In which words flow, but not where I need them

The place: The Facebook website thingie.

The time: A moment of weakness (escaping from my manuscript).

The assignment: “Exercise!!! 250-500-100 words (some kind of narrative). No “to be” verbs!”

The inspiration: This great photo….

Sneakers

My jotted whatnot:

Without Sole

Has anyone seen my sneakers? They walked off with my soul, and now I wander the earth, barefoot and in mourning, experiencing a life bereft of meaning.

Who knew shoes could take so much merely through their absence? Those soul-stealing soles completed me. Betrayers!

Tomorrow I have a date with a pair of sandals. In my younger days, I feared them. I thought they would tie me down. Those doubts plague me still.

Enough! No more whining! I shall pick myself up by my bootstraps—

Now where did THEY run off to?

—LLS, June 2014

Placed here for posterity. Now back to real stuff.

Has it gotten any easier?

The pain and suffering of Scrivener exports to Word

As a writing tool, I love Scrivener. Unfortunately this comes with some hindrances:

  • Scrivener is not a standard format, so you have to compile and export anything you do to to anything with it.
  • Microsoft Word is a standard format in publishing—obviously people in publishing are a bunch of masochists—but Scrivener’s exports to Word are unstyled.
  • Scrivener’s exports to the .mobi format are barely adequate. Scrivener’s exports to the .epub format are famously incompatible with ebook retailers and need to be cleaned up.
  • Scrivener has no export to InDesign—perhaps to be expected, as InDesign can import Word docs.

What I’m realizing is that I’m going to have to use Scrivener for a first-draft tool only, and then export to Word and finish every work in Word. For someone who loathes Word, that’s a sad prospect.

But what’s more sad is that before I can get going on the Word doc, I have to go through and define all the Styles in the manuscript. And it’s not easy, because the process results in loss of tabs, loss of italicization, loss of any and every special style I defined in my Scrivener manuscript (e.g., styles for text messaging). I have to spend hours going through a novel-length document looking for words and sentences that should be italicized, sentences that should be styled as text messages, and so on.

This has me questioning my entire workflow.

Scrivener » Word (garbage) » Word (manual cleanup) » [final delivery formatting app]

And it’s a huge distraction from writing.

Entering creative space (Morning Check-Up for Artists)

Laura Lis Scott:

Time to close the browser.

Originally posted on chrismcmullen:

Writing

Imagination On. Check.

Motivation On. Check.

Quiet On. Check.

Distractions Off. Check.

Comfort Zone On. Check.

Eyes Ready. Check.

Mind Open. Check.

It’s a go.

Take a deep breath.

Creativity blasting off in 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0.

Let those creative juices flow.

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

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Jay Lake, Remembered

Laura Lis Scott:

I never met Jay Lake. I stumbled across Green when it came out in trade paper in 2011, and loved it. Aside from reading the sequels and other books by Jay, I started following his blog.

It was at times heartbreaking to read about his travails with cancer. Yet he was also inspiring with his battling spirit (always with a degree of cheer, even when it must’ve been bravado). When he crowdfunded the sequencing of his genome and registered for NIH drug trials—the NIH loved that he had the sequencing done, what an opportunity!—he won even more of my admiration.

When we learned that the trial treatment did not work as hoped, my heart sank. Having watched my father die a couple of years ago—an experience that still haunts me—I felt all too keenly what would be next.

By all accounts, Jay was much loved by his many friends. I loved him virtually, through his blog, and through his dreams shared in his books.

49 is too young. Fuck cancer.

Originally posted on Whatever:

I can’t actually remember when it was that I first met Jay Lake, which is an unusual thing for me. I can often tell you the exact time and place I met most people I care about, from my oldest friend Kyle (on the bus on the first day of second grade) onward. I suspect my memory of meeting Jay is more diffuse because I first knew so many people who knew Jay, so that by the time we had our first meeting it felt, by commutative property, that I already knew him. I’m racking my brain here and coming up with nothing. From the point of view of my memory, Jay just was.

