Staring Into Space While Cleaning

I’m getting company this afternoon (YAY) so I’m cleaning, which in this house means getting a backhoe.  The thing about cleaning is, it’s pretty mindless except for the “Why is that in here?” moments and the “I should just get a box of garbage bags and put everything into them” moments.  That means that I am now productive while staring into space, which is what I’ve been doing for much of June because Discovery Draft sometimes comes with a side order of “Why would that happens?” (Because the Girls want it to.)  And “How could that happen?”  And What does that mean? (Who care, write the damn book.)

Example: I really like the fact that Nick is dead.  I also really like the changes that happened because he’s poisoned with Lazarus Plant which has unexpected side effects (unexpected to the Bad Guys; the whole thing is unexpected for the Good Guys).  These side effects involve him cycling through five hundred years of different Nicks, and that’s a pain in the ass to write. But the stuff I get from that–Nita having to deal with a dozen different Nicks after starting a relationship with him, Max making a choice between protecting Nick and telling Mammon, Nick himself having to sort through a maelstrom of identities–is too rich to jettison just because it’s hard to write.   So I stare into space and look at this piece of plot like it’s three-dimensional, turning it different ways in my brain so I can see all the sides of it.  Every plot point is like a gear that turns multiple other gears.  Which means I have to look at those gears, too.  So cogitating..

Then there’s the whole physical thing, in particular, blood flow.  Everything I’ve been writing pretty much  means that Nick gets a fully functioning body back, but I want him to still be dead, no heartbeat.  I don’t know why I want that, but the Girls seem convinced.  However, if he’s dead (no heartbeat) then there’s no blood flow.  I kinda need a blood flow here.  Cogitating.

And then there’s Nita’s plot.  The first turning point is Nita accepting the supernatural.  The next two turning points are Nick’s.  But Nick is the subplot, which means I’ve lost the thread of Nita’s plot.  (What plot?)  I have the romance arc and it’s solid.  What the hell is Nita doing?    I know, fighting evil, and I did give her the last turning point, the climax, but the middle seems to belong to Nick.  Nope, nope, nope, cogitating.  

There’s more but I have to go clear a path from the front door to the guest room so Krissie can get to her bed tonight.  I think we’re seeing Wonder Woman on Friday, so we’ll have a spoiler post then.  Plus I can run all of this stuff by Krissie to see what she thinks.  She was against the hero being a skeleton so she’ll be happy about him having a body again, but when I e-mailed her and told I was thinking about skipping the sex scene, she wrote back, “Nooooooooo.”  And it would be a cowardly thing to do since the first time people make love is usually pretty significant for the relationship.  I’ve got the run-up done and the aftermath, it’s just the mechanics I’m not interested in.

I’ll think about that while I’m finishing the dishes.  The heat from the water usually makes me warm anyway.   Argh.

What’s new with you?



64 thoughts on “Staring Into Space While Cleaning

  1. Ooh, I hope you two watch Wonder Woman. I want to hear everyone’s thoughts. I *really* wanted to like it, but it left me pretty underwhelmed, but I’m open to what I might have missed. My husband liked it, but discussing books and movies with him is a chore, although I always try. He has a PhD in neuroscience, but I could have been having the conversation with a five year old:

    So what did you like about the movie?
    I don’t know. The story was good.
    What was good about the story?
    It was different than other superhero movies.
    Okay, what was different?
    You know. It was better.
    (Long pause) Wanna get something to eat?
    Yeah. Let’s go to Little Big Burger (goes on to analyze, in depth, why LBB is better than any other burger joint in the world)

    So, really looking forward to some observations 🙂

    1. I loved the movie. Keep in mind I went in with very low expectations after the rest of the DC movie messes. But I am a flaming feminist and I was going to see the first real female-lead superhero movie in a long or bust.

      But really, I loved it.
      I liked that it was set in WWI, which never made any sense to me in history class. They are fighting because…? So Aries made sense in that context for me.

      I loved that Chris Pine repeatedly was ok with Diana being physically stronger than him, right up until the end where he acknowledged that she would be needed later.

      I love that she remained what I consider to be essentially female in her thinking, where individuals, children, came first. It felt like her motivation came from a mothering, nurturing place.

      I love that she is a markedly non-white female in a lead role. In the past Wonder Woman has been a Caucasian female with dark hair, and that the cast maintained a certain cultural diversity. I also say The Magnificent Seven (hated it) and thought it was ridiculous that the token people of color in the seven sallied forth in an entirely white West.

