Cryptograms: the Do’s and… Just Don’t

So, yesterday I said that I wanted to finish chapter 5 of ‘Cards’ and start editing chapter 1 of ‘Vessels’. I had plenty of time to get these tasks going, until chapter 5 required that I write my own cryptograms.

Cryptogram- a message that is written in code.

Now, Whit and the gang have just found out that one of the murder victims was an activist of sorts, and they suspect that he was part of a crew that helped surreptitiously free a group of slaves the night before they were to be auctioned off.

The only evidence they have of this are three encrypted messages and a pamphlet for the auction. So, I knew what the messages needed to say, but they needed encrypting.

Ok. Sure.

So I did some research, learning about different ciphers and keys and dear lord this is complicated. So I chose a fairly simple key and started reverse-engineering my own cryptograms.

The first one is complete rubbish. But I kept it in because I can always change it come editing season. The second one is marginally better, and the third one is shaping up to be the best, but they took ages!

I still need to finish the third one, which is the first goal of today. Once that’s done, wrapping up chapter 5 will be fairly easy. They can’t solve the cryptograms in one sitting, that’d be too easy, so Whit is going to give them to Cora, who is intrigued and wants to solve them. They give Whit migraines, so he’s more than happy to be rid of them.

Then Whit will tell Mal that they’re going to the capitol the next day to have a chat with the coroner. That’ll be buckets of fun, since the two men were teetering on the edge of argument over the city’s slavery policy. Add in a couple more points of interest in the next chapter, and we’re finally cooking with gas, as my grandma’d say.

So, once chapter 5 is done, I am going to begin editing ‘Vessels’ chapter 1. Though, I might end up starting on chapter 6 today.

So, long story short, don’t write your own cryptograms. Let the internet do that for you. Which I just discovered was a possibility when I googled the word for the definition. Figures.

But, there’s some level of satisfaction knowing that I wrote them myself. If I absolutely hate them further down the road, I’ll give the internet a chance.

In other news, I’m learning twitter things. Still slow going, since I’m apparently social media stupid, but I’ll get there. Also, I may need another iced coffee before these cryptograms really begin to come together.

Another topic, which I’ve been meaning to touch on for awhile now, is views. I read a post from someone I follow a few days ago that said they receive an average of 150 views per DAY.

My jaw dropped. 15o views a day? And I’m guessing that’s not even that many in the blog world. And here I am doing happy dances when my views break into the double digits.

Now, I’m not too worried about it. I write this blog mostly to have a place to start my day. I write a little bit here before I get to work on the real projects, not unlike Vonnegut’s scribbles that he did, and subsequently threw away, before he sat down to work. And this blog serves that purpose well.

I also write this blog for the sense of community. I’ve met and had some interesting conversations because of this blog and those others have written. It’s not about how many people view the page, but what people take away, or the conversation my posts can instigate.

But, it’s mostly a safe place for me to talk about things that I don’t really talk about in my non-virtual life. I’ve been working at the same Starbucks for nearly two years now, and I still have regulars who have no idea I write fiction.

It’s not because I have an anxiety about it, or anything, but I’ve noticed that not everyone cares. People who read Sci-Fi/Fantasy seem few and far between in my area. In fact, people who are well-read seem few and far between. So, I open my trap to talk about my writing and I can see it in their faces. That vacant smile, the head nods. They don’t really care, or find it interesting, they’re placating me.

And so, I don’t open my mouth about it, unless it comes up organically.

I do need to say here, that a couple of my regulars are awesome people who genuinely have an interest in what I’m up to, and I really appreciate that. Some days, an inquisitive customer can help me out of an insecurity downward spiral. So, thanks.

So, this blog is where I go to talk and read about writing fiction. It’s awesome to see other writers who are in the same stage as me, or who are just getting published. Or really, in any stage. It all helps. To be able to commiserate, and to see that there really will be a light at the end of the tunnel, someday.

Anyway, I just wanted to get that off my chest the last few days. Now, it’s time to put an end to this blather and finish chapter 5!



2 thoughts on “Cryptograms: the Do’s and… Just Don’t

  1. I’ve had my own recent doldrums, and the “too few views” problem has plagued me for months. Whatever I post regularly gets comments and views (though rarely topping 20), but then I go on another blog and see things like “Join 1000+ other followers”, “200,000 views since the blog started” and feel like I’m a right fool for thinking I will ever get more than a handful of people who enjoy viewing my blog.

    But I’m starting to think of it in another way. I have enough people that every post I can have a conversation, but not so many that trying to respond to them all comes off as rushed or excessively time-consuming (80/20 rule and all that). I’m building connections with people, and getting to enjoy finding out what they do (mostly because I always check out the blogs of people who follow me). It’s essentially what social networking promised to me for years, and yet I never could get a feel for. My passion for writing has helped satisfy in its own way my desire for meeting like minds, and talking up a storm about our interests.

    • I’d say I agree with your assessment. I really enjoy that I have followers who’ve been reading this blog since its inception. These folks have read along for over two years now and they’re finally comfortable enough to comment on posts. It’s great to recognize faces from WordPress in other forms of social media too. I’ve invested the time, and it’s finally feeling like the community I’ve been looking for. Color me pleased.

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