Goodbye, journal.


The short version is: I tried using my real name everywhere online because it's what everyone at conventions told me to do, but for various reasons, it makes me uncomfortable. You can still call me whatever you were calling me before, even if it was Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face. I'm just shifting my usernames back to things that amuse me and carry more significance than mere identity.

Also, I'm not posting my art in a separate place anymore. I'm tired of compartmentalizing my existence--it's all going into one feed. If you are all, "Wah, I hate the art but I wish I could see more blathering about daily things," then I think there's something wrong with you anyway. haha

On LiveJournal, everything will be crossposted to plunderpuss. I will still read and comment with that account.

P.S. As a parting gift, check out my new hair in the photo that makes me the second-coolest person on the planet:

See you at plunderpuss!
  • Current Music
    Puss 'n' Boots - Adam Ant
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Foolscap: Day 01

On the way down, we saw: Collapse )

And then when we went to eat sushi, we passed this: Collapse )

Perhaps best of all, I can protect us against supernatural threat. I will force you to view my mighty mini-vampire stabbing weapon:

...And also, You Can't Do That At Foolscap--no, I don't know what that means--provided this favorite-colored fountain:

Non-photo events: I won two ribbons (one rosette, and one for my badge) with my last-minute entry into the First Annual Marie Antoinette (From The Neck Up) Memorial Masquerade. I was a steampunk villain. I charged our host, Dave Howell, with making my theme music, and he did such a swell job that I apparently won a ribbon for his hard work. Go me him! Then we went to jaylake and calendula_witch's room, and some people tasted fine scotches while kehrli read some scary New Age instructional text that he stole from his dayjob at a copy center, and after that, Jay regaled us with a yeti sodomy scene from one of his short stories. Then we all ran in fear, and that's why I'm home at mikigarrison's house now instead of sandwiched between two hot SF nerds hitting on more high school reunion attendees in the elevator.

Foolscap has so far given me free books, a ten dollar copy of a big fat hardcover I REALLY REALLY WANTED (!!!! <3 to tbclone47), and an exorbitant amount of free chocolate.

  • Current Music
    Miki's cats dancing in their litterbox.

My friends!

awriter: Sofa king?
me: Read it out loud :P
me: Hahaha, no you said something about furniture royalty.

My friend kehrli has an excellent story in the newest issue of Apex Digest, called "Advertising at the End of the World."

My friend kaerfel has put the first chapter of The Rise of Renegade X on her website to tease you since it doesn't come out until May for your reading pleasure!

My friend Tara sadly must give up two of her cats because of a move. If you are in the Northwest Washingtonish Area, and you could adopt an adult cat or two (they are friendly and have adapted to other cats in the past), talk with her about it and see if they would be a fit.

My friend zeldyn has somehow wangled me into doing a webcomic again. We're matching pages for each other on a weekly basis. It has graverobbing, tricorner hats, Haley Joel Osment clones kids who see dead people, and your grandmother. Zing! (No, you can't see it until September 30.)

My friend mroctober publishes Icarus, the Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction. If you like your SF wrapped in rainbows, or if you just want to own this bitchin' cover art by the aforementioned zeldyn and I (my lineart, her colors!), you should pick up the Halloween issue.

And my friend Abraham Lincoln is still dead, but he is nonetheless insulted every time you leave currency with his face lying on the ground because "it's not worth picking up." Have a care, people. Scoff at someone who deserves it, like that Jefferson bastard.
  • Current Music
    Decode - Paramore (from the TWILIGHT soundtrack, har har!)

Snore alert! (My process hows and whys)

I had a very spotty output schedule until I discovered this magic fifteen minute cycle. I have no idea if this would work for anyone else (and in truth, I don't know if it actually works for me, since I've never sold a book!), but since I regularly get drooling green jealousy from some friends when I post my higher wordcounts, I figured it wouldn't hurt to describe what I do and why I think it works.


I do a (semi-)weekly writing exercise with some friends called "Story Ninjas" in which we all start with common prompts and write for fifteen minutes, then read the results aloud. This is our third year, and I've written 68,786 words this way. I write between 300-500 words in fifteen minutes. From the beginning, I noticed how focused my writing was when I knew how long I had. I time Story Ninjas with a playlist--fifteen minutes and change--that has a quote from the Venture Brothers between the fifteen minute segments to let me know when my time is up.

