Saturday, June 4, 2011

Signs of life

The Bald Patch wakes. Slightly.

I've enjoyed a break from blogging, it really brought home just how much time the online world can soak up if you let it.

OK, I did weaken before the end of May to take part in a blogfest, and I have been lurking and commenting occasionally, just not quite as obsessively as previously. And it's been good not to hear the siren call of blogger and comments and visitor stats for a while.

This isn't quite "normal service" resuming, because I still have lots in the Real World to do, but I will endeavour to post once a week or so.

Meanwhile, here's a quick check-in on what's been going on behind the scenes.

By far the biggest chunk of time has been spent critiquing. I'm pushing novel chapters through CC's queue one every week or two. And so are some of my regular critics. The main limitation on throughput is how well I can keep up with critiquing other people's work in return for critiques on my own.

The answer is, not very well at all. It is a struggle.

I wrote an entirely new scene for Ghosts, to replace an ugly slab of summarisation at the start of one of my chapters. Wow, that felt good. It's been well over a year since I did any real new writing and I'd almost forgotten what it feels like.

I also roughed out an opening for an entirely new novel, or rather a series. It's aimed at younger readers, which is strange because I've never tried appealing to that audience before. I know I won't have time in the forseeable future to expand on it, but the idea came out of nowhere and I just had to get something down on paper for future reference.

I signed up for a series of exercise classes twice a week after work. That's limited the amount of cycling I can do, but that's something else I've not done for years and it feels good.

Now we've got some decent dry spells, it's time for outdoors maintenance. The big task this year is to repaint the deck.

Look at all that woodwork...

And more around the back...

The tarp strung up is to shield the painting from all the crap dropping from the arbutus.

Arbutus: Lovely tree. Pain in the butt when it overhangs a deck.

And I've found time for some reading. I'm getting near the end of the Darkglass Mountain trilogy by Sara Douglass. Mind you, I almost stopped in exasperation when I reached the end of the first book, 600+ pages, to find it just stopped in mid-story. I assumed each (rather thick) book would be a self-contained story. No such luck. Not even a secondary resolution like the battle of Helm's Deep in LOTR.

It caught me by surprise and annoyed the heck out of me. But it had caught my interest enough that I went back to the library and took out the others. I think if I'd bought, rather than borrowed, the first book I'd have felt rather more cheated and this would have tipped the scales from curiosity to anger. As it is, I will be more cautious before starting anything else by this author.

Moral: don't piss off your reader!

Now back to writing...


  1. Yay! You're back! It really sounds like you've been working hard. Remember to chant "Wax off, wax on" when you do the woodwork - you'll also be a karate kid in no time.

    Books that don't have an ending...aggh. Do that and be sure I won't read another!

    Ellie Garratt

  2. Good to hear you're concentrating on things that make you feel good. Writing, the adding new stuff kind, after so long in editing and critiquing land is truly a wonderful, uplifting experience!

    Books that don't end get thrown against my wall and burned. That's just a utterly cruel thing to do to a reader that has slogged through 600 pages.

  3. Wow, that's a whole lot of deck to paint! What need you of exercise classes? :)

    Glad to have you back, Ian!

  4. Thanks Elena, and I love the pics on your blog. Now that's what I call an excuse for a break!

    Now there's a thought, Ellie. Maybe all that brushwork has a point after all.

    Jean, it's great to be getting back to a couple of things I've missed recently.

    Oh, and I finished book 3 yesterday. The story did finish properly in the end -- but that makes it roughly a 1600-page novel. Isn't it strange how that's OK in some genres, but not in others?

    Yeah, David, I've been wondering that myself, especially with all the climbing up & down ladders I've got to do to reach the outsides.


I love comments. Please feel free to join in the discussion.

I also try to respond to comments. I usually do so during the early evening (Pacific time) which may be many hours away from now!

So if you leave a comment and return some time later and I haven't responded yet, please don't think I'm ignoring you. I'm not. Honest.

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