      What else? I’m having a love fest here. Oh! I really, really really love that Diana didn’t curl up into a little ball of “I will never love again” after Steve died. She honored and grieved him, but she stayed true to herself and what he taught her. She lived a full life and she kept kicking butt.

      Also included, I adore Steve’s secretary. I don’t remember her name. Not only is she plucky, capable and sarcastic, but when she is handed a sword and something bad happens, she is going to point it at the bad guys. Never mind the fact that she has never held one before.

      I also love that the movie was directed by an upcoming female director, and that it emphasizes peace.

      So, enough of the love fest. Was it the best movie ever made? No. But it was enjoyable, fun, and hit a lot of good notes for me. What were you hoping for? Where did it leave you underwhelmed? I would love to discuss it with you 🙂

      1. Wow, you really did love it!!

        Your point about her being “essentially female” in her thinking was something I really liked about the movie, but wasn’t able to articulate. Thank you!

        I loved that she was motivated by compassion, rather than having to shut down her humanity in order to steel herself to fight. (I like the trope where you have to self-harden in order to get through a bloody fight, too, but her response was authentic to her character and refreshing.) And that No-Man’s land scene was awesome. Oh, and I liked the fish-out-of-water scenes 🙂

        I also admired many of the things you mentioned – strong female lead, directed by a woman, the cultural aspects, etc. Unfortunately, I never got swept away in the story. Everything just felt so … thin. Could be I just gravitate to the more angsty superhero movies (and I think this movie got lots of praise for NOT being that).

        I will say I found some of the dialogue cringe-worthy — I’m thinking of that dramatic moment where she says something like “it’s not what you deserve, it’s what you believe that matters. And I believe in love!” And her big realization (humans are neither all good or all bad) was important to her, but I guess I wanted something I could think about after the movie ended – I’ve figured that one out 🙂

        Anyway, I am glad I saw it, and I’m glad Gadot is getting such a good reception. She deserves it.

        1. I loved it, and went back within the week to see it again, which I don’t often do. There were a couple of moments, which I can’t pinpoint without spoilers, which articulated with power and grace what the “Time to pull on the Big Girl Pants” moments in life feel like to me. I just wish I could do it as well as Wonder Woman.

          From an analytical point of view, I like that Diana’s story is exploring how strength, intelligence and idealism fits into a very imperfect world, rather than a flawed and angsty hero for a change. If you have a gift, if you can see the problems with the world, how do you use that gift to make a difference and make things better without being overwhelmed by the scope of the problems and curling up in a ball?

        2. You make some good points as well. And as I said, I had fairly low expectations. I grew up with a little brother who loved all things superhero, and let me tell you, about the third time they remade Spiderman, his heart-jerking origin story had lost its charm. Don’t even get me started on Bucky Barnes falling of a train and bumping his head…

    2. I thought it was perfectly adequate, but it didn’t thrill me. I thought the writers and director did a good job of staying true to the character and setting up the future.

  2. I’m staring into space myself but it’s because I’m on a deadline and I’ve got no ideas. Pooh. And I’m not even getting any cleaning done!

    On the other hand, I saw Wonder Woman opening weekend and am keenly anticipating your review.

    1. I”m looking forward to the review too. My 9 year old daughter desperately wants to see Wonder Woman. Is it appropriate for kids under the age of 10? She hasn’t seen a ton of live action movies and does have issues with ghosts, zombies, etc.

      1. FWIW – there are some pretty intense fight scenes. Nothing too gory, but horses flying through the air, people getting shot, etc. and then a pretty scary looking villain at the end (at least, I thought so).

      2. I took my 10 and 7yos, and they were fine. Mind you, my little had to leave Moana, but she’s fine with superhero movies. She had a few bad moments, but they weren’t during the fight scenes – she gets overwhelmed by emotions, so it was the love story that got her. But both girls definitely want to see it again.

  3. I’m wiped out from having a good friend to stay for four days. We had a great time: discussed politics (she arrived the day after the election; and shared the wonderful New Yorker satire on it –, wandered round open studios for two days, being inspired, and went to look at a cottage which turned out to be too small and dark for me to buy. All good, but now I’m exhausted – as usual nowadays after lots of socialising. Hoping to bounce back tomorrow.

    1. Oh, thank you for the NYer piece. We travel with the multitude of nations, and the Brits are sorely vexed.

  4. I’m sitting in an exam room, waiting for the billionth round of tests for my as-yet-undiagnosed illness. Hoping despite the results, I’ll be cleared to go back to work this week because I’m out of sick days and stuff.


    1. I clicked the heart but wanted to explain I did so as I’m hoping you get an accurate diagnosis that has an easy cure and that you got it today.

