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“Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science.” - Girl Genius, by Kaja & Phil Foglio

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

Perspective, it's all about perspective ...

Monday, April 30, 2012

April WRoE Update

Thirty-seven hours.  10,100 word net gain.  Current word count:  52,204. 

Wrote the dreaded (by me) torture scene.  FMC rescued from kidnapper and safe in MMC’s condo.  MMC now vulnerable to murder (kidnapper is dead) and kidnapping charges (cops could think him complicit) compounded by transporting victim = FMC across state lines.   Their upcoming lunch will be award-winning Maryland Crabcakes from MMC’s brother’s restaurant.  Followed potentially by romantic interlude. 

I’m happy with that.

[FMC = Female Main Character; MMC = Male Main Character]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Novel Update

The story is chugging along nicely - passed 45K yesterday (45397 at the moment).  Near the end of February I removed the ending, which took the story from 52K and 119 pages to just under 38K and 89 pages.  It’s back to 104 pages. (I don’t work in official manuscript format.  I like to maximize what I see on the screen and I’m balancing that with printing things out for editing, so it’s 1 1/2  spaced with 3/4 inch margins.) 

Seven thousand words in about as many weeks is nothing like a NaNo pace, but it’s sustainable through my crazy work schedule and the other interferences that wander by.  And those seven thousand words are edited, something that is anathema during NaNo.

Ah, yes, in case you missed it, last Monday I visited Motor Cycle Center and spoke with Geoff.  He was very helpful and confirmed my choice of a Triumph for Cait.  Very sleek bike, stylish, modern, and an appropriate size for an athletic woman around 5 ft 8 in.  And the big surprise of the day for me was the Street Triple comes in purple!  *swoon*  Now I have to add those details to the novel ...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

NASA's Perpetual Ocean

Video:  NASA/SVS

The eddies appear too perfect due to the limited resolution, but this is an amazing visualization of the surface currents of the world ocean.  

The following text is from NASA

“This is an animation of ocean surface currents from June 2005 to December 2007 from NASA satellites. Watch how bigger currents like the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean and the Kuroshio in the Pacific carry warm waters across thousands of miles at speeds greater than four miles per hour (six kilometers per hour); how coastal currents like the Agulhas in the Southern Hemisphere move equatorial waters toward Earth's poles; and how thousands of other ocean currents are confined to particular regions and form slow-moving, circular pools called eddies. Credit: NASA/SVS

“The visualization covers the period June 2005 to December 2007 and is based on a synthesis of a numerical model with observational data, created by a NASA project called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, or ECCO for short. ECCO is a joint project between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. ECCO uses advanced mathematical tools to combine observations with the MIT numerical ocean model to obtain realistic descriptions of how ocean circulation evolves over time.

“These model-data syntheses are among the largest computations of their kind ever undertaken. They are made possible by high-end computing resources provided by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

“ECCO model-data syntheses are being used to quantify the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle, to understand the recent evolution of the polar oceans, to monitor time-evolving heat, water, and chemical exchanges within and between different components of the Earth system, and for many other science applications.

“In the particular model-data synthesis used for this visualization, only the larger, ocean basin-wide scales have been adjusted to fit observations. Smaller-scale ocean currents are free to evolve on their own according to the computer model's equations. Due to the limited resolution of this particular model, only the larger eddies are represented, and tend to look more 'perfect' than they are in real life. Despite these model limitations, the visualization offers a realistic study in both the order and the chaos of the circulating waters that populate Earth’s ocean.”

If you've read this far, thank you!  Here's a link to a ten minute version
At the NASA site I linked at the beginning, there's information to find a twenty minute version as well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pick a Bike from the Lyrics

I love my characters.  They push me to find out stuff I didn’t know before.

In the current WIP, my character Cait has a motorcycle and won’t consider any other vehicle.  So this evening I went hunting for which bike she rides. 

