Working Wednesday, December 7, 2022

I spent most of yesterday researching assemblage and steampunk for the new books.Then I went on eBay and bought doll body parts (do not search for doll body parts, it’s disturbing) for the book. Today, I researched bird incense burners for the book. I think I’m driving Bob crazy with it, but he’s the big picture guy and I’m the detail person, so he’ll just have to deal. It’s all helping me find my character which is good because I started her on the wrong foot. It’s the beginning of the book, it’s always this chaotic. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So what was the story with work and you this week?

71 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, December 7, 2022

  1. About 15 years ago, I delved into steampunk for Halloween. It created so many new interests. I then started making some steampunk style items. My altered Mr. potato head came out really well. The hats were so fun and the costumes even more so; there is so much imagination that you can use in the steampunk genre.

  2. I inherited a brass duck (or goose) incense burner from my mother. The smoke comes out the bird’s mouth. Let me know if you need a picture.

    I’m still in the middle of various projects – trying to get the Christmas letter done, so greetings can be sent out, working on my fabric baskets, rehearsing for my recorder part in the Christmas music this Sunday. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much, except come down with a cold!

  3. Started a new position Monday. I absolutely love it, but it is very autonomous; I’m having to restructure my own habits for productivity and my ocd is both loving and hating it.
    My planner is bright and beautiful with stickers and outlines and ideas.
    My brain is heavy with the idea of changing routine.
    It’s a combination platter intent on driving me bananans!!!

    Now excuse me while I now go find a banana.

  4. This morning there was a report on some very limited research on weighted blankets on the Washington Post. They seem to increase melatonin production. There were also a number of personal anecdotes about them. Here’s the link, and you can see 5 of their articles a month, without having to pay to join.

    I guess it will have to be copied and pasted in your browser. I like my little one, even though it is much below 10% my body weight.

  5. Mostly vegged this week, and I must move up a gear. I’ve done my Christmas shopping, having decided to give home-made jam to most people. Now I need to make my Christmas cards, which means making a final choice of image and then getting my new printer to print it (first photograph I’ve tried with it). Then, of course, making the cards. Need to wrap my presents ready to post (strikes mean everything has to be posted ultra-early this year).

    All this is now more urgent, since I learned this morning that a friend’s coming to stay this weekend. I also need to clean and tidy the house.

    Finally: hoping to do some frost photography tomorrow and/or Friday morning.

  6. Last year I chose pics from the yard and gardens and pasted them on blank cards for holiday greetings. The printer sent me twice as many photo copies as I needed. So this year I bought more blank cards, pasted on the leftover pics, filled in the cards, and mailed them yesterday. All but one, which I need to think about. Anyway, cards are done and out.

    These handmade cards have been useful all year long. I think I’m going to continue doing this. When I can’t think of the right thing to write to someone, I tell her/him/they about the photo on the card.

    Our most recent wildlife viewing have been the sheep that have trundled up from next door. They are very easy to photograph compared to the foxes and bobcats.

      1. That’s why I started sending post cards; the picture always gives you something to start with.

  7. I’m still dealing with construction and workmen. This week was pouring the concrete pad (7:45 am is too early for that, I’m just saying) and then getting it to set before the smoothed it out. The temperatures stayed warmer than usual, which was great. The winds and rain not so much. But It’s done now. They’re taking apart the form and taking down the tarp (thank the gods) and then they’ll probably be off to work on another job. Not sure when they’ll be back to finish mine, since they took time off from other things to get the concrete pad poured before we lost the window to do so.

    I’m twitching from all the commotion and changes and the mess, not to mention writing very large checks. But in the end, I should have a beautiful 4 season porch out front and more usable downstairs space. The plan is that then there will be room in the house to have a housemate. But one impossible task at a time.

    In the meanwhile, I am getting no writing done. Argh.

