Monthly Archives: October 2001

Daylight time ends

If you didn’t already know, the correct time for the US is always displayed at and there are some links from there about how “standard time” and later “daylight time” developed. Before “standard time” there was no concept of time zones, and noon was periodically established in each particular city when the sun reached the high point in the sky. The various “city time” systems were synchronized in the early 1900’s by federal law, under pressure from the train companies, if I read it right.

Anyway, I went to bed at 11:45 and set my mini-alarm for 8:00 am. This means 8 hours of sleep, or 9 hours if the clock sets itself sometime after 2 am pdt becomes 1am pst.

This worked, the alarm clock set itself. However, I still woke up at 5:45 due to the automatic cat-litter box getting stuck and scraping over and over. Of the three self-setting clocks, only the one by the bed got the right time. So I triggered the wall-clock to try and set itself again (that eventually worked) and went back to bed for a couple hours.

I didn’t really get up at 8:00 but I got up at 8:45 or so. I did dishes, paid bills, and spent the rest of the day browsing the web. I read The Transmundane by Trip, it’s really quite good.

6pm, Miche and I went to dinner at Rockin Tacos (which is now renamed “Muchos”). I talked about my ideas for writing. I had already thought about a contemporary/fantasy mix or crossover, and Transmundane made me start thinking on these lines again. I want to stay somewhat close to the contemporary setting, because if I have the story set entirely in a fantasy world, then I have to start dreaming up populations, continents, rulers, rebels, economy and production, etc. But, imagining something in some level of detail is not the same as research, though it still takes some prep-work. Perhaps a “contemporary fantasy” (akin to Buffy the Vampire Slayer) might be more quickly jump-started into writing… it’s a lot easier to figure out what a character’s “motivation” is if I already know some details about his social, policital and economic factors.

After this we went to see “13 Ghosts”. This was OK, if a little bit on the gore side.


An old friend who I worked with here at AV has died. I am not sure of the circumstances… more information should be coming to us soon. He was laid off in January and I had not talked to him since then.

I am not affected by this personally as much as others around here, since we were not close outside of work, but this reminds me of my own mortality. I think he was very close to my age. I don’t know how or why he died, but…

I also found out that my grandfather has had a brain hemmorhage. He survived and is expected to recover. But high blood pressure is stated as a factor in this, and I have that too. Time to start taking my medicine.

That’s all for tonight.

No writing tonight

We went to Kabul (our favorite Afghani restaurant) with Darren tonight. It is now 10 pm and I am full from dinner and sucking down a slurpee from 7-11. It is now 10:16. I like going out to eat but I won’t be able to do this every night unless I take a laptop with me or something.

Today’s first random song from the jukebox is Cecilia.
Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia,
Up in my bedroom, making love
I got up to wash my face
When I come back to bed
Someone’s taken my place

This doesn’t help because I already have sex on the brain and this song seems to be about sex to some extent.

Another try, Baker Baker by Tori Amos. What the hell is up with this song? I can’t figure it out. It’s about a woman whose boyfriend just took off and left her, claiming she was hiding from him and he was unable to get close to her, and she was already “running” from him in a lot of ways, she admits. But the part about baker, baker, make me a day, and what if his heart was made of icing, I don’t quite get it.

Third try, If I Could by October Project. Looks like an ordinary love song, about dedication and unconditional love and always being there for each other. Interestingly, it is dedicated “For Kyle and David.” Maybe this means they are someone’s kids? Or that the writer has two lovers and is pledging this to both of them?

So maybe there is a bit of a poly message there? Now I’m thinking back to Cecilia, when I come back to bed someone’s taken my place. Is there something these three have in common, or a story running through them at least? Makes me think of my own polyness. It’s under the surface, but it’s there and I can’t just ignore it and hope it goes away.

If I could, I would always tell the truth
I would always love you, From the heart

If I could, I would take you in my arms
Take you inside, Into my heart

If I could, I would be the place you turn
When you’re feeling lonely, Or afraid

I would shine, Like a lantern in the dark
Take you inside, Into my heart

When you feel as if, You don’t know who you are
I’ll remind you with my love

If I could, I would always keep you safe
Take you inside, Into my heart

When you feel as if, You simply can’t go on
I’ll remind you that you’re strong

If I could, I would love you as you are
Take you inside, Into my heart
Into my arms, Into my life

A storm

10:37 Went out to dinner and bought a large cat furniture tonight. Looks like I won’t have much time to write. Therefore I do so anyway.

This story is a little emotionally charged, but it’s not *my* story. I probably felt something like this at one time, but it has been a long time if so. So this is not about my experience… it’s just a story.
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Story ideas

My big problem with the “spontaneous write a story” exercise is having to come up with a plot/character idea on the fly. Any ideas on how people do this, either for writing short stories or improv-type stuff?

