Saturday, May 20, 2017

"The Linen Butterfly"- DRAFT DONE!

I finished the draft tonight. I just couldn't keep my hands off it. Word count stands at 114k words which is within my target. However I don't know what the final word count is going to be.

The next phase will probably have to start Sunday night since that'll be the tedious part, making sure this story 14 years in the making can still be made into something presentable.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"The Linen Butterfly" Progress!

I hit a crucial benchmark with "The Linen Butterfly" tonight. I finished the first half of the story arc- rewritten from scratch from the original "Goldenlea"- and pasted in the second half.

The second half needs to be reworked for length, style, and content and then the whole book needs a good once over, but the current word count is 126k words so my goal of 110k words is absolutely on target once all of the redundant, obsolete, and unnecessary material is removed from the second half.

This includes several passages that I copied and pasted from the second half and moved into the first half to make the story flow better. Those will be removed from the second half and new material will only be added if it makes the narrative flow better.

My goal is still to have a draft ready for proofreading in one month, and to have a draft ready to submit by the end of the summer. Knock on wood, I'll have "The Linen Butterfly" out by January.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Linen Butterfly Update!

Current goal: finish "The Linen Butterfly" by late August. Three years late from my original goal but I promise it'll be the be worth it!

I'll have the first draft done by my mid-June at this rate, and revisions will be relatively fast. The biggest operation will be merging the two halves which were written with slightly different continuities.

I expect to shed about 10-20% of the total volume of the text because there are some redundant passages and some scenes that no longer work. I'm also going to trim the ending a bit, it runs long. My total word count should still be about 110k.

It will be the longest and most involved story I've ever written in part because it takes place in two different worlds. I hope you all will enjoy a medieval swashbuckler with a hefty dose of cyberpunk!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Worldbuilding: Medieval Currencies

One of the fun things about worldbuilding is figuring out sundry things like how basic exchanges are reckoned!

I thought I had it figured out in "The Goldenlea," but I think I'm revising the old system I had in those books in favor of one that has a bit more basis in history for "The Linen butterfly."

Previously in "The Goldenlea," I had a three-tiered system of coinage.  This was based on the Anglo-French model of the Livre, Sou, and Denier, and on the thought that it was mostly the same as pre-decimal UK coinage.  But that was a mistake.  In fact the Livre (Pound) was not a standard coin in its own right until much later.

In fact the Kings of France tried to standardize a Livre coin in the 13th and 14th centuries and failed because it was over- or undervalued.  The Livre, for most of the medieval period, was a unit of account for large sums but not an actual coin of the realm.  Most transactions were rendered in silver Deniers or the gold Sou, or Solidus.

I revised my Gold Sol/Silver Luna/ Copper Terra system. Instead transactions are rendered mainly in silver Terras and Gold Sola, and an additional unit of account, called a Handweight, has been added.  Of course, larger sums can be rendered in marks for accounting purposes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Starting Meds

Starting meds tomorrow.  Pretty much the same stuff I was in high school.

My goal is to get my depression/lack of focus under control enough that I can make that final push to get my writing out there.  I feel like lack of productivity is the only thing holding me back at this point in my life.  I've had several years to convalesce and I feel like I've used that time wisely toward my long-term goals.

There's an old anecdote (not sure if it's true or not) that when Abraham Lincoln was once asked how he would spend his time if given three hours to cut down a mighty tree, he replied that he'd spend the first two hours sharpening the saw.

That's kind of how it works when you're a writer.  You have to spend a great deal of time honing your craft, developing a unique style, spinning prose that doesn't bore people to death.  You have to learn how to make the difficult decisions, how to tell a story efficiently without being so ruthlessly efficient that you lose your style, how to follow the rules, and how to break the rules in such a way that people can tell you know what you're doing.

Another important thing I've been doing all these years is trying to figure out what I'm good at.  I think historical fiction is an area where I can distinguish myself because, as a number of people have pointed out, I can write it without being dry.  I discovered that I can write high-caliber mind-bending SF and I want to try other things.  That doesn't mean I won't return to that but I'm not limiting myself either.

So basically, "The Linen Butterfly" will be my last SF novel for the foreseeable future.  That's high in my queue.  Then I'll follow that up with "Wake of the White Ship."

Very few writers make it before 35. I'm 32 and some change.  I can do this.  I just need to overcome that inertia and the lingering effects of a nasty breakdown.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book Has Arrived!!!

My copy of the Gesta Stephani (the deeds of King Stephen) arrived in good order today. This is a rare English translation published by Oxford Medieval Texts that I will be using to write my first straight historical fiction novel, Wake of the White Ship.

