Sep 27

It Keeps Going…and GOING…and GOING!!!

Posted: under Progress, the writing life.
Tags: ,  September 27th, 2022

Besides the outside stuff that’s happened. the book has decided that it needs more in it.  Like “How DOES Gwennothlin get a dozen horses from here to there without being robbed or killed?” and “Yes, but what about those two cohorts of Fox and quarter cohort of Golden…you can just have them pop up like mushrooms in the middle of the battle!!” and “If Vladi has been to Horngard in the past–distant past–back when it was occupied by the former kings (one or more of them) shouldn’t HE know where the lower entrance is?  Wouldn’t he tell the people he’s traveling with?”  and “Who’s behind the sudden problems in the Royal Couriers?  WHY are they abusing their horses and dropping like flies in the past year or so.  Who made these bad decisions?” and “What’s with Dragon??”

That’s why I *thought* it was slotting nicely into the 150-155,000 word size until the past several days.  Tonight it ran right over the 160,000 barrier as if it wasn’t there.  And there are several thousand more to go.

It’s after midnight and I need sleep badly and am making typos every other word, so I’ll have to come back when I can and add snippets and more explanation.  Apologies for brevity.

Comments (0)

Sep 17

Snippets

Posted: under Contents, Craft, Editing, Progress, Revisions, snippet, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  September 17th, 2022

Time for some snippets, yeah?

This one will not be in the final book….it is the original start of the book:

Camwyn had no memories of his childhood, only those begun in a dark cave, when he woke from grievous injuries.  He knew of his past only what he’d been told by Dragon.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

This was followed by pages of past-history stuff and landscape descriptions that (aside from describing  a gorgeous view of the Vale of Valdaire and a good opening shot for the movie, maybe)  have nothing to do with the story because he’s never there again.   Also, there’s no tension.  People who’ve read the Paladin’s Legacy group know who Cam is, what his injuries were, and that he’s lost his memory.  People who haven’t will be thinking ‘How many pages of infodump before I have a reason to care about this character?”

Worse, the next person being shown is thinking about how disappointed he is that on his last trip over the mountains, there’s fog and he can’t see his favorite view.   Interior monologue with nothing happening but the fog lifting and a horse whinnying.  Ho-hum, ho-hum, the starting point is dumb…and then it goes into pages more of trivia that’s interesting to ME, because I was working back into this invented world, checking that Fenis Kavarthin & Sons were still in the building they’d been in that previous book, that this and that were in the right place and the right kinds of interactions were going on. Fine, for a book on the economics of merchant-run late-medieval cities, but this is supposed to be a story.

………………………………………………………………………………………..

So now we have the result of a complete mental reset:  When the problem is a static passage, nothing really going on, AND it’s in the POV of a known character who’s a protagonist…don’t whittle away at it hoping for something better.  Take a big leap.

The blade lay lightly, but dangerously, on his neck, just under the side of his jaw.  “You haven’t paid your bill,” said the voice in the dark.

………………………………………………………………………………………….

The next sentence tells you who “he” is…Ilantides Balentos.   Those who’ve read the short story “Mercenary’s Honor”  may have a vague memory of an Ilanz Balentos who was Aesil M’dierra’s uncle and the reason she became a merc commander.   Ilanz in that story is a middle-aged merc commander who helps a village win independence from its greedy neighbor city, and when that city hires a much younger Aliam Halveric to attack, and Aliam sends out his squires to a recon mission, Ilanz meets Kieri Phelan for the first time.   Between then and now is a story of the young Aesil M’dierra and how she met Aliam and Kieri in dire circumstances–unfinished, still.  Maybe now I can write it.  Ilanz left his company (and some money) to M’dierra when he died.

This isn’t Ilanz; this is Ilanz’s much younger relative (and thus, more distantly, M’dierra’s relative.)  You don’t yet know who the other person, the voice in the dark,  is (and won’t, thanks to, ummm, errr, mmph, and mumble-mumble-writers-keep-secrets.)   But you know, every one of you, that you do not want that voice in the dark in YOUR bedroom, and you already suspect Ilantides may have a shady side.   You also want to know if the guy gets his throat cut and what happens next.

Does this 13 page segment connect to anything else in the book?  Yes, it does.  It foreshadows events already written some chapters later (and thus was easy to think of and write) that make other connections…and so on.   So when mmmrff happens, readers (the more astute ones) will be thinking “It’s those Balentoses!” while at the same time wondering if fffnnf can possibly make it out and can vlkksr get there in time.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

But remember the entire first chapter had problems of insufficient forward motion and insufficient tension.  Yet certain precursor things had to happen before other things could.  A had to meet B.  B had to not meet C.   D had to misjudge a situation.  And so on.  So what should come after that 13 pages that makes it clear the initial engine is putting tension on the same overall plot, getting the whole thing rolling?   Who gets the next POV slot, and why, and what do they do with it?

To keep the tension on, the next logical POV will be either the other conspirator or…another potential victim. The other conspirator has no further appearance in this book, as who he is, at least.  Readers are free to think he took part in a certain nefarious deed, or to think he was in another part of the same organization.  Doesn’t matter.  Another potential victim is already in the book, several chapters ahead, and was going to be in chapter 1 anyway, but from a different angle.  Well, then…make the next POV that of that potential victim’s POV and take a first look at Protagonist through that potential victim’s eyes…and at Balentos through that victim’s eyes as well.    Another big leap.

