Saturday, October 10, 2009

Onion sauce! Onion sauce!

Writery stuff:
I've been wandering about dazedly the last few days, feeling rather like Mole in the opening of Wind in the Willows, squinting in the spring daylight after a winter underground. I came very near shouting 'Onion sauce! Onion sauce!' at the campus rabbits on Friday.
Because! Willow Knot, revised up to 120k from its hacked-down 105k, has gone off to my agent in both electronic and paper forms. This makes me feel much more like An Agented Author, because I've filled in my side of the agreement, for the first go-round anyways. I fully expect to have more to hack out and fill in and smooth over.
This weekend, though--Happy Thanksgiving!--I'll be reading other people's published books, baking an apple pie for the boy, and maybe watching dvds. And updating my blog. I've already slept in to 8 am, like a slothful sloth (except not upside down).

You may recall that I figured to have the revision done and dusted by the 14th. Well yeah. There was what one might call the Fortunate Fall of my desktop computer having kicked over in mid-August, leaving me with no large screen monitor. I love my eee (on which I am writing now) but its screen can be covered by one hand. And I seriously needed a big screen to read over the revision for flow. Half a page at a time was not enough.
Paul gave me his old Mac laptop, which has a screen at least as big as my dead desktop's. And he loaded it with the free trial of Scrivener, which he and Mark have been pimping to me for a while. So I shoved WK into Scrivener, a fairly easy task since I'd broken it into scenes and given the scenes descriptive titles already, and took a good hard look at the story flow.
That was when I fell in love.

Yes, I love Scrivener madly. I would bake it cookies and run hot baths for it, and haunt used bookshops looking for missing volumes in its uniform editions of Mark Twain. Like that.
And Scrivener revealed to me that I could knock one more winter off the forest section. And it showed me that the palace section desperately needed a 12th Night masque with a dancing bear.* It let me look at two scenes at once so I could meld them into one scene without losing the important bits. It let me look at a floorplan of the palace while I walked characters through. And it compiled the whole shebang together in order at the end.
Okay, there were some Adventures in Formatting for me then, because Open Office decided to indent all first lines, most of which were already indented (because I do that), and the font changed in one chapter for no apparent reason, and so on. But most of that was my not realising just how much Scrivener does, plus the usual sort of wackiness found in moving files through different systems and different word processing programs.
So I've bunged Cost of Silver into Scrivener, and I'm going to muddle about with the status and label settings now that I have an idea how they work. And yes, I've registered Scrivener, I did that about 20 days into the free trial.
Note: I am not a convert to Mac. But I'm willing to use one for the sake of Scrivener.

The Outside World well sort of:
Had a fine time at V-Con last weekend. I was invited to be on a panel(!) by the kind offices of Susan Walsh. The topic was Vampires We Have Known and Loved, with Tanya Huff, Rhea Rose, etc. Tanya was lovely and gracious, answered a number of questions about the tv series and about sequels to her past series, and did her best not to dominate the panel despite the audience attention. Two of the panelists were on because they'd just contributed to a vamp anthology calle Evolve, and another was a voice actor who'd done a vampirish villain or two. And me.
So I took the folklore tack and commented on how the vamp concept has changed over the years, a little bit on the challenge of portraying vampires in a historical setting (Stuart England) where there was no concept of blood-drinking walking undead (oh look, I'm plugging the book I haven't finished yet!). I did plug Paul Barber's indispensable Vampires, Burial and Death, and read a few paragraphs from Varney the Vampire, or, The Feast of Blood!
Several people took down both titles, as well they should.

VCon's art show was terrific this year, far better than the show at Worldcon. It was disappointing how few bids there were. So I bought art.
I bought a Melissa Duncan print (okay technically I have this on credit, but she knows where I live). Terri, you should check out this lady's art! (I thought I'd seen a more extensive website of her work, but can't find it now)
And two small pieces by Valeria de Rege, lovely quirky little paintings on wood blocks, some with text taken from sf novels.
I restricted myself to only one of Danielle Stephens's brilliant little papercraft shadowboxes. She does not have a website, so I'll have to take a photo and post it to show you what they're like.
Pauline Walsh doesn't have a website either, so I'll have to do the same to show you the charming little femo Hermit Thing that I got.

The VCon hotel (Marriott Pinnacle) had a whole set of Stupid Policies that made it a questionable choice for a con. Food had to be consumed in the room where it was purchased (so the Dealers Room theoretically had no food for those manning tables). No costumes in the lobby, the pool, or the (overpriced) restaurant--'costume' being undefined. No weapons, again undefined, anywhere. No groups of four or more people in the lobby--think about that one.
The staff I dealt with were all pleasant and professional, but they were stuck with enforcing nebulous and discriminatory policies. The elevators from one public level to another stopped running at midnight, forcing one lady (filksinger?) with mobility problems to use the shiny slippery stairs. Another woman, who had changed out of her costume into street clothes, was asked to leave the restaurant because she didn't match the (unposted?) dress code, although her companion was diabetic and needed to eat. They walked to a McDonalds.
Like most high-end hotels, they overcharged for internet, $16 day and I'm not sure they had wireless. The bottle of water in the room cost $4.50. No fridge, only a cooler with a broken door.
Beds were comfy though, and it was possible to turn the a/c and heat off and not be woken in the night by roaring.
Actually it was just as well that we couldn't get internet at the hotel. It meant I finished revisions, instead of browsing the web.
What else? I did a couple of shifts on the SF-Canada table, and hand-sold at least one more copy of Eileen Kernaghan's The Snow Queen, which is a terrific treatment of the fairy tale. And bought a couple more books for myself.

*I did go and check whether the perceived need for dancing bears was one of the varieties of insanity known to affect authors. Fortunately it isn't.


Terri-Lynne said...

I click on your blog daily to check in on you. I was starting to worry! Well, not really, because you commented on my LJ just a couple days ago so I knew you hadn't starved to death behind the computer, doing revisions without eating or sleeping and only occassionally using the bathroom.

Woohooo!!! Go, Barbra!

batgirl said...

I hit the point where any keyboard action that didn't result in wordcount was a guilt trigger, so I let myself sink beneath the blog-surface.
But here I am again!

I think you can set up an rss? feed so you get any entries automatically, but I know nothing of how that's done.

Terri-Lynne said...

Me neither. :(