I’d normally have updated earlier (sticking with #98 on my 101 list, ‘update weekly’), but my internet has been pretty shoddy lately. It works, then it doesn’t, then it does. Still doesn’t properly work, but whatever. I’ll not let that stop me. Though it does mean any update will be random hodgepodge ‘everything i meant to write all week and didn’t’ thrown together instead of anything coherent.

On the novelling front: lots of character-building, lots of world-building, lots of research. My current novel project is going to read like an urban fantasy, even though in my head it’s more of a hard sci-fi novel, so i’m basically creating alternate versions of the whole world and trying to work out plausible reasons for the alternate version to exist. I really hate stories in which there’s no logical explanation for why something happens the way it does – even a technobabble sem-logical explanation, ‘Doctor Who’-style, is better than nothing. Heck, even if the explanation isn’t in the story, if there could plausibly be an explanation, i’m okay. But ‘well, it just magically happens‘ doesn’t go over so well with me. So even though my novel involves alternate realms populated by dragons, and even though i don’t plan on explaining any of the actual science in the story, i’ve been doing a ridiculous amount of research on hyperspace. I think i’ll own every single book ever written by Michio Kaku by the time November is over… Then there’s the research i’m doing on fae and technopagans and coffee and Watergate and Buddhism. It’s a long list.

I’ve also been sort-of using my tarot deck – mostly simple readings for my characters. Someone on the National Novel Writing Month forums mentioned they have a simple four-card layout they use to determine a character’s fears, hopes, loves, and hates, and that plus one extra card used to determine a dominant personality trait has given me many wonderful ideas for my characters. I still have to look up the meanings behind just about every card, and i don’t have any traditional layouts like the Celtic Cross memorised yet, but i’m starting to get a feel for the cards.

Dvorak – i’m kind of hoping to have figured out before NaNoWriMo starts, but i’ve been slowed up a bit by my lack of consistent internet and my ‘hey, i can just use online programs!’ attitude of last week. I do have the home row more or less memorised now; that’s a start.

And as far as replacing my software with open-source stuff, i’ve actually gone backwards a step – i’ve switched, at least temporarily, from Firefox to Opera. Opera’s noticeably faster (important right now, when the next page load could be my last for twenty hours), and for whatever reason Firefox keeps crashing even when the internet’s working. I’ve heard people complaining about the latest version of Firefox but it seemed to be working fairly well for me for a while and only started crashing recently; maybe i’ll just reinstall the whole thing once my connection’s properly functioning again.