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Nov. 27th, 2007

cosmo

I'm supposed to be writing.

View my progress as a chart.

Sigh.

Nov. 11th, 2007

cosmo

Progress of wordcount, and progress of story

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
25,350 / 50,000
(50.7%)


The wordcount looks good, yes, but some of it is planning notes, and details about the planet and the solar system. I'm actually at a very difficult point in the story, where all the setup has finished and now people actually have to start doing things. I've had a great first disaster, and now the second disaster needs to be thought about, as resulting from the actions of the character in their reactions to the first one.

I've got to set the characters free, let them move, and that is absolutely the most difficult thing for me to do. But the whole point is for something interesting to come out of all this, so here I go.

Nov. 4th, 2007

typing

Progress: Before the Maelstrom

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
9,329 / 50,000
(18.7%)



In other news, the write-in last night with my regional group was great! I got over 5000 words written in less than three hours. I really like being somewhere where other people are writing too, and the free sodas helped of course. Plus no internet, ha.

In other news, I actually have exposition this year. I kind of can't believe I'm 18% done and everyone is just now leaving Earth - I thought the "here's what's going on" stuff wouldn't take up quite that much space. But there ya go. I'll just keep writing.

Sep. 26th, 2006

cosmo

Opt-in for NaNoWriMo 2006

Hello, everyone. NaNoWriMo season is once more just around the corner! I'll be posting my novel as it gets written here in friends-locked posts, but anyone and everyone is welcome to read along. I'm wiping the slate clean and asking anyone interested in reading to please comment here to be added. Comments are screened. I won't be offended if you're not interested - life is short, and time is words, after all.

There may (I repeat, may) be adult-rated material in this year's novel. By default, I'll leave you off of that filter; if you'd like to be included please tell me so, and include an age statement, in your comment here ("I'm over 18" is fine). You can be 18 and stay off the filter; I won't mind.

In case it matters: this year's novel is likely to be fantasy; with a male protaganist; and the title will likely be five or six words long. Hee.
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Dec. 1st, 2005

cosmo

End of Nano Update

Well, it's over. I won! This one actually might be able to withstand a month or two of aging and a good dose of editing. (Last year's novel is not to be touched again with a ten foot pole.)

So, yeah. I just wanted to make a public post saying that Nano is over, and yes, I finished, and I'll see you all around next year.
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Oct. 26th, 2005

typing

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

I plan to win this year, even though I have much more on my plate than I did last year. Almost everything can take a back burner for one short month. I will post the novel here as I write it -- perhaps every 1 or 2k, a chunk will be posted. We'll see.

I have a few ideas for scenes; I have a main character and a few secondary characters, I have an initial scene (good-bye party) and a general idea of a setting. The setting will change dramatically, of course, but I don't know how many times that will happen. I figure if I get stuck, *boom* change the setting and we're off again.

I also have a title: Touch the Sky. It's suitably cool-sounding, short, and also generic enough to fit whatever the novel turns out to be.
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Oct. 20th, 2005

typing

Nanowrimo

The month of madness is almost upon us. COSMO is over and done with, never to be touched again (though I may harvest the title for later use). This year's NaNo is as-yet-untitled, but I will be posting it here as it gets written. All posts with actual novel content will be friends-only. Anyone is welcome to be added and read it; comment here for the super-secret handshake.

WARNING: It will not make sense; there will be punctuation errors and spelling mistakes and plot holes. Constructive criticism is out of place for at least the entire month of November. All are welcome to read along for fun!
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Aug. 20th, 2005

cosmo

Cosmo, Part 9?

Every one grabbed a bag or two and headed into the building. The coach from the other team came out to meet us half way there, and he talked with Nick for a bit. We were shown to the fencing room, where we promptly dropped all of the equipment and grabbed our uniforms to go change. I saw Mattie look twice at her yellow and black stripe socks, as if to say, do I really have to wear these? I caught he eye and grinned. "Yeah," I said. "We all have to wear them." She sighed and grinned back.
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Aug. 11th, 2005

cosmo

(no subject)

Finally after Spanish class was over, it was time for the first fencing practice for real. I went to the girl's gym locker room to change and found a few other girls from yesterday's fencing meeting, so I took a locker near them and got dressed. The locker room looked like there was room for three hundred girls to change at once. Some other girls looked like they were changing for other sports -- soccer and basketball for sure. I also saw a row of showers against one wall, but I hadn't brought anything to shower with, and I sure hoped that I wouldn't *need* a shower. Ah well, I thought at the time, anyone who squeezes in next to me on the school bus ride home will be sorry.

