Thursday, October 19, 2017

I think I might be alive... but I could be wrong...

So, I mean, it probably goes without saying, but, you know, having your toncils out at 38, yeah, that kinda sucks.  Just a tad.  Just before the surgery this nurse says to me, "I gave birth in my bathtub with no drugs or doctors, and I remember thinking after having my toncils out at 40, that I think I'd rather do that again instead.  It hurt less."  I was like, "gee, the rest of my week is really looking up now.  Thanks for that."  I have to go back to work in a week, I hope I feel better then than I do now.  On the bright side, I lost like 15 lbs because I couldn't swallow anything for a week and a half.  I put on pants for the first time in 2 weeks and they don't fit anymore.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Surgery, woooooo!!! Sarcasm, woooooo!!!

So I've been having really nasty sinu problems for quite a while now, and my doctor finally said, okay, nothing we've done has worked, let's do some sinus surgery and see if that will take care of it.  He then called me the next day and was like, well, as long as we have you knocked out on the operating table, we might as well take out your toncils while we're at it.  Hoo-freakin-ray.  And then he called me the day after that and said, well, you know, you also have that deviated septum and all, and since we're going to be up your nose anyway, we might as well fix that too.  So yesterday I had all three surgeries, and boy am I miserable.  If an axe murderer broke into my apartment right now and offered to cut my head off for me, I'd probably thank him for it.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What I've been doing lately

So, work.  That's a thing.  They cut my route down to a reasonable size, and just 3 months later, it's huge again.  *sigh*

Anyway, while working on a second draft of Memories of What Never Was, I took a look back on Spires of Infinity, and, well, I can see exactly what's wrong with it now.  It's the same problem I've been complaining at Hollywood for the last few years about.  They keep trying to make extended cinematic universes without setting anything up first.  DC's cinematic Universe is probably the most famous what not to do story lately, but you've also had Sony's Spider-Man cinematic universe flop, Universal's Dark Universe also flop, Sony back again with their Ghostbusters cinematic universe flopping haaaaaaard.  All of these things have one big problem in common.  They're trying to build the universe, before telling a story.  And that's the real problem with Spires of Infinity.  I was trying to tell the bigger story that's happening outside of that book, rather than focusing on what that book was actually about.   I tossed in all sorts of references to other stories I have swirling around in my head, and characters that didn't really belong in Spires just to connect it to other stories I was planning to write.  And I never really put all that much effort into making solid characters and a good story for them to be participating in.  It was all just sort of set up for other stories I wanted to tell.

So, while I'm editing Memories, I'm also sort of rewriting Spires on the side.  There are several big problems with the original version of Spires that need to be fixed.  First is that half the cast really has no business being part of the story.  They, and their storylines, are gone.  Second, most of the things that tie this story in with other stories I may write in the future have been removed.  I left one of them in, because I can't figure a way to make the story work without it, but the rest of them are now gone.  Third, I'm changing the core cast of characters to be more well rounded characters with solid pasts, personalities, and reasons for being who they are, and for doing what they're doing.  Fourth, I'm getting rid of the talking cat, because, well, it's one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but the more I think about it, the less it really fits into the story.  I mean, there are a few pretty good jokes I made with it, but, it just doesn't really fit the story.  With all the things I'm removing from the story, and all the other things I'm fleshing out, I hope to hit about 90,000 words with it, which is about the average length of a sci-fi book these days, rather than the 140,000 words that the original was, which is more in line with an epic fantasy book.

The original idea I had was to take a bunch of short stories I had previously written and mash them together into one big story, but that idea doesn't really work with the core story of Spires, either, so that aspect is gone now as well.

As NaNo is a little over a month away, I was thinking of powering through a big chunk of the new version of Spires of Infinity then, and may start posting some chapters from the first draft of the rewrite soon.

I also took some time off to write a Novella called Identity, which is about a routine time travel trip gone horribly wrong, and deals with questions of what makes us who we are?  Is it the time and place we live in?  Our bodies?  Our minds?  Our souls?  Are we still the same person if we find ourselves trapped in another place, another time, and another body?   I've been shopping it around to a few literary magazines, but had no offers on it yet.  I may post that on my site soon as well.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Adventures in the English Language.

I was talking with a guy at work, and I forget what the conversation was about, but he quoted Romeo and Juliet, the Juliet line "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo."  Of course, he quoted this line under a mistaken assumption of what the word "Wherefore" actually means.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that about 99% of the English speakers in the world today do not actually know what this word means, or how it completely and utterly changes both the context of the line from Romeo and Juliet, but also Juliet's character herself, entirely.

