Monday, January 28, 2008

bad blogger. no liver stories.

I am a dreadful blogger right now.

This is because

a) I'm writing.

I just reread the pep talk I wrote for National Novel Writing Month, for authors who were at that point three-quarters of the way through the book when you just have to keep going, and it helped a bit. ("Hah!" I thought. "What do you know, foolish author-man?" But secretly I knew he had a point.)

I'm still in Chapter Seven. Yesterday was very talky. Today stuff may happen.

b) I'm writing. So when I find interesting links, or people send me things to post, I go, "Yes, I should post that" and then forget to.

and of course the main reason I'm a dreadful blogger is that,

c) I'm writing.

When I'm not writing the novel I feel guilty. And even though blogworthy things turn up (I could write about the thaw right now, and the sunshine and the bees; three days ago a really funny entry on what to do when your assistant hands you twenty pounds of whole and uncut cow liver for your dog that she was given at the local meat packing plant didn't get written, and yesterday I composed an entire thing in my head I didn't write down about Why The People in Torchwood Season One Are All Too Stupid To Live -- including the astonishingly puzzling incident where someone in 1941 has written something down on paper with black ink (a medium that will last legibly for centuries if kept out of the sun), and, unaccountably worried that ink on paper will fade and become unreadable in time, first she takes a prototype Polaroid photo of it, and then writes some of it in blood and puts it in a coffee can in a damp cellar, because these media will still be readable seventy years later. Why she didn't make a model of it out of chocolate as well, I will never know.)

Oh, and despite having predicted that Blink would get the Hugo for best Dramatic wossname, this blog is now officially supporting Paul Cornell's Family of Blood/Human Nature two-parter for a Hugo. This is, obviously, because I have been gotten to.

Bugger. This was just meant to be a wave, and now I've started writing.

I'll answer a question. Just one. Then to work.

Good morning, Neil!

Since you've used fountain pens for so long, I was wondering if you could recommend a good fountain pen ink.

I just got my first fountain pen last night. I mentioned to a friend that I write all my rough drafts longhand because it's the best way to shut up my internal editor, but that I wanted to get a fountain pen so I could stop throwing so much plastic into landfills by burning through so many disposable pens. He disappeared into a back room of his house for a few minutes, and when he came back he handed me a fountain pen, complete with converter.

So, now I have the pen, but I need to get some ink. And I want to make sure that I get a good quality bottled ink -- preferrably something that won't smear since I prefer to write in spiral-bound notebooks, usually curled up on the couch with the notebook on my lap.

Based on what you just posted about the Noodler Polar Black, I probably won't be getting it. (I live in the South anyway, so I don't really have to worry about ink freezing.) What type of ink do you normally use or would recommend for a fountain pen neophyte like myself?

Thanks much!


In all fairness, I should say I got a note from someone who uses the Noodler Polar Blue to say that they hadn't had any smudging trouble with it.

There used to be a lot of information about ink (including what everything looked like) up at
but alas, most of that has gone. Still, this is the internet, and there are people out there writing well and exhaustively about fountain pen ink and showing off their favourites.

Find a colour you like, and an ink you like. Try a few out. Parker's Quink is an old dependable. Private Reserve have some lovely colours (I like their Black Cherry and their Copper Burst). Waterman inks are always pretty good. Bottle design is also useful to consider -- Mont Blanc (I don't like their pens, and the ink isn't up to much but I love the bottle design) and Levenger have great bottles that allow for easy filling even when the level in the bottle is low.

Never use India inks, drafting inks or drawing inks inside a fountain pen. You will gum up the insides and worse. But if you're interested, there are places on the web that will tell you, for example, how to make your own ink to ancient recipes...


And finally, thank you to Dan Goodsell, who noticed his Mr Toast toy in the video of Maddy at Comic-Con, and sent her oodles of Mr Toast stuff. Hurrah for Mr Toast.

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