"So what do you think about this whole fencing thing?" Mattie, the girl from MY BIOLOGY CLASS, asked me. I hadn't noticed her among the group of girls I'd joined, but I was glad to see someone besides myself initiating a conversation.

"Oh, I don't know for sure," I said, taking in the whole group with my response so that everyone could feel included. I noticed as I looked the group over that the two upperclassmen were there too, Cheryl and Helen. I was a bit surprised, because the upperclassmen in general were so adament about not fraternizing with us frosh and soph types. But here they were, changing and looking for all the world like equals.

Mattie continued the conversation. I decided right then that I liked the girl. "I think it'll be fun, but I hope I don't miss anything by leaving right at 3 pm." She glanced around at the rest of the group. "Anyone know what we do during that time?"

Helen was the one who answered her. "I'd guess that we'll do lessons and stuff in the forty-five minutes that we're all there, and then free fencing or more individualized lessons for anyone that can stay." She paused. "I hope it's bouting, because open fencing is really my favorite part."

"Speaking of just having forty-five minutes," the tall girl WHOSE NAME I DIDN'T REMEMBER said, "we had better get going if we're going to be on time." I noticed she wasn't wearing a watch, but that didn't seem so strange.

We all finished putting our street clothes into lockers and tying our shoes up, and headed out into the hallway and up the stairs to the fencing room. As we trekked up the long flight of stairs, I found myself walking next to Cheryl. "Hey," I said to her.

She looked at me sidelong. "Hey," she said.

I cast about for something else to say. "You have some of your own gear, right?"

"Yeah?" she said, sounding disinterested.

"Well," I said, "I mean, why don't you have it now?"

"Oh, we keep our gear in with the class gear in the equipment room," she answered. "It wouldn't do me any good to take my glove and mask home when there's no one at home for me to fence."

I smiled my best ah isn't that silly smile. "Ah, I get it. Thanks."

And with that we reached the top of the stairs and turned to go to the fencing room. I considered asking about the word "salle" but I figured I'd bugged her enough for the moment. She hadn't seem to mind so much though, which is good. I knew a lot of us frosh and soph girls would be having a ton of questions for the expereinced fencers in the group as the season went on.

We started class by lining up along one wall and learning "en guarde" position. Nick stood out in the middle of the room to demonstrate and watch all of us.

The position itself wasn't tough, but it involved squatting a bit. You know, bend your knees and all that. If you've ever seen a ballerina practicing plies, it's like that, only you stop half way, and one leg is pointed forward while the other is at a ninety degree angle, and your hands are totally different. Okay, so maybe it's not like that much at all, but my point is that it's leg muscle intensive, especially in the quads. I was sore later, but that's another story.

So the position itself wasn't tough, but trying to stay that way was. Every few minutes Nick would call someone out for "standing" and tell them to bend their knees again.

So we learned "en guarde" and then started with footwork -- advancing and retreating, the basic stuff. You never want to cross your feet in fencing, so whichever direction you are going to move in, that is the foot that you move first. I messed up a few times at first -- we all did -- but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.
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Aug. 8th, 2005

cosmo

Cosmo, Part 2

"Welcome to fencing," he said. "My name is Nicholas Sprouse -- you can call me Coach or Coach Nick. I'll teach you how to fence over the next few weeks." He paused to smile and see what effect this had on his listeners. I squirmed a bit, but it didn't sound so bad.

"We'll start today with just talking some about the sport and what you can expect," he continued. "Starting tomorrow you will dress out, sweatpants or other long pants, and we'll start learning how to fence. Since this isn't an official varsity sport, I can't hold you after 3 o'clock, but we'll have the lesson up until 3 and then if anyone can stay to bout, I'll stay for that." The two girls that were in fencing gear nodded; the rest of us looked at each other. I know I didn't sign up for staying past when school got out. Thank goodness, I thought, at least it's optional and I'm not the only one who will be ducking out.

I scanned the rest of the room while Nick handed around a piece of -- a stack of paper. "Take one and pass it on," he said. No, that came later.

