Blogging Antithesis: Day 29

The fatigue persists. I am now convinced that the good weather is screwing with my sleep cycle. I’m going to sleep in another room tonight, one that doesn’t get direct sunlight in the morning, to confirm my theory.

Had an excellent day regardless. Spent one shift working on network infrastructure–we have a couple new machines coming online as we segment different aspects of the business onto discrete workstations, so that we can use the space more effectively and get more ergonomic variety.

Spent another shift at the traditional sunday socialization and business lunch, where one of the other writers shared some very interesting information that he received from a lawyer this week–nothing that is easy to re-share in any kind of intelligible way, but it created a new research project for me that ought to be a lot of fun (and, possibly, very useful).

Third shift saw me completely sacked out on the couch listening to the BBC Radio production of Wilkie Collins’ “The Moonstone,” which is probably the most important detective novel (or suspense novel) written before The Maltese Falcon. It created the rules of the genre later made famous by Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers.

I’ve read the actual book, and it is, in typical 19th century fashion, verbose and only semi-penetrable. For the modern reader it takes a bit of work to relax into an epistolary novel–it’s a very alien form and not frequently done now. But once you get into it, it’s phenomenal.

The BBC Radio 4 production of it is glorious listening. Very well acted and well-adapted (of noticeably shorter than the original book), and is a delightful, relaxing story to listen to (alas, currently out of print, or I’d link you to it).

So, the nap treated me splendidly. Waking up after, not so much. If you’re under 35, trust me, your circadian rhythms are going to start kicking your ass when you inch up on age 40. Quitet shockingly so.

Sleet woke me up. Sleet, in April. The weather around here isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Just on its own, it’s enough to keep you hopping from one foot to another and wondering what’s coming next. Keeps the mind nimble and the body agile.

So, fourth shift I dragged my ass upstairs and started trying to find things to smack into my face to help me wake up. The fatigue persisted, feels like a weighted mask pushing on my eyelids, but I did actually get a good writing shift in–only eight hundred words net gain, but also cleared out some notes, so wound up with a total shift of about a thousand. Not great, but I’ll take it. I was starting to lose my shit thinking that this book might be beating me back.

I also took a little time to record on the Nanocast block, including the longest episode to date on a topic I care deeply about. Should be a great episode when it drops 🙂

So, here’s how the campaign goes.
Words I started with: 41,131
Words I inflicted: 41,919

State of conquest:

41,919 / 120000 words

Blogging Antithesis: Day 28

Another long day today, and a very good day.

Spring cleaning dominated the morning and afternoon. A severe winter that kept the house locked up meant that a lot more dust and grime built up in the quiet corners than usual, so that took a bit of elbow grease and patience. The Puppy of Doom did what she could to help, and didn’t seem to believe me when I told her there was no interesting food in the window frames and there weren’t any treats for her on the bottom of the inside of the oven.

She, being an eternal optimist, continued trying to double-check my apparently unbelievable claims anyway, until I finally told her to go watch TV. Since she can’t operate the remote, she had to settle for looking at the blank TV screen with an air of great tolerance and forbearance.

So, cleaning took first shift. There’ll be more next weekend, I suspect. Maybe sooner. Now that there’s a clean spot in the house, the rest of the place is going to need a bit of a scrubdown. Looking at it, I feel a bit like Ripley washing Newt’s face in Aliens

Third shift got split between recording new Nanocast episodes (made it about a third of the way through the block before my voice went out) and working on The Book In Question. I dropped another hour on reading back over scenes in another storyline that I’m picking up, made about a page worth of notes, and only got three sentences of new fiction written–but it means there’s a scene solidly started, and I figured I’d pick it up in late fourth shift.

Fourth shift started with a fantastic networking and brainstorming session with some other writers up the road, and I got so keyed up from it that I just about popped a migraine, but the application of some emergency tea helped avert the problem.

However, it did wear me out flat, so after unsuccessfully attempting to write coherently through a lot of yawning, I gave up, watched the new episode of Blacklist (which is a fantastic show and will probably appeal to you if you dig Antithesis).

It was a good choice. It was a singularly excellent piece of storytelling.

Now, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow there’s a little more networking, brainstorming, and client work in the air, and then two shifts of writing unless I get terribly side tracked. The book is starting to scare me again, after two days away, so I’ve gotta start kicking its ass again before it gets the better of me.

Blogging Antithesis: Day 27

I was awoken today after only

The Puppy of Doom
This is about what it looks like.
four hours of sleep by a cold nose in my face. The Puppy of Doom was very happy to see me, and very happy to be back from her morning run on the beach with She Who Must Not Be Named, and VERY happy to get to snuggle down into my bed and nap for a couple more hours.

