понедельник, 8 октября 2007 г.

cub4fiction: 366 Writing Prompts - Day 3

The 10-minute prompt: Think of someone you really dislike. Then, send them somewhere far, far away. Start with "The post card arrived..." I actually wrote quite a bit on this, but I lost it because my LJ client crashed on me. *sigh* Don't you hate it when that happens? However, the follow-up prompt REALLY got me going. As a matter of fact, I started this around 6 PM yesterday, and finished it up just now. (I did sleep in between, but I was thinking about it over night): Describe your ideal writing space. Be as detailed as possible. Whenever you write in the future, think of this space to put you in the mood. I love my little writing office. It's so nice, having my own little space to go to for a while and just know that, when I walk in the room, I'm there to write. No distractions from my roommates, no need to worry about whether or not the washing machine will buzz while I'm working. It's just my space to do what I enjoy most. So, let me tell you about it. It's a bit of a drive from my house, I'll admit...probably about 20 minutes on a normal day. Believe it or not, this was intentional. I didn't want to be anywhere near the house, because there would always be a temptation to just “check in” on things there, and that would defeat the purpose behind having the office. It's located in a little commercial building that was looking for renters. I got a nice little deal for the year's lease, since it's a small 15' x 15' room at the end of a hallway. I don't have my name on the door or anything, since I don't really need to announce that I'm in there, or what my purpose for having the office is. So, I park in the parking lot, and walk through the front door. I say hi to either Geoff or Ryan, whichever one of the guards happens to be on duty. Geoff's nice eye candy: big, burly guy with a nice blond goatee. Ryan's a skinny whelp of a kid, but a decent sort of guy. I've had the chance to chat with both of them on slow weekends, so I know that Geoff's ex-military, has a wife and two young kids, and is a big Packers fan. Ryan's been playing way too much 360 at home lately, since all he's talked about for the past month or so is BioShock when I see him. He's also very open about his sex life with his girlfriend, and I kind of laugh it off when he starts yammering about how hard he did her the night before or whatever. I still prefer talking with Geoff occasionally, since he's more mature and has a much more calm demeanor, but I still let Ryan blow off steam if he seems like he wants to. So, after I check in, I head up the elevator, and step off on the third floor. My office is all the way down the hall to my left, so I start walking down there. I usually don't see anybody else when I get there, because most everyone's already gone home for the day, but occasionally I'll catch Karen from the law office locking up, and we wave to one another in passing. Once I get there, I pop open the door, turn on the lights, and take a look around. I love just looking at my office. It's really the first bit of real estate that I've ever gotten that's truly just mine, and everything in the room reflects that fact. First things first: north-facing window. That was something I had to argue for when I was trying to lease the place: originally, they'd showed me a similar office on the opposite side, with a south-facing window, and it was okay, but I knew that I'd want light coming in on those weekend days that I wanted to get some work done on my book. The leasing office didn't want me to take one of those rooms, since they knew they could lease them out to bigger businesses at a higher rate. I had to fight and scratch, but finally, I convinced them to let me grab this one. Even now, when it's late, you can still get some sunlight coming in through the window. It's beautiful, especially early in the morning. I put a little crystal sun catcher up in the window to refract the light, and let little sparkles go through the room at certain times of the day, which is a nice way to remind me to stand up and take a walk. My next favorite thing in the room is my desk. I had to get it second-hand from an office that was going out of business, but it's just an amazing piece of furniture. It's a big, shiny cherry wood piece, that's been lacquered and smoothed out. It's eight feet long, about two and a half feet high, and about two feet deep. It's totally out of place in relation to the gray material-paneled walls, I'll admit, but it's perfect for me. It's set so that it's facing the window, so I can look up and out at the goings-on outside of the building if I want, or I can shut the blinds and have at the story I'm working on. I also like it because I've always associated desks like this with people who are big shots, and can kick back, put their feet up, and smoke a cigar to celebrate closing a big deal. I've done all of that, with the exception of closing a big deal. Eventually, though. My computer monitor's on the upper-left corner of the desk, on a stand. Underneath the stand, I've got a photo of my partner, another that's of a couple of friends of mine, and a small frame with a photo of my family. I wanted that there, so that I'd always have the people I love with me. My computer itself is on the floor under the desk, since I really didn't want to have it taking up space on the desk if I could help it. Besides, I don't mind ducking down to turn it on and off, or to swap CDs out, or whatever. Directly in front of me, I've got one of those huge paper-pad calendars, which I use to write down what my plan of attack is