  5. I have spent the last two days wrapping up the cleaning spree. We will be having company for five weeks starting Wednesday. This will be our fifth year participating in this program, a young farmer exchange with Poland and Texas. We always enjoy sharing Texas and USA with these young people, but it’s also work to prepare and then house and feed for that long.

    I am SO looking forward to you and The Girls working everything out, so Nita’s book can be published and I can get my hot little hands on it!

  6. Okay, I’m going to buck the trend here and discuss Nita and Nick. (I’m not planning on catching Wonder Woman in the theater)
    I get why they don’t want him to have a heart, or why I’d think that might be a good idea. But sometimes it’s better to buck the use of the metaphor and make the cigar just a cigar and the heart just a useful muscle that moves blood around. Always making it the seat of love is archetypical but also stereotypical. And there are other ways you can play with this. (for example, as I learned twenty years ago this last spring, when your pancreas doesn’t function everything between your esophagus and your rectum goes on vacation) Of course without the heart, in the metaphorical sense, someone can’t be considered to be human, but Nick is’t a metaphor, he’s a character and the co-protagonist. (In the same sense as co-pilot)
    As to your major plot points, the question is not who owns those points, but instead how your protagonist responds to those points. I know there’s a movement towards characters always being the active force in a story, but that always comes off as contrived to me, because that isn’t the way it always is in life. (It’s why there are both kings and queens in the suits of the tarot)

      1. Somehow, the vampires in Buffy and Angel managed to get erections without having a heartbeat. If they can do it, Nick can!

        1. He used to bleed, too, didn’t he? I don’t think you bleed without a heartbeat. Nothing to push the blood out.
          Of course, he DRANK a lot of blood.

          1. They all definitely bled. Angel even breathed a few times (I mean, we saw it, not just the actor obviously needing to breathe), but I think those were dramatic license (forex, breathing out the cigarette smoke of the woman he killed right after turning into Angelus). But yeah, I suppose you’d need an explanation for how the blood moves without a heartbeat. I don’t suppose the Lazarus plant could do it? Whoever’s poisoning him doesn’t want him to die right away, right? Blood is important for all sorts of things in the body, not just erections. 🙂

          2. Why can’t his heart start to beat when he is properly stimulated? That would power the hydraulics long enough for sex, and then back to no heartbeat. Something magical about her touch bringing him to life (insert sappy cliche here but what the hell if it works)…

        2. This was going to be my answer too. Buffy for the win.

          I was also thinking, when people die all their blood pools at the low parts causing (calling on my knowledge of CSI) “increased lividity” in those areas. He’d look pretty weird with all his blood in his legs not being moved around by something.

          1. That’s a corpse. He’s a skeleton. Well, it’s been 500 years.
            Also if he’s lying on his back, that’s where the blood would go.

      2. Oh. Erections. My mind doesn’t go there unless I’m in a POV. But I suppose an older gentleman would be terribly worried about how his worked.

        I don’t think your readers particularly need to know how it works — it’ll either blow right by them, or they will create their own reasons for why it works (if they like him). But it sounds like YOU need to know how it works, and I don’t think a writer should ignore that kind of thing.

  7. What’s new with me? Jill just sent me a great real-life example that might point the way to my paranormal short-fiction being seen by hundreds of eyes. Plus, the guy has a great attitude about reviewers that my subconscious needed to hear. I’m really excited!

    Re: Nick’s body. Djinn were not flesh and blood (earth); I think traditionally they were thought to be made of fire and smoke (fire). So, that would lead one’s logic to think that there must be also some sort of water being, and some sort of air being. Single-celled animals also work on pressure differentials, if you need some sort of scientific basis. So, a water being might not need a heart, but just some way to generate heat or pressure differences that move the water elements around in circulation.

    Or, why do we have real beating hearts in the first place? If there’s blood flowing, couldn’t the pump be almost anything, and placed almost anywhere? (-: I’m thinking there must be some arrangement that is smarter than nature. Maybe the veins and arteries themselves are super-strong and pulse, without the need of a heart. Lymphatic system.

    Just some bouncy ideas. Suddenly, I have a character who needs writing: someone who is completely at the whim of weather systems — low-pressure rolls in, and suddenly s/he is bursting out of their skin with energy and action, but when it’s nice and sunny, s/he is panting and listless. (-: Next stop: need a villain. Or a hero. And a conflict.

  8. I’m dog-sitting. Two and a half weeks with two dogs and air-conditioning almost done; it’s been great!
    I also worked the Columbus Arts Festival last weekend and ended up getting lots of creativity going.
    When I clean my brother’s house, maybe I’ll get even more ideas. Or some clarity on ideas I already have.
    Have fun with Krissie!!