    1. The porch is going to be lovely, under the trees and (I think) at ground level. You’ll probably move out there, though you might have to fight the cats for the sunny spots.

  8. I’d been skipping my “artist’s dates” (from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) in November to do NaNo, but I finally took a day to play with fabric this week, and not only did I make some progress on a baby quilt for baby who’s due in two weeks (but I won’t be sending the quilt until January), but it also did the artist’s date magic and freed up my creativity, so now I’m closing in on the end of the manuscript I started during NaNo (very, VERY rough draft of a short novel).

    I know that skipping the weekly artist’s date is counterproductive, but I have to be reminded of the fact every once in a while.

      1. Yep. It’s like I KNOW that intellectually, but then my emotions are all “but I can’t skip a day of writing or I won’t hit my deadline,” which of course then backfires, so I have to learn it all over again. Sigh. You’d think after the first couple of dozen times learning this lesson, I wouldn’t have to do it again.

        1. Repeating the lesson keeps it in the front of our memories, where it can be accessed more easily. It is also a lesson that applies to other areas of life, so you weren’t just resetting your work, you were reminding yourself how to balance your life and enjoy things.

          1. On the other hand, December might be thought of as “DeNoMoNaNo,” signifying you’ve done what you can and it’s time to rest a bit from the self-delivered write-it scourge. I’m a big fan of saying “okay, enough of that” after a long tough haul. 🙂

  9. It’s been another week of scantily clad indoor gardening. I’ve been harvesting Golden Harvest Tomatoes from Phredd while watching the Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes in Sheba ripen at a slower pace. The Red Fire Peppers in Harvey continue to contribute dozens of insanely hot peppers. The Ranches added sweet peppers, yellow and red, and jalapeños. I’ll be forced to harvest a lettuce today, too – it’s outgrown its Mason jar (Art).

    I’ll add tomatoes to the lettuce and some store-bought onion, Canadian bacon, and my salad dressing. Do people put fresh basil on salads?

    1. Fresh basil + fresh mozzarella + homegrown tomato + olive oil + balsamic vinegar = Caprese salad, one of my all-time favorite things to eat.

      1. Best bought fresh that morning and eaten for lunch under the Mediterranean sun (remembering a holiday in the Peloponnese thirty years ago).

      2. The cheese was triple cheddar instead of mozzarella, the vinegar was garlic-infused red wine vinegar. The Canadian bacon turned out to be diced ham. I cut up some Thai Basil and sprinkled. It was excellent!

        The next salad or two will need grocery store lettuce. I’ve eaten all but one and it isn’t mature. Cheese and ham are full of sodium, but Some Things Must Be Endured.

  10. This weekend I did a ton of writer business and wrote half a chapter of a new novella to be pitched to my new publisher. Ha! It’s fun to say that. They posted some submission calls and one of the themes worked for something I’d already conceived, so I moved that up the queue.

    Then yesterday as I was sitting in bed with coffee, staring at the wall, I had an idea for a different call – with a much closer deadline – so I worked on backstory etc for that before work yesterday. With any luck today at work won’t be terrible and I can sneak in some writing.

    1. Hi Chachal: I’m writing a “novella” too, but it’s turning into a full-length novel against my wishes. It SEEMS as if writing a novella would be easier, but it turns out I’m not great at the pacing in the shorter form. Any thoughts/tips on writing at this length? Do you eliminate all secondary plots? I really, really want to get better at this form.

      I hope you get your writing time!

      1. Lois Bujold offers a fascinating story in her forward to the first Penric collection about writing novellas, or not. I think it’s worth reading even if you’ve only thought about writing novellas.

      2. FWIW, if you outline, it’s easier to write to length. (And if you don’t outline, that’s fine too, and you can ignore the rest of this comment.)

        I have two different templates, one for a novella and one for a novel. The main difference, for me, is in the middle. For a novel, the middle is twice as long, so it’s basically four acts (or three acts, but there’s what amounts to a turning point in the middle, so I just call it four acts), while the novella is only three acts, with turning points between 1-2 and 2-3, and possibly a lesser but still major scene at the halfway point in the middle of act 2.

