Friday, January 29, 2010

The Rain/Creativity Link

Although I usually think rainy day=good writing, I've discovered that different kinds of rain have different responses. A gray day with light rain means increased creativity and lots of writing. A cold, rainy day, especially after a warm, sunny spell, tends to generate baking urges. And when it's raining hard with the wind howling, then I just want to curl up with a properly atmospheric book and read. Yesterday was the latter kind of rain. I have a tile roof and a skylight, so it can get loud upstairs when it's raining hard, and the wind was strong enough to rattle the roof tiles. But I prevailed and got lots of writing done before giving myself a book break.

I even had a big breakthrough -- something that justified my idea of letting the first quarter of the book rest a while because this little twist will change some of the plot going forward. It also means that I now have clearly defined goals and purposes for all of my characters. I had a couple of people I was starting to wonder about. I liked them, and I felt like there was something important about them, but I wasn't sure quite what, but now I know, so yay! Today I have a scene that needs minor tinkering, then one more to review/rewrite, and from that point, everything else will be new. When I started, I was just past about a quarter of the way through the book. When I get done revising this one more scene, I'll be about a third of the way through, in spite of cutting quite a bit. I'm not quite sure how I managed to cut a lot from the beginning while increasing the word count, but I think what I added was more conflict/action-oriented than the parts I cut.

And now I'm starting to contemplate another trip to New York. I'd checked hotel rates and could get something cheap during the time I could go, but airfares were ridiculous. But then I got a notice about an airfare sale today, which cut the airfare in half, and now it's looking doable. February isn't ideal timing, but most of the things I need to do are indoors, and I've been in New York for a blizzard, so I know I can survive some cold/snow. It is ideal timing, work-wise, because it gives me a hard deadline to finish this draft, then I can use the trip to fact-check (deal with any little location questions that pop up while writing) this book while researching the next one. I'm not sure why all my books seem to be set in New York, but it's really the only place where the stories I come up with make sense. I have written some books that weren't set in New York, but they haven't sold. I figure I might as well go with what works. The one I'd be researching takes place in a different time period, so it will be a whole new area to explore.

In my ranting about the kind of entertainment I'm looking for but can't seem to find in books, I used Warehouse 13 as an example of something I like. Well, Sci Fi is going to start rerunning it in prime time tonight, in their late prime time slot (9 p.m. Central). They're skipping the pilot, probably because it's an inconvenient length. The first episode isn't brilliant, but it's still fun. If you didn't catch this series this summer, it's worth checking out if you like likable characters, a mix of humor and drama, plus cool quasi-steampunk gadgetry.

Finally, I feel like I should talk about the recent announcement of the iPad, but I really have nothing to say. I'm a Mac loyalist and my office is pretty much an Apple archeological dig, going back to my circa 1990 MacPlus (which I really should convert into a terrarium). But I don't see much use for that gadget (I also don't have an iPod or iPhone). I like the idea of an e-book reader, but this doesn't look like it would be that convenient for that purpose. I think I'm going to wait until the dust settles on the e-book situation before I invest. Knowing my luck, I'd end up with the Betamax equivalent that would only work with the five books I managed to buy before they discontinued that format. I mostly would love to clear up shelf space and limit my physical books to the "keepers" where looking at them makes me happy. The books I just want to read I could have in electronic form where they don't clutter my space. Then when I do travel, it would be nice to be able to carry multiple books without the weight and bulk. But that's a "someday it would be nice" thing, not a "must have it now!" thing.

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