Tag Archives: word

One of those kind of days

I woke up this morning to the mellow tones of Otto barfing on my bedroom floor. That’s one of those sounds that wakes you completely up. It was 4:00 AM. He’s fine, sometimes he gets snotty and chokes. I’ve woken up coughing more than once myself.

Since I was up, I had some quiet time and spent it reading. I don’t often get to read these days, and relished the opportunity. As a young man I could devour a book per day. These days it’s more like a book per month.

I’m currently writing two stories at once, and intended to devote some time to both of them. I had a pile of critiques to address on one of them, and did that this morning. If I don’t do anything else, at least I got that done.

I looked to the other one and discovered a problem. This is me, being anal, but it completely stifled me. I’ve been working on it using two different computers, one Apple and one PC. (We get a lot of hour long lunches during January and February due to the holiday weeks.)

Specifically, I’m using Microsoft Word and Apple Pages for iPad. My problem involves straight quotes vs curly quotes. Shouldn’t be a problem, right? Some whizbang formatting trick and all should be well. (Apostrophes are the same way.)

I tried the help link in Pages to no avail. I Googled what to do, seemed like some reasonable suggestions, except they didn’t work. I found instructions to try on a Mac. Okay, I have a Mac. I opened my manuscript and went through the step by step instructions. Very easy to follow… except it didn’t work.

I fiddled around myself, and if I delete my paragraph marks, the entire super-paragraph takes on the format I want. Then I can hit return again, make the quotes the way I want them before moving to the next paragraph.

This is possible, but I’m not going to do it just yet. I’m going to see if I can fix it using Word. At this point I gave up completely.

This is my short weekend, and I have other things that need tending. I got a haircut, paid the bills, and we have some errands in town. We’ll probably go out to dinner while we’re out.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, and I’m not going to address it then either.

I have some decent time coming up, and I’ll take up the keyboard then.

I hope you are having a better weekend than I am. Boise is covered in snow and ice, but it’s pretty shallow. More freezing than anything else. Maybe some beef and beer will improve my outlook tonight.

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A day in which I am a bad employee

What am I supposed to do? I haven’t added a word to “The Playground” since August 27th. It looks like another week before I’ll get any quality writing time to myself.

I’m setting on nearly 300 hours of paid vacation. My job is one where it’s never a good time to take it. There’s always some major disaster on the horizon, and another one burning on my desk. I did what any self respecting author would do and took the rest of the week off. The disasters will still be there on Monday.

I actually took my iPad to the back porch about 5:00 AM and wrote in the dark with that huge moon over my right shoulder. It was an interesting experience until the temperature dropped at dawn. I’ll tell the story this way:

I got to the writing cabin at 5:00 AM. Lisa* monitors all my devices and had the coffee hot when I walked upstairs. I grabbed my iPad and set up in the dark, under the front porch. I’ve got my heroine on the page, and I’ve introduced her weak spot pretty well. All I had to do was move the characters into the right positions, kill one guy, and set her on her journey.

Moving the pieces is always hard for me, but I wrote like the wind to get it set up. I may have to go back and remove half of it, but it’s on paper now anyway.

Wolves started howling at the end of the meadow, and I decided to move inside. Lisa stepped out in a short denim dress and cowgirl boots, looked across the meadow and said, “infrared shows two of them. They’re just skirting the tree line and not headed our way. I’ve got my gun, just in case.” She sat on the porch with her boots in the grass. Keep going, I’ve got your back.”

I turned back to my story and one infectious parasite, a death, and road trip later my battery died. I was cold and packed everything inside.

Lorelei** waited inside with fresh croissants. She wore tight leggings and one of those sweaters with the really wide neck. You know the kind where you just hope something will fall out.

Lisa put the rolls on plates and carried them to the coffee table in my office. She stayed with us, but didn’t eat.

“You have a wonderful opportunity ahead of you,” Lorelei said. “Your character, Gina, is a cancer survivor. If you’re going to have her fight evil, she has to relate it to cancer somehow.”

“I have a fair idea of how evil gets inside us. Cancer is inside us. Is that what you mean?”

Lorelei leaned further forward and lower than she needed to reach her coffee. “I’m sure something will inspire you soon, but it’s a good comparison for your character.”

She knew how to inspire me alright, and I was all fired up. I wanted to keep going, but my battery needed a break. My brain probably does too. Tomorrow I’d see if I could weave the comparison into my story. Today was a lost cause.

Still, I wound up with 4535 new words on the page. This is pretty good if they all stay.

This afternoon I’ll go back to editing. I need to finish up with “was” and take up the next sin word. I haven’t heard much from my cover artist lately and may need to contact him.

Right now it’s time for a Reuben sandwich with my home made sauerkraut and a nap. Five o’clock was pretty early. If my real job is paying me today, am I being paid to write? I think so, and it’s my fantasy so I’m going with that.

*Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and helps me around the writing cabin these days.

**Lorelei is my Muse. She pops in and out at will.

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