Sunday, June 17, 2007

One Week Later...

I had a lovely family visit this last week, but it didn't allow much time for blogging. Or much else, to be honest, though I did make all relevant karate classes. Robbie's aunt, uncle and cousin got him a 3/4 guitar for his birthday, which he is enjoying (and which Mommy is sneaking off and practicing with a couple of time a day). Tomorrow is his actual 9th birthday. With any luck we'll have at least a couple of kids over and avoid the fiasco that was last year's party. Today I'm calling around to twist arms and make sure of that. It's embarassing, but better than the devastated kid.

I mentioned earlier that Sensei is working at the same company my husband works for. True, but not complete. He actually works for a contractor, but is trying to hire on direct. While he's angling for the change, he's working some odd hours - which means occassional last minute subbing in class. I got to teach last Friday, which was fun. I pulled out the gymnastics mats and tortured everybody by making them learn shoulder rolls. It seems to have been a good choice. Shoulder rolls are something that's demonstrably useful and that I can do easily (legacy of two summers of gymnastics camp), but that almost nobody in class has experience with. Even our ADHD boy settled down and got (a little) serious about trying to roll properly, and as a result almost everyone had actually managed a proper roll or two by the end of class, even though nobody could at the start. The relatively difficult move combined with my ability to do it also seemed to underline my authority, so I didn't have any problems with the mid-belts accepting me as their teacher for this class, which is sometimes a problem.

It's hard for a teenaged kid to accept someone of their own rank, even if older and more experienced, as an actual authority they should listen to. It will be interesting to see if I can cement my authority, such as it is, at this level, or if shifting to brown belt later will be required, or something else altogether. Right now I keep control of the class by a combination of psychology (such as teaching the shoulder rolls), and fear. I'm not too sure about the fear. I don't try to inspire it, and I've never hurt anyone in the dojo, but about half the kids are terrified of me in a fight. It's a weird feeling. Why on earth would they be more scared of me than of Sensei or of L, both of whom are far more dangerous fighters? Sensei opines that it's the spectre of a Mommy trying to hit them, but then shouldn't they be afraid of K too?

In other news, I did remember (or rather he remembered) to have Bill video me doing Seisan kata. He's downloaded it into his computer, and is trying to figure out how to format it so that I can either put it up here, or put it up on YouTube and link to it. So with any luck, I should have that up soon.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Why Yes, I am up at 2am, Writing about Writing.

As mentioned previously, I'm currently in the throes of rewriting my first novel Ghost Dancer - again. This is the second or third major rewrite, depending on how you count. Since I've never done the serious editing thing, each time I try something new, I'm fumbling through, trying to figure out how this thing goes.

The first time I redid the book, I had a new plot twist to add. Despite coming early in the book, it proved fairly easy to insert. So easy, that I suspect that it was hiding around in my hindbrain from the very beginning. There was even foreshadowing already in place! So I slipped in the two new required scenes, altered a few references later in the book (to people as living that were dead in the new version), and voila! Good to go.

This time is proving a bit trickier - which is odd because the revisions are actually more minor. I've had a number of discussions about the GD universe and politics with my writing buddy Ledasmom, and consequently I now have a much more in depth and nuanced view of exactly what the bad guys are up to than I did when I first wrote the book. The changes aren't major - they still do the same things, just for more complicated reasons. They've switched from fairly stereotypical evil-overlord wannabees, to people who want something for good reason - they merely want to so badly they're willing to commit atrocity to get it. But to make this situation clear without resorting to a substantial infodump, or worse several "As you know, Bob" sessions, I have to drop little tidbits of background everywhere. Plus a few new characters to illustrate the opposing points of view with people more sypathetic than unrepentant mass murderers. As of last count, I had added two new scenes, and about 1500 new words, with at least two more new scenes to go. Fortunately for my ultimate total word count (trying to stay under 100,000), I'm also finding plenty of opportunity for tightening elsewhere.

I know that no book is ever perfect. But when the heck do you know it's ready?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Little Knitting

I'm just about ready to restart normal life. I went to two karate classes this week and was able to make it through both, even if I was staggering by the end (my stamina still sucks). Tuesday I think I'll go back to yoga to start easing back into my full exercise routine - I don't think I'm quite ready for Turbokick yet. Probably next week.

In the meanwhile, I got started on a new sweater - the one you see pictured at right over here. It's the Arietta pattern from the current edition of Knitty . I've chosen some different colors to do it in, as the warmish browns really don't excite me any. Instead my five colors are hyacinth (a light blue-purple), violet, sky blue, aquamarine (a pale color) and turquoise (which is quite dark). I'm about 1 1/2 color repeats up the back thus far. It's slow going, since this is a fine guage (25 st./4") plus it's mosaic knitting, so two rows knitted for every one row up. Fortunately for me I like fine-guage knitting (I did an adult sweater in fine sock yarn once). Plus I've never done mosaic knitting before and I'm finding it pretty neat. Two colors in every row without ever having to knit with two colors at once. Cool!

The rest of what I'm doing this week is getting the house ready for guests on Saturday (See you soon, Bill, Kelly & Kathryn!), filling out annoying forms for a week's summer camp for the kids, and working on a major edit on Ghost Dancer, which is worth a post all its own - probably my next one. Gee, maybe the slow going on the sweater isn't just the fine guage.