Back at Work (and Back from Dragon*Con)

Posted: September 8th, 2011 under Conventions, Good News, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
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Just got back today.  Had two good writing days on trains (2000+ words each day) after a brief conference with Editor at the convention.     As usual, time away from a project allows more balanced contemplation of what’s already been done.     I realized, for instance, that a pivotal scene I’d been thinking about for months had never actually made it into the computer–an extreme case of “I know that, but I didn’t show that.”

I worked on it on the train.  It’s a hard one to write–there’s a lot of unfamiliar ‘magic’ going on–but it’s linked to a later one I did write.

I explained to Editor that Book IV has been affected by the LifeStuff happening this summer, and though I will do my best to fix all that by the time it goes to Editor,  it may need more attention than previous volumes.   Luckily, the first draft should be done well before it was done last year.   Unless, that is, I need to overwrite the end of the book (moving on into Book V) to find the right ending for IV.

Then Editor explained to me that Editor is taking early retirement as of the first of the year.    UK Editor is leaving Orbit for another publisher.   The wail you hear is a writer feeling orphaned (not the first time and won’t be the last…happens to all.  But…WAIL.)  Not to fear:  Books IV and V are not in any present danger.

Present length–about 145,800 words in the rough/first draft.    Tonight I’ll be transferring the new long-file (the one done on the netbook in Word 2010, yuck) to the main computer and removing the formatting changes Word 2010 imposes.     Then tomorrow–back on book.

Dragon*Con was a lot of fun but even more crowded than last year, and I came into it with less energy.  Still, fun.  And wonderful costumes.  And friends to see, old and new.  And a wonderful knitting circle Sunday afternoon.   I *like* knitting in a group, it turns out.

Good news arrived while I was in transit to Dragon*Con and while I was in transit coming home:   husband’s tumor is actually in the low-risk category for early metastasis (learned on the way up) and the oncologist agrees that watchful waiting is the best thing to do (learned on the way back.)    We still desperately need rain and the end of the wildfires (I could see the smoke from the Bastrop area fire from far East Texas on the train yesterday evening) but otherwise the stress level should now drop and let me finish this book with a clearer head.


  • Comment by iphinome — September 8, 2011 @ 6:41 pm


    I think we’re all glad that you’re home safe and sound and the con was fun. Kudos to your squires for making the travel as painless as they could.

    Three cheers for the squires! Hip Hip… *looks around* oh sure, NOW the greek chorus decides to leave.

    Wish I could have gone to dragoncon but alas, had to stay home and make civil rights complains against the local guard. It may fly in Tsia but in USAland you don’t detain people walking in public and refuse to let them go unless they give identification papers.

  • Comment by MaryW — September 8, 2011 @ 7:36 pm


    I would love to send you some of the rain we have had here in Virginia. We did need rain but we have had way too much. I think the dogs would prefer to have webbed feet. We have a collie and a llasa. They do not like rain. Snow is great but rain….

  • Comment by Celina — September 8, 2011 @ 11:31 pm


    It sounds like you had a great trip 😀 Hopefully some rain will come and stop the wildfires.

  • Comment by Jenn — September 9, 2011 @ 8:00 am


    Knitting at Dragoncon!!!!!! My dragons are going green with envy. Well except for Dominic he was always green. I have started the mittens as cold (whoo hoo) weather approaches. I am attempting double knit reversible ones that I think I finally have the rhythm for.

    I am very happy that things turned out well for you and your husband and I will keep the prayers going on this end.

    @iphinome sorry I hired the Greek chorus and sent them to the Pirate formerly known as Alured. Haven’t heard from them in a while though.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 9, 2011 @ 10:10 am


    I wish my fingers would not do the stupids and keep making mistakes. It’s just knitting and purling. That’s all. But it’s still hard to get through one knitting session without mistakes. How often do you more experienced knitters blow a simple row of knit stitches?

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 9, 2011 @ 10:10 am


    Last night’s weather segment said no rain for the next two weeks at least. Bleh.