for the next time I'm going to come in. I also use it to write myself notes about things to research, or to remember bits of information about characters that I've created, so I don't forget them before I put them down in my files. Yep, I keep files for my stories. I'll get to that in a minute. On the right-hand side of my desktop, I've got more photos, but I've also put a small geranium there, so that I get oxygen generated in the room. It's also nice to have something to focus on taking care of in the room besides myself. Right now, I've also got the remote control that goes with the sound system for the room. It's just the speakers that I feed my computer's sounds through, but depending on my mood, I may play an Internet feed of classical music, some dance music, or some hard rock (usually when I'm writing out battle scenes, or I'm just in a head banging mood). I've also got my pipe humidor in the upper-right corner, with my two briar pipes hanging up. My meerschaum's lying in its case in front of the humidor itself, and I've got my cherry-scented tobacco cooling inside of the humidor's interior. Every once in a while, I'll light it up if I'm reading something and feel like relaxing. My meerschaum's my favorite of the pipes, I'll admit. I paid for it in part with the money I got from my first story sale, so it reminds me of that auspicious beginning. It's shaped like a dragon's claw, holding a crystal ball. It's starting to take on color, so it's getting nice and yellow-ish. I love how meerschaum colors when it's been used. There's two sets of drawers, one on the left and one on the right. The top two on the left are generally empty, although right now, there's a couple of cigars in the top drawer. I'm expecting to hear back about a story I sent off to Baen a few weeks ago any day now. It's looking good according to my agent, and it would be my first sale that made it into a book. You can damn well bet I'm lighting a cigar in celebration for that. The bottom drawer on that side is a big file cabinet-sized drawer, and I keep my story files there, for whatever I'm working on at that time. I've got the files color-coordinated: red folders have character information (photos of people who remind me of that particular character, or are wearing things that I could see him/her wearing, that sort of thing), blue ones have location-specific information, and yellow ones are usually chapters. I've got a few green ones in there right now, since I'm working on a couple of short stories, and I like keeping the details for those all in one folder. Now, on the right-hand side, that's my supplies side. The top drawer has a few pens that I've picked up along the way that I like. I have one of the fancy Waterman sets in there, that I use when I want to impress someone (which is pretty rare, I'll admit). The rest of them are various gel-filled and ballpoint ones that I've found or bought. There are also a few mechanical pencils of various weights in there, and then some other sundry items: Post-it notes, index cards, thumbtacks, stuff like that. I've also got a few legal pads in there, if I'm ever in the mood to write, but don't feel like sitting in front of the computer to do so. Second-drawer down, that's for my personal effects. I usually throw my wallet and keys in there when I'm working, and I keep a spare toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, stuff like that in there. Mostly for those occasions when I know that I'm expecting (or expected) to be somewhere after I do my writing...lets me freshen up a bit before I leave. I also keep my pipe and cigar supplies in there, like my cigar cutter, lighter, pipe cleaners, etc. The bottom drawer is my snack drawer. I'm trying to eat healthier, so I have some baked pita chips in there right now, along with some of those 100-calorie packs and the like. Right in front of me, there's a small drawer. I suppose that that was originally for the paper pads, or the blotter, or whatever. I've turned it into my keyboard drawer. I've got my ergonomic keyboard in there, and a mouse pad. I forgot to mention, my mouse is wireless, and its charger is on the right-hand side of the monitor. I know that that seems a bit fiddly, in the sense that I'm being really specific about where things are, but despite the appearance of things sometimes, I do actually like being organized. So, everything tends to be in zones on my desk. On the left-hand side of my desk, I took my little mini-fridge that I've had for a while and stuck it there. I've got a couple of 6-packs of Diet Coke (decaffeinated) on the top shelf, along with a couple of tubs of hummus dip from Trader Joe's. The bottom shelf has mostly Kirkland water chilling in there, and I've got a few Trader Joe's salads in the drawers at the very bottom. I've got a bottle of champagne on the bottom shelf, by the way. That's for the day that I get notice that my book get published (assuming I'm here when I find out). Now, let's take a look elsewhere around the room. So, straight ahead, after you enter, there's my desk, and next to that's the fridge. On the right-hand side of the desk, I have a small cherry-wood end table that I've turned into the data center. My used Laser Jet printer's on top of the table, and the first drawer holds my papers. Yes, I have more than one type. I have your standard copy paper for printing stories and the like that I'm going to mail off, and for drafts and other sundry purposes. I've also got nice cream vellum-like paper. That's what I use when I'm sending out queries. I know that I don't necessarily have to do so, but I'm not taking any chances when