A State of the Writer: Ker-Flop and WIPs

Okay, after long weeks of only being able to work on it in fits and starts, chapter 16 of Long Road is finally roughed out. With luck I’ll get to print that today so I can do revisions, edits, nitpicks, etc. (Augh thump flop.)

This chapter should finish the fic. I have ideas for two specific codas; Nie Mingjue meeting Ashkevrons, and Ancar’s mind-controlled soldiers meeting the Yiling Patriarch. But brain is currently blanking on the details. And I want to get going on Colors of Another Sky. So… I’m doing that.

In bits and pieces. Jason’s landing in a new world is a serious crash, and there’s going to be more than a bit of tension, sheer terror, and body horror. I know how it goes, I just may need to be more rested to write it all the way through. So I wrote the end line of that section, and then jumped to Lee Cheong’s POV for the other side of the rescue. Much more hopeful stuff to write.

(And necessary, ‘cause Jason’s going to be KO’d for a bit. It’s a very dicey rescue.)

It’s rough going, in part because the holidays are never a good time of year for me and I’m having to recover from nonstop Christmas music every day at work, which makes things much worse. But it is, at last, going.

Of course, in the process I keep finding bits of info I either need to research more for the story, or make sure I add to a glossary at the end for people who have not spent weeks, months, years digging themselves in deeper to the history and fantasy of Northeast Asia. Currently the glossary includes cultivators, fox spirits, Namhansanseong, and wokou. I’m sure it’s going to grow from there. (Suggestions welcome!)

I’m also finding out more about how the demon-callers are structured, because Lee Cheong may be young but he is not an idiot. And the last guy in charge from whom he recently took over was equally not an idiot. The people on Lee Cheong’s “strike team”, so to speak, are not the commanders of their respective divisions in the Callers, they’re his personal team. The commanders he needs doing their commanding. The one exception may be Jue Chin-Sun, who’s the best medic they have when it comes to supernatural stuff and probably does lead their medics… when Lee Cheong’s not in combat.

…So I need to come up with these seconds-in-command. Okay, that’s what “add X name here” notes are for….

I’m also noting various nonmagical events and hazards that sane people are going to tend to after picking up a couple of foreign strangers. For example, variolation. That’s going to take some interesting translation attempts to get across. And also some pure luck, because Jason’s old enough to have a good idea of what a variolation scar looks like. Mary, not so much.

(Yes, I know, the historical Chinese version was “blow it up your nose”. The skin route is safer and with medical cultivation people would have been able to figure that out.)

Thoughts, suggestions?


43 thoughts on “A State of the Writer: Ker-Flop and WIPs

  1. I’m not sure I have any on this particular topic… but doesn’t Tea come from around there? And since the spices in chocolate are kind of really important in this reality, I don’t see Jason getting the chocolate he and Mary would be familiar with.

    Not that that would be all that bad, all either of them would likely care about would be that they now have the ultimate comfort food.

    Would that not have consequences for the both of them?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I am expecting them both to have a reaction. What kind is up to you, since you are the one who’s writing it. I’m not about to demand that you make their reactions good ones. Especially since they ended up in a world of magic and fantasy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If only stores would play actual Christmas music, it would be far less annoying (to me, at least). But so much of the time, they want to play what I call Xmas music, i.e. Christmas music without Christ in it. (Yes, I know that the X stands for Christ in Greek, so my terminology isn’t perfect, but I haven’t found a better term yet: “secular Christmas music” is too much of a mouthful). And all the songs that annoy me when they come on are Xmas music, not Christmas music.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I heard a couple of versions of ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ the other day where the words were a drawn out there was no meaning left… and agree, abut the X-mad songs…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s not so much that I think the music is bad, it’s that they only play those songs on loop. When I was working at a place they started the music… I think it was before Halloween or right after?

        It is enough to drive you insane. I have heard versions of My Favorite Things around this time and it is by far my favorite “Holiday” song to listen to. Silver Bells isn’t bad either, I just don’t want to listen to it non-stop.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Walmart Radio and Sam’s Club Radio have actually had pretty good mixes this year. But my work area doesn’t have any speakers, so I just hear them periodically.

