I really want to keep this blog focused on writing, even though there's not a lot of it going on right now. For those of you who blog, though, you know how sometimes there's something you just really want to write about or report on. So far those things have leaked out through the keyboard into this blog and then been hidden behind a cut. It's not an ideal solution, and I feel bad every time it happens.
So I set up another blog for those off-topic things that just don't belong here. If you want to keep up on my dorkier facets, the place to do it is here: http://chrystaline.vox.com/
If my mutterings on the topic of writing haven't driven you off yet and you're willing to tolerate more, stay put. And thanks.
I am doing a lot of work, but not a lot of writing. I refuse to feel guilty about that right now.
Today I cranked out a reading, three posts, a Unit Quiz, and an essay for school, and then managed to mark off a bunch of little tasks on my plan for the new website.
I think I have finally found the tool that works with my brain: FreeMind.
I downloaded this thing a long time ago, and have toyed with it here and there, but when it came time to plan my future website it suddenly became the most awesome piece of software I've ever used. My brain works this way — or fails to work at all, rather, and this is the only tool I've found so far that helps me manage it in a way that doesn't just confuse me more.
This project is huge. I suppose it would be a lot smaller if a) I were an artist, b) I were a graphic designer, and c) I were a web developer. Unfortunately I'm none of those things, so it's big. I have to learn a lot of stuff to make it happen the way I want it to. I could just throw some stuff into a WordPress theme and call it good, but you know how it is when you have a picture in your head and nothing short of that picture will do? Anything less will just be a disappointment, and the task wouldn't feel complete.
So I'm going big.
Fortunately I have a lot of people around me who are those things. That will make it easier. However, as I said, between that and school most of my spare cycles are pretty well used up, so no fiction is being committed right now.
In other, more important news: as most of you have probably heard, last week Teresa Neilsen-Hayden — Tor editor, co-proprietor of Making Light, instructor at Viable Paradise and moderator for BoingBoing — had a heart attack. Patrick Neilsen-Hayden, her husband (and co-Most Of Those Things) is on Twitter, and posted an update on her condition today. I'm sure that you're with me in wishing her a speedy and complete recovery.
Meant to apologize for the bizarre fontbuggery that happened a couple of nights ago. I posted two entries using Google Chrome, which in many ways is awesome, but much as I have trouble posting links in LiveJournal with Firefox, for some reason LiveJournal formats things oddly when posting in Chrome. Should all be fixed now and I will be sticking with IE until…
… I switch to WordPress, when my new site goes live. Date to be announced.
Over the weekend we fit in a trip to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, which was every bit as cool as I had hoped it would be. There are pictures of the outside here. I got some of the first exhibit, too, before I was told photography wasn't allowed. I would love to post them, but since Docent Dude was nice enough to not make me delete them, I think I'd better return the favor by not screwing with people's copyright, even if I think it's silly and wrong to not let people see awesome things that have been seen before in other contexts when nobody is profiting from it (except in terms of cultural enrichment.)
The things I loved most were:
– The Gehry design of the exterior
– Futurama being included in the Science Fiction timeline
– Seeing actual Nebula and Hugo awards up close
– Ray Bradbury and George Lucas in The Hall of Fame
– Neal Stephenson's actual hand-written manuscript for the Baroque Cycle. It's about as huge as you'd imagine.
– The interactive Spaceships exhibit
If ever you are in Seattle, don't miss it.
When Neil Gaiman posted a poll asking readers to choose the book that they would recommend to someone who had never read his work, I chose Neverwhere. It is my favorite of his novels, and a book I refer back to often both for technique and just to read for pleasure. It's like comfort food for me. I try to keep an extra copy on hand to loan or give away. I must have purchased six copies of it so far, and don't regret a dime spent.
Well, now nobody has to spend a dime to read it! Harper Collins has made it available for free. The catch is you have 30 days to read it from the time you download it before it apparently succumbs to time-delay packetmites. But it's such a good read I'm sure you'll read it twice before that happens.
Check it out, or tell a friend. Thank you, Harper Collins!
I listened to I Should Be Writing #99 today while I was at work. Mur interviewed Scott Sigler and JC Hutchins about successfully podcasting their novels. Scott Sigler said something that completely blew my mind — I found myself with hands frozen on my keyboard, and what I had just heard playing back in my head over and over. Here's what he said:
Scott Sigler: "When the Rookie came out I had a lot of emails that said 'I listened to your first four books and I didn't like any of them, but now I've heard the Rookie and it's great. Do more stuff like that' … what on earth is happening when someone will try me out five times?"
As the man said, what on earth is happening?
It seems to me that what we're witnessing is the speciation of publishing. A new kind of reader is taking advantage of a new media source: the internet. There is a new owner-operated model that is actually working. Traditional publishing is still there, with its agents, editors, contracts, copyright, print runs, and distributors, but it has a new close cousin and eventual competitor. For now they mostly serve two different markets, with a small amount of overlap, but eventually someone will lose the competition for resources (readers.) In the age of podcasts and Kindles, it is not hard to guess which species will go extinct.
Patrick has been trying to convince me that DIY internet publishing is the way to go for the past year. He has been right all along. Mur's show has countered all of the arguments I had. Episode #99 dashed my final fear, which was "what if people don't like it?" Apparently this new kind of reader doesn't mind that so much, and will give a writer another chance.
And with that, I am officially out of excuses.