life


Ever wonder what a place actually looks like? You can use Google Earth, but that’s not updated all that often.

I found a site called Weather Bonk that collects live webcams of various places. This one is of a California freeway, for example, but they have ones of all sorts of places, from beaches to residential neighborhoods. And the webcams are updated fairly frequently.

Got the girl married off, things have settled a bit, and I’ve finally figured this story from the Think Sideways class well enough to go to lesson 9, and begin writing.

Heh.

I thought I knew how to write scenes, but I’m writing a lot better just from this one lesson than I ever did.  The lesson is forcing me to really LOOK at the scene, figure it out in its entirety, put in the detail, and make it MATTER, before I go to the next one.  For someone like me who normally breezes through 2k a day without breaking a sweat it’s a bit slow, but I find that the scenes are much better ones. I can definitely see progress here.

This story is sort of untitled, in the sense that the working title wouldn’t make much sense if you weren’t reading the story, and is a bit silly to boot, so I’ll just leave it Untitled for now. It’s a post-apocalyptic story in the sense that a lot of stuff happened and things are more or less stable, but it’s a whole different world than we’re used to.

Here’s the Sentence:

A penniless drifter in a drowned Los Angeles, intrigued first by a charming yachtsman and later by the secrets he holds, is enticed into a web of lies that extends beyond Earth.

We’ll see how it goes.

What are you working on these days?

How’s everyone doing?

Since April, my sons have started high school band (they integrate the 8th graders in at the end of the year), my daughter has graduated high school, and the house is all in a flurry because she’s getting married next month.

It’s bittersweet to be losing a daughter (yet gaining a son, so to speak), but they seem to love each other, and she’s continuing with her education. So I’m pleased about it.

I’ve been working on the garden (which has really perked up this year), taking care of home and rabbits, driving kids places, and working on the Think Sideways class. I’m a bit behind, but learning A LOT.

Each class builds on the one before it, so it’s a bit difficult to explain, but the homework for this lesson is to split your planned story into scenes then write a one-sentence blurb for each scene. For example, the Council of Elrond in Lord of the Rings could be summed up this way:

The Council of Elrond meets, and after much controversy, appoints Frodo and eight others to go to Mount Doom and destroy the Ring.

As you can imagine, this homework is taking me a while to do. But it’s a great way to get a handle on the book before you write it. I had an idea of where I wanted the story to start then realized that I really needed to start the story a few scenes earlier. Also, doing this has shown me where I need to do research (anyone know how to sail?) and where the logic holes in my plot are. All this before I spend weeks writing this thing.

So I’m very happy about the class.

What have you been up to? Anything good going on the rest of us need to know about?

There has been a huge discussion over on LiveJournal about race and cultural appropriation, and one thing I’ve noticed is people saying, “Well, if I just wrote about [what they are], then it would be boring!”

Which made me laugh, because none of the things they put in the brackets sounded boring at all … unless they wrote mainstream, which puts me to sleep.

Seems to me that writing about what you know about, with a bit of tweaking to make it not exactly you, might be just what you need.

Take Tobias Buckell, for example. He grew up in the Caribbean. If he had said, “I can’t write about what I know, that would be boring!” then his whole damn freaking awesome series wouldn’t have come about.

Now I know what you’re thinking: the Caribbean is WAY cooler than, say, Hoboken or Seattle or Dallas. But no, it isn’t. Because if you honestly write what those places and people are like, someone from somewhere else is going to find that interesting.

And Tobias didn’t just write about Caribbean people. He wrote about Caribbean people in SPACE, with aliens and immortals and interstellar wars and blowing shit up.

If he had written it mainstream … well you see where I’m going here.

(apologies to mainstream writers … it’s just not my thing)

I say this as I prepare a story set in the Los Angeles basin. Just so happens it’s in the future. Most of the LA basin is underwater due to global warming, gangs run the place, and our heroine is wheedled into working for a guy obsessed with finding his way off Earth.

But it’s LA, I grew up around there, and I’ve driven that damn basin so many times I could practically do it blindfolded. That doesn’t mean someone might not be interested in what it might be like, a hundred or so years from now. Especially if it involves blowing things up. 🙂

So the adage to write what you know still seems right on.

It’s been a bad winter for me personally, not the worst but not real good. So when my sister sent me this link today it helped. I needed to see this little video and you might too.

Are you going to finish strong?

Two things:

Tobias Buckell is back in the hospital … with a pulmonary embolism, no less. A doctor’s nightmare. Sending lots of good thoughts, prayers and well wishes his way.

Something more mundane — I’m not finishing NaNo. Which sucks, seeing as I’ve lost two years in a row. But I do have a nice little novella here, so I’m happy about it.

Tobias Buckell is blogging from the hospital.

Go by and give him some good wishes.

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