Incidentally, when reading the introductory notes on the text, it noted that it for a long time the only text scholars had access to was a 1619 printing called Historiae Normannorum Scriptores Antiqui. However:
Such being the state of affairs, Duchesne's Scriptores was the inevitable basis for this new edition, and a text made from his had already been long in type, when Providence relented, and produced a manuscript.
MS. 792 in the Municipal Library of Valenciennes, from the nearby Premonstratensian abbey of Vicoigne, a noted centre of learning and a daughter-house of St. Martin of Laon, contains a collection of works relating to English history...
 (emphasis added).

I got chills when I read that because St. Martin of Laon was the abbey I had Godric at in The Vimana Incident. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this is a sign I was meant to write Wake of the White Ship. It's not quite as dramatic as being sucked into one of my own books but it's enough of a coincidence to get my attention.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Personal Update

I haven't really made a long post about how I'm doing in a while so I thought I'd check in.

I'm recovering from years of tough breaks, but I still have a long way to go.

I still intend to try Wellbutrin again and try to get my life into some semblance of order, if life will let me. Right now I'm terrified that I won't be able to afford meds for some reason or another (insurance might not cover it because OHP's mental health coverage is SHIT).

The more I read, the more I think the "flat" feeling I had when I was on meds in high school was from the seroquel and, more importantly, the Prozac. I do poorly on SSRIs; it was only when an NRI was added that I really stabilized and began to reach something like my full potential.

And thinking objectively about how well I was doing in high school, I'm capable of much more than I'm doing now and I know it. Going off meds was the first time I felt "real," emotionally speaking, and I did well for a while, but I burned out around age 23 and I've never been quite right since.

There has to be some way I can regain my footing without losing the depth and complexity of emotion that I've come to enjoy in my years off medication, though I'm afraid there won't be.

I think being able to use seroquel as needed wasn't the best course, but it's still good at stopping the feedback loop in its tracks and resetting things. Right now I need someone new to manage that medication because the clinic I've been getting my prescriptions from (the one that manages my HRT, albeit badly) fucked up the prior authorization with insurance, then turned around and said it was the pharmacy's fault.

When I see the medication specialist (not a real psychiatrist because insurance won't pay for that, but an NP licensed to dispense prescriptions), I'll tell them I want them to manage all my psych meds and I'll take Wellbutrin daily with a seroquel if I really need it.

If and when I can get on meds, I'll go through voc rehab and see if I can't get matched to something. Granted, my last stint with them saw me waiting a year and a half without progressing to the job placement phase, which is SUPPOSED to take about 6 months. I'll try to search for jobs on my own, too.

Another thing I realized is that I have an issue that I need to revisit: my sense of impermanence and how it keeps me from living in the moment.

It's been a hellish problem for me for so long. I think I first noticed it around age 6 or 7, at that age when children really start hearing relatives talk about how fast they're growing and how good-looking they'll be when they grow up.

But I liked being a child. I liked not having to worry about bills and groceries and having a nice, safe home and people to take care of me. I liked my room full of toys, with my Fisher Price globe on my desk, and my nice set of Children's Encyclopedia Britannica that took pride of place on top of it. I had it all; toys to play and a space to work, writing, drawing, and reading, a big back yard to explore, friends to play with, so much spare time, and someone to drive me everywhere I needed to go. Why would I be happy about growing up?

And so the knowledge that my childhood wouldn't last forever loomed over me, and honestly sucked a lot of the enjoyment I had out of childhood. The knowledge that one day I would also die just added brief but intense dissociative "shudders" of existential terror to the mix (I still have them in my more anxious moments).

This sense of impermanence crept into subtle things, too. I hated getting balloons; it wasn't any personal dislike of balloons but instead, it was the fact that I liked them too much. When they rose into the air never to be seen again, or rotted away in the corner of my room above the toy box, or popped because i was enjoying them too much, it only reminded me how impermanent they were and I could no longer enjoy them because I knew it would only end in tears.

I saw this dynamic again as Munchie got older. He wasn't properly terminal until some time last year, but by then I had already cried so much for him because I knew my friend was getting old. I guess in the end I dealt with it more maturely, by turning my last years caring for him into something bittersweet, but if I'd been able to live in the moment we could have saved the bittersweet stuff for later. Much later.

I really need to work on living in the moment. Not being able to do that is really letting me down. It's something I haven't had in my life since I was old enough to really conceptualize the future on a basic existential level.

I know there's got to be a better life than this. I have skills, I have talents, I know so many things, I have a degree, I have an amazing, unique perspective. I have so much to give and I've been held back so badly by my own limitations. I just want to make good in this world. I just want to catch enough of a break that I can properly help myself.

I still have a GoFundMe for my mental health, by the way.  I may still need money because I don't know how far I'll get with the scant coverage I'm getting.  Please, if you can, help out or at least share this link.