Well, I guess it’s official

So, I still haven’t actually WRITTEN a shorter-length story from Tano’s pov.

I have thirty pages or so, but that’s it. Plus, I mean, ideas about the middle and a surprisingly clear picture of the end. Surprisingly clear for me, I mean. It’s been typical for the Tuyo-world stories that I’ve had fairly a clear picture of the endings, but that is surprising because usually I don’t until I’m about 2/3 of the way through and then boom! the rest of the story unrolls before me.

Anyway, getting a cover takes long enough that I said to myself this morning, You know what, if I write that, I’m going to want to bring it out before Tasmakat. And you know what I’ll need for that? A cover. So maybe I should order a cover right now, even that will mean committing to writing the story for sure.

So I did. So I have. This time, I expect I will probably have the story written before I get the cover, but (probably, I hope) not a lot before, depending on how fast they get to the cover.

I know when this story starts — immediately after the end of Tarashana. That’s the part I have written. I know how the central action problem gets introduced. I have that part written too.

I know what the central relationship problem is, and so do you, obviously: Tano needs to find a way to feel that he is really a member of inGara. He needs a solid place to stand from which he can move forward into the rest of his life. I’m sure you can all immediately guess some of the characters who will be important: Raga and Arayo. I will probably add another young man to this group. Do you recall how Tano might have specifically wanted one young inTasiyo man to step away from the inTasiyo? That was the one who took his little brother to the inKera. Did you wonder about that? Well, I know something about the backstory there, and the only reason I hesitate is because four is kind of a crowd. But what the heck, I’m sure I can handle it. Pretty sure.

Other important characters: Sinowa inGara, Marag inGara, and definitely Ryo and Aras. They’ll all appear at the beginning or the end or both. The young men are the primary characters and carry the story through the middle.

Two good things about writing this story:

A) It can serve as a precursor to the (probable) (highly probable) series from Tano’s point of view. Craig gave me a great idea for an overarching quest type of plot that would be perfect for Tano and Raga. There is, by the way, a hint about that problem at the end of Tasmakat, and this isn’t an accident. You will all probably recognize it when you see it.

My inclination is to step forward five or so years and start Tano’s series at that point, when he and Raga and the others are all about twenty or so and Tano has definitely found his feet among the inGara. He will still be dealing with various lingering trauma from his past, because obviously he will be. That’ll take a long time, because, again, obviously.

Ryo and Aras would probably appear as secondary characters in Tano’s series, by the way. I mean, they definitely would, unless I change my mind radically about the overall plot, which is unlikely.


B) This story about Tano can also let me show both Sinowa and Marag from a different pov.

Do you remember when you all were tossing ideas at me for a possible short story that wouldn’t contain important spoilers? Those were all good ideas, and Tano’s story offers me a chance to set up a prequel story about Sinowa and Marag. I can start thinking about how they got together, with an eye toward writing that story, possibly (probably) with Baby Ryo appearing at the end of the story. Showing them from Tano’s pov could serve to help me think about how they interact, how they feel about each other, what their backstory might include. It would also potentially set them up as interesting to readers. All of this would be good.

Will I write Tano next, immediately after sending Tasmakat to first readers?

I’m not sure. I need to do fairly significant revision to the various SF novels I’m bringing out next year, but by “fairly significant” I mean weeks, not months. If I did that, it would be done, and THOSE would be ready for first readers and/or proofreading. AND I really should order covers for them too, come to think of it.

But I will probably write Tano before I start serious work on Silver Circle, because it should be short and quick and Silver Circle is likely to be longish and much less quick.

Maybe I can revise everything AND write a complete draft of Tano over Christmas Break. It’s a whole month. I wrote all of Shines Now over Christmas Break last year and that was about 220 pp on top of the 50 pp I started with. Surely Tano wouldn’t be longer than 200 pages?


I need to write the last third of the Gen Bio final. I really like (most of) my students, which is tough because it means I would really like some of them to maybe get Bs instead of Cs or, God help them, Ds. So at the very last minute, I am redesigning the final exam. I’m cutting it up into sections that correspond to sections from the class, ten questions per section, and I told the students that if they get eight out of ten questions correct in a given section, I’d reassess the corresponding terrible test grade and adjust that grade upward. Not sure exactly how I would do that. Average the terrible grade with an 80% grade, weighting the average — or even maybe not weighting it? Just replace the terrible test grade with the much better section grade?

I really don’t think the students can get eight or more questions right per section without learning something about the topic. I mean, they sure haven’t so far or I wouldn’t have any reason to contemplate this kind of adjustment. If they learn something about the topic, even at this late date, then they learned it, right? The point of the class is to teach the subject, obviously. I’m willing to boost grades to show that they’ve learned stuff, as long as they give me any reason to think they have learned something.

