School’s In Session

So, the first week of school is over! I got into most of the classes I wanted to. Unfortunately, my Astronomy class was canceled last minute, and I had to take an online computer information class instead. So here is a breakdown of what I am taking:
Cardio Cross Training
Argumentation and Debate
Business Law
Statistics
Computer Information Systems
English Composition “B”

I spoke to a transfer councilor, and my grades are good enough that, assuming I keep them up, I can pretty much write my ticket into any Cal State school, and any of the U of Cal schools, except Berkley (They require an extra 4 semesters of math!). I’m at a California community college, and my GPA for transferable classes will be in the high 3s, around 3.6 or 7. I am very excited about all that. Three of my classes are online, and I finished the last of this week’s homework five minutes ago, so I am sitting in the coolness of my in-law’s back yard enjoying a very fine cigar my wife bought me.

Naturally, school forces my writing to the back burner, but I am still managing to do some. I am working on an old story I’d abandoned called Charlotte and Caldor, after the two main characters. For some reason, my writing process involves starting, stopping, and restarting a story line before I get to the point where I actually get something finished. I also think I like to write an essay about what I want to happen, before I outline. I am still not sure if I want/need to do a formal outline or not. I did for the Bastard Prince, but somehow it just does not feel right to me. We will see how this goes. I am trying to take just a few minutes a day to expand the plot essay, and when its done, we’ll go from there. I am also working on the Undying, set in yet another universe.

While ‘Bastard’ is set in a low-fantasy world, the others are high-fantasy and are more in line with classic sword-and-sorcery. I am thinking of reopening a science fiction story about a cold-sleep ship that lands on a planet already colonized by humans from a collapsed FTL civilization. My unknowing mentor, Sarah Hoyt, recommends having at least three universes going, just to stave off the boredom.

Lastly, tomorrow is Labor Day in America. I will be off with my family and friends for an annual BBQ. I hope your day is as fun and carefree as mine will be.

The Bastard Prince

I finished the fourth revision of my short story, A Bastard’s Choice. As promised, I’m going to post both the first and final versions of the story to show how much the editing process has changed things. After that, I’m going to set it aside for a bit and come back to it with a fresh brain in a month or so.

A Bastard’s Choice and

A Bastard’s Choice v 4

Feel free to make any comments or suggestions to make it more enjoyable.

School Looms on the Horizon

My internet died on Thursday. So today, I am at my in-laws to give you a post. AT&T is shipping us a new modem and is supposed to be here within a week. I spent most of Friday in meetings and/or at the doctor’s office.

School is coming up soon. My job at the elementary school starts on the 18th, and classes at the college begin on the 25th, so I am trying to savor these last couple of weeks of relative sanity. I have my schedule finalized. I just added a PE class to try to address my gut. The good news is that all but one of my classes are in the morning. I’ll be done with my day by 1:30 every day, except for Wednesday, when I have my Astronomy lab.

I’m taking 17 units this semester, which is close to the maximum the school will let anyone take. Only two look like they’ll be hard — Business Law, and Elementary Statistics. The others look to be more fun. Astronomy, Argument & Debate, and English Composition. Then there is the PE class, which will be mindless, but physically exhausting. Assuming I have enough energy and time, I will be continuing semi-regular updates for this blog.

I haven’t had the time to write for the last couple of days either. I still need to go and rewrite my short story “Bastard Prince” That’s a working title, but may end up being the title, at least of the series. I’m pretty excited about it, because it is really the first story I have taken so far into the process. When I am done with it, I think I’ll post the first and final draft just for a before and after comparison.

Life Update

Aw, crud. I’m sitting here watching the Giants (my wife Maria’s team) beat the Brewers, after my Mariners got the season sweep of the Braves. Then I realize that today is Wednesday. I owe you a post.

I did not sleep well last night. My wife and I were working on school related stuff until one in the morning, and I decided to wake up at 5 in the morning. When I wake up, I almost never can go back to sleep, and today was no exception. We had church at nine for the Transfiguration, and after that I spent the day running errands with my mother-in-law. I literally sat down about five minutes ago.

We also found out that Maria and I are getting our jobs at the elementary school back when the year starts. It’s not much, but it is fun and easy work. Every little bit helps. I’m getting ready for the new semester, which starts on the 25th. I decided to add one more class, a PE class to help with my weight. I’m looking at one called “Total Fitness – Men” but haven’t made up my mind yet.

Not much else to report from the home front, and I didn’t get any writing done. I’ll go work on it now.

Writing Lessons

Sorry to have left you in the lurch for over a week. I promised you three posts a week. I feel a bit guilty for not posting when I should. I need more discipline.

I am learning that good writing is good rewriting. I’ve read that somewhere, but don’t know where. I have gone over A Bastard’s Choice dozens of times since I wrote it, and shown three versions to a writing group of mine. Just after I posted the third version, though, I realized one glaring omission. I did not have any descriptions of what the characters looked like, or the scenery, or the setting! Its all conversation and a little action.

Objectively speaking, it is good, even close to publishable. My group has helped me to see things in a different way, and shown me the flaws in my work. I tend to tell what happens instead of showing. I put in too much unnecessary detail, but do not give enough detail to set the scenery. I need to work on word pictures.

I need to keep working on other story lines. The advice I’ve gotten is to work in two or three unrelated worlds to prevent burnout. So I am resurrecting The Undying, set in a world where the royal family has bodyguards who cannot be killed, and do not age, so long as the person they are linked to is alive. The second is called Charlotte and Caldor, about a young couple who must take charge suddenly as their nation is under attack from the forces of evil. I am also thinking of working in a science fiction setting, set on a world that humans with faster than light drives colonized. Then interstellar civilization collapses. A thousand years later, the cold sleep ship sent a hundred years before the planet is colonized arrives.

And the troubling thing is, as I am researching, I keep getting more ideas. A dhampir and a zhudac team up to solve supernatural riddles. Someone goes back in time to prevent the Russian Revolution. A story based loosely on the life of WW1 Canadian general Sir Arthur Currie. I just need the discipline to sit at my computer for a couple of hours a day and write.