My head’s swimming now

I recently finished my re-read of Gene Wolfe’s Fifth Head of Cerberus. Feeling pretty smug, thinking I’d caught a lot more than I’d picked up on first reading it, I Googled fifth head of cerberus analysis, which led me to a passel of articles on Ultan’s Library, including Proving Veil’s Hypothesis [warning: many, many spoilers] . And… wow.

I had no idea.

I still have no idea.

But I’m glad there’s at least one writer out there as subtle, as sneaky, as sly, as Gene Wolfe.

Writing Retreat 2017

The Office -- writing at my friends' cabin

As is rapidly becoming tradition, I spent most of the last week of July in a friend’s cabin up at Minnedosa. (Thanks, Karen & Ed!) My goals for the week are posted here, and here’s how it went:

Beat sheets for the major characters in Translations

I have a complete outline for the POV’s arc, which is the most critical as it’s narrated in the first person.

Also, I had a major epiphany about the POV character, one that will shake up the last ⅔ of the book.

10,000 words in Translations

I wrote 12,500 words in Translations, the bulk of it written as I sat on the deck, pretty much all alone in the cottage area.

At least a few shots of the Milky Way

Yeah, that turned out okay.

The Galaxy

Having access to a car this year really helped me get to the dark places (literally) so that I could get some great photos of the night sky.

Also, I sold a print of one of my photos to a friend. (Thanks, Brianne!) Does that mean I’m a pro now?

Lots of bike riding

Well. My bike’s left pedal arm has been coming loose more and more frequently. It’s got to go into the shop. On my first ride in Minnedosa, I had to stop twice to tighten the pedal arm, both times on my way up a hill. So after that, feh to bike riding. (At least, my bike in its current condition.)

Fortunately, I had access to a kayak (thanks, Carla!), so I put in about 15 km of paddling time, going up and down the lake.

Stretch goals

I read James S. A. Corey’s amazing Leviathan Wakes, courtesy of my public library’s e-book program. I’m now hooked, and need to read the rest of the Expanse saga.

I also re-read the first ⅔ of Gene Wolfe’s subtle and mysterious The Fifth Head of Cerberus, which, I’m not gonna lie, probably had at least a little bit to do with my aforementioned epiphany. (It’s also the first Wolfe novel I’ve re-read, and it’s amazing how much less confusion I feel, how much more I’m picking up.)

And we bought a second car, which is why I could have a vehicle to go gallivantin’ around the countryside, looking for dark locations to get photos like this:

The Galaxy

I think that went well.


À la prochaine, Minnedosa

There are worse offices. #writing

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And thus ends the 2017 writing retreat. I’ll have a more detailed post later, but the précis is that I wrote 12,500+ words in Translations, had an epiphany that will change the last third of the story, took a bunch of photos, and drank a lot of iced coffee at Chipperfields as I used their wifi (much as I am right now).

Oh, and we bought a car.

Good times.

The Office

The Office -- writing at my friends' cabin

For the next week, at least. It’s time for Writing Retreat, 2017 Edition.

So far I’ve got 3,500 words of a 10,000+ word goal. (1,000 words of that is in an outline/beat sheet, so I’m not really counting them. I’m also not counting blog posts. That seems like it’d be cheating.)


Hold my calls

It’s time for Writing Retreat 2017.


  • Beat sheets for the major plotlines in Translations 
  • 10,000 new words in same
  • At least a few shots of the Milky Way
  • Lots of bike riding

Wish me luck.