Jarsto's Writing Blog

June 21, 2007

Blog Moved

This currently looks like a dead blog, and in a way it is. More to the point it has moved. You can find my full current blog here or just the writing category here.

I'm currently investigating whether I can more or less automatically have any writing related posts put up here as well. If it's possible that will probably be the future activity for this blog. If it isn't I may copy (some of) them over by hand anyway.

November 16, 2006

NaNoWriMo Report

I've been neglecting this blog a bit. I've been too busy writing to blog about writing recently. NaNoWriMo is in full swing and I've been setting a new record pace for myself. But today I recalled the blog guiltily, so I've returned to make a quick report about NaNoWriMo.

It's been a record breaking, perhaps I should say record shattering, month so far, though I've had a bit of a slow down the last two days. I thought I did great last year, when with a ten thousand word sprint to the finish I managed to reach the fifty thousand word target on the 13th of November. This year I made it in just one week, and that included a sixteen thousand word sprint. I've slowed down a bit since, but have managed another big day at twelve thousand words.

The last two days have been a bit of a slump. I've been very tired for some reason, and evenings are usually my primary writing time. I don't much mind having a few slow days to relax now, with 75k under my belt. I'm sure I'll be back into it full speed soon enough.

September 16, 2006

It Could Only Happen To A Writer

I just had one of those moments. I was looking at some of the background I'm preparing for NaNoWriMo and I noticed my MC was born June 22nd 2604. This happens to lots of people in Sci-Fi universes so it wasn't that big of a deal. Then I suddenly thought "probably a Friday".

This was one of those times to be glad I use Linux because the "cal" commandline utility can give a calendar for any year from 1 to 9999. I'm not sure how dependable it is before october 1582, but for the future it certainly works well. So I just ran "cal 2604" and wouldn't you know it: June 22nd 2604 is going to be a Friday.

Now I'm going to try to figure out how the heck my first instinct was right with only one chance in seven. Maybe it's because June 22nd 2317 is also a Friday, and I have a calendar from 2317 close at hand right now, for the edit of Gordian Knot.

Update: I did a little checking and cal is mainly questionable between October 1582 and September 1752. If follows the British Empire's dates for switching from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar.

September 04, 2006

Figured Out The Problem

I just figured out and broke through a problem I've been having with writing the last several days. I'm writing new material now, but my mindset was still "this is the second draft, it has to be good" rather than "first drafts are allowed to suck". I've now gotten back into the latter mindset and the words are flowing again.

I'd always planned to do an extra edit on the newly written parts of this second draft, but somehow my mindset didn't follow quite the right way. Hopefully I can cover some ground and make up for lost time now that I've broken through.

In other news however I've found something else to distract me from writing. The Dutch NaNo Podcast (working title). It'll be a podcast, in English, centred around NaNoWriMo and the people from the (Dutch language) Holland & Belgium regional lounge. It's going to be aimed at all NaNo participants, which is one reason I'm still a bit hesitant about using "Dutch" in the title. It's going to be in English, not in Dutch, for one thing. Since I hope to have episode zero by Wednesday I guess I'll have to decide pretty soon though.

August 29, 2006

The Words Refuse To Come

The writing isn't working at all the last few days. I'm about to give it another shot tonight, I have a little more prep work in place for the next section of Gordian Knot v2. But in the mean time my blog presents:

The quick and dirty way of making your own pizza.

But first: the even quicker even dirtier way of making your own pizza.

The EQ&ED Way of Making your own Pizza:
1) procure desired toppings (except those excluded by step 3)
2) procure frozen pizza from supermarket (pretty basic type will do)
3) drop any toppings already present on frozen pizza, mainly cheese most likely
4) unwrap frozen pizza, drop on extra toppings, put in oven as specified on box
5) set alarm for time mentioned on box
6) take pizza out of oven and eat

And now for something completely different: the regular Q&D way of making your own pizza.

First we have to have dough. The formal way includes all sort of stuff about yeast and such, but this wouldn't be quick and dirty if we bothered with that. Instead we just take self-raising flower. Between 100 and 200 grams (anything really, depends how big you want your pizza). If you want to be fancy here you can chuck other stuff in, salt, pepper, maybe a little sugar, but you don't have to.