Once on a whim, I used that playlist while I was noveling. After all, usually 1K an hour was pretty fast for me, but if I wrote 500 words every fifteen minutes, that was twice as much.

And it worked.

Why it works

Even when my output was only 300 words per fifteen minutes, I still had 200+ words more output per hour. Somehow, splitting up the same amount of time into four smaller pieces made me 17% more productive. Weird, right?

Well, it took me a long time to discover this, but when I'm writing, the thing that slows me down is thinking about what comes next while I'm writing what happens now. I find myself gazing off and then backspacing, and then writing again, and then backspacing. Even though I have a general idea of the book's skeleton for everything I write, it doesn't mean I don't worry that I'm going about it the wrong way.

If after fifteen minutes I let myself plug a summary of what I've written into my outline while I drink hot cocoa, I get to see where I am in the book and reassure myself. And then it's much easier to turn off the two voices that screw me up: my internal editor, who is afraid this is all crap, and the second-guessing writer, who is afraid it might be brilliant but useless because it derails the story somehow. I can't shut them up for long, but fifteen minutes is a battle I can win.

Yes, sometimes without the extra thinking, the path I take is wrong, and later I do some snipping and rearranging. But usually my trust in myself is well-placed. If I just give myself a chance to tell me a story I want to hear, it is surprisingly just what I asked for.

Focusing on all this math is a mistake

While I'm well-aware that a lot of novice writers spend too much time focusing on things that don't really matter, like how fast they can write, or how much, or whatever, I think as long as you're reasonable, it's helpful to examine what you can and can't do, and how you might alter it.

For one thing, I'm not only more productive writing in these fifteen minute cycles, I'm happier. Additionally, I am way too curious to move through this process without recording it for scientific posterity! ;) I like to look back later and see how I've changed.

I have two spreadsheets for Immortal Showdown: daily stats and hourly stats. The former is what I record before I go to bed; the latter is where I write what I yielded in each fifteen minute cycle. Looking at these makes me feel accomplished in a way that skimming over the entire project doesn't. The sheer size of my novel makes me stressed out; rendering it into stacks of tiny numbers makes me feel accomplished, and like there's a history of success that I'm simply continuing.

Other thoughts

- It doesn't work as well for me with short stories. I don't know why.
- It works perfectly on the bus ride to work, which I discovered on Friday! :D
- I have only tried it on projects which are mostly-plotted, at least in my head.
- I'm not suggesting this will work for you (though I don't suppose it hurts to try), only that you should examine your circumstances when you write your best, and try to arrange them on a regular basis.
  • Current Music
    Stomp - Young Buck (featuring T.I. and Ludacris)

Immortal Showdown stats + photo

Taken by me at mikigarrison's house. (My foot, her lawn juice.)

Title: Immortal Showdown
Words today: 5,025 (201% of a lake)
Accomplished: Murder or self-defense, depending on who you ask.
A smoking red hole appeared in his forehead. The tiniest spray of blood misted over his face. Tiny crimson droplets beaded on his one long eyebrow and clung to the ends of his lashes—which didn't close. He didn't even blink.

He grinned and yelled to be heard over the rattle and roar of the mechanisms beneath them. “You already ruined this meatsuit, bitch. A few more holes won't hurt me a bit—they just mean I have to change clothes sooner.”
Behind the scenes: I have a cat resting under either elbow. hehe

31177 / 100000 words. 31% done!
  • Current Music
    Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - The Animals

Screw you Noah + Immortal Showdown stats

If I can do a lake per day, I can write a 100K novel (my usual goal) in forty days. That doesn't work because I often must do things other than write. Screw you, Noah. You wasted your opportunity. If I got to float around on an ark for forty days, I'd have a novel to show for it, instead of a strained relationship with my arranged wife and a bunch of really pissed off, pregnant animals.

24287 / 100000 words. 24% done!

