1. Member Since 3rd Jun, 2012
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Dusty Sage


I've been writing online for thirty years.  One of these days I might actually get good at it.


More Blog Posts173

  • Saturday
    The careful analyst

    One interesting occurrence this week: a reader came through, slogged through all four of the TwiBrush Tales, upthumbed the lot, and left a comment on the first of them to the effect that the purely arbitrary calendar which I had conjured up didn't make a great deal of sense to him.

    Which is only fair, since it didn't make a great deal of sense to me, and I'm the one (so far) failing to justify it.  There are, I suspect, rather a lot of things in these tales, and perhaps in some other ones, that perhaps don't ring entirely true.  I would blame this on my tendency to operate as a self-contained unit: I have genuine, recognizable copy-editor skills, but tweaking somepony else's words inhabits a wholly different world from trying to tame one's own.   (No rational editor would have permitted that last sentence.)

    0 comments · 3 views
  • 3w, 2d
    Meanwhile at a desk not so far away

    "So what's been keeping you away?" Twilight Sparkle demanded.

    "This," I said, holding up a halfway-completed Form 1040.

    A burst of magic snatched the paper from my hand, turned it over, returned it to me upside down.  "It takes seventy-nine lines for a simple income-tax return?"

    "You haven't seen Schedule A yet," I retorted.  "And I can't finish this form until I do that one."

    "And I thought Equestrian taxes were absurd," said Twilight.

    "Which they are," piped up Applejack from the corner.  "Canterlot takes darn near fifteen percent of all the bits we make."

    "I would dearly love to get away with paying just fifteen percent," I said.

    "What's the rate here?" Twilight asked.

    "It varies with how much you make.  Starts at ten, finishes at thirty-nine point six."

    Rarity shook her head.  "I suppose the care and feeding of nobles is expensive in any universe."

    "So is clothing 'em," snapped Applejack, drawing a scowl from Rarity.

    I sighed the sigh of a man suspecting he's about to write a large check.  "Anyway, I do thank you all for dropping by, but I really have to get to work on this thing.  Next weekend, maybe?"

    "Works for me," said Twilight, and three ponies shimmered away into the night.

    The fourth one, however, was still here.  "Pinkie?"

    "Well," the pink pony said, "I thought that if this was a really terrible problem for you I could help you finish this thing and you won't be so grumpy anymore."  She pointed a hoof at line 61.  "Did you have health insurance all year?"

    It figures, I thought.  Only Pinkie Pie can understand the Internal Revenue Service.

    0 comments · 25 views
  • 4w, 6d
    Slow and steady

    Just wanted to thank whatever kind soul wandered over here last night and gave me my 7000th story view.  

    0 comments · 10 views
  • 5w, 3d
    Not even dead yet

    Two words: "cancer screening."

    Test results: negative.

    For the moment, anyway.  I still feel like crud warmed over, and not especially warm at that, but hey, I'll take it.

    6 comments · 27 views
  • 8w, 1d
    The expected ending

    Since I started The Life That Late He Led, I've always had one thing in mind: he lives that life, and then it ends, and Twilight resumes her life as best she can.  The trick was finding a good reason for that life to end, other than, well, that's what life does, most of the time.

    And so it shall, though obviously not right away.  There will be no fifth story to the trilogy.   (Having a fourth was questionable; I have neither the style nor the imagination of the late Douglas Adams, and besides "tetralogy" sounds funny.)  

    0 comments · 29 views
  • 11w, 1d
    So it shouldn't be a total loss

    If I seem to be resting on my laurels, it's mostly due to surprise that I have laurels in the first place.

    That said, The way she used to be and Somepony New have both reached 50 likes recently, and The way she used to be now has over 800 views, which I find gratifying.

    3 comments · 31 views
  • 13w, 1d
    I, dawdler

    I am trying not to feel better about my low productivity after finding a new chapter to one of my favorites,  a year and half after the last one.