    But I did have a great trip.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 9, 2011 @ 10:11 am


    I remember my collie in rain. We never had snow where we lived then (south tip of Texas) so he never had the fun of snow.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 9, 2011 @ 10:38 am


    Sorry you had that problem.

  • Comment by Kerry (aka Trouble) — September 9, 2011 @ 1:26 pm


    It was wonderful to see you again at Dragon*Con. I’m glad the book is going so well and sorry about the Editors. Still, change is part of life, so I hope the replacements will work well with you. Next year in Chicago 🙂

  • Comment by Jenn — September 9, 2011 @ 1:37 pm


    If it makes you feel better I have ripped out the double knit mittens 2 1/2 times

    1) I didn’t connect the cast on colors so the cuff split and rolled upward as I knit :}

    2) I cast on too many stitches so the cuff was the right size for Andre the Giant. (I am not using a written pattern just the knowledge of basic mittens.)

    1/2) I started a checker pattern and forgot that you need an even divide and ended up with 3, 3, 6 (that I only ripped to the start of the checker) So I am back to plain stripes until the thumb gusset then I am doing checkers. 2X2 should work out right.

    And I only have 1 1/2 inches done of the cuff.

    I am expecting several more ripping sessions but I figure when you rip you learn. And this is my first double knit project.

    So don’t get discouraged when you have to rip back we have all been there.

  • Comment by Naomi — September 10, 2011 @ 11:54 am


    Dear Ellizabeth, glad to hear the news for your husband is more positve, all best wishes to him. Wish I could send you some of the rain we’ve had in Belgium, even the birds are sounding soggy

  • Comment by Kaye — September 10, 2011 @ 3:56 pm


    I was worried about the wildfires reaching your homestead, so I brought up a map of the Austin area. It looked like you live north of Austin, and the current winds are blowing the fires away from you, so I was very relieved. All of us in Texas would even welcome a tropical storm to dump some rain on us! It doesn’t look like “Nate” will do the job, though.

  • Comment by Mrs Redboots — September 14, 2011 @ 4:55 am


    Glad all is going so well for your husband and the book!

    And I have been knitting for over 50 years, and I still rip out frequently, and even more frequently do I make odd mistakes and have to correct in the next row, or when I happen to spot them.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 14, 2011 @ 8:26 am


    My mother-the-engineer insisted that fixing mistakes–including ripping out seams in sewing and rows in knitting–was necessary to any work. Fixing mistakes in writing or in art never bothered me much, but ripping out in sewing was so unpleasant that I quit sewing. In knitting I’ve tended to make a virtue of the mistakes–turn them into part of the design (when possible.) I think it may be that when I messed up in sewing, my mother was right there telling me what I’d done wrong–so even without her presence, there was scolding and guilting going on, both for the mistake and the dislike of ripping out. And the pattern was someone else’s pattern–yes, I wanted that dress or that blouse, but it wasn’t my own design, even so. (I was never that great about following directions.)

    But she wasn’t a writer, and I didn’t talk about process with her: when I “frog” a phrase or a chapter, it’s both quicker (highlight/delete) and free of the voice in my head. Also, since it was “my pattern” to start with, (and really “no pattern” but the demands of the story, since I don’t outline) I’m free to wander around in story-land, exploring and feeling my way, and the “mistakes” carry no load of existential error.

  • Comment by Jenn — September 14, 2011 @ 10:28 am


    Sounds like you need to enter the realm of “self-design” in knitting. Scarves are the best to learn to design on. After all knitting is simply casting on knitting and purling and then casting off. It is amazing how few rows one needs for a pretty pattern.

    I made a gorgeous baby blanket whose pattern was 4 rows and three were straight stocking stitch. I will see if I can find it if you are interested.

    Have you learned how to pick up dropped stitches with a crochet needle? If so that is sometimes the easiest way to fix a wrong stitch rather than rip out six rows to turn a knit into a purl.

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