Nick glanced at the clipboard he held. "I've got kind of a roll call here," he said, "but I can see we're not all here as it is, so let's find out who we've got, okay?" He smiled. He had kind of a nice smile, if you were into guys ten years older than you, which I wasn't. "Let's see," he said. "Jenna Browne?" He looked up. A tall girl on the other side of the room waved her a hand a bit, apparently a bit embarrassed when everyone turned their eyes on her. Nick made a mark on the sheet. "Cheryl Cook, I know already," he said, nodding to one of the girls in fencing gear, the one who'd scored the last point. "Jill Doherty?" Another girl raised her hand. I made a conscious effort to connect the name with the rather bland, forgettable face. I was bad at names but I was trying to improve.

"Mathilda Fulton?" Nick went on. A short girl with two braids in her hair raised her hand. "Mattie," she said with an easy smile. "Okay, Mattie," Nick said, and made a note on his sheet. "Let's see, Helen, I know already," he muttered, looking at the girl that Cheryl had been fencing with, "...and Elizabeth Owen?" Another girl raised her hand. "Do you go by Elizabeth?" he asked. "Liz," she admitted. Then he or at least somewhere in here he called off some names that weren't here, or something, and then "Gail Peoples?" and she nodded and then "Jamie Rosenberg?"

I raised my hand.

I hate being last in the alphabet in roll calls, but it happens sometimes, especially in smaller groups. This list only had like eight or ten people on it, so it wasn't surprising.

Nick made another note on his sheet, and then turned back to the group. "Okay, why don't you all have a seat on the benches against the wall," he said. "I'll tell you a bit about myself and then we'll talk about fencing."

I sighed inwardly, and headed for the bench. "We better be out of here by 3," I thought starkly.

Nick told us a bit about himself, his ten years fencing in Massachusetts, his recent relocation to the southern California area in general and Ventura in particular (another newbie, thought I). He'd taught classes including beginning fencing at the college level before, but this was his first time teaching high school students.

After that he asked all of us what our experience with bfencing was, why we were here, and what we wanted to get out of the season, or class. He probably said class. Mosat of us (including myself ) had no experience at all and diddbn't know what we wanted from the class. Thwe two girls ythat had been fencing, CVheryl and /YHelenm, had more to say.

"My name is Helen," the blond girl began. "I've been fencing for six years, evre since I was eleven years old. My dad thought it would be a good sport for me, and got me started in lessons at a private fencing academy in Sacramento. I got the fencing team started here when I was a sophomore, but we've been without a coach until now." She looked at Nick. "I want to compete, and I want to do well. I'm hoping you can help the group get places we couldn't get on our own, and help the newer fencers more than I've been able to the last couple of years." She looked at Cheryl.

Cheryl nodded, her curly hair bouncing in two pigtails. I found out later she wore her hair that way for fencing because of the way the mask fit in the back of her head -- you can't wear just one ponytail. "THis will be my second year of fencing," she said. "Helen and the seniors from last yhear did a realy great job introducing us to the basics, and I think I've decided to go on in epee and just fence that." I noticed the other new girls looking at each other in confusion. I figured I'd go ahead and say it. "What's an epee?" I asked.

Cheryl looked surprised that someone had interrupted her train of thought. "It's one of the three weapons," she said.

"We'll get to all that later," said Nick. "In fact, maybe this would be a good time to discuss what fencing is." He went to a supply closet and pulled out some gear: three weapons or I should at this point say "swords," a mask, a glove and what looked to be a white straightjacket. I looked around at the other girls and noticed Cheryl's eyes still on me, but she quickly dropped them when she saw I noticed.

"Here we are," said Nick, re3turning to the group. He held up one of the swords -- no, start with the gear. "Therte are three things you need to wear while fencing,. in additions to the athletic shoes and long pants. The first is the jacket." He held up the white thing. "We've got an array of these in the equipment room, but if anyone needs a different size we can order it." He showed ujs the mask and glove. "You also need to wear a mask any time someone is working with the weapons. No exceptions," he said. "And finally, a glove. We've got a bunch of practice gloves, but some of you might end up wanting better ones for competition when we get to that point."

I checked out Helen and Cheryl as covertly as I could. They were wearing sweatpants, the jackets like Nick had held up, and each of them had a colored glove.

Nick held out the weapon next. "This is a foil," he said.

The class gathered in close to look at the weapon Nick held out. "This is a foil," he said. "Foil is the most common weapon used for teaching beginners, because the rules of foil give you a solid foundation for either of the other two weapons. Foil is a point weapon, which means that you score touches with just the tip of the sword." He pushed his hand against the tip to demonstrate. "Epee is also a point weapon, but saber is not -- in saber you can score with any part of the blade." He held up another weapon, with a big curved handle, and demonstrated with that. "Foil and saber are both right-of-way weapons, which means that there are certain rules governing who can score a touch at what time -- in effect, who has the 'right of way' to hit first. Epee has no right-of-way rules, so that the touch goes to whoever hits the other person first."

