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Accountability Post 2021 Week 26

Introduction to the Accountability Post 2021 Week 26

In last week’s accountability post, I proudly proclaimed my intention to braid the seven points making up the main plot arc and the 42 other points making up the six character arcs and together into something better than a tangled, confusing mess. I also dared to proclaim my stretch goal, which was actually to start writing Book 2: Epsilon Eridani. I could try to be all dramatic and stuff, but let’s face it. It’s just not that exciting! So let’s get to it.

I arranged each arc’s seven points into a sequence that I think will work. If it doesn’t, it’s my braiding — I’ll just change it! And yes, I started writing! I’ve actually written drafts of the first three chapters. And you know? It felt great. The characters didn’t try to argue. They dove right into the action. Conrad and Matsushita bickered like an old married couple. Booth continued to feel over protective of Davies. So, let’s talk about how much progress I made — and why I didn’t make more!

Accountability Post 2021 Week 26 By the Numbers

Last week, I had zero words written in Book 2. How’d I do this week?

Accountability Post 2021 Week 26: Shockingly, Book 2's word count is on the way up!

What’s this about having to upgrade OmniGraffle?

As of the end of my writing session on Sunday, Book 2: Epsilon Eridani has 5,086 words! Sunday felt great. I knew where the arcs were going, I knew the characters, and I knew the threats. The word count reflects that comfort: 3,311 words might be a record for a single two hour session! So why did I only write 1,775 words on Saturday?

It’s kind of embarrassing. I’ve been writing computer programs since the days of dBase III 1.0 (not III+ — that came later!) in the mid to late 1980s. Well, technically, I started with basic in the late 1970s, but I don’t count that. I’ve been providing help desk support and technology support since shortly thereafter. I still do some of that today! And yet, even with all that experience, sometimes a program surprises me and my life more difficult.

You might remember that I bought myself an Apple MacBook Pro 13″ with the new M1 chip. It is, hands down, the most capable, the most powerful, and the easiest to use laptop I’ve ever owned. I keep it patched and up to date. On that laptop, I fired up OmniGraffle to create a detailed floor plan for Conrad’s office. I needed to know how the western side looked because Book 1 61 Cygni showed only the east and south sides. I didn’t have the stencils I needed, so I tried to download a new stencil. And OmniGraffle crashed.

Technology Advances, Funded Partially by My Wallet

When OmniGraffle crashed, it asked if I wanted to send a crash report to the developers at the Omni Group. As a security professional, I’m very aware of data security. Providing a crash report is not something I worry about. I gladly sent it to them. I figure, if the crash data can help them improve the product, then we all win.

Moments later, they sent me an e-mail. It had to be an auto-responder that checked the software version, because it happily informed me that I was on an old version (6.x) that was no longer supported and suggested I upgrade to 7.x. Apparently, Apple’s silicon cause issues on edge cases.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be furious with them for not letting me know before now that 6.x had been deprecated or impressed with their business opportunism. Every time I started OmniGraffle, I checked to see if Omni Group offered a new version. Every time, it dutifully informed me that I was running the most recent version.

OmniGraffle lied to me.

So, now I had to make a choice: Pay for an upgrade of a program I only use every once in a while, or find another program to do the same thing. I could have used Adobe Illustrator, but that felt like overkill for a quick office layout. I checked the folders I’ve setup for this series of books. They hold about a half dozen OmniGraffle projects. Those are projects I’d have to convert if I moved to a new program. I didn’t want to take the time to do that. So, I decided to upgrade. I felt a lot better about it when they gave me a 50% discount because I had the previous version.

Accountability Post 2021 Week 26: At least I can design offices again!

Well, at least I know what Conrad’s office looks like now!

That took about an hour out of my Saturday writing allocation, and that’s why I only wrote 1,775 words. But now I’m ready for the rest of Book 2!

Accountability Post 2021 Week 26: What’s On Deck for Next Week?

If I’m lucky, and if I work very, very hard, I might finish the first chapters for all seven arcs. That would be cool! I’m really looking forward to writing Stein’s first chapter. It’ll be the first time we see her as CEO of TCP. I really hope I can pull off the kind of character that’s in my brain, because if I can, I think my readers will really have a lot of fun!

I’m also looking forward to Malhotra. She’s one of only a handful of military veterans who work for TransStell, and goodness knows they’ll need her insights!

And just writing this post, my imagination said, “Hey, do you know what else would be cool about Malhotra?” The idea should make her arc even more interesting! I can’t wait for y’all to read it. But, first, I have to write it.

Accountability Post 2021 Week 26: Closing Thoughts

Has a software glitch ever made your life more difficult? Or — heaven forbid — eaten your manuscript? How did you recover? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

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