        OTOH, I tend to sing when I’m working… I try not to drive my coworkers crazy, though.

        When I worked at J.C. Penney fresh out of college, the Christmas music mix was about two hours long, and included the same music used to dance “Rufty Tufty.” Which was hilarious, and allowed me to dance Rufty Tufty if nobody else was in my side of the department.

        (OTOH, I was in the children’s department, and we were tasked with playing either a Barney, Sesame Street, or Disney video, every moment of the day. So getting to turn down the videos in favor of the Christmas music was a great moment in the year.)

        Liked by 3 people

    2. I’ve called them “suicide carols” for several years now, but that’s because I have a bad habit of actually listening to lyrics.

      *give stern looks to “Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart”*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s an awful song. People don’t realize that just because it has the word Christmas in the song doesn’t mean it’s a Christmas song. “Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart” being a prime example of that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve been known to loudly rant about how the “someone special” should run, now, really fast– see also that relatively new song about “gonna marry her, marry her anyway”.

        They’re both someone singing more about the person they oppose than the person they supposedly love. Which makes the “love” a prize, and the one being fought the real focus of the relationship.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As a musician, I absolutely, 110% feel you on the music torture. That’s a special circle of Hell. Really almost all modern music is, but there’s something especially banal about the Christmas crap.

    I take it you can’t wear earbuds or something to block out the stupid?

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I wish they would play more Mannheim Steamroller – to say nothing of older Christmas music, like the Andrew Sisters, Bing Crosby, and Danny Kaye’s versions of so many good Christmas songs. Instead we get all this glittery, insubstantial racket….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Let me give some suggestions.

      Ruth Lyons’ Christmas songs. She was the ur-talk show host, but she also composed new songs every week with her bandleader, and she was a pretty good songwriter. People forget about her because she was Midwest-famous. Anyway, unlikely to have bad associations for most folks, because she’s semi-obscure now.

      The K-Mart Christmas mix from the 1970’s. (One of many versions on YT. Downloadable from archive.org.) A lot of instrumentals with orchestra. Also unlikely to have bad associations for younger folks, and vastly better sound quality than in the store!

      Also there are a lot of medieval Christmas albums, Christmas albums with standards from other countries, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Past Perfect Vintage Music and Nemo’s Soundscapes have really nice and unusual playlists on their videos.

        And of course, there’s the Tenchi Muyo Christmas album, sung in character by the voice actors, including some of the on-purpose-worst Japanglish and pretend-drunk karaoke that you will ever hear. Plus an audio skit on “The Little Match Girl” which is funny even if you don’t understand Japanese. Also mostly not on YT, but here’s “Jingle Bells,” which is fun and pretty.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. You could get away with a lot just by doing Medieval Christmas Carols.

      Y’know, since they’re in foreign languages that your average freedom-from-religion type probably won’t understand.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. …So I need to come up with these seconds-in-command. Okay, that’s what “add X name here” notes are for….

    Is the situation safe enough that he’d HAVE notes that weren’t in code?

    Even if it’s a silly-basic code like, oh, calling someone the Green Fire Tiger of the North. (Thus you have over two hundred possible variations at the most basic.)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I know it’s tradition to complain about the Christmas music (and I’ll definitely agree about the specific choices), but at least part of that observation involves confirmation bias. The entire rest of the year has a single smaller Playlist at my store, so we actually get more variety and a greater time between repeats during the Christmas season. It’s just that everyone is actually paying attention to the repetition now, when they weren’t earlier in the year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Individual stores will do the same 6-10 songs the rest of the year, but they’re different songs in different stores. Sucks for the workers in that store, if it’s loud enough to hear, but everybody else can get away before there’s three repeats.

      At Christmas, 90% of the stores are playing three versions of twenty songs!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m actually in charge of the Christmas music at my work place. I started Dec. 2nd (was supposed to start the first but had technical difficulties) playing a mix of; Pentatonix, Mariah Carey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and SheDaisy. No Santa babies to be found (I hate that song to).

    Liked by 6 people

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