He motioned at the electronic equipment set up on the floor behind him that Cheryl and Helen had been using. "We use electronic equipment, scoring boxes and reels, to help tell us who hit first. But for foil and saber, the interpretation of a referee is needed to determine who actually gets the touch.

"The other important thing to know about the difference between the three weapons is what counts as target area." He motioned to Cheryl, who stood up a little uncertainly. "Cheryl, come out here so the rest of the girls can see you."

She walked out in front of the rest of us and stood by Nick. "Cheryl is dressed for epee fencing, which means she doesn't need any special equipment. In epee, the entire body is target area, so any time a touch lands on any part of your body, it causes the machine to register a touch." He pulled out a silvery vest-looking thing and handed it to Cheryl. She slipped it on over the jacket and zipped it up. "This is a foil lame," he said, pronouncing it le-MAY. "It shows the target area for foil. As you can see, it covers the torso only, so that the head, arms, and legs are not part of the target. Cheryl, turn around so they can see."

She pirhoutted. The metal jacket was cut off on the back side so that it came down to her waist; in the front it came to the top of her hip bones and then down between her legs to hook up with a strap in the back. I thought it looked uncomfortable.

"In saber, the third weapon," Nick went on, "the target area is like foil's target area, but add in the arms including the hands, and the head. So saber fencers wear special gloves and a special mask while they fence electric, all wired together. You can also fence without the electric gear; it's called fencing 'dry.' We'll do a lot of that in the beginning, but when competition season starts around December, we'll focus a lot more on electric fencing."

He nodded to Cheryl, with a smile thrown in for good measure, I thought, and she returned to the bench with the rest of us.

"Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let me talk a little bit about the season." He glanced at his clipboard. "A team of fencers is usually made up of three fencers in each of the three weapons, or nine fencers all together. If you have fewer than that, you can still compete in any individual weapon, but you need nine in order to compete for the overall titles. The way it works is each of the three fencers on one team fence each of the other three fencers from the other team, all in the same weapon. So our three foil fencers will each have a bout against, say, Buena's three foil fencers." He was naming the cross-town rival to our high school. I'd heard about it but hadn't seen it yet, being so new.

"The individual bouts go to five touches -- you can think of it as best out of nine, but it's the first to five in my mind. Then you count up who has the most victories. Since three fencers each fence three fencers, there are nine bouts in a 'match,' and whoever wins more bouts is the winner of the match." He looked at each of us. "With me so far?" he asked.

We all nodded, some of us looking more interested than others. I looked at the other girls again as Nick went on a bit about competitions and whatnot. There were only eight of us in the room, though Nick had called out two more people that weren't here. I wondered what we would do if eight people were all we had. I guessed it would be a problem, since a "team" is nine, but would we find another person? Can one person do double duty and fence two weapons? I wasn't sure.

Nick handed out a piece of paper with some terminology and basic rules (no gum, no food during practice, be on time, etc) and said, "Come tomorrow ready to start learning the basic moves!" He was letting us out a bit early, a whole fifteen minutes, which I thought was just fine.

The rest of the group slowly gathered bookbags and headed out. Some of them appeared to know each other, but I didn't know any of them. At least, none looked familiar except maybe Mattie, who I thought I'd passed on my way to Biology earlier, but other than that, nothing. I picked up my school binder and headed out. I noticed with a half an eye that Cheryl stayed behind to talk to Nick, but I didn't think anything of it at the time.

There isn't much for a girl to do fifteen minutes before school gets out, at least not if she has to wait for the bus like I did. Ugh. There was a city bus that went home from here, but I would have had to switch at the mall, and it would have taken an extra hour over just waiting for the school bus, so I went back to my locker to drop off my books and paced the campus for a few minutes.

It was weird. All the buildings were separate, with the entrance being on the outside of the building. I was used to a high school being one big building with all the classrooms off of hallways inside, but this was different. There were two rows of classrooms that made up two sides of the main quadrangle, where I'd eaten lunch out on the grass. A lot of kids ate sitting out on the grass, it seemed, as opposed to the "cafeteria" which didn't have many people in it at all. The quad was empty now, just one or two students walking alongside it on their way somewhere. I walked across the middle of the grass nice and slowly, not caring who in the classrooms could see me.

******
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