Thoughts, a Blog: 2004, 1st Quarter

A blog about my efforts at writing.

2004-03-11 (Thursday) – Progress Report

I'm still fiddling with the printable files for Bot Story - my fiddling is now perfected (see the Change Log for details). I have also worked on changes for chapter 8 and am about ready to republish chapter 8 and publish chapter 9. Unfortunately I've not touched chapter 11 in the past two weeks.

2004-02-25 (Wednesday) – Progress Report

Chapter 11 is started, and almost through the transition from the heaviness of 10, to the coming lightness of the most of 11.

I'm trying out a PDF creation tool, so I've gone back to publish all of Book 1 as a single PDF file. The MS Word file needed a lot of work; fonts, formatting, a title page & table of contents, and getting consistent quote characters (a problem that disappears in html). Also, printing the story in a good printer font makes some errors jump out. So I've gone back over the story with a fine-tooth comb - several times. As a result I've folded material changes back into the html that is the online format of Book 1. Printed double-sided, this is 34 sheets of paper.

Every chapter of Book 1 has had a few minor changes. I found a few typos: of/off, the/they, mike's/Mike's, the Nancy/Nancy, and even too/to. I've found a missing quotation mark in one chapter, and an extra quotation mark in another chapter (perhaps it got up and walked over there). I've also split and combined sentences, combined paragraphs, and reworked punctuation. Printing out then reading the story aloud revealed awkward wording and a few other problems. Over the course of the last few days I've printed out the story four times. Hopefully this last time is my final version.

Finally, I'll probably be publishing chapter 9 next week. I need to look it over some more. I know I'll be making some dietary changes for Milliscent in 9 and in chapter 8 (she has been eating too much fruit and not enough vegetables).

2004-02-14 (Saturday) – Progress Report

I am thrilled to be able to say that the first pass of chapter 10 is finally done. It has only taken me 2 months to write this chapter. And interspersed with fixing dinner and eating it, I spent about five hours tonight to write five new paragraphs. Of course it would go a lot faster overall if I did not allow myself to become distracted by other projects.

More good news; chapter 9 is in fine shape and I should be publishing it soon. You'll finally get to meet the two new visitors to SkunkWks. They are a couple of completely different characters, opposites in many ways, but best friends off-line and on.

If you're wondering, this is the artifact that threw Milliscent and her two guests into such a state. Nasty. Of course they have only the upper part to think about.

Finally, chapter 11 should go a good bit faster once I get past the transition out of chapter 10. The tone will be a lot lighter and the characters will be having a lot more fun. I've got a start on this chapter.

2004-01-05 (Monday) – Progress Report

Skipped another week. In the past two weeks I spent several hours on three separate days trying to finish chapter 10. It feels like bear wrestling. I have maybe a page left to write, but it needs to work on several levels, and seamlessly.

Milliscent and the boys are examining an artifact. When she recognizes what it is, she experiences an emotion she's never felt before. Because it is a new emotion I need to describe the mental and physiological effect of the emotion, not just simply name it. I also need to accurately describe the artifact, so the reader will see it the way Millie and the boys see it. I also need to describe the characters physical postures and actions because that is important to the scene. Then the two boys react completely differently to the artifact; the self-centered one goes off on his own tangent while the sensitive one tunes into what Millie is going through. Finally, so that the reader understands, at least a little bit, what Millie sees and understands, she must give a monologue on what she is thinking.

I pound on it and discover that I move forward at the rate of about one sentence per hour. Writing and rewriting interrupted by Internet research so I get the description of the artifact right.

Oh, and I find I need to add half a sentence to chapter 8. Based on what is happening in chapter 10. Perhaps I should have followed my self-imposed rule and waited until chapter 10 was done, rather than publish chapter 8 early.

Well, the holidays are over and I have far fewer distractions. Perhaps I'll finish chapter 10 and get a start on chapter 11 this coming week.