Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Livin' La Vida Distraído

Cassandra and "the boys" at Gallifrey One

As you know, Ace, (that's an exposition joke) the plan tonight was to get through a bunch more of my writeup of the Gallifrey One convention, on the grounds that I no longer have a fanzine in which to publish such things. I figure the text should be of interest to Doctor Who fans, and the costume photos may be of interest to a slightly wider audience, 'cause costumes are fun even if you're not familiar with the characters depicted.

Three shots of the moon as it started to be eclipsed.

More and more, however, I find that my brain very seldom does what it's told, at least not when it comes to allocation of leisure time activities. As of 11 PM, I had yet to edit a single photo tonight to accompany this entry. Worse, I failed to go back outside after 8 PM to catch the lunar eclipse at its eclipsiest. Drat! I just plain forgot about it. I do that a lot, I'm sorry to say. Forgetting to do stuff, that is.

Moon over Speedway - but which light is it?

Am I suffering from the beginning of Alzheimer's, three weeks shy of my 51st birthday? Have I a touch of dementia, brought on by a TIA or two or three? No, and no. And no. (That's a King Jor joke; don't worry about it.) Am I cognitively impaired due to sleep deprivation? Again no...well, maybe a little, occasionally.

Solarization applied to the aggregated moon shot.

No, all this has to do with distraction. Whatever it is I'm supposed to be thinking about or doing, more often than not my brain decides that now is the perfect time to obsess about something else entirely.

So what have I been doing tonight instead of editing photos, writing my "con report," working on my RR database or taking bad photos of the moon after 7:20 PM? Was I indulging my Wikipedia addition, watching DVDs, or reading the Doctor Who Forum, perhaps? Not to any significant degree, no. I haven't made a single Wikiedit today, watched only one House episode, and have only read new posts in a few DWF threads. The main thing I've been working on tonight - and this is the good news - is my Heirs of Mâvarin edit, and updating that darn outline.

The moon over St. Michael's tonight looked like a comet.

What happened is this: I thought I had chosen the right timing for that one problematic scene I wrote about a week or two ago. I went back through Chapter Eight, changed a few sentences so that Jamek arrived in the morning instead of the late afternoon, and revised several other passages while I was at it. When I was done, I updated my word count spreadsheet and immediately started on Chapter Nine.

My best one. Several of Scalzi's readers got great shots.

Turns out, the first scene in Chapter Nine makes no sense at all if Jamek arrives on Mâsheldu morning. Jamek has to remember the camped tengremen soon enough after arriving to be plausible. He then has to go see if they're still there, come back, and be sent to find Albi, who has to be far enough away by then to arrive only in the nick of time. I don't expect you to follow all that, but the point is that the timing is critical to making this whole section of the book work. And the more I looked, the more I saw problems, and realized a quick fix wasn't going to resolve them.

This isn't going to work.

I've often thought that a board game, or possibly tokens on a giant map, would be the best way to figure out which characters should be where, doing what, on any given morning, afternoon or evening. But I've tried it, and it doesn't work any better than outlines, index cards or counting it out in my head, which is to say, not very well.

So instead I'm falling back on that outline, updating it chapter by chapter. I'm up to Chapter Three - or was, before I got distracted again an hour ago after I started this entry, first designing a Mâvarin game board and then editing eclipse pictures. With the Gallifrey stuff still to do, photos to edit, the Weekend Assignment and Round Robin coming up, well, it could be a while before I get the timing of scenes in Chapters Eight and Nine straightened out.

See what I mean?


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