Next we add milk. If you like you can put in a little olive oil as well. If you're putting in a little olive oil you can probably get away with just using water, rather than milk, but I wouldn't recommend using just water without the olive oil. After adding the first of the fluids, start working it through keeping an eye on the consistency of what you're mixing. I use an electric mixer with special "dough kneading" attachments, but you can do this with a fork, or if you have food processor you could probably use that. Just keep adding the fluids until the stuff is in fairly thick lumps, but not yet one ball, possibly with a little small stuff left. Then go in with your hands and start kneading, this should turn the dough into one ball. Keep working it for a while, possibly adding a little more fluid, if it's too thick, or more flower if it's too wet and sticky.

Now we have a nice ball of dough. We're going to have to flatten it out. Get a clean flat serive in your kitchen, and sprinkle flower on it to make sure the dough won't stick. Then sprinkle flower on the dough so the rolling pin won't stick. now roll the dough. Try to keep it pretty round.

Once you have a flat, round, disk of dough you have to make sure it won't rise to high in odd places. You can do the traditional thing and prick though it (except the crust) with a fork, or you can score it gently with a knife. If you use the knife, my current technique, be sure not to press through the dough all the way, just about half way should do.

Now put the disk of dough in the oven and bake it for about ten to fifteen minutes, about 180 degrees C. I like to make a slightly more special sauce then strictly quick and dirty demands at this point, since I have ten to fifteen minutes anyway. Basically I get a saucepan, put in a little bit of olive oil, and then quite a bit of ketchup. After the ketchup I add some sugar, some dried herbs (oregano and basil) and some salt and pepper. Then I leave the thing on the fire to reduce down a bit, so I get quite a thick tomato sauce with the seasoning in it.

Once your base gets out of the oven, spread your sauce on it. If you don't use the recipe above use ordinary tomato paste, or even just ketchup. Now add toppings and put the stuff back in the oven. Another fifteen minutes should probably do it. If it looks ready after fifteen minutes take it out, then eat and enjoy.

August 24, 2006

About To Start New Material

I finally managed to clear the last of the difficult re-write scene today. That means the next writing on Gordian Knot (v2) will be new material, not in the first draft. I sort of cheated by belatedly moving the next scene to a different place in the outline. But with the new subplot I'm about to inject it was just giving away stuff too early. Of course it will now be hell to get it in the right POV without breaking the "one POV per chapter" target I've set myself, but that's for later. Right now I have half a dozen characters to invent.

One point of interest about the upcoming subplot: I plan to write one chapter of it from the black-hat POV. I don't often do this, but in this subplot it's probably best. Besides we're talking traitors here, which means I do get to keep the POV within one space-ship crew. I like to keep the POV characters in a clearly defined group.

Finally the fact that I slept badly last night is manifesting itself in interesting ways. For example my eyes seem to be very sensitive. I'm typing this while wearing a pair of sunglasses. Even though sunset was nearly two hours ago. But they make my screen more tolerable, and with a mild head-ache already present I definitely don't need any glare. Unfortunately my favourite blue sunglasses are currently elsewhere (I'll retrieve them this weekend). For some reason I often write better while wearing blue sunglasses - go figure.

August 22, 2006

Good Head For Worldbuilding - Bad Head For Writing

It appears that for the last few days my writing/re-writing mode has been switched off, and my worldbuilding mode has kicked in. I'm struggling to make any words on the re-write I have in progress, but the worldbuilding for my possible NaNo project has really taken off. I'm currently doing basic designs for a space ship, working out a few centuries worth of future history, and mapping out some complex social taboos.

To an extend I'm actually pleased that the situation has balance. If the worldbuilding were going as poorly as the re-write I'd get really depressed about writing. As it is though the re-write ought to have priority, to my mind, but can't seem to get the words that go with that. Possibly I have to work out in a little more detail who has to say what in the scene I'm now working on. It's one of the tough scenes: it falls between a section rewritten to the point where it's unrecognisable, and a section that will be inserted entirely new. I have to connect those two, convey the sentiments originally in the scene AND add a new level of complexity to one of the sub-plots.

Anyway I've called it a day as far as actual rewriting is concerned. Only a little over 450 words on the new version today, and probably close to twice that in worldbuilding for Tech Runners. I'm going to try to do some planning for the new section ahead in the rewrite before I go to sleep. I'm going to need half a dozen new characters, split pretty evenly in white and black hats, to carry that one off.