Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sniff! Sniff! Ewwwww.....What Did I Step in?


How is everyone today? I trust that ya'll had a great weekend and that nothing unseemly happened to you while you were experiencing that great weekend to begin with. And if something DID happen, spill the details...I need a good story idea.

Anywho, I am back after my much needed four day Cyber World break. It's an odd thing as I've heard the Cyber World occasionally described as "a good mental floss break" from the Real World. I suppose this time around, the Real World was "a good mental floss break" from the Cyber World.

So, let me tell you about what I did on my Real World vacation. Betcha find highly amusing, or slightly troubling.

The original idea for taking the mental floss break was to play catch up on my writing. I didn't catch up in my writing. Why? Because I found a major malfunction which is so far has taken me the better part of two days to fix.

How it happened was pretty ingenious on my part. I edit the living daylights out of my manuscript whenever I get a free moment, and Friday (the 1st) was no exception. I was sitting here in my den doing some editing when I noticed (funny how you find things for the first time months after you originally wrote it) that I had a continuity problem in two of my chapters. Somehow I managed to go from the evening of one day to the morning of the next day without really explaining why.

So after printing out the entire secondary plot (some 30 pages) and giving it a good read through, I sadly discovered that I got seriously lost while writing the interior. The basic problem was this: I have two different time frames going, one of which is covering 4 days, and the other which I originally envisioned covering exactly one day; and I was switching back and forth as needed within each chapter (also going from 1st to 3rd p.o.v. as well). The problem became that I was going into a second day with the secondary plot without explaining why (and trust me, this was so confusing that even I didn't understand it. If I didn't get it, chances were that no one who mattered would get it).

Suffice to say that I F'd up royally on the second plot. So back to the drawing board I went. I've spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday breaking out both parts within the chapters by putting date tags for each section within the chapter, which I hope will get me back on track to finish the novel. Especially since I'm at the equivalent of here at the original story.

And boys and girls, this isn't the first time I had this problem with a story, no sir. You would think that after making this my particular preference while writing, I would learn how to do it correctly from the mistakes made with my first book (did the exact same thing, except it didn't come out as well), but no. I didn't quite make the lesson stick, because I was 3/4 of the way done (about 80 pages/35,000 words) with the story before I found the critical errors.

The only writing, that I in fact did, was to tweak a-caked-in-mold-spores-that-are-being-eaten-by-dust-bunnies-story that I was going to use as a connector for a book called Life is a Highway (see example here). What I decided to do was to take those five connecting stories I wrote for that, and use them for FSG as connecting stories there. The first one should appear sometime in late February.

The only other item I completed that is worth mentioning, is that I finally loaded (but not begun training on yet) the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Speech Recognition Software that I bought over the Christmas weekend. I'll elaborate more on this in the coming weeks, but suffice to say I've taken the first step adapting to what is sure to be a fascinating and yet tortuously slow decline of my body's various parts.

As they say, even the most thoroughly constructed plan can sometimes blow up in your face, leaving you drenched in....yeech, gray matter, red matter, white matter and often simply just plain matter.


  1. Well you sound all perky anyway, and the break sounds like it did you some good. You coped without the chat rooms too? I'm impressed.

  2. Don't you hate it when that happens? LOL

    Usually some much better writing comes out of it though...right?

    Am interested in your new software..I just dread having to learn more new technological things....I'm a techno challenged whimp! LOL

  3. Joe: Perky? Oooh boy, I've been called a lot of things, but perky hasn't been one of them. :D

    The break really did me some good, yes. The fact that I was able to do this without going ga-ga in the process meant that I finally managed to control the Internet and not have it control me.

    Yeah, the chat rooms are getting to that point now. I have friends who keep me up to date on what's been going on there, so I don't have any problems in not going there when I don't want to.

    Carol: Hi there and welcome back!

    Yeah, it's actually something I've been battling with ever since high school. I used to write wonderful essays, only to find when I was finished, I would be missing one key paragraph that ties everything together.

    The software is something that I've reluctantly decided to get. I've just started using it, so there's gonna be a long learning curve while I try to get comfortable writing my stories with it.

  4. A story idea just popped into my head last night, when we were watching PBS and they had a little ad about "leaving a legacy." Some new software billionaire young couple decides to leave everything to a college or PBS station...and an overly ambitious CEO has them bumped off. Just a thought.

  5. Shouldn't writers really be called rewriters? Glad you caught the timeline error.

    I've used Dragon Naturally Speak for years (since the nerve damage in my hand) and once you train that Dragon, it works really well. I've been really pleased with it - just watch out when someone walks into the room and starts talking to you - the results are hilarious!

  6. I've had a similar problem with my book, only I'd unknowingly switched both genres and characters. And the worst part was that it was only 3000 words...

  7. Sorry you had to waste so much time with glitches! How frustrating! Oh well, "Plans were made to be broken..."
    Organization of the stories chronology is kinda important tho- At least the time wasn't wasted.
    Just not as productive as it could be, not a tragedy.

    Good luck with the magical dragon! Bet you have to really articulate- (what does it do to a Boston accent?)

  8. R.K.: Interesting thought....never really made my writing go into that particular direction, but its something worth exploring.

    Talon: Excellent idea!

    On a serious note, I am glad I caught it now, as opposed to when I had the thing completely finished (I figure I got another 10,000 words or so to go).

    It kind of became a necessary evil to get the software. In order to at least be somewhat of a functioning unit at work, I needed something that would negate the hand fatigue at nighttime. Between work and home, I'm on a computer about 14 hours per.

    Right now, I'm using it to create blog posts and to do a rewrite of a story for a contest. The hard part is going to be writing something original while using it.

    bschooled: never really switched genres while writing. Have switched characters in a story that took me a day to fix though. But this is an issue that has plagued me throughout my life and will probably continue to do so until the day I die.

    Snaggle: It actually can adjust to whatever accent you have. It has five basic English dialects that you can set it to. And once it gets used to your voice and nuances, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    Yes, chronology is definitely important, especially when you're working with different time frames. Although this isn't as bad as working with two different seasons, the potential for continuity interruptions is just as great.

  9. Sounds as if you were plenty busy anyway, G. It sounds like you made excellent use of your time. It must be interesting to print out fiction you write and re-read it after a time.

  10. Sorry for all your frustration. I bet you'll get right back "up on that writing horse". Every writer goes through these tough periods. Remember your talent is always there. Good luck.

  11. I can't wait to hear what you think of the speech recognition software!

  12. Hey, good for starting with the dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition, I hear it's even faster than using your hands, once you get used to it. Again, check out that post link, I leave!!

  13. I had a major continuity problem in Cold in the light that ended up requiring me to write one specific scene as a flashback. Otherwise the time just didn't scale right. It finally worked but man it was a pain figuring out.

  14. Good luck with DNS G! I hope you have better luck than I did! And if you get it to say **** please do let me know!!

  15. Jane: As we speak I'm actually composing these comments using this software. I'll be having a brief review about it in a couple weeks.

    And yeah, I can sort of get it to say swear words like "shit", but only with lots of practice and modifying my vocabulary


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