October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Novel’s Eve

I don’t usually start my novel right at midnight. Oh, sure, I have in the past. But I usually toss those words out and start over. (Though I have to admit as a swimmer I never had a false start in all my meets.)

So tonight I have to start because I agreed to go to a midnight write.

Which means I have to know what I’m doing, at least enough for the first thousand words or so.

I’ve been thinking about characters and maybe an arc.

I was thinking if the novel is going to be focused on candy, it should have a character in it that loves every candy I detest.

I was also thinking there should be a quest ... that my main character has to be searching for something or trying to do something. You know, something. I haven’t figured out what it is. I haven’t decided anything past the first sentence and scene.

If that doesn’t work, I guess I can always start over!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:02 pm     NaNoWriMo

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Creating Great Blogs

When I was pulling my FAQ for Candy Blog together, it seemed that some of my readers think that I’m a top blogger and I might have some authority on the subject.

Well, I’m not so sure about that, but I’ve certainly learned a lot through trial and error over the years, enough to share some of that with others. So here are a few of my thoughts in a series that I’ll post over the next week or so.

Stake out a Little Corner

The following are some technology basics that you should keep in mind when setting up your blog.

    1. Get a good URL - there’s nothing wrong with blogspot, typepad or livejournal, but pick something folks can remember and spell easily. Is it too late for that? Even if you don’t want to get your own hosting, you can get a domain name and point it. 2. Claim your blog at Technorati.com - they index blogs and you can add keywords to your blog so others can find you. You can also keep an eye on your blog and see who’s linking to you. Go see what they’re talking about and how it relates to what you’re talking about. There are other blogs that allow you to track your position in the whole scheme of things, such as blogshares.com and blogpulse.com. 3. Ping - your blogging software probably already does it, but make sure that you’re pinging all the networks so that people know you’ve got something new (I recommend pingomatic.com to catch those sites that your blog software may have missed). 4. Get listed - there are always big sites that aggregate huge link lists. For local Los Angeles bloggers it’s LA Blogs, for foodies it’s Kiplog ... just find where you belong. 5. Publish a feed. Even if it’s not the full post, at least folks will know that you’ve updated. Make it easy for readers to add your site updates to whatever they read with. Little chicklets help, but even a little sidebar space with text versions works well. If you choose to use a feed publisher like Feedburner, you’ll be able to track who’s reading you and what’s popular. 6. Use tags - keywords and tags help other people find your posts. Sign up with something like del.icio.us or digg - you add a little tag at the end of your posts and then other people who may never have seen your site might find you via the subject of your post. 7. Optimize your blog for search engines - this means permalinks so that other folks can link to specific posts and when someone searches for content, they go right to where you blog has what they want.



Next week I’ll talk about Layout and Templates.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:02 pm     Curious News

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Titling of a NaNovel

I haven’t decided what to write for NaNoWriMo this year. All I have is a topic. Candy. (It’s about time I wrote a candy novel.)

I thought the whole thing with starting with a title back in ‘04 worked pretty well (that was the year of An Alphabetical Order). I also thought I would work in a different genre this year, as I always do. I’m running out of new POVs, so this one might be 3rd Person Limited.

The current title is:

Limited Liability Chocolate, an LLC

But I’ve been thinking of other titles as well, since I’m going for the Comedy genre. (The LLC novel would be a satire, I believe, somehow involving corporations and chocolate, as the title would imply.)

A new title that I’m mulling over would go something like this:

A Novel That Has Lollipops in It

Of course that breaks my rule about having a title that alphabetically sorts high.

It’s a work in progress.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:24 pm     NaNoWriMo

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It’s not the battery

So last night I was sitting on the couch enjoying some Prik King from Rambutan Thai and watching the premiere of 30 Rock.

My laptop was on the dining room table, plugged in, but with the battery removed.

We’re watching TV and the damn thing made that loud pop again! The battery isn’t even in the same room, so it’s not the battery. Something’s seriously wrong with it. It still works, doesn’t feel unusually warm to the touch. But a loud pop is not a good sound.

I don’t know if it’s going to make it through this NaNoWriMo and the sad thing is that even my desktop computer isn’t working anymore (no strange sounds of that because I can’t even get it to boot). I’m in bad shape. Bad, bad shape.

(See previously Not a sound you want to hear from your computer.)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:44 am     Curious News

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Better Sleep Through Formatting

Every year as NaNoWriMo season begins, I get a little stressed. It gets easier and easier to be the ubermoderator for such a big community. But the one thing that I’ve noticed is a good indication of my stress levels is dreaming in October.

imageFor the past three years my dreams in October have had large portions formatted as forum posts.

Seriously. The dream bits are separate posts. Not specifically text, but somehow, in that dream-way, enclosed within forum code and forum frames. The dreams are not necessarily nanowrimo-related, but just formatted as topics and threads.

The dreams this year, of course, started on October 1st. Last night I had no forum dreams that I recall. Will this complacency blow up in my face? If I do not live, breathe and dream nanowrimo, will it still come together?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:58 am    

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Not the sound you want from your computer

Last night I was working on my laptop ... on my lap, in front of the TV. I can’t recall what I was working on, probably an email or the forums.

Suddenly the computer made a loud POP and I felt the expression of air on my legs. I picked the computer up by the corner of the keyboard and held it like a rat by its tail, fully expecting to burst into flames (it is a Dell, after all). I dare not put it down, lest it catch something else on fire so I held it out for The Man to yank the power cord. It shut off instantly and The Man followed me into the kitchen as I carried it by the corner. Twisting it around and seeing no indication of flames or even any unusual heat or smoke, I put it down on the floor. I felt the top, then the bottom then closed it and sniffed it. All perfectly normal.

We took out the battery, which also looked normal and didn’t feel hot at all.

After a few minutes of puzzlement, “You heard that pop, didn’t you?”

“Oh, yeah. Did it hurt?”

“No, not at all, just, you know, I thought it was gonna burst into flames, like they do on BoingBong.”

We set it down on the dining room table, sans battery and plugged it back in. It works just fine.

The battery wasn’t holding even the slightest charge for the past month or so, so it’s not like running it without the battery is any big deal.

You can be sure the first thing I did was copy ALL of my files off to the server.

Now I can’t decide if I should get a new battery (which Dell doesn’t even sell on their website any longer) or just spring for a new laptop. My Inspiron 2600 turns four this month. That’s 88 in dog years.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:24 am    













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During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.