        That sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. I outline on a spreadsheet (actually, I go back and forth between narrative notes and the spreadsheet as I’m filling it out, because I can’t work directly with the spreadsheet or my brain shuts down) that I make as a table in my word processing software. Divide the desired word count by average scene length, and that’s your number of total scenes. Divide that by three or four, depending on desired length, and insert the turning points between each of the sections.

        For me, at least, that gives me a visual on how much plot I can stuff into the story. If it’s a novella, there are only so many scenes available. I also have a column for indicating which plot element is key to the scene — the main murder or some secondary plot — so I can see if they’re evenly spread out. Like, in the mystery book I’m working on, there are three mini romance arcs, plus a women’s fiction self-discovery type of arc, so I need to make sure there’s at least one scene for each of them in each act. (Ergo, why it’s a novel and not a novella!)

        Anyway, I know that only works for those of us who love to outline. And really, I’m not a very detailed outliner. I leave a lot of gaps to discover new stuff — my outlines often include things like “sleuth finds a clue here about suspect 1” and it’s not until I get to that scene that I figure out what that clue is. So even if you don’t want to do a real outline, you might find it useful to do a sort of diagram of the available scenes and the turning points, and the subplots, and see if there’s room for them. And if not, then you know that one (or more) needs to be cut.

        If anyone would like to see my spreadsheet for the first Helen Binney novel, let me know, and I’ll figure out a way to share it, perhaps as a google doc with a password that I’ll give here. Oops, I don’t seem to have the first one, but I do have the second one, although it’s a bit messy, because I never updated it after I finished writing the book.

      3. Thank you, I got lucky and yes! Chromebook was busy while I kept an eye on the office in-box. 🙂

        I’m far from an expert but I *have* written 30+ novellas – if you’d like to chat about it without making all these folks read along, feel free to email aycaluen at gmail dot com.

        Short answer: number of plots that I’ve been able to work in without drowning the central romance depends on time frame of the main story; all plotlines have to affect both MCs so that them dealing with Plot is still them dealing with each other. A story with action over a longer period can sustain more plot; my two most recent have timelines of just a few months, so there’s really only the one plot. Also limiting secondary characters helps a lot. I try to give each MC a confidant and/or a family connection, but the role those people play in the story has to be very contained. 🙂

    2. I love having deadlines! It helps me to prioritize. And cuts down on procrastination, even when the deadline is far away, like my current ones are.

  11. I’ve never ordered anything on e-bay until this week. That is until they cancelled my order. Someone must have gone ahead of me. I’m trying again with Etsy. They have it, confirmed it, now only if they would ship it.

    My story is that I was watching Molly Yee’s cooking program on the Food Network when I saw in her cute kitchen a set of mixing bowls. It must have been Karma, I have that same set of bowls from sixty years ago, minus one. My oldest son then a toddler climbed up to the drainboard, reached for it and it fell and broke. I wasn’t fast enough to reach him – he wasn’t hurt. Slow forward to now I just had to complete the set because that’s my thing. I’m now anticipating an order from Etsy. I hope the box is stamped fragile on all sides. I really don’t care if it is scratched, so, aren’t its siblings.

    1. Hi Mary, I have my mother’s bowls, missing two. I have been searching replacements in antique shops. Will have to look at Etsy as well. Luckily I have a US address for US purchases. Good luck.

      1. You can also try resale sites like Mercari and Poshmark. I sell and buy on both of those, as well as Etsy.

        What bowls are you looking for? I am an avid thrifter and am always happy to keep an eye out for a friend.

        1. Pyrex bowls. I have my mom’s Large yellow, down a size green bowls. I’m looking for the blue and the red. I think is is blue. The smallest is a red.

