Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mything in Action

You can read the title of this post in lots of ways…

Missing in Action -- as anyone who had taken a look at my word count for the past few weeks -- no, make that months -- knows, that interpretation describes where I've been.


Missing inaction -- which describes how I'm feeling about the amount of stuff that has been keeping my busy. Considering the alternative, it's not such a bad thing.


Mything in Action -- and that's what I'm going to blog about today.

As a fantasy writer ( yes, okay, it's a phrase that has more than one meaning, and both can be applied to me) I get to invent histories and religions and myths as I please. It's loads of fun. It's also a wonderful excuse to wander off into the realm of research for an hour or two. Sometimes I do it deliberately and sometimes it's just happy happenstance as it was this time. My interest was piqued by something I saw on TV, it might have been the Discovery Channel, and then again in might not. It was a program about reading the Bible, the Book of Exodus to be precise, as if it described a military campaign. I was fascinated by the ideas put forward, and one in particular stood out for me as I have long thought it to be only partly true.

We tend to hold onto our beliefs even when we know that they are inaccurate. A case in point would be that microwave ovens heat food from the inside out. Anyone who ever used a microwave knows full well that it is nonsense and has empirical evidence to back up the fact every time they heat just about everything that gets put in the "zapper". If food heated from the inside out then it would be hotter in the middle, right? And it isn't. That's why it has to be stirred and/or left to stand. Even someone as intelligent as the spouse holds to this misbegotten idea. It drives me nuts!

My own piece of illogic concerns night vision. Until now, I have not really understood that if you look at a bright light when you are surrounded by darkness you are effectively blind for a good long time afterwards. I've experienced it. I just didn't register it. In this program the presenter expostulated that Moses led his people away from the pursuing Egyptians by following a column of smoke during the day which I could easily accept; a torch on a pole can be made to give off a good amount of smoke under the right conditions. By night they followed a column of fire. It was the bit about the column of fire that got my attention. After all, if the Children of Israel could see the column of fire, then so could the Egyptians. Or so I thought until now. This guy said that if Moses had torches placed behind their encampment at night, the Egyptians wouldn't be able to see if the Israelites were escaping, nor would they be able to see properly in the dark for up to thirty minutes afterwards. The result being that the Israelites got away. Excuse my mangled retelling of the tale, I'm trying to make a point, not get into a religious discussion.

So last night I was able to test the theory out in a more modern setting. I had to babysit a backup that kicks off at 1:00 a.m. and finishes at about 2:00 a.m. It's been hiccoughing lately and I wanted to find out exactly what it was choking on. So after I'd finished playing about with it, I returned to bed but I didn't try to go to sleep as I usually do. I kept trying to see the various things in the bedroom that I know are there. It took nearly forty minutes before I could really see everything! I'd have bet real money that I would be able to see everything just fine after five. What a great plot point! Or even TWO great plot points. The realization that a long held belief is untrue, and using the newly accepted fact to escape or create a trap or whatever. Lovely.

All this led to another (potentially) great scene today for Project Tevan. I was helping the spouse trench for some new drainage pipe we're laying in the yard this morning and I thought, as you do, Ooohhh! If this was filled with flammable liquid and set on fire at night it would be splendid cover for Varda to make her escape. Not quite sure what/who she's going to escape from, but I have an idea about that too. Now I just need to get her from her current predicament to the next one and then she can end up with a flaming trench and running for her life yet again. This may be written in the first person but I can tell you right now, I wouldn't trade places with her for ANYTHING!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I've been playing the yard all weekend, gardening. Great fun, but very tiring; we have a large yard. I put in a herd of day lilies and a lavendar hedge anchored at both ends with rosemary. It should smell wonderful when it gets going. That is if the deer don't decide that they like their corn flavored with a few herbs. Although you can't see any of my efforts, you can take a peek at the garden if you go to deercam and you may even see some of the deer. I gave up with bedding plants a couple of years ago. The deer consider them a lovely salad. They last abouut two days before they sucum so now I put them in pots on the deck. Of course, teh squirrels seem to think I've hidden treasure -- or may nuts -- in the pots. We did manage a good show of pansiesover the winter even so.

So what has this to do with writing you ask. And by now you have already guessed that it's my excuse for not getting a single word done this weekend. Tomorrow, tomorrow there's always tomorrow, and yes, it is only a day away. I'm awestruck by the number of words some of the buddies are putting in. And I'm really excited for you all. I have been working on Project Tevan while I've been digging and pulling weeds. If only someone would invent a way to move the words from my head onto paper or into the computer. The Pulse is great but my hands are really too tired to write anything down. I tried Dragon Naturally Speaking, but it doesn't work for me. Great idea but I hate the sound of my own voice.

And now I have to go and make pizza, which I should have done yesterday but left it too late. Write on, everyone, I will join you soon.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Working on the plot

I've not written a whole lot this week and now I know why. Something wasn't right. I couldn't put my finger on it until a short while ago but now I understand what the problem has been. For some reason I'd ended up with a description in a scene that shouldn't have been there. I now fully admit to being a "pantster" -- one who writes by the seat of her pants. As much as I'd like to get an outline down I just can't do it, I have to let the story take me where it will. The result is that I end up in the wrong place on a frequent basis and have to re-write. Oh well. But now that I, or rather the characters, are back on track, a lovely new twist has turned up. I can't wait to put it down on paper, but I still have to let it smolder for a little bit. It will be good, I just know it; I have to get the details right first though.