Today has been a knitting day, that's pretty undeniable, and I've gotten a lot of knitting done, so that feels good, and I wouldn't suggest that I'm all the way to being "back in the writing saddle," but I'm feeling less dyer about things, so that's good.

Part of getting back on the writing saddle for me is to get back into the reading saddle. Read more (or any) fiction; listen to things. Consume media that isn't simply guilty pleasure (like I think I need to watch more feature length movies and fewer procedurals.) It's all gist for the mill, and I need more of it.

I've been struggling with the James Tiptree book The Starry Rift, which hasn't really grabbed me in a big way, certainly not nearly as much as her earlier (slightly) and much greater Brightness falls from the Air, to which Rift is at least tangentially connected. It's good, but I've found it hard to get involved in. I was really involved in the first story, but it ended, and the second story is taking almost as long as the first to get into. Also my copy of the book was damaged in an incident with a plant, which has made reading slightly more difficult. I think this is part of my general inability to grok for shorter forms.

So I'm not reading that, becuase I figure life's too short and if I could be reading something it's probably better than reading nothing at all, so instead I'm reading Empire Star a--from all accounts--whimsical adventure novella by Samuel Delany, which I think might be the right thing at the moment.

I'm also listening to, somewhat obsessively (hence the knitting) Cory Doctorow's reading of Bruce Sterling's *The Hacker Crackdown*. It's over so I can listen to this basically straight through. Which is a lot of fun. This might be bridging on creepy, but I really enjoy hearing Cory talk, and really, by now I mostly know most of his shticks, and I still listen to them. And it helps that even if I disagree or am frustrated by his approach from time to time, it's always... stimulating. And that's a good thing, particularly when I'm trying to find my saddle.

My other, more erstwhile, project of the moment, and the topic that this entry owes its title, is my process of developing the "bad guy" character my Mars Stor(ies), who I've felt is a little bit too unfocused for too long. Writing, just notes at the moment, about his past and secrets is helpful for being able to more fully actualize him in my mind. What I'm realizing after the fact, is that I mushed together two antagonists from my high school novel, in a way that totally didn't work in my mind.

This hasn't been a huge issue until now, because in the earlier story, he was pretty far removed from most of the events and we never see things from his perspective. But now I'm teasing out a story that's going to give us a little bit of his origin story, and, well I need to have this figured out. Mostly my problem is that I have a hard time making him come off as being evil enough, rather than just slimy, and short tempered. It's an ongoing project.

With Breakout in cold storage, I'm turning back to the Mars stories to see if I can just get something short (novelette length?) written and out. I'm also going to spend some time with Station Keeping as a spring/summer project, once I'm back in the saddle. But I'm also trying to think about other universe's/worlds/settings situations. My Mars stories are great fun, and I like the characters and some of the other things that I'm doing, but I don't want to get stuck either. So while I don't think it wise to actually do anything about that right now; branching out is something that's very much on the horizon.

Onward and Upward!