Most people believe that the word "wherefore" means "where".  It does not, in fact, mean "where".  It is actually a contraction of the phrase "What is it for"  which, in Elizabethan English was what you would say when you wanted to ask "why?"  At the time, the word "why" had not yet been invented.  You asked either "what is it for" or "wherefore".

Juliet is not asking WHERE Romeo is.  What she is ACTUALLY asking is "Why do you have to be Romeo?"  Or, more simply, "Why does this man that I love have to be the heir to the enemy of my family?"  (reading the rest of this line "Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet." makes the meaning pretty apparent, but most people don't realize that line continues)

The importance of the correct meaning of the word "wherefore" to the character of Juliet is pretty huge.  Most people think she's being a silly girl in love, because they don't understand what she's saying in this line.  They think that she's just daydreaming about the hot guy she met, and not paying attention to anything else going on around her, because she's so infatuated with him.  But she's actually a lot deeper a character than that.  She knows exactly what sort of situation she's in, and she's lamenting to herself about it.

Another common misconception with this play is the meaning of the phrase "Star Crossed Lovers".  Many people think that it means that they were meant to be together.  In fact, it means the exact opposite of that.  Again, in Elizabethan English, "Star Crossed Lovers" Actually means lovers that are crossing the stars, or crossing the heavens, or, in plainer English, two people god doesn't want to hook up with each other.  Having the added connotation that their love is a sin, and will be punished as one.  And, of course, if you know how the play ends, yeah, that happens.

Also, in Shakespeare in general, if anyone says the phrase, "I am here."  They are not actually saying "here I am".  In Elizabethan English, "I am here" is short for "I am here with you" or "I stand with you" or in modern English "I agree".  It may sound generally like the same English Language that we speak today, but even Elizabethan English just 400 years ago, was basically an entirely different language than the one we speak today.  It's a language that we can generally understand, or puzzle out the meaning of most of the time, but it is not the same language.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Life, the universe, and everything...

So, for about the last year or so, my mail route at work has been overburdened, meaning that the route has grown so large that it should have been cut down to a more reasonable size about a year ago.  However, I have been in an epic and continuous battle since that time just to get management to acknowledge the fact.  They have repeatedly refused to update my documented and official number of deliveries (which determines what size the route is rated, and, in turn, how much I get paid for it.  I'm salaried based on the size of my route, not paid hourly) and as such I've been hugely overworked and underpaid for almost a year now.  And, my route is growing.  It is getting bigger every week, making even more work for me that I'm not being paid for.  You may have noticed that I haven't exactly done a huge amount of writing during that time.  Well, the reason is that I'm working 12 hours a day, and getting paid for 9 of them, then coming home and just crashing in exhaustion.  I've been just burnt out, and supremely frustrated with knowing my route it bigger than they say it is, not being paid what I should be for it, and being completely unable to get management to do anything about it.  In the last year, I have probably been shorted about $10k in pay, in addition to being just completely worn out all of the time.  Luckily, I finally managed to complain my way up the chain of union reps until I finally got  one powerful enough to basically crush my postmaster under his heel to notice my plight.  If they have not straightened my route out within the next two weeks, and cut it down to a reasonable size, my union is prepared to utterly destroy my postmaster's career over it, which they are more than capable of doing.  I may, or may not, receive back pay on it, but it's looking more and more like not.

Meanwhile, I'm not as young as I used to be, and the strain of working so long and hard for so many months is really taking its toll on me.  I'm having back problems.  I've had a sinus infection for about 10 months that my doctor just can't seem to help me kill off.  I've had two separate colds and strep throat in the last two months, and I'm generally just miserable and exhausted all of the time, and I have almost no time in my life lately for anything but work, sleep, and frequent doctor visits because all I do is work and sleep, and that's not healthy.

Anyway, as for my work on my latest project "Memories of What Never Was" I've been juggling around a few ideas for some edits I want to make.  The biggest of which is that I feel Kriss needs more motivation as a character to do, generally, anything.  And she needs something more to her that gives her an edge no one else has in killing the Seven.  So I've been working through a few different ways of doing that in my head as I've been horribly worked to death, and I've finally settled on the idea I think is the best of the bunch I've been able to come up with.  Hopefully, in 2 weeks, when the deadline my union gave my postmaster to get his butt in gear and fix my route comes along, I'll finally not be so dead tired exhausted all the time, and can start getting some much needed editing done to the story, and see how my new idea for Kriss' character works out in the story.  I think it's going to be awesome, and give her quite a bit more depth and motivation.  I just need to have some actual free time when I'm not so tired I can't think straight to get it done.