Sunday, August 14, 2016

Excuse #673 . . . and A New Strategy

One of the reasons I started this blog was to hold myself accountable for my writing progress, or lack thereof. Well, this week it’s the lack thereof, and I have no real excuse except it was just too effing hot to write.

Despite the fact that I live in Canada, which people still to this day think it snows all year round, I do not live in an igloo. I live in a house near the shore of Lake Ontario where we’re having a drought inducing heat-wave. It’s been going on for a couple of weeks now, and despite getting enough rain yesterday to soften up the brown lawns a tad, the heat doesn’t bode to be letting up any time soon.

I have two preferred places to write - one is my home office, and the other is my recliner in the living room. While my office is roomy and quiet and has the added bonus of allowing me to work at a desk, thereby keeping the lap top off my lap, it’s also the furthest you can get from the air conditioning in the house. The fan can only do so much, especially since writing time coincides with the hottest part of the day - mid to late afternoon.

The recliner is not only comfy to sit in, it has the advantage of being in the direct line of the oscillating fan that draws in just enough of the cool air from the air conditioner at the living room end of the house to make it tolerable. However, the lap top generates way to much heat to have it on my lap, even using a lap desk, for long and you can’t really get a table close enough to any of the furniture to be able to type without hurting your back.

So this week I’m going to have to come up with a new strategy for getting my writing done. I do have an Alphasmart Neo, which I bought myself after the last time I participated in NaNoWriMo, and it generates zero heat. But it’s strictly a word processor. You only see about four lines of type, scrolling back is a pain in the butt, and you can only download files from it, you can’t upload files to it. I might have to set my current projects aside for now and start something completely new.

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3851 words total
Once again I’m up by about a thousand words from my last report, but I was pretty late with most of them. This is what comes from having to use the lap top for writing and only being able to work for about 10 minutes before you have to cool off again.

0 words total
I never did get back to the Lord of the Flies but I did read a very interesting book on my Kindle. It was anthology themed around the inmates of an insane asylum. I haven’t written the review for it yet because, you know, have to use the computer for that and it’s too hot.

0 pages total
The pages thing isn’t really a fair measure for editing, I should be keeping track of hours or something instead. I’ve started going through An Elemental Earth chapter by chapter, making notes of what needs to be fixed and what doesn’t. My strategy is to just print out the few that need working on and then do it by hand. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

New Words
0 words total
See the beginning of the post where I explain about the whole heat thing, and add to that the fact that I don’t handle the heat well in the first place. It makes me tired and lethargic and headachy - none of which are conducive to writing.

This Week’s Goals:
Try out my new editing strategy on An Elemental Earth.
Maybe take a stab at starting An Elemental Spirit on the alphasmart.
Try not to melt.

Because I really don’t have anything new to offer from Wandering Wizards, this week’s excerpt is from An Elemental Earth:

Still needing some time alone with her thoughts, Chloe took the long way home from the supply depot. Her path took her by Granny’s tiny cottage and she stopped to have a look at the garden beside it.

It did look rather neglected. She felt a twinge of guilt - how long had it been since her last visit? Setting her parcels down, she took a step closer. Where should she start?

“Needs waterin’,” a voice called out.

“Excuse me?” Startled, Chole turned, seeking out the source of the voice. She relaxed as she spotted Amira, Martin’s wife, coming along the same path she’d taken.

“Those herbs of Granny’s, they take more water than the rest of the plants. I try and get by to water ‘em for her, but you know how it is.” The woman shrugged as she reached the garden and stopped.

“I certainly do.” Chloe turned her attention back to the garden. The row of herb plants along the front edge of the garden were just starting to bloom. “It looks like they’re doing all right though.”

“You must spend all of your spare time over here. I never see any weeds. Wish I could keep my own garden as tidy.”

Chloe wondered what Amira would say if she told her the truth. That the reason there were no weeds in Granny’s garden was because she asked them not to grow there. Would she believe her? Turn her in to Gannon? Demand that Chloe help her as well? She suppressed a sigh. It could be any of those things or something else altogether. She genuinely liked Amira. Not telling her the truth felt too much like lying.

“I remember even when you were little you liked to play around in the gardens. You were like a little flower yourself. You’re a good girl, helping Granny out like you do.”

It was Chloe’s turn to shrug. “Weeding her garden is the least I can do, considering all she’s done for my mother.”

“How is Tierra these days?” Amira’s concern was genuine; she and Tierra had been close friends when Tierra had been well enough to work the mine. In fact, they’d worked on the same crew.

Chloe sighed. “There hasn’t really been much change,” she said. “Her bad days are still out-numbering the good ones.”

Amira shook her head. “That’s a bad business, that. Ain’t never heard of anyone taking so long to get over the dust sickness. Makes you wonder what good that fancy off-world doctor of Gannon’s is.”

“He does seem out of place here, doesn’t he? And people still prefer to go to Granny with their problems.”

“Granny’s family,” Amira stated firmly. “We’re all family. We don’t need no outsiders.”

Maybe not outsiders like the doctor, Chloe thought. But she could think of at least one outsider who was welcome. “I guess it’ll just take time. We were all outsiders at one time.”

“There’s those of us who’ll always be outsiders, even some who’re born here.”

Chloe knew she was referring to Gannon. He may be the mine master, but he was not well-liked. It had been a shock when he was raised to master status instead of Martin.

“Well, I got no time for lolly-gagging. You give my best to Tierra.”

“I’ll do that,” Chloe called out to Amira’s retreating back.

Once Amira was out of sight, she went to the side of the garden where she couldn’t be seen as easily, and knelt down. Laying her palms on the earth, she closed her eyes and breathed deeply. In and out, in and out. Her eyes opened again, but they were unfocused. Where earlier they had been a brown hazel, now they were so deep a green they practically glowed.

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