007 07:58 pm)
-sigh- I did have this way long post of me rambling about how I'm going to try and fix my book after I got comments from my mentor this afternoon . . . but I just closed the window to go to lunch (er, dinner), having faith in the auto save, but, *poof* it's gone. I think it's 'cause I opened a new window once and said cancel when it asked to bring up the saved draft. It's all right. Nothing terribly major that I would actually look at again, and just writing stuff out helps me think through what I have to do.

And what I have to do . . . is basically rewrite the book. Again. Orossy's still too much of a wimp and is rarely on screen, Rossa's too prominent, and Feisal needs more of a reason to fall for Orossy. Added to that, Orossy's got waaaay too many problems--too many alters (most of which don't really have a purpose, and therefore need to be rethought or deleted), a coveted telepathic gift that's somewhat complicated by itself, and gender identity issues. So, uh, I guess some of it needs to go.

I'm not frustrated, yet. I'd rather hear that something's not working now rather than later so I have time to fix it and still get my mentor to look at it. And, anyway, I haven't been able to write much over the past week or two so hopefully this will get me thinking of some knew scenes and ideas so I can get some words going.

Good thing is, when I get going I can write a book pretty quick. I just have to get going. Somebody say "Hooray for deadlines!"

But, we're sort of back to the drawing board in terms of plot; back to figuring out What does Orossy want? What does he need? What's keeping him from getting it? And how am I going to make him a lot more assertive?

In happier news, I got a CD of Varekai music. (Yes, I'm still addicted to Varekai.) It's all studio recorded though, so it's not quite what's on the DVD. The good thing is I found a used special edition CD which has a bonus CD with six live tracks which makes me happy. Good enough. :>)
tcastleb: (Fear no love)
( Feb. 15th, 2007 10:40 pm)
Cleaned. Boo. Not show-home worthy yet, but clean enough for now. -sigh-

Watching Rent the movie for the third time. Had never listened to the musical, since it came out just after my phase where I was obsessed with musicals, so while I heard of this one, I didn't pay much attention to the hype. First time through, I knew the actors and the filming were good, but the plot didn't quite hit it with me. (Maybe it was a bit overdramatic? Yeah, I know, it's theater, it should be.) But then I watched the commentary that the "Making of" extra, and now I have a lot more respect for it. The nice thing is that the actors seem a lot more real than in a lot of films, I think because most of them had worked together a long time and had defined these roles, and it shows. So that's neat.

And I'm still fascinated with the character of Dil in The Crying Game, because, in a way, that's exactly what I want Orossy to be, that straightforward and yet ambiguous. Between it and Rent, I keep wondering if the focus of my book is in the right spot; I mean, I have a lot of social injustice in there, and I keep wondering if it's too stereotypical or something, and maybe I should just make Orossy's sexuality more normal instead of something out of the ordinary. -sigh- I dunno, but second-guessing myself at this point likely isn't a good thing, especially since I'm still having trouble with the ending. Arrrggh.

Back to work in the morning. Double boo.
tcastleb: (Man)
( Feb. 11th, 2007 01:10 pm)
So, somewhat inspired by one of the SHU scholarship requirements which says include a paragraph about your next book project, I've been trying to figure out what my next project ought to be. I dug out my first novel, because it really is something I want to rewrite and make work.

Except, I still don't know how to make it work. It is on the epic fantasy level, since it's going to involve three or four countries and attempted genocide, but, man, I think I realized I don't know how to deal with an epic fantasy. The hard part is that one culture in particular has a lot of societal details that need explaining so I don't confuse people, and while I don't want to do an info-dump, I'm at a loss as to how to get all the information I need across. Plus there's some big gaps in time, twice, before the story moves linearly, which I've never liked but also don't know how to deal with.

Bah. I didn't particularly want to write an epic fantasy. Still don't, because I'm much more interested in happenings on a personal level rather than a worldwide level, but in this case for one of my characters, who he is and who he wants to be is deeply tied to where his homeland, which he can't go back to without being killed until he gets enough allies to help retake it.

Maybe if I merge a couple books. Book 2 is a sort of companion novel that explains a lot of the background I left out or cut from Book 1. 'Cause I was just reading the beginning of #1, and realizing how disjointed it is.

I suppose I should also just rewrite the whole darn thing, and maybe I'd get a better perspective on it. Hmmm. It's also very hard to let go of certain events, since I've got them running through about four books now, and it might screw up the timeline a bit. Arrrgggh.

Just thinking out loud, here, 'cause sometimes it helps . . .
tcastleb: (Man)
( Feb. 9th, 2007 11:21 pm)
So I feel like I kinda sorta got something done today. Tweaked a Clarion story--the Lakota-based one--to send off to Seton Hill's "Eye Contact," as soon as I think of a witty one-line biography. I still like the way I wrote that story, and the details in it, even if it's probably still a little lacking plot-wise. We'll see. Picked out a few of my favorite pics to put on CD and send to them too. I figure I might as well. There's some that look great in black and white.

Otherwise . . . I need to turn the damn TV off 'cause I'm not getting anything done. Watching Varekai again is much more fun. (Really, it's a cool DVD. Awesome colors, great costumes and neat music that's starting to stick in my head.) Got another manga in the mail today. Yaaaay. Sort of made up for a creepy day at work, at least, until I got to the cliffhanger ending and tried to find volume 2, which doesn't seem to exist. Arrrgggh.

Um. Still no thoughts of a snappy one-liner. I don't like the title of my piece either, but I can't think of anything better. Arrrggh. I just want to send it, now that it's done. No, I'm not patient.


tcastleb: (Default)


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