Not sure how much that will actually help any students in practice. It is intrinsically not that easy to learn a lot of stuff in a hurry, and the final is on the fifteenth. On the other hand, given the possibilities of sharply improved grades, I think some of them will be super motivated to study now. Those are the students whose grades I’d most like to see go up.

I’m not entirely sure whether to totally skip the community ecology chapter or whether to cover that on the last day. The last day could be purely review. But it’s not my job to review everything for the students. It’s their job to review. They can come find me during the early part of finals week if they want to ask me questions or go over something. So … not sure. I have tentatively removed questions about that chapter from the final exam, but I can always put them back. I’ll finalize that powerpoint and load it to the Resources page and then, I guess, decide next Thursday, at the last moment.

By the way, two of my students caught me outside of class yesterday and told me how much they’d liked the class and that it was kind of a new experience for them not to have the instructor hold their hands all the way through. That was a nice bonus to the day, and the semester. I hope they both do find their grades jumping upward after the final.

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7 thoughts on “Well, I guess it’s official”

  1. So great to hear about this new book and potential series, and I am glad to hear that Ryo and Aras still communicate five years later on (is this a spoiler?). My girls are also in the midst of finals, and I had an argument with my older who is doing a post Bacc for premed courses about how she is allowed to drop several of her worst organic test grades for the final, vs my younger daughter who is in her first year of law school and where the only grade she gets is from the final exam. Both so difficult! Your creating the final from scratch makes me wonder how their teachers create and grade their finals, too.

  2. Well, Alison, all along I’ve said things like “This isn’t a tragedy!” and “Pretty sure most readers will like the ending!” … so, probably not too much of a spoiler, I hope!

    To be perfectly honest, I have been holding hands quite a bit this semester — or I wouldn’t have offered any extra credit or cut the value of the lab practical or decided not to have a second lab practical at all or offered participation points. I’ve done a lot to boost students because I can see they’re mostly honestly trying to do well. But I know some instructors who literally make the whole actual exam available to study from and things like that, which … I mean … in what sense is that actually a test? And I’ve had lots of short essay questions, nothing you can guess your way through, and that’s probably been eye-opening for some students. I do wonder where they may go from here and what they’ll do if they hit a class like your younger daughter. I mean, that’s hard core. I don’t think I ever had a class where the WHOLE grade rested on ONE test. Four tests, yes, but not just one.

    Oh, but we did have Comprehensives. THERE was a high-stakes test. Huge all-essay test plus an oral exam, over every topic a Biology major was supposed to have learned during their entire undergrad career, and not passing meant not graduating at all. We studied all semester for that. Fortunately, I was invited to join an absolutely stellar study group. I was much too shy at the time to ask to join a group, so that was super helpful. The smartest guy in the whole graduating class was a member of that group. Let me just poke at google … ah, yes, looks like he’s a full professor at a “very selective” university in Ohio and has 263 publications. Yep, that’s exactly what I would have expected.

  3. Yaaaay, I’m excited for the story about Tano, he was so interesting!! I did remember you saying he would likely get his own series, but I’m happy to hear this other story is coming so soon!

  4. I’ve had lots of classes where the whole grade rested on the final exam. We could repeat the exam though if we failed the first time.

    I had a professor who went over the final exam with us on the last class, explained all the answers. She said that she does this every year and students still manage to fail??? To be fair the school accepted basically anyone. 240 started our major (in my country you apply for and study specific majors from the beginning) and 30 graduated, and it wasn’t a particularly difficult major.

  5. Really looking forward to more about Tano and more stories in the Tuyo world in general.

    In the ancient past, in an intro physics class that was a large lecture section, the professor handed out a set of 500 multiple choice questions at the beginning of the course and told us that the final would be drawn from that pool. I’ve forgotten how many questions on the final. You couldn’t memorize the answers to 500 questions, but it told you what concepts were important and what about them we should know.

  6. I have to wonder how many teachers are guided by the students evaluations, and if that leads to grade inflation. Apparently in law school that’s not an issue, and if a student makes ‘median’ they are doing well. When I evaluate residents, I rate them all as ‘above average’ bc they know who is evaluating them and what they put down and what the comments are, whereas their evaluations of us are anonymous. My teaching scores have improved considerably since I stopped being honest in my evaluations, and those teaching scores matter quite a bit.

  7. Very sure that’s an issue, Alison. I don’t have to care because I don’t want to teach next semester anyway.

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