Words today: 2,858 (114% of a lake)
Accomplished: Put my favorite character in terrible danger and then yanked him back out again. Hopefully everyone will be as scared when reading it as I was writing it.
“Where have all your cats run off to?” Boyd said, artfully leaning away from her to look for her pets in the corner behind the bookshelf.

Sally spread her fingers and stroked Boyd's thigh. He could feel her nails as they scratched over his dungarees. Her eyes were intense when she answered, her tone silky and cool as the cream in their tea. “I don't know. I'm sure they're around. But tell me, Deputy. Is that twisted ankle the worst you've ever been hurt?”
Behind the scenes: I have three beverages, at minimum, while creating fiction or art. Does anyone else do this? Sometimes I've had five open containers surrounding me like hunting lions!

Also, writing scary stuff improves my words per hour... I did 1661 wph today! :D (Almost 1 jph.) And those stats don't include the short story I was working on earlier... which was also scary. Haha!
  • Current Music
    Gunslinger - Avenged Sevenfold

Immortal Showdown stats

I am making another of my pathetic attempts to be responsible again, and actually devote regular, scheduled slots of time to doing the things I love (as well as things like washing dishes and paying bills, ugh). Every night, from 8:00 p.m. until midnight, is writing/drawing time. Today, I wrote. (Because the last few days, in between mouth misery* and work, I drew! You can see it later. After it's printed. After you buy the magazine it's in.)

21295 / 100000 words. 21% done!

Words today: 2,645 (106% of a Lake)
Accomplished: Introduced the concept of dead gods early on, which I kind of failed to do in the first version. Also, POV character's spunky little sister shakes things up.
“Hmm,” Otter said, his tone carefully neutral. “I will draw less attention to myself with only Chiaha as company. I had best go, though. I'll see you soon, and if all goes well, I'll have a surprise for you when I come back.”

“I hate surprises.”

Otter wondered if he'd been like this when he was fourteen. He didn't think so.

Quolamina snatched a rock from among the others by her feet and inspected it before deciding it didn't meet her requirements. She discarded it in favor of another. Otter didn't know what the requirements were until she finally thrust an egg-shaped agate into his hand.

“That one is lucky,” she said. She sounded furious that the stone dared to have such a property. “Don't lose it.”

Behind the scenes: For the second time since I got these teeth out, I just got a bite of scrambled egg several hours after I had ostensibly swallowed all of the scrambled egg I put in my mouth. EW. Oh, something relevant?

Okay, I remembered that I can write much more efficiently in fifteen-minute increments, so I got out that playlist again. It worked pretty well. Excluding my bathroom/food/drink breaks, I wrote for three hours. And while I've done better than 882 words per hour, I've also done worse--like zero words per hour!

* I maintain that for the most part it really doesn't hurt too much, though eventually the constant low-grade ache got to me and I did take some ibuprofen. The misery really stems from not being able to eat all the cheese and crackers and summer sausage that Seamus and I had just bought and were looking forward to sampling together while we watched Venture Brothers. >:| This tiny trove of forbidden culinary treasure mocks me from the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
  • Current Music
    Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie

Reading recommendation (and a fish video)

scott_lynch has impressed me once again, this time with his new FREE online novel, Queen of the Iron Sands. jaylake professed Title Envy, and I have to agree; then I read it, and I profess Voice Envy. I know the protagonist intimately and I've only read her for a chapter. P.S. I want to marry her. So go read it!

...Also, have a video of my carnivorous fish eating a cranefly who was bumbling about a little too near my chocolate milk! And if you're eyeing my chocolate milk yourself, don't think you're too big to get fed to my killifish, because I only have to cut you into little cubic centimeters, and I bet there's a machine that'll do it for me.

  • Current Music
    Videodrones; Questions - Trent Reznor


kehrli made a pie with a darkling face on it.

Darklings are creepy sort-of-faery monsters from I Didn't Want To Go On Your Stupid Quest Anyway. In the book, some people may or may not eat them, and they may or may not taste "...thick like jizz and just as salty, with an aftertaste like a dry wine."

Let's hope this pie is infinitely more delicious!

UPDATE: It was delicious. I won't tell you whether or not it tasted like the above description.
  • Current Music
    Lite Sneeze - Tori Amos