Once I have a novel framework, outline, or other harness to work from, maybe I won’t have to worry about generating random ideas. I have a pretty good idea of the setting (contemporary) but I will still need plot and character development.

Today’s writing: Rick and Donna

Another random idea for a partial story.

This time I couldn’t decide who the protagonist or point-of-view person was, so I just left out the thoughts and reactions and wrote just the sequence of events. This seems to get more dialogue in, and makes the actual events happen faster. However, I alternated between too much detail (which makes the events happen slower to the reader’s point of view) and very little detail. Comparing the ride to the restaurant and the ride back shows the difference in style (probably just based on my boredom with the scene and wanting to get it over with). If I am writing from a certain person’s point of view (rather than an impartial observer) I could probably use the variations in “speed” to reflect whether the person is involved/engaged (and things seem to be happening slowly, lots of time to think, lots of detail) and when they are bored (which can flow a little faster.. no sense in boring the reader too. :) I guess I need to think more about how to adjust the level of the detail and speed of storytelling. Suggestions?

Without a point of view, I didn’t really get across what they were thinking and feeling, mostly because I wasn’t sure, I don’t know these characters well yet, how they met (online, but not sure how) and how they feel about each other. So I took an easy way out and just wrote the events. Might be interesting to go back and put in one person’s point of view and thoughts and see how that changes the scene, and how it changes the word count.

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Novel writing for dummies

Stolen from a chat with a friend….

According to tips: Start writing down, now, every single thing you hear every single person say. Write down every dumb thought that enters your head. You will need it. Also under tips: “Try to dream about your novel, so you won’t lose those hours merely sleeping…”

Miche thinks I’m crazy. I say “Yes, I know”

Remains to be seen whether I can write 2000 words in a row. Never mind doing it day after day. A Wish for Peace was 1917 words apparently. Christie was 2300 words. So, do that 25 times in 30 days and I’m set.

Statistically I’m more likely to write for a while and get discouraged and forget it by the 15th. But I’ve got a couple things going for me… I have been envious of writers for a long time, and I haven’t been doing enough “stupid fun” things lately and need to.

Setting. There’s sci fi, there’s traditional medieval fantasy, there’s modern, there’s historical. Then there’s the silly, like the story told from the point of view of a white blood cell. I’m thinking of contemporary fantasy, like our world only with a little magic swirled in (or psychic powers or something). Contemporary would definitely be fastest in terms of amount of research needed. I’m not a historian, but I have some years experience living in the contemporary world

For plot you have murder mysteries or crime dramas, might be a bit too violent unless we stick to the level of the civilized art thief :) Then there is the romance. Torrid, but boy could one burn through pages. I seem to remember that dialog takes up very few words, but elegant and lengthy descriptions take up a lot. Books where you stop and explain what someone is thinking and feeling every few pages are probably great for word count

Regarding “O Brother Where Art Thou?” About three escaped convicts in depression-era. It was based rather loosely on Homer’s Oddessey. Something like that could be a cheap way to provide an outline. Like instead of an oracle they got a blind man pumping the lever of a railway cart, and instead of a cyclops they had John Goodman with an eyepatch. But it would have to be a story I know well, have to think about that…

Random writing: “Christie”

10:49 am. Today’s random writing is brought to you by the “Random” button on After browsing several random entries, I began to see a pattern: most web journals (at least most of the ones connected to the Random button today) are written by girls who partied pretty hard last weekend, missed some classes last week, are worried about whether what Julie said about Kevin is really true, and are a size 3 but still want to lose weight to look good among the other cheerleaders…

Writing the following partial story took like 4 hours, but some of that was research time and a couple brief interruptions. Hopefully I will be able to cut the time down a bit in the weeks to come; I don’t want to spend 4 hours a day, but I might be able to do two. If I choose a setting that is a bit more familiar, I will require less time for research.

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I added myself to my own friends list. This means I get to see my own entries mixed in with the friends entries. This is kind of interesting… I don’t know if I like it. I also don’t know if other people reading my friends page will enjoy it or not, but then again, I don’t guess my friends page is viewed much by others… most everyone else has their own friends and don’t need to borrow mine :)


I have slowed down a bit on the writing about beliefs, relationships, communication, etc. I have a few more topics I want to cover, but it’s not as urgent anymore. I have received very few comments on them, on line or in real life, so I don’t really know if other folks are enjoying reading them or not. Anyway, the important thing is to write about what I am interested in, so I will enjoy writing more and do it more often. With that goal in mind, I will need to pick some other topics, but I will come back to beliefs, relationships, etc. from time to time.

How does one get started in writing? Pick a topic and go, I guess; that is what worked before in writing classes. I realize I am not going to crank out a novel anytime soon, but perhaps I could start with some short stories, etc. Maybe one of the short stories will grow into something larger, but practicing and getting into a repeatable pattern is the most important thing.