Today I went to a Tai-Pan workshop at Gene's. My plan was to spell-check my story Hair of the Throug that Bit Me, and possibly go back over it to see if it still all held together for me. But while thinking about it, I realized that at least one important scene was completely missing: the scene where Lo-Pan tries to frame Vashti for the murder of Captain Taga, or at least, tries to throw suspicion onto her so that she'll get picked up, and he can come to her rescue and solve her legal problems. All of that was implied in later scenes, but I hadn't actually written a scene that made it clear he'd talked to the police/station security.
So I set up my laptop and began spell checking, but the computer was very slow because it was trying to do multiple updates and syncs and a virus scan. Partway through, I got up to get some chips and accidentally caught the edge of my laptop with my coat, and knocked it off the TV tray onto the floor. It landed on the corner, bending my USB drive, but it turned out that this still worked so that was good. Also, it's a 4 gig drive and I just bought a 16 gig at Fred Meyers yesterday for $9.99, so maybe it was time. (I complained that I'd left my new USB at home, but having arrived home and looking for it, I realized it was in my laptop bag after all. I had it with me the whole time tonight.)
The second problem was that my screen was blank, and I couldn't get it to come back. I shut the computer down, and rebooted, and it booted up normally, so everything seemed okay after all. I went back to editing my story, then started writing the missing scene.
At this point I got a message that my battery was low. My laptop is very old, and I don't trust the battery for anything, it has a very short life, so I had it plugged in. But it wasn't charging. The battery had 4% life left, so I quickly saved and transferred files to the USB and shut down. I'd apparently broken the charge plug, which basically meant I'd broken the laptop past the point where it was worth fixing.
This is where knowing Mike becomes a really big advantage, and having your laptop die at his place is a really big advantage. He works at a computer recycle place, and is in the habit of buying really cheap laptops that don't work and trying to fix them (and then passing them on to various friends). So he happened to have a spare laptop to give to me. He says it's both an upgrade to what I had (which was very old) and also a cheap, bare-bones computer for word processing and net surfing, but not for gaming. But I don't game much anyway, lately.
Of course, I had to get connected to the internet and download Open Office and other programs (Jeff sent me to NiNite.com, a site that allows you to pick from an array of free programs and download/install them all at once -- very cool!) Once I finally had everything set up again, I went back to working on my new scene.
It's a very short scene, just a few paragraphs long. Already I'd spent about two hours trying to write it.
At this point Mike came out with the hard drive from my old laptop, attached to a device that allowed me to plug it in to the new laptop via a USB cable. Only it wouldn't work. Mike realized that the fan in my laptop stand was drawing too much power, so we unplugged that and then the old drive fired up. But it was very touchy, you couldn't bump it or the connection would suddenly disappear. Mike set it up to transfer everything in my personal file to my new desktop, and said to leave it alone for a while.
A bit later we went to dinner. Finally when I got back, I was able to finish the scene. Only took me about six hours to write 3 paragraphs. I handed off the story to Gene, although I really still hadn't read back through it to see how it worked as a whole story. I know it's got problems, but eh, that's what the editing process is for after all.
We had a good work party. There were at least six stories to edit (three of mine, two of Chuck's, one of Kristin's) and we had Edd and Chuck and C.D. and Jeff and Me (and Gene and Mike of course). We got a lot of editing done, and when I say "we" I mean other people. I entered edits for one of my short-short stories, Banker's Blues, and I worked on Hair of the Throug that Bit me as noted above. (And then we had dinner at Palermo's Pizza and Pasta, yum! (I had a 10" Greco pizza -- lamb, feta, black olives, basically what you'd put in a gyro, only on a pizza.)
On another note, Friday I read through everything that I had for the story The Villainy You Teach Me, which is another very old story that dates back to at least 1996 that I was writing with Jeff. Like Hair of the Through that Bit Me, it's a story with problems but which is probably at least 75% fully written, and every other scene is at least sketched in with bits of dialog or partially written. Of course, about 5 or 6 of the first 9 scenes need to be axed, but all in all there's a lot of nice detail and character development in what's written, and I like the plot. I need to finish it at some point.
But I also think that Cursed Be Ye Who Moves These Bones and A Chance Encounter are probably about 70% fully written, so I'd like to work on those at some point as well. The former is an Iktome ghost story, the latter is a story involving Vashti, Banga Zuvela, and his butler Rodger Saark.