Right, so as of now the official blog schedule is “when something happens”.
Apropos of nothing, something happened. Specifically, the first draft of Book #2 is officially complete and in the hands of beta reader. Not plural, singular. It used to be plural, but of my 5 beta readers, two never responded, the third was upfront that he didn’t like it, the fourth was Yvonne and the fifth came back with notes. Yvonne will be tagging in later, but since she was basically able to read over my shoulder while draft 1 was being type there isn’t much sense in having her sit through it again until something significant changes.
Revisions and additions are already being plotted, but for now they are just sitting in a document waiting for their day in the sun. Additionally, the book needs a name. Naming stuff is always something I have issues with, and whenever possible I put it off for later. Fortunately, through the magic of placeholders, and “[” brackets that are easily searchable in word processing programs, this issue does not slow me down.
As mentioned previously, this Book #2 is technically the third book; the original Book #2, which ironically already has a name, is still just sitting there. Yvonne has suggested putting some work on it while waiting for feedback, but I feel no great rush to go back and finish it. The text as writ (and outlined for the parts not actually written yet) exists as part of the canon, but I had concerns about some aspects of it. Chiefly, the fact that Caroline effectively gets sidelined while secondary characters run around and get into fights and solve mysteries. While the other characters having a life outside of the main protagonist doesn’t bother me, the fact that the protagonist only features in 40% of the first two books would send odd and mixed signals. Hence Arms Race got sidelined until we could get Caroline established a bit more firmly. Then the Professor can host wacky homicide hour.
In other news:
Good news: Payday 2 has finally started to fade from my attention, and will not consume my time for the foreseeable future. Bad news: It has faded because I finally have Fallout 4. The game has it’s high points and it’s low points, but overall we’re having a good time so far. Unfortunately for one of the best RPG franchises, some of the low points are dialogue and the roleplaying elements, though the settlement building options are interesting. Also unfortunately, sometimes I wonder what the developers were thinking with some of the places that get suggested for settlement locations, like the drive-in theater (“Sure Preston, let’s set up shop on a flat concrete slab with no natural defenses, no resources other than scrap metal, and a radioactive pool in the center. Jackass.”). My pipe dream hope is that we will see a repeat of what happened with Fallout 3 and New Vegas, where Bethesda makes a numbered Fallout game that introduces a number of interesting technical innovations, and then bring in a pack of ex-Black Isle people to take those innovations and use them to make a named Fallout with better writing. Dare to dream.
Yvonne is at work on her next set of books, as well as taking some time to work on a few unrelated projects. Mostly craft themed. Will keep details to a minimum; if she gets the urge to share, it will be up on her blog.
So, picking up right off from October, we were doing Halloween props. The party went pretty good, though as expected dressing up as a character that exists in your head and in an e-book is a good way to hear many variations on the question “what are you?”. Yvonne had the same problem, though she did wear her costume well.
The pistol turned out fairly well. Not perfect, but good enough to look impressive around the campfire. For scale/comparison, Yvonne’s Captain pistol is presented next to the finished Marv.
In the future we need to acquire a few holsters. For the past two Halloweens we’ve been passing around a “universal” holster that Yvonne’s sister picked up for a Meryl Silverburgh costume. Partially out of a sense of getting maximum use out of a prop, partially because we’re cheapskates.
And for some infernal reason the in-progress pictures I took of the Wilhelmina sword aren’t where I though I left them. Will post Part Three after I run them down.
I’ll spare you the whining, lets just say that life was being a cunt in its usual, unexceptional way, and it required a bit of attention for a while. Fortunately, we do have something to post up here now; more prop building. While this wasn’t meant to be a regular feature on the Mandatory Minimum Presence, it seems to have become one. A few irons are in the fire, and while no finished works are ready to show, we can at least post some progress.
The coffee bar would be lovely, if it weren’t for all the fucking people in it. It’s a warm, welcoming space, lots of hardwood in the construction, plenty of natural light, but it’s too small for all the people in it, at least as far as I’m concerned. Never understood the affection for populated, noisy spaces. Charlotte tried to explain it to me, the energy of a public space, the combination of ten or twenty individual lives into what she saw as the perfect background noise for just about anything. I’d try to explain that the noise was nothing but noise, and it didn’t combine into anything but an ugly jumble of half-audible sentences and incomplete thoughts. It was always one of those subjects where we both agreed to sit on our side of the couch and be convinced that we were the sane one…
Sorry, got sidetracked. The coffee bar. The small, narrow, civilian-packed coffee bar. If a shootout started in here, some poor bastard might be going home without a head. Just one more step to take care of before we start things proper. Staff is already killing the various boilers and burners, security is hiding around the corners of the exits, diverting away new clients and doing quick spot checks on the ones leaving, and Susan and Minette are both in position.
The faculty dining hall is, by design, quiet. About every surface that isn’t dedicated to decoration is dedicated to sound mitigation, even some of the decorative surfaces have roles to play, and as a result even during a peak time, like lunch, every table can have a conversation, at a normal level of voice, without having to try and talk over each other. Even after a few years of eating in here, I still find myself admiring the design, new details and nuances still occasionally coming to my attention. I tried explaining it to Susan once; she asked me how a person could see a dragon skull mounted on a wall and be more interested in how they kept it from acting like a giant speakerbox whenever anyone stands too close to it. Some people just don’t appreciate the little mechanical details of occupied areas. I mention the dragon skull because Minette keeps staring at it.