Unfortunately, the weather here is gorgeous right now, and once I was awake and the bright sun was blasting through my window, and the high surf was crashing outside it like a Siren calling Come to us, Dan! Bring your surfboard and come!, while not listening to my groggy protestations that I don’t currently own a surf board.

First shift, I read over what I wrote last night and made some notes to myself.

Second shift, I collected my notes for the next block of NaNocast episodes. Looks like I’ve got enough for a big block this time–I start recording them tomorrow.

Then it was out to the beach with another local scribner, and the two of us spent a couple hours running the pup and chasing agates–got some nice ones too.

Third shift it was back home for an AWP board meeting, tackling scheduling for priorities the next couple weeks.

Fourth shift, I hopped over to a mixer in town with a bunch of other authors to talk business and compare notes and catch up with friends.

Then, around midnight, I headed home and got this post started. As I write this the spirit is willing to dive in to writing, but fatigue has got every muscle in my body screaming out in pain–one of the side effects of having only four hours of sleep last night.

Well, I had one chapter started, so I decided to give it a go and see what I could knock out. I made a little progress, but not enough worth updating the word count over.

So, I’m going to make an early night of it, and take another run at this tomorrow.

Blogging Antithesis: Days 25 & 26

Sorry I missed the blog yesterday. Wound up taking a break from updating a bunch of ebooks (putting AWP Corp. style sheets into books that didn’t have it yet–the company is updating the look of everything, which will mean a better reading experience for all of you). When I did, I got accidentally seduced (I swear it was an accident!) by the glorious weather, and wound up on an epic beach-hike that left me with some mild injuries on my feet, and that made me crash out early.

Fortunately, this all happened after I’d done a writing-and-reading shift and racked up an ever-so-humble 500 words.

Today, I was back in form.

Spent the morning shift cleaning up the Suave Rob 3 manuscript—this mostly involved fixing continuity errors that I caught at the very end of the writing process and hadn’t cycled back to fix, and compiling notes for the series Bible (and boy oh boy, has Suave Rob’s universe gotten populous and complicated with this book!)—and finally getting the book off my desk and out to the beta readers.

So, that’s done.

Took a break in the afternoon to go walking with the local brain trust. Got some nifty ideas for some fun stuff to do this spring–stuff that you guys are going to seriously enjoy (but that I don’t want to tease until I’ve got firm delivery dates I’m not going to blow).

When I got back, I dove back into the last of the ebook cleanup for the novels–turns out I’d missed a few things in two of the volumes that made them fail epubcheck–then I got back to work on Book 3.

Like the books before it, this one will be divided out into several parts (at least four, probably five), which cover different acts of the story. Today, I officially started winding up Part 1 of book 3 by closing out the Washington storyline on a nice little cliffhanger.

Then I had to dive back into book 2 and make a map for myself of where the other storylines left of (by which i mean, the other storylines besides the three I’ve been concentrating on so far–there are about 12 of them in total) to see if there are any more I need to pick up in part 1, and which ones can wait for part 2.

Then I got started with a new chapter bringing one of those threads into the rope I’m weaving to hang the characters with MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!….ahem…excuse me. Must keep the evil voice in the box.

Anyway, in the end, I got a lot of good notes done, but not a lot more writing. So, here’s my pathetic total count for the last two days:

Starting Word Count (yesterday): 39,847
Ending Word Count (today): 41,131

41,131 / 120000 words

Blogging Antithesis: Day 24

Well, whatever virus or bacteria or mass hysteria I was fighting off seems to have fallen before the advancing armies of my epic immune system.

That’s not to say the day was without frustration. My recording schedule’s gone screwy due to a neighbor reconstructing his vacation home. Over the winter we got a larger-than-usual number of really gnarly storms (hurricane force winds and worse, forty-foot waves coming over the sea wall and frequently bearing gigantic tree trunks, rain the likes of which make God reach for his SCUBA tanks–it was seriously epic) and a few of the houses on the sea wall…well, their winterization didn’t hold up, and they got some serious water intrusion.

So, the walls are coming out, the roofs are coming off, the outer walls are coming off–they’re basically rebuilding large sections from the studs up. All of that means that all daylight hours (and those are getting longer and longer now) are filled with the joyous sounds of nail guns, pounding, sawing, and crashing.

And, as soundproof as my little studio is, it can’t keep out all that noise. So, starting day 25, my day is getting switched around–writing early, recording late, because I’ve got clients waiting on the narration.

Other than working out that little problem, I spent most of the day doing publishing work and hiking. Felt good to be out and moving around after a day and a half being laid up.

When I got down to the writing shift, I discovered that I’ve hit that point in the book where everything is opening out–the actions and adventures of the characters that started this book are pushing the narrative to pick up the other threads left hanging at the end of book 2.