    8 comments · 46 views
  • 15w, 5d
    Pikers from Hogwarts

    The Bullseye is the last page of Entertainment Weekly, and it's something of a repository for single-line snark.  There's a reference this week (issue #1345) to Pottermore, of which they said:

    Another year, another 600 additional Harry Potter short stories.

    Even granted the fact that Pottermore is a bit more complex than FIMFiction -- six hundred?  That's a slow week here.

    0 comments · 29 views
  • 16w, 5d
    Still breathing

    The Mystery Virus -- unless, of course, it was a bacterium -- has taken its leave of me, and good riddance.

    If you're celebrating a holiday this week, I hope it's utterly wonderful.   (And if you're not, I still hope things are utterly wonderful for you.)

    3 comments · 46 views
  • 18w, 1d
    Possibly on the mend

    This ongoing illness has finally snapped into a pattern I've seen before, and I didn't like it much then:

    The medical profession's answer to my ongoing cough is a nasty lozenge seemingly made from the bowls in which Chia Pets are grown, which, I am told, will actually increase the level of coughing. It is a measure of how bad things are that I accepted this at face value.

    This particular version of the ailment dates back to 2001; it began during a 4444-mile (literally) road trip, and persisted long after I'd left the driver's seat.   The general feeling is that of having one's lungs filled with cotton candy, and not a good flavor of cotton candy either.

    0 comments · 31 views
  • 19w, 5d
    Little to hope for

    About an hour into the workday today, I got hit with what might be an ordinary rhinovirus -- or it might not.  It continues to get worse, and it's doubtful whether I'll get any sleep tonight.

    Perversely, I have a trip to the doctor scheduled for tomorrow; the appointment was made three weeks ago.   And failure to sleep is one of the few ailments that make me want to end it all: I'm too old to fight these things anymore.  (Oh, and someone gave me a downvote today, which exacerbates the turmoil.)   I have two weeks of vacation saved up; but if I'm going to be miserable the whole time, why bother?

    7 comments · 49 views
  • 20w, 1d
    It's become a reflex

    Saturday I was coming home from the grocery store, and up the street marched three girls, clearly led by the one in the center.  In days of old I'd have thought Heathers; this time I thought Dazzlings.  For all I know, the one on the right may have been carrying a taco.   Either way, it was unexpected, my neighborhood being basically split between young families and old empty-nesters.  (I am, of course, one of the latter.)   This is a two-lane street with parking along one side only; they allowed me exactly enough room for my Large Automobile, and no more.  If nothing else, they had the attitude.

    0 comments · 32 views
  • 22w, 2d
    Musical notes, so to speak

    The third Soft Spectrum album has been released, and like its predecessors, it's a showcase for chill, a genre -- at least, I think it's a genre -- that I have found welcoming in the past.  The series is presided over by Kyoga, who has composed some stuff that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  

    Also like its predecessors, it's a charity affair: the $5 they're asking for the ten tracks will go to Bronies For Good.   (As is my wont, I tossed in slightly more.)   If you go for this sort of thing, here's where you get it.

    0 comments · 63 views
  • 24w, 1d
    Having perhaps overdone it

    If I'm interpreting the new status indicators correctly — and who says I am? — I got to my 1000th favorite this weekend.  Assuming I'm running my usual pace, this means I've read somewhere around 1800 stories in the last 27 months.  (Blatant selection bias: I'm far more likely to start a story if something about it suggests I'll want to keep up with it.)

    The most recent addition is flawed and would benefit from a proofreader, but the premise — earth pony seeks a mechanical means of flight — appealed to me.

    0 comments · 39 views
  • 25w, 1d
    About that self-insert business

    There's apparently a new term for it: "transcribed aspirational self-narrative".

    Still kinda looks like Mary Sue, though.

    1 comments · 52 views
  • 26w, 4d
    There are always numbers

    So I tried out knighty's new stats suite, and I'm not sure which surprised me more: having had 21,750 chapter reads, or being in the top 3000 (barely) in follower count.  Neither of these is a world-beater, exactly, but I still suffer from How Can Anyone Bear To Read This Stuff? Syndrome.

