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Thursday, July 30

One Seat LLV

After writing 1/4 of my 60k novel, I find out postal LLVs have one seat. There are several scenes written involving two people sitting in the front. When the dog is up there, fine, he could sit on the parcel shelf.

The MC might have modified it. But why? It's him and a dog. Unless the street gang he took it from installed a chair.


Wednesday, July 29

Critical Critter Overload

The writers group I belong to which is only for critiques just changed weeks. Yes, this is a different group than I mentioned before. The earlier one is Absolute Write. This is Critters.

The first time I submitted part of a manuscript, I had five people pick it up and review it. It was part of The Book of Gates. In the submission I identified it as the prologue and chapter one. That's a negative draw to me. I think my 'The X of Ys' title was a put off.

This time, my 'Lions vs Astronauts' joke of a short story had twenty-two reviewers. Most were favorable. One person just sent a one paragraph blurb saying he loved it. Most females didn't get it.

Here's the issue. I'm a nice guy. I believe in reciprocity. So, I keep a spreadsheet with all twenty-seven names for when they have their works up I'll review them. Until this last week's LvA additions, this wasn't a big deal. But this week I have four different ms to review, if I stick to my self made rule.

There's a fantasy short with 11k words, a 'horror' short at 2.1k, a SF at 8k, and a 4.5k fantasy. That's twenty-six thousand words of mid-to-Z-grade dreck. Oh, some of these are unreadable.

I think it really inspires me to slog through the passive-voice tales which tell rather than show their premise without plot. The worst I ever read was a Starship Troopers clone in flashback format...or was it flash forward? Important details were absent and doing the math on the giant bugs' weight you realized they were only four times heavier than air.

I'll see what I can do.

Tuesday, July 28

Rainwalkers Inspirational Pictures



Everett drives a modified Postal LLV, Long Life Vehicle and the rifle he keeps strapped to him at all times is a Herstal FN F2000, pictured below. That is a scope on top to compensate for Everett's poor eyesight [ooh, big spoiler there] and a grenade launcher on the bottom




The dustbowl of the 1930s show a good representation of the area near St. Louis where our book begins. The LLV can withstand dust storms, though they hide the road.



When they get to Florida they are confronted with sandstorm and dunes. Once they are halfway down the panhandle, near Kennedy Space Center and Orlando, the effects of the tentatively named Hurricane Drake can be seen.



When Everett and Mirka enter the swimming portion of their journey, they have 91 miles to Key West. This is the Seven Mile Bridge. You can clearly see some hiding spots to avoid the deadly rain. I particularly like this photo as it is overcast and shows no vegetation. It could represent exactly the world they live in.

Blogroll Tuesday?

I've become active in an online writers support forum. Wow, that sounds like such a confession. In any case, in the young adult area they have Blogroll Tuesday where you post part of your work in progress on your blog and link to it.

And, no, I'm not skulking amongst teens. I'm skulking amongst adults, writing a post-apocalyptic teen romance . My first book could never sell. This was designed to maybe sell.

Backstory:
  • Everett is a 17 year old who has survived two years in a world with no plants or animals.
  • Raging is caused if you are touched by the rain. You will rip yourself apart and attack anyone nearby.
  • Iris is a dog, Everett's only family.
From yesterday's [rough draft] writing:
Between Turrell and Gilmore, at a convoluted exit ramp system, a man stood in the path of Everett's truck, waving his arms.

Everett, still traveling only thirty miles per hour, stared at the man not knowing what to do. The man was clearly yelling at him, but showed no signs of raging.

Everett changed lanes to avoid him. The man moved over. Everett started changing back. The man shuffled back into the other lane, all along shouting and waving.

Scooting over in his seat, Everett took the pistol from its cubby in the dash. He stuck it outside the open window and aimed it in the man's general direction.

Everett moved to the side the man wasn't in. The man stayed put but still shouted and waved.

As the truck passed, Everett heard the man yell, "Help! Stop! I'm alone! If you..."

In his rearview mirror, Everett watched the man cover his face with both hands and shake.

Glancing at Iris who stared at him, Everett said, "He would have killed us. He was probably part of a group or something. Ambush, ya know." He nodded, trying to convince himself.

Friday, July 24

Vista

So, the other day, I installed the CPU onto the new motherboard. Then the heat sink and RAM and I hit a standstill. My limited knowledge was limited. So, Tom comes over and the extra fans, the motherboard, wires, and more wires go in to the case. Then we're done.

Windows installation crashes. On the second attempt, it tells us we have the wrong type of hard drive. We format and it's still wrong. There is the option to delete the drive. This makes no sense, but we do it. It deletes the partition. We make a new one and all is good.

Hours later, after Tom and Teri have left, I get on the computer and there's no internet. No network at all. It says my network card it claims is a Realtek has no driver. My Elitegroup motherboard, with the network adapter on board, has a driver. Though Vista is right. I does not have a Realtek driver.

That's where I stand. I downloaded a driver from Elitegroup at work and we'll see what happens.