  12. Off topic: I can’t work out whether it’s my iPad (though there haven’t been any recent software updates), but the type on this site has suddenly shrunk, which is rather frustrating. Is it just me, or has anyone else had this happen?

    1. Yes, iPad today. (And wow, the type in the comment box is even smaller, I find!) Weird.

  13. More leaf raking. Trees almost bare now. Sorting Christmas decorations, culling and giving away to family. Many are mother’s and a sister’s vintage ornaments. For that matter, some of mine are vintage now. That made me laugh. Sort out everything for everyone’s stockings. Look through the patterns and make something handmade for everyone too. Continue to read a new book. Finish cards and mail.

  14. As you can see from my Instagram , the #Cookie-ing, 2022 edition, has begun. A pound of butter went into each of those pans. The rest was all flour, sugar, and a little bit of rosemary. The molasses cookies, snowballs, grated jam cookies, and brownie cupcakes are yet to come. 🙂

  15. Not sure what I was going to write before but I had some excitement today. A cat was in the engine of my car. Fortunately I heard it before I started the engine. I called Animal Control and they’re really good in my County she showed up within an hour. It took the neighbor taking the bottom plate thing off my car to get the little thing out but it got out and Animal Control got it and it’s really sweet and not very feral so she’s pretty sure she can get it fixed and get it into a forever home. She was amazing. Never a dull moment here in Casa judy.

  16. Yesterday I baked my sister’s birthday cake and today I will deliver it. This gave me a chance to use the new food processor, which behaved beautifully. I bought a fresh new package of coconut for this recipe and then was unable to remember where I put it, but did find an open package that was fresh and full enough to use. Unfortunately, I then stayed up too late to buy more Thank you notes before going to the ‘Burbs this afternoon, so that project will have to wait for tomorrow.

    My happiest accomplishment is firming up arrangements with my friend Bob for his impending visit. I was hoping that I would get to meet his now husband on this trip,but he will be visiting friends in LaCrosse while Bob is here. Bob is so excited to be able to travel and visit friends again that his emails almost leapt off the screen with excitement. I hope I can come up with some good ideas for things to show him while he is here.

  17. Does anyone know where I could find info on writing 3rd person interior monologue? Or examples other than James Joyce?
    I would love to find a good reference type book about various genres if anyone knows of one.

    1. Rather than a how-to book, I’d recommend studying Lois McMaster Bujold, whichever books are third person (too lazy to check on the Chalion and Penric series, but I think they’re third). She does a close POV so well that people are sometimes surprised to realize that it is in fact third person rather than first.

      I’m not really aware of any how-to books that go all that deeply into POV. And I’ve found that writers boards tend to have …. shall we say “unique” perspectives on handling POV, so I wouldn’t rely on them.

      I’m trying to think who else does really good internal stuff in third person, but it probably depends on your taste for what you’d consider well done. Oh, wait. Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock. She does a LOT of internal stuff from different narrators, and I think it’s handled quite well. But look for an author you admire and see how they handle it. Seeing it in practice will likely give you better insights than a lecture/essay.

      And, FWIW, I wouldn’t study classics, but books that are being published now. Because styles change a lot, and classics tended to do a lot of omniscient rather than the close POV that’s more standard now.

      One more thought (yeah, I’m bouncing around like a maniac today) — even though Terry Pratchett writes in a very emphatic omniscient, he has such great control over POV that if you really study it — try typing out a scene, just to really get the muscle memory into your fingertips — you can see how he goes deep into one character’s head and then reminds you, nope, this is still me, the author, talking, and can pull back out of that head and be himself as the narrator again or smoothly transition into another head, while still being the narrator. It’s genius. If you can identify where he’s signaling that it’s omniscient, then you could identify what NOT to do when being in a close third POV. I did a close study of an early scene of Going Postal once, typing it out to see exactly what he was doing, and it was really useful. That book is (one of) Pratchett at his very best, I think, with his storytelling skills matured and strong and seemingly effortless (although I’m sure it wasn’t).

