Sunday, December 24, 2017

"They're putting up reindeer, and singing songs of joy and peace"

I discovered the musical equivalent of Die Hard being people's favorite Christmas movie: Joni Mitchell's "River" is one of my favorite songs to hear around the holidays. It's not a Christmas song; it's a song about sorrow over a breakup that happens at Christmas. But like Die Hard, its setting is clearly Christmas, and like Die Hard, it uses a Christmas tune in a minor key to set the mood (in this case, phrases from "Jingle Bells").
It's not a Christmas song, but it's such a large part of my holidays, and such a counterpoint to the prevailing sentiment, that it's easy to mistake it for one. And sung beautifully tonight, as always, at Glen Burtnik's Xmas concert in New Hope.


Friday, December 01, 2017

NaNo, and NaNo Some More

So National Novel Writing month did not result in my churning out 50,000 words of my novel, Oubliette 7. However, I did manage to put nearly 20,000 words on virtual paper before the wheels came off the cart -- a confluence of the good (sudden work from a few new clients) and bad (a cold that took me out of the running for a few days).
But in doing what work I did, I made significant progress on learning about: How the prison planet works; the aliens that populate the cell block I focus on; some galactic history, and how it can turn on at the whims of a booking agent for a Canadian morning news show; the underpinnings of one of the cases my detective is investigating; a number of other characters in the prison. 
I also questioned my decision to spell guardbot as one word; had it been two, I'd probably be another thousand words closer to my goal. 
Regardless, I know a lot more about this book than I did at the beginning of November, and have been writing notes to myself about new characters to introduce and directions to go.
One other thing: On Thanksgiving morning, I got an email from an editor I'd pitched the book to (sending him an overview and a first chapter) back in May. While he won't be publishing it, he called it "a strong SF/noir pitch with a great protagonist." So that's a little extra fuel to propel me to finish this sucker and get it out into the world.