A cold morning here in Michigan, as it looks like they all will be for the foreseeable. I’ve just about gotten used to it.
Of course, that means I’ve no excuse not to stay indoors and get work done. So, for the purposes of enlightening all of you (and, more importantly, as an entry in what will hopefully be a good work diary of 2014 that I can look back on fondly when I forget what I spent the year doing), here’s what’s happening.
ENDLESS WEATHER, the history/education focused sabbatical project that has no actual name at this point is coming along well. I’ve just about finished with the Early US course content, very nearly by my self-imposed deadline. I anticipate that this will be the section where things take the longest—I’ve had a lot of instances where I’ve had to stop and admit that my initial ideas were not that great. For example, there are some documents that are just too long for practical classroom use among students in a 100-level survey. Thus, there’s some editing that I wasn’t anticipating. I’m also rethinking the “document + assessment = done” model as there are a lot of sources across time and space that would work well together. So, I think the early US section is going to take the most time and hopefully the lessons learned will make the rest go more smoothly. The web-side of things is still up in the air, which is good, otherwise I’d be tinkering with website stuff and procrastinating on the content.
BLACK SCREWDRIVER–the book project for Rowman & Littlefield, Publishers—is in the massive research and outlining stages. I’m spending much more time on the outlining with this project than I have with previous ones (because it’s a lot bigger—at least it feels that way). After looking around at outlining tools, I settled on Cloud Outliner because it’s cheap and it does what I need it to. I’m also dedicated (at this point anyway) to doing the writing in Scrivener. Niftily, Cloud Outliner will export outlines in OPML format readable by Scrivener, so that should save a step or two. I’m currently doing paragraph-level outlines of chapters, which hopefully will pay off when the drafting commences in a bit. The outline for the first chapter is actually at about 20% of my target word count, which is far more detail than I usually indulge in.
Of course, the fun part of this project is getting to watch (and re-watch) a huge amount of 1990s SF television.
It’s also allowing me to spend some quality time with the paranoid fringes of the Internet (and some of the older, non-Internet computer networks and BBS’s) as well as pondering on the significance of Omni magazine, which was a mainstay of my reading in high school. Wonderfully, Omni is available in its entirety in PDF format from the Internet Archive.
I also need to finish up SIENNA SMOKE, which I now feel comfortable mentioning (since the program for the conference is up and I’m actually on it!). it’s a brief (10 minute) lightning talk on storytelling and teaching for the LAND Conference, coming up next month in Bay City. Usually I don’t write out talks, but since there’s a strict time limit, I should probably make sure whatever I’m saying comes in under the wire.
Quick reminder, I’ll be on Where Did The Road Go? this Saturday from 11:00 PM to Midnight, Eastern time.
Okay—this has gotten my typing fingers warmed up. Time to go to work.