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[books] Pinion

Tourbillon has acquired an official production title of Pinion. That makes the three book arc:

  • Mainspring (Tor, 2007)
  • Escapement (Tor, 2008)
  • Pinion (Tor, 2010)

And so we rock on.

[writing] Progris riport, day 5, revising Tourbillon

Six chapters on close line-edit today, along with various outbursts of writing-related program activities. Going to knock off now to rest my brain and shift gears to do some Endurance brainstorming with . And read part of Watchmen, since I’ve managed to replace my missing copy of the graphic novel.

Once I’m done with this read of Tourbillon (Wednesday, possibly), I’m going to go back for another pass to excise larger chunks. I need it firmly in my head first, though.

[writing] Progris riport, day 4, revising Tourbillon

Three more chapters on Tourbillon today, the last two at a write-in at ‘s house. I also did a final editing pass on “Chain of Stars” for Subterranean, which wasn’t a deep distraction since it’s also in the Mainspring continuity.

Other distractions today include visiting a friend at the hospital who is probably dying right now. She was semiconscious and incoherent, but I held her hand a little while and spoke to her. And left her some flowers.

Off to a dinner out soon, more writing tomorrow.

[writing] Progris riport, day 3, revising Tourbillon

I am on the third day of Tourbillon revisions, and have just finished a close read through the end of chapter four of the draft. All I’m doing right now is getting way down to the line level, editing as I go. Once I’ve gone through the book this way, and have it firmly in my head once more, I’ll go back through seeking larger scale cuts and changes. The draft is about 35% over wordcount, so a great deal of cutting and tightening will be in order.

I should have this pass done before the end of March.

[personal] Home

Home. Late, sleepy, tomorrow will be very tight. Lunch with is planned.

Am informed of some serious health issues among non-LJ friends-and-family here in PDX, which is saddening.

On the plus side, I had a brilliant weekend at Potlatch, then in San Francisco helping get settled.

Also, began Tourbillon revisions today.

More to come.

[personal] Books and moving

Heading home at the end of the day today. It’s been a good few days here in the Bay Area. Potlatch was a lot of fun. Since Sunday I’ve been helping get moved in — providing tech support for her Internet connectivity, doing hardwarish things, managing furniture deliveries and maintenance visits on the new place. Last night we went to the release party for S.G. Browne’s Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament [ Amazon ]. The venue was not to my taste, but it was a rocking party.

Some Day Jobbery now, then some Tourbillon finally (been weirdly busy the last few days), then home this evening to Nuevo Rancho Lake.

[personal|writing] Miscellaneous updatery

Went out walking at 4 am, from the bottom of Cole Valley to the top of Twin Peaks. Yowza is that some hill work. This part of San Francisco is very different from my part of Portland. Met a skunk coming back down Twin Peaks. She and I had the same ideas about where to go next, and a little sarabande ensued on the darkened roadway as our mutual see-and-avoid routines went into flipping pig mode. No greater mishap occurred, thank Ghu.

Also, I thought of a rather elegant title for a piece of short military SF. So elegant I can’t think it hasn’t already been used, but I’ve never seen it, either.

In other news, is rather nicely moved in, given what amounts to all of two days’ effort. Unless something urgent crops up today, after the Day Jobbe I’m going to commence the Tourbillon revisions, which I need to have done by the end of March. So this does seem like a good time to start them.

Some social stuff tonight, here tomorrow, then onward to Greater Portlandia and Nuevo Rancho Lake tomorrow evening. Y’all play nice til I get back.

[process] Fun with outlines

I continue to leg-wrestle with the Endurance outline. 1,500 new words yesterday and a lot of thinking. As noted before, working on Sunspin and The Heart of the Beast has seriously rearranged my outlining process. It’s a challenge, in the “growth opportunity” sense, not in the “stumbling block” sense.

I plan to be done with this by the weekend, because I need to revising Tourbillon next week. When I am done, I’ll make a more detailed post about my experience of the process shifts and what I think it might mean. Mostly what it means, I hope, is a stronger book.

[books] Green and Greener

The last few days I’ve been thinking about a sequel to Green. I believe I’ll make some story notes, and probably write a synopsis, before I get on to the revision Tourbillon at the beginning of March. I know the new title (for now): Endurance. I have the opening scene in my head, which means Fred is gnawing on it. Putting words to paper will let me get on to other things, while giving the ideas a chance to digest and be socialized among them what needs to know.