    1 comments · 48 views
  • 27w, 1d
    The weather outside is frightful

    The major disadvantage of the lack of pegasi out here on the plain is that we're basically stuck with what the air masses in the sky end up doing, and what they're doing at the moment is giving me 50-mph winds and rain approximately the velocity of an automated car wash, albeit without any of that Anti-Spotting Rinse stuff.    (Well, that and the tragedy of leading a pony-less existence, as I did for the first 57 years of my life.)

    If you don't hear from me for a rather long while, assume I've been spun into orbit by the whirling winds.

    0 comments · 44 views
  • 28w, 1d
    Rutsicles

    So I'd come up with an oh-so-clever plot twist, so to speak, and started pouring it out onto the screen.

    If that's all I'd done, I might have gotten away with it.  But no, I had to go back and look it over just once more, and discovered it had more holes than the Albert Hall.

    If I seem quieter than usual, it's because I'm trying to find some way out of it without making it look like I had to find some way out of it.

    0 comments · 57 views
  • 29w, 5d
    In for a pound

    Actually, several pounds, based on the current exchange rate.

    I have reserved a seat for the one and only showing (in this gedunk town of, um, 1.3 million) of Rainbow Rocks.  The dollar off I get for being Incredibly Old exactly balances the convenience fee for ordering online.

    Of course, what I really want to know is whether they'll bring Flash Sentry back.

    Update, after the show:  Maybe a hair too much fanservice, but on the whole, a decided improvement over the first EqG film, and ample justification for continuing the series.  Empty seats were conspicuous by their absence.   I really don't think Harkins expected this thing to sell out.

    4 comments · 66 views
  • 31w, 4d
    This ought to be interesting

    About a year ago, I posted a note on Facebook that contained links to all my stories here.  It received one like, so I know at least one person saw it.

    I was in One Of Those Moods this evening, so for the sheer Tartarus of it I posted the first paragraph of The Sparkle Chronicles and sat back to see what would happen.  The likes rolled in, along with "When can I read the rest of it?"  We shall see what (if anything) comes of this.

    9 comments · 79 views
Aug
4th
2012

Counting words · 4:27pm

I am becoming persuaded that every editor in existence counts them differently.  Google is full of people who have found discrepancies between how many words they think they wrote and how many words Microsoft Word thinks they wrote.

I didn't pay any attention to this phenomenon, of course, until I landed here.  I wrote The Sparkle Chronicles in the WordPress editor, since it's the one I use most often these days.  The three chapters published here so far are listed at 3278 + 2830 + 3886 = 9994 words.  WordPress says 3186 + 2727 + 3720 = 9633.

None of this presents any particular problem -- I mean, it's not like I get paid by the word for anything I write, and I'm not going to sit here all day and count words myself -- but it is the sort of thing I agonize over for No Good Reason At All.

Dusty Sage · 186 views · Report
#1 · 141w, 2d ago · · ·

Well, that's an interesting glitch. Does it count non-word characters like punctuation?

#2 · 141w, 2d ago · · ·

I'm really not sure where the discrepancies fall.  I know WordPress doesn't count anything inside an anchor link, but since there aren't any in the story, that can't account for it.

Perhaps it's in how compound words are figured.  ("Two-hooved drinkers" might be two words in one editor, three in another.)  I don't really consider this a "glitch," which implies that something is doing something other than what it's intended to do.  And really, I wouldn't blame the FF crew for using a broad definition of "words," inasmuch as you have to have at least a thousand of them in your opening chapter.

#3 · 141w, 1d ago · · ·

And just to indulge my OCD: I put back in 51 (per WordPress) or 52 (per FIMFiction) words I'd struck from Chapter 3.  (They're at the bottom.)  Counting by hand (or hoof, I suppose), I get 52, so maybe it's that WP is undercounting by a shade.

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