  9. Note to self: Skip Friday’s post until after you see WW on Tuesday.

    I decided, for reasons of community-building, that I need an additional elapsed week in the middle of the Contemporary I’m working on. Which means all the near-term scenes leading up to that point have to be rewritten and all the time-critical bits moved to later scenes. It also means that all the nice cliff-hanger-y endings I’ve written for all those scenes now require new cliff-hanger-y bits.

    In the word of the master: Argh!

    BTW–did you watch Class while it was on? It was a new YA series on BBC America, part of the Dr. Who universe. Just lasted a few weeks (to return next year), but about half of them were really good. The other half spent way too much time talking about adolescent feelings and not enough time doing stuff.

    1. Overall, I liked Class. I didn’t start out with high expectations though. That spinoff with Sarah Jane Smith a few seasons ago cured that.

      I was really scared that Miss Quill was being set up to be the next Doctor but clearly that’s not happening. And I’m looking forward to the next season so I guess this one did it’s job.

      1. Quill is the best part of the show. Possibly because she’s not an adolescent, but mostly because she’s complex and fearless and ruthless.

        1. Also her being a warrior and a Quill makes sense because it’s easier to be both pissed off and fearless when you are going to either die in battle or die when you give birth. I really like the relationship between her and the shape changer. Isn’t think there would be a little Quill though. Does anyone else love Matheusz?

          1. I really liked the show too! It was a fun weekend binge (since I had put off watching it they were all on OnDemand). But I heard that BBC hadn’t decided to renew it yet.

  10. I read a romance novel that ended just after the hero and heroine had mutually satisfied each other but no intercourse. Too bad it was on the Kindle app or I’d’ve flung the book across the room to land on the dresser. AWAY from me.

    You write some of the best sex scenes. Do not skip.

    I hope to see Wonder Woman on Sunday. But I have to catch up on Batman Vs Superman first. Meh.

    1. I saw WW without seeing BvS and had no difficulties, for what it’s worth. I doubt there’s anything in BvS you’d need to know to love WW. 🙂

      In fact, I loved WW so much that I’m considering seeing BvS after the fact, entirely because I heard Gadot’s WW was the bright spot on it. And this is coming from someone with FOUR framed Batman prints in her living room! Batman wasn’t enough to make me see it, but Diana might be.

      1. I heard that apparently the director’s cut is better because apparently it includes all the exposition? I haven’t seen the movie myself but was listening to people complain how it made no sense, and someone else chimed in with, “that’s because they cut all those scenes, watch the director’s cut.”

        1. My brother was told that too, so he did. He told me afterward that yes, it did help to explain some of the WTF parts, but it was still a hot pile of garbage. Based on this recommendation, I haven’t watched it.

      2. Batman Vs Superman was so bad that my husband forgot we’d even watched it. I summed it up for him: “Batman goes grrr, Superman goes grrr, they do this for a while and then ‘Oh, your mother’s name was Martha? Mine too!’ and they’re friends.”

    2. Wonder Woman made sense to me without seeing Batman v. Superman. The WWI setting pretty much takes care of that. That movie seemed awful, so I just ignored it. Suicide Squad was bad enough; there was no reason to subject myself to another terrible DC movie.

    3. Bateman vs. Superman shot a scene on my campus. Our art museum was apparently the villains headquarters. I’m not sure as I haven’t seen the movie.

  11. Lymphatic system uses muscular contractions to move the lymph fluid about –it’s part of the circulatory system but not dependent on the heart (at least not according to Wikipedia and I’m too lazy to dig out my physiology textbook).

    The lymphatic system is also part of the immune system so it would make sense that it would start working first. But that might start to fill his body with the necessary liquids before the heart kicked in.

    The other thought is that humans have an electric charge – some of us more than others. My mother used to light up with sparks if she crossed a carpeted room in the dark. All three of us – my mom, my sister & myself – stop watches, Fitbits, pedometers etc. That kind of charge might get things started inside Nick if he’s touched or stroked – locally not system wide.

    1. I would love to find more info about this electric thing. My father never could wear expensive watches — he said only cheap ones would continue working with his “electric field”.

      (-: The first hit I found was entertaining, but inconclusive. People said it happened to them and to relatives, but had no theories (at least none they wanted to share on a forum for Skeptics) to advance. Still, some quite horrible puns, so it was a quarter hour well-spent.

      1. All I know is I got a beautiful silver watch for my high school graduation and it stopped within 48 hours. I can wear a watch in a pocket but the pedometer I got from work lasted four days. The second one lasted – four days. Wristwatches – even cheap ones – just start cycling through and then stop.