  18. I’m agonizing over not knowing what to buy my husband for Christmas. Neither of us have any great ideas. His only idea is a two day immersive Star Wars hotel experience at Disney world that costs $6,000. Right.

    1. Husbands are the most difficult. I have bought mine slippers, socks, a book and a paint by number kit. It is all very uninspired. I am underwhelmed with myself.

      Of course, I haven’t been able to give him any good ideas either… Except for a portable steam cleaner. I really do want to that.

      1. I have no idea what to give my 36-year-old son. He lives abroad and will only be in the US for 6 days, so his gift needs to be small, portable, and not anything TSA or customs would disapprove of. I’ve already given him his big gift, but I want to have something under the tree that he can open on Christmas morning. (I have no problem finding gifts for his wife, fortunately.)

        1. A humor book? I like giving those because people can dip into them and enjoy on the day …and he could read it on the plane back ?

        2. English language books are very expensive in non English speaking countries, so I recommend taking him to a bookstore and letting him choose.

      2. Usually he wants some kind of electronics but he is all up to date at the moment. He shrugs at clothes and shoes. I am despairing. I can come up with things I want all day long. And I love my portable steamer. Definitely get one.

      1. I learned my husband was struggling with one for me and I for him so we are giving eachother a small piece of handmade furniture. It’s the kind of thing I would feel uncomfortable giving without his buy in since if he didn’t like it he would still have to live with it.
        I’m really glad we agreed on that because I feel so uninspired.
        For small presents I’m going to get him frozen Italian pastries that he can take out and cook one at a time when he wants one, in case that gives anyone any ideas …
        Last year I gave him bottles of a favorite garlic sauce and gourmet oil and vinegar. Apparently I way overestimated how much we would use in a year, so I can’t do that again.

  19. Finished writing the holiday card; they’ll go in the mail tomorrow. Yay!

    Annual mammogram and ultra sound yesterday. Double yay!

    Plugging along with the Board of Elections minutes. I may get them all caught up by
    Monday. In time for the next meeting on Wednesday. Sigh.

    League of Women Voters holiday party tomorrow night. I’m really looking forward to it because they are political but sane. Sanity is good.

  20. All I have to work on is advent calendars for crochet. I started one on Thanksgiving and still have four more days to produce on that one, and I also signed up for a daily advent calendar thing I haven’t worked on since day one. Somehow you assume that “all night long every night long since I no longer have rehearsal” is more time to finish things than you think.

  21. I’m working on crocheting a pillow cover. My grandmother taught me to crochet many moons ago, but I didn’t keep up with it. Which explains why I’ve unraveled this more times than I can count. It’s a very easy, beginner pattern: a chain and single crochet, but it keeps going uneven in a parallelogram shape rather than a rectangle. Gets wider as it goes. So I’ll be starting from scratch–again–tomorrow.

    If anyone has any beginner tutorials they like, I’ll take any advice. I thought I’d found a good set of video instructions on YouTube, but I was on my phone, and I can’t find them again.

    I’m also working on catching up on all the posts I’ve missed since I haven’t been around in a while. I did NaNo for the first time. Didn’t make it to 50,000 words, but I wrote most days (at least until Thanksgiving), so I count that as a win. (I do wish NaNoWriMo was in January, February, or March.)

    1. I think February would be a good month for it. MJ and I tried it one year, but I was hopeless and lasted less than a week, as I remember.

    2. Moogly has very clear videos both left and right handed.

      It’s easy to add a stitch every row by chaining and stitching into the first loop and on the way back treating the spot as two stitches. I worked a small square and counted stitches every row until I could see this. Now I put a marker in the first stitch so that I know it’s the last when I come back.

      I had to answer, even days late. This drove me nuts until I worked it out and it’s hard to see, even in video.

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