Writing update

I’ve been working away at editing “The Alchemist of Liberty” and composing a two new scenes to be added to Tactics. Things are progressing a little faster than I had anticipated. Which means that I might be done with the third draft of Tactics by the end of October.

I met with Paul T. (my first alpha-reader for Tactics) last Friday after work and talked about, among other things, Tactics and “The Shaper’s Daughter”. He hasn’t read the “The Shaper’s Daughter” since I extracted it from the second draft of Tactics and polished it up with intent of turning it into a short story. In the process of converting it into a short story I added a frame to it (which some people have liked, and some haven’t), and I had Paul read just Prologue / Epilogue frame. I was gratified when he decided that he had to reread the story on the basis of the framing.

Query letter

As an unpublished / unagented writer (I’m not using the term ‘author’, as I reserve it for writers who have been published) it is always interesting to look at query letters that actually worked, one of which can be found at Pub Rants, a blog by Agent Kristen (whom I had the pleasure of meeting at this year’s NASFIC).

Kristen follows up with additional discussions here and here. The second post includes the letter to the editor that to getting the book published.

Reading for Writing Inspiration

Every so often I feel the need to recharge my batteries and immerse myself in some great writing. When I do I find that I consistently turn to P.G. Wodehouse, specifically Young Men In Spats (I particularly love “Good-Bye to All Cats”). I also find myself reading Raymond Chandler, Jane Austen, and, believe it or not, Georgette Heyer. What is the common thread among those authors? From my perspective, they are the best writers (that I have actually read) in the English language.

Reading good SF also gives me a good jolt. Something by Iain M. Banks, Louis McMaster Bujold, or pretty much anything new and in the action-adventure space opera sort of genre.

Tech Watch

This is the first in what I plan to be a weekly roundup of technological innovations.

The laser based non-intrusive cancer detection system is an important step forward both from a cancer prevention sense and in its implications for blood analysis in general.

The developers of the super-capacitor claim that it will have 400 times the energy capacity of an equal weight in chemical batteries. If this turns out to be true then we are on the cusp of a dramatic change in the way we transport energy. It may even open the door to electrically powered aircraft.

A 360-Degree holographic display is something that they have been working on so long that one is left wondering if the air-car will get here first.

A terabyte on a CD is enough to make me drool. ‘Nuff said.

Delicious Tags: Recent Tech+Watch tags.

Writing update

I just finished folding in a set of edits on my novella “The Alchemist of Liberty” and am proceeding with another edit pass that should only take a week or so.

“The Shaper’s Daughter” novelette is almost done and I am doing a few micro-fixes to clarify some issues brought up by a couple of beta-readers while I wait for feedback from few other beta-readers.

The Tactics third draft has languished while I worked on the two extracted short stories noted above. I will be folding them back into the body of Tactics, adding two new scenes and making another (quick?) edit pass to ensure that I’ve addressed all the draft two critiques. I’d like to think I’ll be done by mid-October, but I’ll be more realistic and say that it will be more like mid-December.

Looking for a new theme

I like the blogger cafe look, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t support widgets and I’m not particularly in the mood to hack the CSS and HTML.  So I am looking around for a new theme.  I’ve found this excellent page by WordPress God that has, among other things, a nice preview and selection of themes.  Just a question of sorting through them to find something simple and clean.

Zatoichi and a Fistful of Ryo

Recently, I watched what has to be the best Zatoichi that I have seen to date. One of the reasons that I particularly liked Zatotichi and the Fugitives (1967) was that it was roughly the same plot as Yojimbo / A Fistful of Dollars. I didn’t notice that this was the plot until about two thirds of the way through the movie. Which to me means that the script was well crafted.

I’ll have to write a version of the Yojimbo story sometime.