        I did know a woman who had been struck by lightning and she set off the antishoplifting alarms as she entered the store. If she was upset (and we worked for a bully at the time) she touched the ATM and it crashed. I watched her do that a couple of times. I’ve never done that.

        So I know it’s real but I’ve got no clue why – I just assume our electric fields are a little higher than average. But everyone has an electrical charge to their skin as far as I know – that’s why you can generate static electricity by shuffling across carpet.

          1. Salpy, perhaps you’ve offended a wood nymph who is Very Good Friends with Thor. Repent! (LOL. You know I’m joking, right? But if *I* start getting shocked by trees, I’ll know that it wasn’t any joke.)

          2. No, no, it’s probably true. I’ve been quite vocal in my love of City over Outdoors (shudder). ?

      2. Thanks for the link btw. I love the fact that they’re so skeptical they keep making up elaborate reasons to explain to someone else why what they think about their behavior isn’t really true. I especially liked the guy who said his mother complained about it but she was bad with stuff- then complained that all of his ran 38 minutes fast.


        1. I know! Isn’t that fascinating? I just love internet comments — you really get to see a wide variety of people being open and somewhat naive in their own ways (I’m sure I’m as guilty of that as anyone on that thread!).

          Was it in the link I posted? Someone had reported hearsay that near-death experience was often connected to electrical body weirdness. It may have been the same guy, but he said he’d held the two ends of some sort of measuring device for cars (oltmeter?) and he and his dad had both registered in the “red zone” while normal people didn’t. So at least some of this phenom is measurable.

          Also in that thread — a nurse told one commenter that if they put a piece of plastic surgical tape on the back of their watch, the watch would last longer.

          Very interesting. I didn’t bookmark the second thing I looked at, and I’m short on time, or else I would go back and check. So, take this as a bit of unreliable gossip, not as real reporting.

    2. “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just full of static electricity?”
      That could work. Or I’ll have to go bone up on the lymphatic system and erections.
      The research on this sucker is killing me. (Thank you for the info, though!)

      1. Or you can just have it put in the small print of his contract, when he signed up to work for the Satan. That he can fully experience any of the deadly sins/joys of living whenever he feels like it. Like a employees benefits package, it’s not like he needs the dental.

        As Terry Pratchett’s Death observed, the pleasures of the flesh are pretty sparse without the flesh. Or my view, what’s the point of immortality if you can’t enjoy it.

      2. heh-heh-heh she said bone.

        OMG, I just got possessed by the ghost of Beavis and Butthead.

  12. I always had confusion about his lack of solid body and how it would work for sex scenes, because it didn’t make sense for me how if she could see beyond the facade they could ever have meaningful sex, because if/when they did, he would either have to use the facade or just be bones. The facade would make it fake, the bones make it uncomfortable at best, impossible at worse, and sort of squicky for me as a reader to imagine literal “boning” in general. (although, there’s plenty of sexual acts that don’t require erections, so maybe there are creative ways you could think of to make a sexy skeleton scene work that would eliminate some of the squick. )

    The thought that came to me is that maybe the energy transfer between them could help explain how they can come together in a real/special way physically – he warms her up, her cold makes him have to exert more energy for his facade or something, so maybe having to send energy to rewarm himself from her cold would sort of create an energy flow like a blood flow. So it is something that is specific to her and to her nature that can reach him and let them enjoy themselves. And that makes the facade not just the “fake” mask that the entire world gets, but something special that he creates for her and that she can affect and change too.

    1. He has to get his body back because I firmly believe that emotion lives in the body, that there’s a feedback loop. So as he’s poisoned and he remembers his body (hunger, exhaustion, etc.), maintaining his facade turns into building a permanent body without him realizing it. And since they realize why she’s cold, she begins to warm up as his facade becomes permanent and he no longer needs to maintain it so he cools off.

      But yeah, the sex scenes were one of those discovery draft worry-about-that-later don’t-look-down things. There were a lot of non-penetration ways to go, too, but I’m lousy at erotica and I really just want to write about people eating and drinking and talking. It’s a miracle I ever got published.

      1. Yes, but with your books the eating, drinking and talking usually ends up being the foreplay, then we need the nookie, because of all the unintentional sexual tension involving doughnuts

      2. I’ve been reading you for quite a while. It’s not a miracle – it’s a gift to the rest of us.

  13. Started the new job (and so far I really love it, though to be fair, all I’ve done is meet people and do training). I’m still wrapping up the old job, too, so it’s been an insanely busy month so far (and is going to continue to be so). I should be able to come up for a proper breath after July 9.


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