So properly, I suppose this post should be entitled Green and Endurance. More to come, and maybe even a WIP, if I wax sufficiently poetic.

[books|writing] Thinking about the road ahead

So here in my post-novel ennui of the past 24 hours, I have sold a novella, signed 500 sig sheets of the METAtropolis limited edition, mailed out a few more Green ARCs, done story marketing WRPA in which I noted that I recently passed the 250 stories mark, have been working several interesting short fiction publishing deals, and, um, cleaned my house. But I already reported that last bit.

My brain being what it is, I’m quite actively thinking about the road ahead, book-wise. Here’s what’s committed, what’s on deck, and what’s floating in my backbrain waiting for time and focus.


  • Revisions to Tourbillon (March)
  • Revisions to the Heart of the Beast (whenever Jeff gets them to me)

On Deck

  • Continue to write first volume of diplomatic/espionage thriller series with my Dad the retired ambassador (as time permits)
  • Develop collaborative concepts with (YA trilogy) and (steampunk romance) (as time permits)
  • Draft Sunspin (From May through Ghu only knows when)


  • Sequel to Green
  • Original Destiny, Manifest Sin
  • Black Tulip
  • Reign of Flowers
  • As yet unnamed Mainspring book which started jogging my elbow as I worked on “Chain of Stars”

That last bunch won’t happen this year, and some of them may never happen unless there’s commercial demand, but they’re in my head. I already know that even if I were a full time writer, sans day job, I couldn’t write much more than I do now. It’s not like I can write any faster. In point of fact, recent bouts of hypergraphia aside, I’ve been trying to slow down in the interests of improved pacing and work quality.

It’s fun to juggle all these balls in my head. It will be interesting to see where and how they land in real life.

[writing] What drafting a book does to my life

First drafting a novel for me is always a bit of a sprint. Last spring, Green was about 200,000 words in 35 days. Last fall, Tourbillon was about 200,000 words in 51 days (I was being a slacker on that one). Just now, Heart of the Beast was 40,500 words in nine days, once I got to straight drafting, plus the eleven previous days of revision and bridge writing on Jeff’s draft. Not quite the long-haul sprint (so to speak) of the other books, but if you do the math, a comparable pace. (And we shan’t speak of what Sunspin is likely to be…)

When I come off of one these writing jags, it feels rather like running up the stairs and not realizing you’ve made it to the top. I look around the house and discover a bleeding mess. I look in the mirror and discover that my beard has advanced beyond the razor-wired Maginot line of my indifferent maintenance. I wonder why the laundry hasn’t been done, then remember that a) I live alone; and b) I haven’t been doing the laundry.

My IRL friends will tell you how distracted and generally unfocused, even inattentive, I become when I’m in manuscript mode. A book sort of eats my brain, and that’s almost the most fun I can have. But as all good things must come to an end, eventually I must recover equilibrium.

So tonight’s writing activities consisted of a bunch of house-cleaning and maintenance of various sorts, along with Con prep, packing and whatnot. Given that I’m leaving town tomorrow for nine days, this seems like as good a time as any, because I’d sure hate to come back to this mess.

[process] Ouch, did anyone get the number of that manuscript?

I just realized that I have written slightly over 20,000 words of first draft fiction in the past three days. No wonder I’m feeling a bit whacked upside the head. Mind you, I’ve written more than that in one day a time or two, but those are the kind of days that make you spend the next lying on the couch wishing they made pizza you could sip from a can so you wouldn’t have to get up.

This sort of hypergraphic frenzy can be typical of me finishing a novel, though on the last two first draft projects (Green and Tourbillon) I limited my daily wordcount to guard against burnout, so I never hit this level of burst production.

Chances are very good that ordinarily I would finish The Heart of the Beast tomorrow — I have a chapter and a half to go, maybe 6,000 words — except that I owe revisions on a novella to a market, and I promised them for tomorrow. So I expect I’ll put in my two hours tomorrow, then switch to the novella. But I’ll be startled if I don’t cap this sucker on Wednesday, unless Fred has saved up some real surprises for the ending.

I’ll talk more about wordage and burst mode and how this completely different outlining regimen has affected my process when I do the post-mortem later. For now, suffice to say there’s some very good reasons I’ve moved away from burst mode writing in general, but when it comes upon me, I don’t feel compelled to fight it off with torches and pitchforks.