Hardest Writing I’ve Done in a While

I currently have the first regular writing schedule since I began ~10 years ago. The first three hours my kids are gone, I sit down and work on Lindorm Queen.

It helps by having a straight focus (makes it easier to ignore non-novel distractions when I know I’ve just got these three hours — but I do have them, and that creates something of a positive motivation loop…) But that’s not the hard part.

The hard part is looking at a story that seems as though it was written by another person (I started it so long ago), knowing it was me that put all that together, and then remembering to treat me as gently as I’d treat any other fresh novelist who has a lovely story with lots of weak parts.

Sometimes it’s easier to be nicer to other people.

Yesterday I clocked myself (a trick I started NaNo ’13 when I could only write in little chunks) and for raw output I maintained a steady 1100/hour, which satisfies me. Today I went to work, and hit with a familiar problem, I rewound and looked at basics, and saw (perhaps again) the behemoth I’m taking on in changing the story’s main character.

The good news: story’s getting way stronger.

Bad news, that just highlights how weak it was.

You see, the story itself isn’t weak so much as the characters.

Celia and Torbilan, while unique and interesting in LK, were never (in my mind) built all the way up to major-character status. They existed as foils– contrast, backdrop, opportunities to highlight– the main couple of Asmund and Linnea. C & T were (on-purpose) relatively passive in order to give the other characters more opportunities to be active (a technique I don’t think I’ll repeat, but it got that first story told).

Now I have to find a way to work up the goals and motivations of these two very. quiet. individuals so they have enough energy and drive to be the impetus of their own story.

I spent a lot of my work time today on TVtropes.org, working through articles and examples such as Obfuscating Stupidity, The Coward, Guile Hero, Master of Disguise, and so on. Torbilan has such a deep hope and idealism in the face of everything that he frequently can look foolish or a little stupid (when he’s not), and that might have to go by the wayside, but I’m hoping that this aspect of his will play well with Celia’s super-practical survivor-cynicism.

My play with opposites is less about “opposites attract” than “filling the gaps.” The similarities have to be there for the initial pairing or the gaps won’t get filled anyway.

What shifting the main characters has also done is made the B-line of the story (a kidnapping) more significant. In the original, it was just a tool to get the men off being heroes so the folks back home were stuck solving the Big Story Problem, but since the B-plot is now about LK‘s main character (not a spoiler– it’ll be part of the book blurb), I have more history and an established character to play with, so the options have expanded.

It’s been a long time since I had to dig down and build characters from the skeleton out, but it’s a tiny bit exhilarating, too.

And it’s a reminder that research is part of the writing, even when I don’t know exactly where it will all be used.

A Warning:

The Number One reason to cultivate good habits is that when you are too tired to do anything else, habits are what you live from and on.


I am sick.

I hate being sick. It enhances all my limits and tendencies.

To my relief I see light as well as darkness: I couldn’t spend more than a day utterly doing “nothing.”  My need for order (hey! I have one of those!) has dragged me through my sludge to get significant (though not nearly “enough”) things done each day.

I have taken more time to read (non-fiction– I haven’t had the stamina to enter anyone else’s drama this week), and I feel like a long-neglected part of my mind has been watered and nourished.

But mostly this experience has made me more aware of habits, and how much I want to focus on training them once I have the strength again.

Hi. This isn’t facebook.

This is my non-techie way of tying up the loose end of this blog template having a (purported) Facebook link, and me not booking my face.

Sorry if that’s disappointing.

I’m told FB will be non-optional once I’m published, but that’s not now. I prefer Twitter just because there seems like less to keep up with.  Maybe I feel less obligation to keep up with the every-doings of everyone I know. If I’m not on FB, I’m not expected to know everything.

Clearly I feel safer when I’m responsible for less.

Feel free to browse elsewhere on Untangling Tales if you want to figure me out. Trust me when I say all of me is already here. A couple of interesting searches you might not have tried yet:

Celebration of Miscellanea

My laptop is back.

But it’s not.

I was shipped a new (refurbished) machine instead of my old one (poor dear must have been too far gone), and one of the results of getting a new machine is that it is compatible with a recently released *illuminated keyboard.*

Believe-you-me we ordered it right away, and Jay just installed it tonight. Way. beyond. cool.

So the book-cataloging software is all that’s left, right?

Well, I’ve just picked one because I got tired of comparing them, and I have the scanning gun to speed the inputting process on those books that have bar codes.

A rough, unscientific, scanning of my shelves indicates a 50/50 split (I have a lot of old and/or jacketless books), but I still think this device was worth buying.  I inputted maybe a dozen ISBNs to experiment with before I had the scanner, and those took more time and focus than the 32 I popped in tonight to see how the scanner works.

Anyway, I have one more book-buying spree on my calendar (Kids’ books are half-off next week), then I expect the rigorous reality of school to fill up all our time.

All we need now are boxes small enough to lift when full of books, and they will be quietly packed away until called for.

And I don’t think I’ve yet said it here, but I’ve lost nearly 13 pounds this summer.  I finally passed the point where I could feel the difference myself, rather than just seeing it in my clothes.

My mom’s been saying for weeks that she could see the change, but she doesn’t see me every day…

Yes, I’m celebrating.  God is good.

Oh, Right.

Three years today.

Current stats:

  • 634 posts on Untangling
  • 279 posts at Family News

I’ll make my annual list of self-determined faves from the last year. . . eventually.

But mostly my mind– and mood– is still filled with #s 5-7 below.

So, while congrats are always nice, I desire your prayers most of all.  Especially for wisdom as I try to determine where my place of service is in this new balance of things.

My Appologies

I just noticed how crazy my sidebar was reading in IE, but I think I’ve fixed it.

So sorry if I put you off with that.

Do feel free to let me know if something’s coming across weird– I don’t usually work outside of Firefox.

Quick question:

Have any of you readers put a recording of yourself on-line?  (Dedee I remember you mentioning a video of you directing ;) )

I have a couple older hymns I was wanting to share (since they’re out of copyright and won’t get me in trouble), but I’m not sure of the best way to do it.  YouTube?  Digital recording?

Jay will work something out, I’m sure, I just wondered if there were any voices of experience out there.

So… What does it say about me?

I have two empty 1-gallon tubs of ice cream in the dirty-dishes bin under my sink.

It’s been so long between a complete dishes-washing (i.e., more than a single pot or pan for a night’s dinner) that my family has gone through two gallons of ice cream.

Yes, the sickness streak broke my good-housekeeping streak and I’m trying to get back on-top of things.

So think what you want. That we eat a lot of ice cream (we do) or we let dishes go a long time (we do).

I just thought it was a funny random fact. Take it how you will. ;)

Homeschooling in Alaska

Dude. I am going with Option 1. (PDF)

Home School Statute:

Option 1. Alaska Stat. § 14.30.010(b)(12). If “the child is being educated in the child’s home by a parent or legal guardian,” the child is exempt from compulsory attendance. Under this option, there are no requirements to notify, seek approval, test, file forms, or have any teacher qualifications. The burden is on the state to prove that parents are not teaching their children.

Talk about simplifying my life.