The picture above, taken at 2013′s Nebula Awards Weekend, was one of the last times I saw him in person. In case you’re not clear what’s going on here, he’s attempting to taste my…

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Facebook will remind you how fucked up you are and also try to make money off of it.

Laura Lis Scott:

Because Facebook wants you to be dysfunctional. (Cf. Piggies for tomorrow.)

Originally posted on The Bloggess:

I was just on Facebook, and this popped up in my feed as something suggested for me personally:

squirrelbutt

And first of all, it’s disconcerting when you get targeted advertising for half a dead squirrel, and it’s not even the good half.   Why send me this ad?  It’s as if Facebook said, “Hey, we saw this asshole and thought of you.”

And then it’s even more insulting because it’s all “Still interested?” as if they’re implying that this was something I was definitely interested in at one point.  And no, I’m not interested.  That’s why I didn’t bid on it when I saw it yesterday, eBay.  I was just looking at it.  STOP MAKING WEIRD ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ME.  It’s creeping me out and it’s also making me feel bad about my internet surfing because probably everyone else is getting targeted ads for pretty dresses or new phones, whereas my page is all, “THIS ASSHOLE COULD…

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P

P is for Priorities

I haven’t been blogging the A to Z Challenge these past few days because they were blocking me from getting the necessary things done—namely writing my novel, editing Kate‘s novels, and preparing books for publishing (and other life obligations).

PI’ve been blogging for well over a decade, and love it. I’m not stopping blogging altogether. It’s just that, given the day job, trying to wedge in the A to Z Challenge as well was turning out to be a burden. I have to focus on priorities.

So no more A to Z, unless serendipitous Muse comes for a visit. Thank you, everyone who stopped by and commented. I hope to see you again.

K

K is for Keyboard

Regular keyboards give me a pain — a pain in the wrist, specifically. It makes a huge difference when you’re typing a lot for emails, blog posts, proposals, articles … and novels.

I tried a number of keyboards.

Kinesis keyboard photo

The Kinesis Advantage is one of the most radical ergonomic keyboards out there. With scooped-out keyboard forms, it’s designed to conform to typical finger paths, not conventional keyboard grids. However, there’s a very steep learning curve. I didn’t care for it, though, because of the rather long keystrokes. With some hacks, such as swapping key switches and adding rubber rings underneath each key to try to limit they keystroke distance, but this already is a very expensive keyboard (several hundred dollars) so I regretfully had to return it.

 

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic photo

The Microsoft Sculpt keyboard is a lightweight and modern offering from the company that had the most popular ergonomic keyboard in the 1990s. It wasn’t bad, but the Option and Command keys are swapped in position, which would require new less-optimal keystroke habits. In the end, I sent it back primarily for this reason.

 

Goldtouch Go!2 keyboard photo

The Goldtouch Go!2 keyboard does not have curves, but it does have a universal joint in the middle that allows you to angle they left and right halves of the keyboard, and even peak it in the middle, so you can find your own comfort position to avoid things like wrist pronation that can contribute to RSI. I like the quick-action scissor-switch keys, which are most like the keys on Apple keyboards, and don’t require a ton of motion in order to register a keystroke—very important when you don’t want to feel like you’re typing through mud. The keyboard has a switch for Mac and PC layouts. And it folds up, making it portable. Some people may dislike that it’s a USB keyboard, but I don’t mind—one less battery-driven device to worry about.

How I am happy.

The Scream, by Edvard Munch (oil on canvas, 1893)

I is for Iambic Pentameter

ITo what domain should I devote my pen?
To verse where I betray my ignorance?
For I to put these words on blogging, sense
Is strained by hackneyed turns of phrase — what then?
Oh Muse! Betray me not! This dalliance
Is but a metered post occasioned when
The A to Z endeavor strikes again
A block on all my words. And so I hence
State:
I am giving up writing iambic pentameter.
Trochee troubles set up by dactyl frustrations.
And lines get tangled up in dull calculations
So my all my metrical feet can all, in the end, fit inside there.