March 2007


The hurricane story is not the literary equivalent of a Rorschach test.

Out of seven Critters critiques, I had four full groks, two partial groks, and an “Oh, God. Your story is so long and it has so many characters and I give up! I’m not even going to try! You’re making me work too hard!”

Why, yes, I probably am. Pay attention! There’s a test later! Heh.

Careful readers were thrilled that I rewarded them with information that not-so-careful readers missed completely. Two specifically mentioned liking that. I want other readers to find that information, but I don’t want to take the cookie away from the careful readers. Hmmm.

I think what I need is a less steep entry point. I throw a lot of character names at them right at the beginning, which several people mentioned finding confusing.

Also, seven critiques is a lot for an 11,000 word monstrosity in the Critters queue. I must be doing something right.

This? This is pollen. On my car. Granted, it’s the one we don’t drive as often, but still.

More pollen terror.

I didn’t think anyone would believe me if I didn’t offer photographic proof.

I’ve upgraded the site to MT3.34 with FastCGI. You probably won’t notice unless you comment, but I can tell and that’s what matters! To me, at least!

Seriously, it’s cool. Trust me.

I also made my URLs prettier, as they were pretty darned ugly. I’ve been putting that off, not wanting to break links, but to the best of my knowledge no one links to any individual entries but Brian. If you’re a stealth linker, sorry ’bout that.

No, I’m not procrastinating from NaNoEdMo, why do you ask? (I’m not. Upgrading the site is my reward for good behavior!)

I’m distracted by my first Critters critique for the hurricane story, which I expected.
I always think I’m being obvious when I write. I give the story to Brian, who understands it completely and effortlessly. I sent it in for critique. *Wonk!*
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think there’s so much that a reader brings to a story that this sort of thing is pretty much guaranteed to happen on some level. I’m not bothered by the idea that someone might read one of my stories and think it’s a communist manifesto, and the next reader might think it’s a story about how we need Jesus. In fact, I think that’s kind of cool. On the other hand, it is a little amusing that my critique drafts that I think are oh-so-obvious are apparently the literary equivalent of a Rorschach test. “It’s a fly in a swing!”
My brain does not work like other people’s.

Script Frenzy’s teaser site is up! I’m so there!

Pandora
In other news, my backups are apparently pretty darned good. Yay!

Geek post!
I’d been using Ubuntu on my Acer Aspire 3624WXCi laptop for about a year now. I really enjoyed my Ubuntu experience until I fell victim to this obnoxious bug. It took a while to manifest itself, too; the problem seemed to get worse every time they upgraded the kernel. Finally, I couldn’t launch a web browser without pointing a fan at the bottom of the machine.
Um, no. Thanks for playing.
I have good backups, and also store all my writing in subversion, so I wasn’t particularly nervous about moving to a new distro. I just couldn’t take the overheating bug any more.
I decided that I wanted Debian, because 1. I love APT dearly, and 2. one of the guys on the bug page said his laptop dual booted Debian and Ubuntu, and didn’t overheat under Debian. Alas, I tried Debian Sarge on this laptop when I first got it, and it didn’t support the video driver (yes, Sarge is too old to have the i810 driver), so I knew I’d need Etch. I also happened to have an Etch install CD, but Debian kind of broke the Etch install CD because their PGP signing key expired. Oops.
I tried using the Sarge CD and running an immediate "apt-get dist-upgrade" to upgrade to Etch, but something was very wrong. Not only did X not work, which the dist-upgrade warned me about, but I had some kind of error message on booting about how some of the modules were newer than the kernel, or something like that. Apparently, they’re very close to making Etch Stable rather than Testing, and maybe the upgrade is, ahem, still in progress. Debian suggests you download and burn a daily or weekly CD and use that, but I didn’t want to do that. See, the machine with the CD burner was the one that was hosed. So I tried the CD Debian said was busted. Guess what? It’s busted. (Surprise! not.) When you get to the downloading from the mirrors, you get a sad red screen and end up with a freshly partitioned hard drive with no software. Alas.
At this point I could have asked my boyfriend to burn me a daily or weekly on his laptop. He was watching Supernatural at the time, though, and it’s just not very butch. I mean, really. Asking my boyfriend to burn me a CD? What’s next, getting him to open the pickle jar for me?
Ahem. If you’re secure in your masculinity, maybe you should download a daily or weekly like Debian suggests. If, like me, you have problems with your masculinity because you’re a girl, or just because, read on.
If you use the busted Etch install CD and tell it not to use a mirror, it gives you the hairy eyeball and tells you you will have a very minimal system and are you sure? Say yes. Reboot.
Log in (you weren’t expecting a GUI, were you?) as root. Add

deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ testing main contrib non-free
deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ testing main contrib non-free

to /etc/apt/sources.list using vi.
I got around the key expiration thing using this page; I think I had to use apt to install apt-key without a valid signature first ("apt-get install apt-key"). It whined and complained but it did it. At that point, I was able to use gpg to get the key, export it, and import it into apt-key.
Yay! it works. Do an "apt-get update" and an "apt-get -u upgrade" to get all the new stuff.
I then did an "apt-get install xorg" followed by an "apt-get install gnome", but I’m pretty sure you could just install gnome and it should get xorg for you (because apt rocks). You could probably "apt-get install kde" as well, although I didn’t try it. I then had a shiny GUI and could use Synaptic to install other software I wanted, like Iceweasel (LOL!). I also did this to get my wireless card working.
Anyway, if you’re crazy like me and want to do this, good luck! My laptop is no longer overheating, so it was worth it. I guess we’ll see exactly how good my backups are after tonight’s NaNoEdMoing.

Things I’ve learned while my sister is in town:

  1. Some vague concept of how fencing is scored.
  2. The Georgia Aquarium is cool.
  3. I don’t like Lipton tea. I think I’ll stick with Tazo.
  4. It’s really hard to edit after walking around for several hours. I’m falling behind on NaNoEdMo. There’ll have to be some catching up next weekend, most likely.

Editing is still more fun than drafting. What do you know? Whee, edits!
Well, obviously, there’s going to be the point where I go blind. Hopefully that won’t happen for awhile, since I didn’t look at it for three months.
Some observations:

  • The character arc on the two main characters is muddled. They’re the ones I planned the most. The improvised trio of minor characters, on the other hand, are very clear. Maybe I’m just not a planner.
  • I fixed the horrible awkward POV switch mid-Chapter One. I remember just staring at it in horror and then moving on during NaNoWriMo.
  • Chapters! It has those now, instead of being a big wad of text.
  • The plot is kind of lumpy and misshapen. I tried to plan that, too, and ran out of outline. I suck at outlining. I think I can make it “wacky and fast-paced” instead of lumpy and misshapen, though.
  • This thing has some funny parts. I laughed out loud at the voicemails from one of the lead characters’ mothers.

I’m going to try and build up a ginormous lead this weekend, since work is crazy. But I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble editing for 50 hours in a month.

Jen does this every month. I figured it’d be fun.
Story sales in February: 0
Story submissions in February: 7
Story rejections in February: 6
Script queries in February: 11
Script requests in February: 0
Script rejections in February: 0
Script contest entries in February: 3
Total story sales to date: 3
Total story rejections to date: 79
Total stories in circulation: 4
First novel status: In revision
Speaking of NaNoEdMo, well, it’s not the worst novel ever written, but it sure isn’t the best. Heh. I’ll see what I can do about it.

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