What little I know of motorbikes I learned from Richard Thompson’s song “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.”  (See my post of 2/11/12 if you’ve never heard it.)  There’s one line of the song where he lists three brands of bike that “won’t do” - meaning they’re not as good as Vincents.  I’ve noticed that in different recordings he lists different bikes:  Nortons and Indians and Greeveses, Velocettes and Triumphs and Sunbeams. 

It seemed risky to choose one from his list.  I mean, from the lyrics Vincents are obviously some classic bike.  Anything he listed might not be made any more! 

I first thought to give her a Beemer.  Asserting my independence of the lyrics?  My cyber search took me to, where the manufacturers list included Triumph.  So after reading a bit about Beemers and picking a potential one, I went exploring Triumphs. 

Well, ladies and gentlemen, Cait rides a Triumph.  Specifically a Street Triple R, that this website says is on their Sexiest Bikes of the Decade list. 

It’s a middleweight street bike, “the one who broke into the classroom, stole the test answers out of the teacher’s desk, did a smoky burnout and wheelied away.” 

Yep, that is SO Cait’s bike!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WRoE March Summary

My process slowed down in March.  There was about a week where I didn’t keep track of my time at all!  What I did record adds up to 18 hours and change.  One weekend I didn’t work on the story - I read two books instead. 

The opening (about 17 pages in my working format) was critiqued by my SPAMmers writing group.  I got great feedback and folks want to see more.  I consolidated all their comments (6 people) onto one copy, then edited accordingly.

The word count was 42092 when I stopped on March 31, a 2750 word net gain for the month.  I’ve been editing as I go.  I print out about 4 or 5 pages worth:  the newest scenes plus the notes for upcoming scenes.   Those pages come to work with me for break time.  I edit the completed scenes and eek out the new one(s) several sentences at a time.  At some point the pages get messy enough for me to type it all up.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  The most recent packet was pages 86 through 89.  The next packet will start with page 88, unless I work on the computer for a bit before printing again.  That’s maybe TMI about my process.  Sorry. 

My goals from the last Library writers group included getting this draft finished by April 11.  Don’t think I’m going to make it!

This next stretch is going to be really hard for me to write.  The antagonist will be messing with my point of view character’s mind; she may be pretty much out of it, but she’s the one telling the readers about what’s happening!  How to balance her mental state with the reader’s needs - well, I haven’t figured that one out yet.  And there will of course be the options to mislead the reader about events because my POV character is so confused!  SHE may not even be sure about what was real and what was flashback/ induced.  There will be breaks when he’s not in the room, which will be opportunities for her to try and figure things out, where she may get close to normal before he comes back and messes with her again.  Won’t be too many of those sessions, though, because someone else is gonna show up and stop them.

I’m considering writing the first draft of that whole bit in third person omniscient just to find out what’s going on.  Then do the second version in first person. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Last year I was determined to read more books than the year before.  To keep myself accountable, I posted the list of books each month.  It worked - 31 books read last year, up from about six.  Well, back in January I decided to post the list quarterly instead of monthly.  Guess what?  Not so much reading has been happening!  (To be fair, quite a bit of writing has happened, and it all comes out of the same available time.  It's always been a trade-off.)  So far this year:

(1)  David Jauss, On Writing Fiction, Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft.  Essays on point of view, flow, epiphanies, and more. 

(2)  Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn.  A classic.  Beautiful writing.


(3) Seanan McGuire, Discount Armageddon.  Marvelous fun!  A monster-protecting competition-level ballroom dancer protagonist who is seriously awesome.  This was the first book of hers I'd read.  I will definitely read more.

(4) Elizabeth Bear, By the Mountain Bound.  Prequel to All the Windwracked Stars.  Good fantasy, spun from a Norse foundation

Okay, a rate of four books in three months will keep me ahead of 2010, but won't get me anywhere near 2011.  Gotta do something about this.

Started reading another book from the TBR pile today.