This morning on my train, there was a fellow writer with his pen and paper creating away on the morning commute. Cockles were warmed. I can’t even remember the last time I saw another paper and pen scribbler in public.
My one regret was that, he was so much in the flow, I didn’t want to interrupt by asking what he was working on.
I’ve always wondered why the important bit of a plane was called a cockpit. There just doesn’t seem to be anything pit-ish about it and the cocks… well. But that’s, in fact, pretty much what it comes from; the long and inglorious history of people putting roosters in a confined space and betting on who comes out alive!
This goes back to the late 1500s. People came up with the very imaginative name of cockpit to describe where cock-fights took place. The term then became a way to describe any scene of battle. Then, in the 1700s it was applied to the area aboard a naval ship where surgeons plied their trade. Then it was applied to the part from which a yacht is steered and from that, onto the similar area of a plane or car in the early 1900s.
I think I’ve written about this before on Lamellae, but back when I was getting beta reader feedback on my sci-fi novel, one of my readers was dead keen on the idea that I should write short stories showing the background of some of the characters. He was the kind of guy who liked having lots of inter-related bits around a book or movie – like that graphic novel that sits between Firefly and Serenity – so I could see why it appealed to him.
It intrigued me as an idea.
The problem has been that I’ve wanted to work on other worlds, rather than go back into that one. (And the one time I toyed seriously with the idea I couldn’t see those stories at all.) Now I’ve spent time with the novel again, I’m interested to try it and I also think I’ve found what those stories could be.
Haven’t 100% decided to do it yet, but I am thinking of giving it a bash and seeing what happens.
I wrote this phrase the other day and thought – as I so often do – why ‘wax’?
To wax is an old, old way to say to grow and so you can grow more lyrical, or poetic, or indignant, or angry and you’ll be waxing lyrical, waxing poetic etc.
And if you think you’ve never heard wax used that way then just think of how we describe the moon. It waxes (grows) and wanes (shrinks).
I also love that he snuck ‘grok’ in there… ah, xkcd, you bring me joy!
Recently I picked up “the sci fi novel”, a project I finished a couple of years ago, and decided to read it. Fascinating experience!
It’s the first time I’ve had enough distance to experience the text as a reader would and the first time I’ve been able to get that view on how the chapters etc work. They do work! Well, I’m happy with the result and what more can you ask for?
The best thing was not feeling like it needed another draft, because there is that “novels are never finished” sense most of us carry around. There are some very small tweaks I’ll make here and there, but that’s it.
Ok I’m often excited about stuff, but this is a particular excitement… project excitement. That’s been a bit lacking since I finished PAR and moved to my troublesome novella. Not helped by sore shoulders, dragon training and other distractions, but mostly my draft has been refusing to come together.
However, daemon must have been flitting around thinking about it because today I had AN IDEA. It means re-writing a good chunk of the draft, but that’s alright because I can feel that it’s a GOOD IDEA! You know when you just know?
And that idea has birthed other ideas too so now I’m thoroughly excited about getting the draft into shape. It’s not there yet and I suspect these three novellas have plenty more trouble to bring, but I’m excited about this project in general; I think people will get a kick out of reading them.