So I just did my word count metrics for June. I wrote approximately 16,000 words, all different short stories, some original, some revised. I did a rewrite to editorial request (still waiting on that), but most of the writing happened after school was out. About 4000 words were revisions, 12,000 words were on new works.
Not bad. It’s been a while. No wonder my brain started sulking on Friday and demanding some down time. That, plus…now I have to spend some quality time with notepads, easel pads, and probably other stuff to do some serious worldbuilding not just for the Netwalk Sequence but for the Kalosin Valley story. But before that can happen, I needed to spend time doing office sorting work. That’s a chore that is going to take most of the summer, but as of now, it’s a space that I can both write and study in. Good, because that’s what I’ll need.
As it is, Monday brings a need for serious self-discipline. Luckily, I’ve signed up for two distance classes so that will keep me centered. I’m also excited because both of these classes involve working with literacy and writing interventions, and they’re just the shot in the arm that I’ve needed to prepare for the fall. The pacing is such that if I plan to do a lot of the work while listening to music at various festivals, I should be able to do both writing and study while still having a life this summer. Not bad at all–especially considering that part of the plan is to get Netwalk: The Expanded Edition out by August at the latest, be ready to begin work on Netwalk’s Children in the fall, and meanwhile figure out just what the hell is supposed to happen with Bearing Witness (the Kalosin Valley story which I’ve been alluding to in various forms on Facebook writing summary days). I thought the Peter McLoughlin novel was going to come first in the Weird West procession, but um, no–more research and reading needs to happen. And maybe if I can find another excuse to sneak off to Paris…fat chance. Nonetheless, the Peter McLoughlin story is going to be not just alternate history Weird West, but it’s going to be taking a good hard look at race (god, I hatehatehate that word when talking about ethnic and cultural issues, it’s so stupidly 19th century, it’s not the human RACE, it’s the human SPECIES and if we could just think in those terms then skin color becomes more of a phenotype and cultural consideration that are just variants within a single species rather than OMG WE’RE SO DIFFERENT, especially in sf. If I read another contemporary SF writer who talks about the human race instead of the human species, I will scream. And throw things. And exercise the meltdown skills I’ve learned from middle school students. Ahem. I digress. That’s a rant.
TL:DR–I don’t like the word race. I prefer “species” when talking about people in contact with alien species, ‘kay? We’re all Homo sapiens here, let’s start acting like it.).
Anyway, Bearing Witness has transformed from a short story concept that popped into my head while thinking about the fate of the Kalapuya during the drive down the Willamette Valley for some event during the summer two years ago. Now it’s a freaking novel. Of course. Isn’t that the way it always works? I do think the story has merits, maybe not for a big novel but something on the smallish side. Then again, who knows what the heck the Russian and Chinese sorcerers are up to? I still haven’t figured out if they’re working together or in opposition. Or what. I just know that I have 9000 words on the story so far and I’m just winding down the first act/arc and getting ready to launch the second act/arc. Conservative estimate–36,000 words for a novella, but that’s just a rough draft. There are enough subthreads so far that I could probably blow it up even more. However, it’s not an easy story and it’s exhibiting all the symptoms of a piece that may take a year or so to piece together. Could be fun–and I haven’t even brought Grandma Pruitt on stage yet. I think she’s going to be a real plot shaker. As it is, she’s got a rather tart voice. She probably will upstage her grandson Mad Jesse when she finally ambles in. She’s just that sort of nineteenth century Western settler.
And then there’s the classes. When I signed up, I thought it was a self-paced study like another online class I’d taken. Nope, staggered weekly responses. But I think I did recover and get on track (whew!). Both classes are looking at Regie Routman’s literacy program, one focused on reading, the other on writing. I read the first assignment for the reading class and I’m liking what I see so far.
A various combination of circumstances gave me more free time than anticipated this weekend, so I’ve been working on cleaning and sorting and organizing around the house. I pulled out all the horse blankets, washed Mocha’s current ones and figured out which ones I’m selling because they didn’t fit. We’ve had some good schooling time but not a lot because the farrier is overdue and she has a crack in the toe of her left fore.
And the heat–and heat pump. Our AC went out earlier this spring, during a previous hot spell, so we considered various replacement options. We ended up choosing a heat pump, simply because the resale value is higher than straight AC in PDX. This house is difficult to decide what to invest in because we just don’t know how long we’re staying in this particular spot…yet.
However, I’m liking it. It’s maintaining a 78 degree temperature in the house with much less effort than the AC did. We just had a day in the high 90s and the AC would have been running constantly and struggling to keep the temperature at 78. The heat pump hasn’t been struggling. I’m impressed.
Meanwhile, it’s getting late and time to crash. Early morning rising to work out, skim e-mail and take care of outdoor stuff, then hit the barn early before it gets too miserable. I gave Mocha a bath the other day and she was quite happy with it, to the point now that she tries to walk into the wash stall after every ride.
Summer. And the festival season is about to begin….