This means that I’ve got nine POV voices to load into my head–as well as the characters’ current situations and concerns. That’s going to slow me down for a while, as I’m now having to go back and read large sections of Book 2 as I write.

Once that gets done, the pace will pick up again, though I frankly expect this book to go through a few cycles like this, a new one each time a new batch of storylines comes on board.

So, here’s the unimpressive damage:
Starting word count: 38,638
Ending word count: 39,394

39,394 / 120000 words

Blogging Antithesis: Day 22

Today was an amazing day–gorgeous weather meant a beach walk with actual wading and swimming in the ocean, a rare treat this far north.

On the downside, the heat was exhausting, and despite two long shifts at the keyboard, I found myself unable to produce anything intelligible, so I’m packing it in early tonight so I can take a fresh run at it tomorrow.

Today’s progress: Negligible.

Blogging Antithesis: Day 21

Please excuse the tardiness of the post. I wound up wrestling with plot threads last night and only hit a groove after I was very, very tired, and I essentially fell asleep at my keyboard.

Now I’m awake, and bringing you the chronicle, time-shift style.

The characters have hijacked the story. Entirely. I now have almost no idea where this thing is going. Occasionally, I reach over into the bin of material I already wrote, and those days result in low net word counts, because I’m taking a scene that was written with another context in mind and retooling it for the existing storylines.

My subsconscious obviously knew what it as up to, since so many of these scenes are working perfectly in their new digs, but repainting the set where they’re taking place is a different kind of work, and it feels much more like work than does just writing from scracth.

Odd, that. I can remember a time where I didn’t have the confidence to write a book like this without a lot of scaffolding.

Anyway, I clocked another modest net gain today of just over a thousand words.
Starting word count: 37,543
Ending word count: 38,638

38,638 / 120000 words

Blogging Antithesis: Day 19 & 20

Oooh, boy, there’s nothing that’ll wear you out faster than emerging from a long emergency. The last few weeks, since I started blogging this, has been that kind of process.

A few things happen when you get out from under a major, long-term stress load.

The first is that your activity level goes up. No matter how athletic you normally are, existential stress changes the way your body deals with exercise. Some kinds of stress make you shelter-in-place, other kinds of stress drive you to hard physical labor in order to burn off enough adrenaline so that you can think straight. Since the stress in my universe has been both kinds, there’s been a pendulum effect the last couple years where I alternated between periods of intense activity and periods of intense inactivity–depending, largely, on whether the stress-flavor-of-the-month I was facing down.

Moving house, for example, was a different kind of stress than dealing with death in the family.

But whether the stress was one that drove you to heavy work or to shelter in place (or to spend a lot of time working at the computer), when it finally lifts, you can’t keep still. You roam the hills and dales and beaches and barrows until your feet are likely to fall off and you can’t seem to stay awake unless you’re moving.

Which dovetails nicely with the other thing that happens.
Your whole system has gotten so used to dealing with stress, that when all that low-level, long-term cortisol leaves your system, you just kind of…crash.

It’s a happy crash. A beautiful crash. But it’s one that involves a lot of sleeping, and, if you’re trying to write every day, you wind up spending a lot of time writing words backwards.

Which gets to be pretty annoying.

The latest chapter in the end of my long emergency was dropping the Free Will episode yesterday (scroll down, you’ll find it). Getting that podcast back up and going is something of a major milestone, and the moment I hit “post,” I more-or-less collapsed on the spot.

Not because it as a Herculean task. Just because, having it done, my whole body said to itself “well, there’s something we don’t have to worry about anymore. Here’s your pleasure endorphines. You can get rid of the stress hormones now,” and, all at once, it was like I was a marionette and someone cut my strings.

The downside of that was that I only registered a net gain of 337 words (again, I wrote more, but also cut quite a lot as I start to chew through scenes I wrote last year that now have no relevance to the story), and I fell asleep at the keyboard before I could do my daily post.

Tonight was better, though I was still fighting off a powerful amount of fatigue.

Today, I made just over 2100 words.

Starting word count: 35,424
Ending word count: 37,543

37,543 / 120000 words

Free Will, Episode 09

Free Will is BACK! Now, as the story opens up and we see other pebbles in the avalanche, it’s time for Episode 9 of Free Will and Other Compulsions, in which Jade paints a naked person, Joss hatches a plan, and Marian ponders egg rolls.

Cast this week (in order of appearance):
Lorien Wheeler as Jade
Christiana Ellis as The Agitator
George Chlentzos as Douglas Reeves
Kitty NicIaian as The Ambi
Miss Kalendar as Alyssa Hartman
Veronica Giguere as Marian Shelley
Andrea Fender as Jana
and Dave Robison as Blake

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