it comes to making my work stand out somewhat. It's worked, though...4 published articles so far! Okay, now, if you look up in the corners of the ceiling, you'll see the speakers for my sound system. I splurged on these, because I love my music so much. They're Harman Karman quads. The sub woofer's coming next week. I just sold an article, so the money from that's going to help offset the cost of the thing. I'm planning on sticking it along the west wall, since that's the wall that's on the outside of the building. No need to bug the neighbors, right? (Hah...like that'll happen, considering when I get in here most of the time) Now, back on the ground. On the west wall, near the north corner, I've got two smaller bookcases. One of them has a bunch of my books on writing, along with a good dictionary and thesaurus. I also keep my crossword puzzle books there, for when I feel like taking a break from writing, and I have a crossword dictionary there. On top of that bookcase are framed copies of my first couple of checks that I'd gotten from article sales. I've also got some travel books and maps in there for San Francisco, since that's where I'm setting my novel. I want to make sure that I don't accidentally have Noe and Folsom cross if they don't, for example. I also want to make sure that, if I talk about something being at the Pier, I can make sure the details are at least accurate enough that I don't jar someone out of a book by making a stupid mistake. The other bookcase has a bunch of books that I just like to read. Some of them are brand new, and I haven't gotten to them just yet. You can tell those because they don't look like they've survived some sort of hurricane. I admit, as much as it may be sacrilege, I tend to be pretty hard on my books...cracked spines, folded corners, marks, what not. I love my books...what can I say? Right now, though, I'm digging my way through a couple of Neil Gaiman's books, making notes, figuring out how he turns phrases, comes up with themes, stuff like that. I'm doing the same with a book by a lady named Vicki Pettersen. Her story idea is different from mine, but there are some similarities, so I'm trying to make sure they're sufficiently different. I'm also taking notes on how she incorporates Las Vegas into her book, so I can get some ideas on how SF figures into mine. Near the back corner, there's my second-favorite piece of furniture in the room. My comfy chair. It's a La-Z-Boy recliner, in dark brown leather, and it's like a big full-body hug when I sit in it. The thing was really expensive, considering I'd bought it new, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's a wonderful way to sit and relax when I'm in the mood to do so. I've got a small chest next to the chair. I use the top of it to put my drinks or ashtray (if I'm smoking) when I'm sitting and reading. I've also got some blankets inside it, in case I fall asleep while I'm here (it happened enough that I decided to just go with the flow of things). On the right side of the room, near the north-east corner, I've got a small shelf for my modem, router, and Vonage phone set. I figure all that stuff's pretty much together anyhow, and I don't want to clutter my desk if I can help it with the stuff. I'd rather have a cable modem, but since I could get a deal on DSL here through the building, I went with that. It's not super cheap, but it's nice for those times I'm hopping on the Internet to research things, or to chat with some of my author friends. Now, as you move back towards the front door, I've got some photos on the wall here of various places I want to visit. There's a nice photo of the London Eye that my friend Mike took when he was there, so I put that up there. A photo of a Moroccan street market is next to it, and then next to that, there's a photo of the Scottish highlands. It's a little eclectic-looking of a menagerie, but it's a reminder of things that I want to do soon. I've actually got the majority of the money saved up for the London-Scotland trip as is...I'm pretty excited, I admit. Oh! I almost forgot. The other wall, directly across from this one. I've got my favorite prints up there, framed. Three of Ansel Adams' works are there, from his Fiat Lux installation. I've also got a print of Van Gogh's Starry Night up on the wall. Then, there's my favorite piece. It's actually a color printout of some Photoshop work my friend Alan did. It's basically Edward Munch's “The Scream”, but he's put my face in the place of the main character's, doing the same thing (mouth wide open). I blew that thing up to 8”x10”, popped it into a frame, and stuck it up on the wall. It kind of reminds me that it's okay to blow off steam in here, and it reminds me not to take myself very seriously. (It's pretty difficult to do so when I can turn to my left and see my mug going “Ahhhhh!”) All in all, this is my home away from home. It's not cheap, I'll be the first to admit...between rent and utilities, this is adding another $750 a month to my bills. I wouldn't change a thing about the situation, though. I get so much more work done here, and it's so restful in here. Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm going to wrap this little piece up, and get back to my novel...I've got a big battle scene to work through, and I've got to crank the Metallica for a little while. Hope you enjoyed the tour.
So, you can see why this took me a while to put together. But, geez...that's more than I've written in a while. I guess I do have it in me. Go, Jeremy. Go, Jeremy. It's your birthday. Go, Jeremy...

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