Knives, site, books, writing

©2022 Michael Raven

If you noticed any wonk while visiting this site the past 24 hours, it is because I am making changes around here (once again). If it was disruptive, I apologize.

Scratching this increasingly grey head I have, the one with diminishing capacity, I realize that quite a bit has happened lately. A catch-up post? Sure. [Don’t worry, I wrote triple my target word count for the day, so I am allowed to be distracted before returning.

For a day spent almost entirely indoors because of freezing drizzle overnight, I guess I was pretty darned busy. I am willing to drive in almost any depth of snow (within reason, of course), but I refuse to drive on frozen rainwater. If I wanted to skate, I’d go to a rink.

First off, my hotfix of putting text after a Twitter embed did not always fix the problem, so I decided I needed to be done with the theme I was using if it didn’t support embed thoroughly. As much as I liked the three-column format’s feel, it did have its quirks that the designers didn’t fix, and so I went elsewhere. I’m back to the dreary old main single-column posts with sidebar widgets, mostly because it just plain works. Embeds are nil perspiration and there is quite a bit of flexibility under the hood.

Apparently, CSS code is theme specific, so I had to go fix the fact that my progress bar went poof. Plus, I had to rearrange things to better utilize the sidebar (the previous did not have a sidebar).

I’m scratching my head a little, as there doesn’t appear to be a way to test drive the newer themes before you activate them. There are some interesting ones, but I don’t want to blow up my site just to check them out. I’m hoping it is just a matter of implementation and that someone forgot to turn the switch for that feature because I’ll be a little annoyed if you have to activate to try. Seems regressive to take that approach.

I wrote today. It went better. I’m afraid to scroll up because I’m certain it will be my karmic payback for badmouthing (actually, I was much more kind than I could have been) a book I was given at the start of the pandemic to read in exchange for an honest review. I couldn’t give an honest review without sounding spiteful, so I made polite noises about how it had a promising premise (it was almost wholesale-based on the ideas of the videogame Crysis), but that it would have benefitted from having an editor (not a lie, but it would have ended up a longish short story with all of the replication removed) and that it needed some proofreading (the spelling errors were at a rate of one or more per page). I’m finding my flow better than yesterday, but the brainstorming shows more promise than the actual writing does. I only hope the story is salvageable once I find a rhythm — something that will likely come, but hopefully well before the 50k word mark. Fears of the beast aside, I do think it is a decent story for me to tell once I wrangle the words into shape.

I put in roughly 900 words today, or about 3x the target I need to meet the September 31 deadline I have set for myself to complete a first draft.

Then, my proof copy of galdr arrived and I swooned, discussed with Tara about some simple (as I understand it, but could be wrong) tweaks to the design before we go live. I say “discussed”, but what I’m really saying is that I let the professional keep me from making foolish mistakes. I’m not a complete idiot.

And, after all of the household stuff got done (including the vitally important act of making some brownies), I went back to my PC and started tweaking with the Scrivener tools to make them work for me instead of the other way around. I don’t have a ton of movie parts going on with Knives, but I have enough false trails planned and (now) a backstory in the form of “found” epistolary fragments in a hidden diary that I plan to use to build tension and suspense. And, if I do it right, terror.

Because there are enough moving parts and names, I could use a cheat-sheet — or I could use my whiteboard and the Scrivener tools to keep everything straight. The whiteboard has everyone’s full names on it, and Scrivener now has a number of details about characters and locations that I will continue to flesh out as I get my head wrapped around it all. After all — that’s why I bought the software, right? Not to do the writing for me, but to make writing long fiction easier.

If you hadn’t noticed a few days ago, I’m also employing the tactics of Save the Cat Writes a Novel, which is — in many ways, just putting names to the sections common to many stories. I find it helpful, not so much for following rigidly, but for guiding me towards elements that I don’t always think about considering. So I have the next few sections of the story set up as summaries now, just a few guideposts to let me think about where I might want to be by scene.

And, yes, I write in scenes. While I have never quite gotten to the point where I am shifting scenes around to improve the story, I want to be able to do that when I get past the first draft. My scenes are probably shorter than most writers’ scenes: I might have as many as twenty in a single chapter. Chapter two of Knives is split into about ten. I’m probably doing it all wrong, but there you have it.

It’s fussy work, but it will pay dividends as the story evolves and I can keep track of who is where and at what time period. I spent too many hours scrolling through my own writing in the past, attempting to make sure I wasn’t saying the complete opposite of what the character has said previously, or used the wrong name for a character who hadn’t been around for a few chapters. While I probably should have focused on adding to the word-count, it will be a time-saver later on in the story.

Good gods. Already that time? No wonder I’m ready to call it a night.

2 thoughts on “Knives, site, books, writing

  1. 1) you can in fact “test drive” a new theme without activating it, or at least, see what it looks like quite effectively.
    2) ppssstt: September has 30 days, not 31!
    3) I asked for brownies but no one made any for me (sad eyes)… I did force-cuddle a couple bunnies though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1) Not the newer themes. It’s weird. Unless they fixed that in the past 24 hours.
      2) My bad the calculator has the correct date. My tired brain, on the other hand…
      3) You didn’t taste them? I ate a few extra for you.

      Liked by 1 person

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