OK, I have to talk about Dragon NaturallySpeaking
a lot, because it’s going to be pretty important in my productivity process for quite some time, I believe. Though the previous intense flare-up of pain in my hands/wrists did die down eventually, in general the pain is still worse now than it’s ever been — I’m afraid I crossed a threshold recently, and I don’t know how likely it is it will ever get better.
So I bought this Dragon thing. It was hella expensive, but I considered it a medical need. And so far it’s been working very well. I was surprised in particular at how easily it handles the editing process. It has trouble with a few proper nouns — “Sanosuke” and “Quatre,” for example, took a while to train, and sometimes came across as some pretty hilarious sets of other words in the meantime — and I can’t get it to do dashes the way I prefer them without speaking each character manually, but in general it does its job.
I have to say, though, it’s difficult to recall an experience in my life more infuriating than the requirement to create an entirely new Windows user, especially with my limited internal hard drive space, to get this Poe-damned program to work. I have no idea what they’re fucking thinking with the restriction on using it as the local administrator.
Aku Soku Zan(za) — As I indicated in the update notification regarding the latest part of this story, this was the first story segment I wrote using Dragon NaturallySpeaking — about 3,200 words completely dictated. It was very heartening how well I got through it. I went with something that would be easy to write, and over whose every line I wouldn’t be hesitating, in order to test out the program, and I think it was a good choice. I really will finish up that HR chapter when I get back around to it, I promise XD
Testament to how well Dragon is working for me is that I wrote and edited the entire ASZz segment in a single day. Writing-wise, that’s no surprise: I’ve mentioned before how smoothly this rewrite is progressing and how quickly I tend to be able to get the parts done. But I was a little startled that I was able to make use of this new program so quickly and efficiently. It was disconcerting, and even left me feeling a little discontented, spending a day writing in a totally new manner, and I think there’s a little of that left… but I’m getting over it.
As for the content of that part, I think I did better in this rewrite setting up what’s going to happen later between Tokio and Zanza. I want them to come across as people that make good friends but not good lovers, and I don’t think I established that nearly as well as I would have liked in the old version. Part of that is, of course, the upgrade to Tokio’s characterization — I still feel I’m doing a lot better with her than I ever did in the original, and of course that plays into her relationships as well.
I’m excited to return to more events and interactions in this story that I originally wrote fifteen years ago. They’re all going to be so much better this time *__* And I’ll be back around to ASZz again before you know it, since I’m also making excellent progress on
Blood Contingency part 16 — So anyone that reads my productivity logs, or probably practically anything I ever post around here, is well aware that I have a perhaps unhealthy level of love for my own stories. But even I am starting to think the level of passionate attachment I have for this one is a little silly XD But the beautiful tragedy, the romance… I really feel like I’m outdoing myself with this one.
In this part we get a clinic scene with wounded Saitou, revelation drama, and even some Saitou-Megumi friendship (OK, is there any beautiful-tragedy-mood-killer in this world like a lovely lady’s name being transcribed as “Magoo me?”). The romance between Saitou and Sano continues to deepen, as I’ve established is crucially important here, not that I need any excuse to write and revel in that kind of thing. Also I love the dramatic irony of throwing vampires at a cast of characters unfamiliar with vampires.
This part is probably 2/3 finished, and that’s completely with Dragon again. Combined with the work I got done on TLY and Forgivably Wrong (and I did work on these, but, as usual, don’t really have anything to say about them) and HoH this weekend, I’m pretty sure it’s even more words than the previous weekend, when I worked mostly on ASZz in order to get used to the program.
OK, actually, for once I do have something to say about TLY… but really only because of Dragon XD I just want to remark that it’s pretty damn good at dealing with fantasy names. As with Sanosuke and Quatre, it’s had difficulties with some of them, but after some retraining it tends to do pretty well. The one name I have not been able to get it to recognize on a regular basis (or, in fact, mostly at all ever) is Eïba (pronounced approximately eh-EE-bah), but we’ll keep trying. That didn’t hamper my ability to work on that particular story this weekend.
And as for His Own Humanity, I worked quite a bit on After-Dinner Brandy today, and somewhat less on Nine Decades. This was where I kept getting references to Troll and Catcher, apparently my new OTP. But once it had those names sorted, Dragon behaved just fine.
A somewhat forlorn thought arose while at this work. Who remembers the one mention in the entire series so far of World War I? I’ll refresh you: “We had enough money, for once; the Great War had ended; and magic kept us entertained. Everything in our lives seemed to be going well.” That’s the entire extent of it. Seven years ago when I wrote part 10 of Plastic — in fact it may be more like eight years; I don’t feel like looking it up right now — I chose to gloss over the question of Trowa and Duo potentially having taken part in World War I, so that was literally the only time it ever came up.
But today I reached the part of After-Dinner Brandy where Trowa, talking about his past, has to mention World War I at least in passing. And though it was not difficult at all to decide on a reason why he and Duo, of age, did not serve in the military at that time (even with a draft on), I realized all of a sudden that I regret that decision of seven or eight years ago. I would actually prefer that they had seen a few months of active duty in World War I.
For one thing, I think it’s more logical for them to have served than otherwise. For another, I think it would be more in character (for Duo at the very least) to want to sign up. It might also have provided some fun opportunities for parallelism with canon. And, perhaps the most influential reason of all, I think it would add a valuable and interesting extra-magical set of experiences and attitudes to the long lives of these men.
And it’s simply too late now. However much thought did or didn’t go into that choice seven or eight years ago, it was a finite one. 310,159 words into (the Gundam Wing side of) this series, I can’t just retcon a war into the brains of these characters. I would have been writing them differently all along if I’d had this in mind from the beginning, so it’s not something I can insert now, no matter how much I’d like to. I can only look back forlornly and regret not having established them as veterans early on.
And it’s not like I’m weeping miserably over this; the need that would inevitably have arisen to do way more research than I ever wanted into trench conditions and whatever for a disproportionately small number of words of reminiscence on Duo’s part or something isn’t an experience I mind not having. I do think this series would have been enriched by a different choice, back in the day, regarding the military service of Trowa and Duo, but I’m sure to survive without it. It’s interesting to think about, however, and certainly a good lesson in just how minute one has to be in planning a long-spanning project like this.
So the long and short of this PL is that I’m settling in with Dragon, trying to spare my hands/wrists, and managing to be satisfyingly productive. Things should be good going forward. I’ve got a damn lot of catching up to do on AEL’s, though XD