The old computer which is 40 feet from the router is working fine.

Wednesday, July 22

Changes for the Better

My loving wife hogged the computer last night, making money with it. Her job involves sitting at a computer typing. Well, mine does too, but at work.

The new computer is here. The keyboard has not arrived but my wife's wireless network adapter did. Today, her computer, the computer formerly known as the old computer, goes to the rec room with the massive desk. All hail the new eight-foot desk.

My fear of putting the new computer together caused us to invite my brother-in-law over with his family. We will feed them barbecue and he'll show me how to put everything together. If I see him do one thing I would have messed up, then I did the right thing by waiting.

So, starting Thursday night. I can write at home.

Monday, July 20

Thirty-Five?

I finished the first draft of chapter one yesterday and cranked out the first draft of the final chapter, chapter eleven, this morning.

Being the geek I am, I made a spreadsheet totaling word counts. Chapter one was 3.5k and chapter eleven a measly 860 words. Averaged, that gives us 2.6k, times eleven gives us 35,000 words.

What? This is supposed to be 60k, hitting the YA market squarely at the average length. Time to start describing landscapes. Eek.

Sunday, July 19

Quit Writing! Go to Sleep!

I finished the first draft of Rainwalkers' chapter one. It's been renamed from Iredell to Poplar Bluff. All the chapters have been renamed to locations. It's fun putting Covington, LA, where my sister-in-law lives, and Chipley, largest 'city' to where my mother grew up, into the book.

I'm a little worried about the final word count. I only have 11 chapters and my first is only 3.5k words. Since this is young adult, I am shooting for the 60k benchmark. Previously, I'd deleted one scene and with the way I've changed another it can't be added back in.

The next chapter I want to write is the ending. That way I have longer to tweak it to make it nice. I'm iffy on my transition from chapter one to two since my protagonist is going to make a six hour drive before noon. There's nothing wrong with this, but it will be the busiest day ever. Though, I only have this problem because I'm using real places and Google Maps to get the info right.

But who's been to Poplar Bluff, MO anyway?

I have an appointment with my sleep doctor tomorrow. I've been staying up too late since my last appointment a year ago. Before that, really. Now I have to trudge in and say, "I am dumb." for him.

Friday, July 17

Scorpio and the Haters: Not in That Order

RE: Haters
Friend-of-a-friend woman has taught her four-year-old daughter our current president is evil and kills babies. However, she has made racist remarks before his election. You do the math.

Re: Scorpio
We bought a new computer today. The case is a Raidmax Scorpio, hence the title. I bought an AMD motherboard and CPU, both "Black Edition," whatever that means. The motherboard's RAM, which I only ordered four gigs, can be expanded to 32 gigs. I picked up another Microsoft Natural Keyboard, the third in the family, and a seven-button OCZ mouse. The rest is cables and fans. My wife gets a wireless network blob for getting on the internet from the rec room.

The old computer, where I'm typing, as well as the 9x7 foot L-shaped desk, will be heading to the rec room. I've sawed the bottom 4.5 inches off two base cabinets, the bottom of my eight-foot built-in desk. My wife is leaning for me to choose a stock counter top, and I might, but I may want a custom top, though it can double the price.

"No one ever regretted buying a boring counter top." - Some Smart Fellow

Tuesday, July 14

ACE Hardware FTW

So, your post-apocalyptic postal LLV has fallen off a broken bridge on the south end of Upper Matecumbe Key in the Florida Keys. You need to get to Key West despite all the islands between your present location and Ohio Key are washed out. That's 41 miles of swimming, walking on sand bars, or magically ascending to the remaining bridges.

Considering the journey has swims of up to seven miles, my guys needed some floatation device. So, I asked in the sci-fi forum at Absolute Write. I let them know that all vegitation and 99% of all animals died two years ago. My first response was "Lumber."

Lumber? To prove him wrong I searched the area in Google Maps for lumber, and wouldn't you know. They passed an ACE Hardware less than a mile from their crash site. Though, of course, all lumber and useful supplies will be gone.

One main character says the foam sheets they put on buildings when they're being built would have been perfect. Female MC asks what it's used for. Male then says, "I guess to keep the rain out." She says, "So they take it off before they put the rest on?" Since the answer is no, they bust through the wall and get some kickboards out of it.

They also need a bucket to catch rain in. They'll take a paint can and pour out the paint.

Map of rediculous Florida Key journey is here:

View Rainwalkers in a larger map
There are no labels on the walking icons, but they denote where existing bridges start and stop.

Monday, July 13

The Overseas Highway Hates Rainwalkers

After outlining a YA dystopian adventure, I started research and found the bridge to Key West is all wrong. It should be as I imagined it. My action depended on it being a very long, two-lane divided highway.

The only way to fix this predicament was to make the land bridges between Upper Matecumbe Key and Ohio Key washed out, causing our protagonists to occasionally swim up to seven miles while avoiding toxic rain.

They'll be able to occasionally find a sandbar to stand on, but I'm trying to think of natural flotation devices available in a world where all vegetation died off two years ago.