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Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Random

Random Post of the Week You Didn't See: My rant about the difference between a sea star and a fish. One is a pentaradial invertebrate, the other is a bony fish. Anyone who can't tell the difference on visual inspection should probably be given remedial help. Anyone writing a book, short story, magazine, or advertisement who can't tell the difference will be staked through the heart with a rusty red pen.

I hope we understand each other now.

P.S. The original post was longer. :o) Consider yourself spared The Wrath of Liana.

Random New Things in My Life: PLANTS!!! It's spring and the seedlings are camped out on a table in my study right next to where I write. I love watching those bright green heads pop up and turn toward the sun.

Random Goals For This Week: Finishing the first section of Twisted Metal (23k) by tomorrow! Out of fifteen chapters I'm half-way through editing chapter fourteen. I consider that on track. I have two beta-readers lined up who have volunteered to go through and check for pacing and flow.

I still think I need to do some work on these chapters. To be honest, the emotions aren't coming through as strong as I'd like. I don't get scared reading the chapters, but that may be because what my character fears is something that thrills me because I know where the book is going. [pauses to breath] That last sentence needs editing too.

Anyway, I'm excited. When TM is complete my goal is to have a reasonably edited, unmessy, full draft. Not a first draft, but a revised and ready to line edit draft. This is my Learn To Edit Properly novel. I'm hoping that finishing it will teach me how to fix all the other novels currently malingering on my hard drive.

Random Goal for Next Week:
This week was editing, the remainder of March is dedicated to submitting short stories. I have three that have gone through the critique group gauntlet and now need to be submitted. I might even try individual submissions for one of them. Usually I look for places where I can submit to multiple places at once, but for Boy Named No I might make an exception.

Random "Stop Yacking and Show Us What You Did!":

So, this is the first line of Twisted Metal from the first rough draft:
Plasma cannon fire rocked the hospital. Roan rushed through the emergency ward as plaster fell from the ceiling. All around her the dying moaned, a low song against the melody of doctors’ hushed voices and nurses’ strident tones.

It doesn't work. There are no plasma cannons on this planet. It is blah. Moving on to the current version:
Roan ran through the emergency room of Pouco ClemĂȘncias hospital, swerving around fallen bricks from the outer wall and strewing shattered glass with each step. Sonic grenades exploded on the street outside the hospital dropping another layers of plaster dust on the already chaotic scene.
Technology is right, I have a place, the main character is named. But I can't seem to escape alliteration. Skippy skidded, Roan ran, Calla cupped.... it's bad. Suggestions are welcome. :o)

What's Your Random?

Picture of batstar courtesy of, and copyright to, Batstar.net. Picture of the goldfish courtesy of, and copyright to, Cornell University.


  1. Ah... you are talking about starfish, eh? :)

    The only thing I know about starfish is a bag of dead starfish does not keep very well in a hot car. :[

    Seedlings! I'm thinking about picking up a packet or two of sunflowers on my lunch break. :)

  2. *twitches*

    Catherine... that was a very unkind thing to do. They are not starFISH. They are sea stars. Enchinoderms. Not Ostoicthyes.

    And what were you doing with dead sea stars in a car?

  3. *grins*

    We were driving back home from New Hampshire. We had them in a cooler and planned to preserve them. But apparently the old station wagon was too warm even for the cooler... :O

  4. *waves* I likes sea stars. Much fun indeed. But they are not all pentaradial, are they??

    Re the editing - edited version reads much better than the first. I think the prob with it though isn't so much the alliteration as the amount of 'strong' words crammed in there. In just the first sentence you have 'swerved', 'strewing' and 'shattered', which yes, all begin with s, but are all strong, emotive, expressive words. Strong words need room to breathe. I can dig out the article if you like, but John Marsden's (http://www.johnmarsden.com.au/home.html) rule is no more than one strong word per sentence.

    Oh look. I should do a post on that O:)



  5. Inky - There are a few weird sea stars with more than five arms (like the sun star- http://www.marlin.ac.uk/imgs/o_cropap.jpg), but even they go back to the five-sided symmetry once you get to the internal organs.

  6. They're called starfish in England, no matter whether they're technically fish or not. Meh. Language thing. Same as Guinea pigs aren't actually pigs.

  7. Melusine - Guinea pigs are closer to pigs than fish are to sea stars. At least they're both vertebrate mammals!

    From now on, however, anyone who confuses a sea star with a fish will be excused on the basis that they are British and there's obviously some translation issue. I will require them to talk with a British accent for the rest of the day, though. Just to be sure they're British.

  8. I'm nearly on the case for reading TM - still recovering from Germ Gremlins. You have been warned!