Friday, December 16, 2011

Lots of words...none of them mine

A.k.a. "Oh my god! There's only a week until Christmas! I gotta buy presents for people!"

So yeah, been off spending time at the bookstore, ha ha ha. I'm terrible at the whole gift giving thing (not just Christmas --- any conceivable occasion for giving someone something large or small, I suck at it), but over the years I pretty much gave up on it. Now I mostly give people books. My kids: books. My cousin's kids: books (and toys, as they're still very young). Other friends and family: books. I suppose it's a failure of empathy: I know I love to get books myself. Relatives have given me... clothing before. And I just grump in a terribly ungrateful fashion. I imagine some of them do the same upon receiving some random book. Ah well. I mean, I do try to make them age-appropriate, and I don't give people books I don't like, but still. Yeah. Books!

...all right. Books, and weird toys that I found amusing. Cute wind-up toys! Gliders, airplanes, kites, and other flying things! Spinning rail monkeys! Cheap yet effective. The screaming monkey was not so successful. I have hopes for the magnetic cannon this year, but we'll see how it works out when we get the package.

...and yeah, we have too many computers and video games in the house. I think we have more computers than people at this point. Pathetic, eh?

...so, no writing done this week. Gah.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gah! My Shambhala is populated by hobbits...

...or something. I have to stop romanticizing rural villages. I read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy at an impressionable age, and this mental image of low-tech farm life as being an innocent paradise has stuck with me ever since. Even though I have relatives from a low-tech rural background. Even my father is not that far removed from it. And I have personally visited (briefly) poverty-stricken villages in China, including the one where my father's older sister lived, and I heard with my own ears about the bad times when they nearly starved, with kids suffering permanent damage from the starvation and others dying. There's a reason why people in rural villages want to leave, and try to send their children to school so they can have a better life.

But here I sit in the comfort of suburbia writing... the Shire, except with more yaks and sheep. Um. Yeah. No wonder I'm not convinced. On the other hand, Shambhala is supposed to be this fantastical place, in fact, a rural paradise! It seems incongruous if I make it all urbanized. Ok, it does have at least one city, but...can we imagine it full of traffic, smog, and modern skyscrapers?* I can, but is that what I want? I can't stand the confusion in my mind!**

What does this have to do with anything?

I need to smudge the "rural paradise" aspect in order to make my ending make more sense. And there's the problem that two (three, but one's dead by this point) of the characters are supposedly from the "real world" (or an urban fantasy version of it), so the fairy tale has to meet that halfway.

Ok, yeah, enough blather, back to writing.

* and sewage. I nearly included in my NaNo some scenes where people discuss the various types of toilets and the disposal of the waste (and whether demons/spirits/magic is involved in Shambhala), but didn't. My children accused me (when I was talking about it) of being obsessed with the subject. So yeah.

** random classic Doctor Who quote.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NaNo Fools! THIS is what a "word war" is!

Word War vi

Damn you kids and your fancy schmancy writing software! I always do my NaNos (and first drafts in general) in plain text files, using my favorite text editor, vim. (Though I have been known to use notepad when I didn't have vim at hand. I don't like notepad, but it does stop me trying to edit anything, because editing is too tedious and annoying in notepad.) Hrmph! Vim is small, fast, and pretty easy (except when I accidentally delete 30 lines or cut and paste something 100 times because of a typo). It matches up brackets for me: (,{,[, trouble me no more with the nested nested nested nested bits of code! Ha ha! And it knows things like html tags and php functions and so on and so forth, marking stuff with color coding so I know when I've misspelled a function or forgot to close a comment section.

Anyway. Thank you, vim, for getting me through another year of NaNoWriMo!

And die, emacs, die!

P.S. Just kidding about the emacs. Some of my best friends use emacs.