Back to the Drawing Board

Editor has requested some more changes.  Work is in progress.   I am still in confused mode, since my brain had moved on to “project manager for renovations in the house we bought to provide rental property for our son when we croak.”    That house–which we have owned for just a hair over a month–now has a new roof,  all the old (bad, bent, falling apart) aluminum siding on the gables ends and soffits is gone,  and there are new soffits, new eaves,  an LVL beam neatly spanning the carport in place of the sagging mess of badly-built “support” that was there,  the old (about to fall down) sunporch rebuilt, reworked wiring by the electrician inside and out,  and an exterior paint job that looks, if I do say so myself, spiffy.  Tomorrow the new tub/shower insert will be installed.  The floor guy was here today measuring for the new flooring.   The main contractor should be back with us in a week (he has been fitting us in between other jobs he’d already scheduled.)  That’s when the “gutting of the interior” will start.   That ugly hole in the ceiling of the small bedroom where the water poured in (followed by various animals you really don’t want it a house)  will be replaced with nice clean new drywall.  Ditto the water damage to wall and closet.  That closet will be enlarged (by the squinchy little coat closet in the foyer)  to be a decent size for a bedroom closet and it will have a larger door.

If you’ve ever had renovation done (R and I did some ourselves in the first little house we bought, using a book on home repairs for people like us)  you know that it always takes longer, it always costs more, and it always makes more mess than you expected/hoped.   And certain things (like deciding partway through to move even a non-bearing wall) cost more.  So I’m resisting my creative urges where the house is concerned (the kitchen stays where it is; the bathrooms will not be enlarged mostly, because of the difficulty of moving plumbing that runs through a concrete slab.   You work with what you’ve got.   The old, dirty, stained, full-of-rodent-pee shag rugs will disappear, and so will the old, cracked, chipped, and downright ugly floor tiles in kitchen, entrance, “family room” and baths.   Meanwhile, as with any projects involving multiple people working on a house, each with their own idea of what to do in what order and how,  the owner needs to show up bright and early every day and–without actually interfering–keep an eye on things.  So my head is stuffed with price per square foot of this, price per running foot of that,  how much has already been spent and how much remains in the budget,  colors and tonalities  for things that aren’t on site (or even in samples yet)  and the overall “concept” for the finished project.

Jumping back from there to deal with how prominent a character is or isn’t in X part of the book, or the right balance between complications,  or trying to grasp exactly what the editor means by “dire” (there’s supposed to be more dire in a certain section) is not, for me at this time, easy.    I wish I really was on Slotter Key, in the Vatta town house, which is not my dream house but is a house that’s extremely well-designed and well-built…though Helen’s color scheme would drive me nuts.  But the kitchen and pantry are larger than mine, the dining room (though too small and too fussy–that’s Helen’s color/fabric choices)  has wonderful built-in storage including the linen drawer that can handle BIG tablecloths rolled on padded dowels.  And the living room sofa is superbly comfortable.  Also if I were there, and not here, I’d be in the book, not having to work on the book.  A distinct advantage.

DragonCon’s coming up; I have my tentative schedule but not the final one, so I’ll wait to post schedule stuff until later.

9 thoughts on “Back to the Drawing Board

  1. Didn’t you say you were going to ‘relax’ a bit? 😉
    Regardless, thanks for the update; it’s good to hear from you!

    1. I was starting to relax a bit, when the latest revision request arrived. Only three days after I’d dealt with the previous emergency, which appeared in the mail almost immediately after turning in the previous rewrite. (That emergency was my own fault, though it was an unintentional fault–the health thing had messed with my organizational skills, never my strong point anyway.)

  2. Sorry, Elizabeth, I shouldn’t be asking you anything that isn’t about Vatta, but I’m starting to lose track of all your houses. Is “house to provide rental income” one and the same as previous topic’s “Derelict House next door” bought in self defence? Then there’s your and R’s own, plus your mother’s old one that you still own?

    1. Yes–soon to be “rental house” instead of derelict house are one and the same. The hope is to have two (or three, if this house holds up) houses that a property manager can manage for Michael. He needs to live in a bigger community than this (there’s zero public transportation here, for instance, and no medical care in town) and for that he’ll need income. In general, rental property supports someone longer than the money it’s worth, even though the amount goes up and down. I’m hoping that with two for sure and maybe three rental properties, it’ll be enough. And fixing up this house and renting it means we don’t have to worry about what’s next door–at least, not as much.

  3. Spoiler alert everyone (tongue in cheek!). Cold Welcome had a glimpse of wooly mammoths, now Into the Fire will add dire wolves to hunt them. There must be some for editor to want more!

  4. Back to the drawing board? I thought you typed your stories.

    Take your time.

    After Rafe peels a lime, he throws it Into the Fire.

    When you discover a cache of illegal weapons hidden in a wagon, be careful putting them Into the Fire.

    Jonathan up here in rainy New Hampshire

  5. I was reminded, reading your post, of the episode where the Lady asks Estil Halveric if there wasn’t some little thing about her old house that had always irritated her, and would she let them change it? And Estil talks of a door that hung the wrong way and you had to close before you could open another door…..

    And thank you, by the way, for the term “plot bomb”. I have just had one on a story I’ve had simmering on the back burner for years, which might, just might, make the story writeable, after all. I had thought it wasn’t…..

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