So the next POV is Aesil M’dierra’s but not in an exciting moment, though exciting moments are referenced, and a Significant Moment occurs in that POV segment when she walks into The Golden Fish and sees an obvious newcomer.

…………………………………………………………………………………………

She noticed a striking young man at the front window table, richly dressed in yellow and black over mail and–her experienced eye recognized the way the cloth laid over it–breast and back plate.

……………………………………………………………………………………….

Other necessary nubbins have been dispensed in this POV section before this moment, relating to the matters her cousins have kept bubbling on the legal stove, adding to the tension of *that* plotline, but this is where another and major plotline’s rubber hits the road.  The naive reader (the one who hasn’t read the previous volumes) doesn’t know who he is, and even the experienced reader–though perhaps guessing correctly–isn’t sure either.  The last black and yellow colors shown so prominently down here were–as far as readers know–on Siniava, the Honeycat.  Who IS this fellow?  Why hasn’t he doffed his heavy-weight armor, or taken the coif off his head?  M’dierra (experienced readers will know) knows every merc commander in Valdaire…this isn’t one of them.  So who and what is he, and what is he up to?   That’s revealed in their conversation, or the part of their conversation that’s shown, so the main direction of that plotline seems to be clear and straightforward.  The book is going to visit a place none of the previous books have shown, but that’s been mentioned a few times.

Another POV section is coming, which introduces two well-known characters from previous books but in different roles, and foreshadows (obscurely) a major road-block in the major plotline that’s just been shown, though the actual roadblock isn’t at all clear.  One of those two is the second, co-equal protagonist.  And Dragon, who, though a plot-mover, isn’t a protagonist, and gives readers the chance to question Dragon’s good will, sanity and, um, “wisdom.”   If humans have holes in their logic, and gaps in their knowledge, how is it possible for a creature of such length of age and vast experience and desire for all to be wiser…to be so blind to certain things?  Why isn’t Dragon the perfect deus ex machina, instead of…well…fallible?  Or are the humans just misunderstanding the nature of the beast, so to speak?

But that would be telling, not showing, says the mischievous writer, running off to work on other chapters.

 

Comments (9)

Sep 12

First Draft: Done. First Revision Draft: Done

Posted: under Craft, Editing, Life beyond writing, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , , , ,  September 12th, 2022

NewBook isn’t *finished*, but it is complete in the sense of beginning, end, middle untangled so the segments are in the right order, some major side issues that belong in the long arc but not this volume sequestered for the next (or after that), and sufficient interior notes to do the next stage.

So…what are we looking at?  It starts the day the two major characters look down from adjoining mountains, one facing east, one looking south.   Everyone in it–whom I thought I knew from the previous books–surprised me at least once and sometimes more than once in the course of the book.  They showed up not when I expected them to, but when they just did.,..they were different than when I saw them last in Crown of Renewal.  Stuff has gone on behind my back, so to speak.  Because of characters’ physical separation, while each character’s plot line is briskly going on about its business, there was “braiding” to be done in this first, structural, revision draft.  Some of that may still be revised in the next revision draft.  But most of the characters are people that veterans of Paksworld, especially the Paladin’s Legacy group, will know, will have seen before…just 5-6 years on from where they were in age, experiences, locations in some cases.

From here–as fast as I can make it happen–NewBook will get its second revision draft, which will deal with remaining structural issues (a few gaps, now clearly marked on the first revision draft) , and its first “construction” revision (where something needs to be built better, so to speak…design is fine but that bit right there is crooked or unsound)  and then its third revision draft, which will deal with its more surface issues: the polishing part.  Third draft should be ready to submit, after a final run past some readers.  If the dental stuff hadn’t slowed me down, I’d be sure it would be done by Oct 1, but now I’m not…this dental thing is supposed to take several more days in the chair, I’ve been warned, and if they break the molar it will have to come out.  Last time I had one pulled it cost me 4-5 days of misery & no work on anything.  However, the later drafts usually (used to) go faster than the first revision, the structural one.

Once it’s clean enough to satisfy me, it goes to my agent, and if it passes him it goes out wherever he sends it (to start with, Del Rey, we’ve already decided) and I start the next one.  Then the decisions are up to someone else, and I’ll just work on what’s next and hope for the best.  It WILL come out in some form or other, if not from a trad publisher then Indie.   It’s certainly not perfect at this point, but it’s complete enough that I’m convinced it’s a real, and satisfying, story.    Right now I’m also having problems with my regular email but I can still access Earthlink’s WebMail, though the book is very close to its size limit on attachments, while Thunderbird was gulping it right down.  Another thing to fix when I have time.  No snippets today–apologies–but I have to feed horses, dress, etc. and get to the dentist this morning.

Comments (4)

Aug 24

150,000 And Bouncing

Posted: under Good News, Life beyond writing, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  August 24th, 2022

Yes, this afternoon I reached 150,000 words-and-a-bit, which is the “about right” length for a Paksworld book.   Was so gleeful I made a batch of fudge brownies (forgetting that with a temporary crown on one tooth, fudge is not the best idea…)  Celebration time.  We had fried chicken for supper,  brownie with ice cream to follow.  It’s not all done…one major component needs to be written, and a dull boring blob of a beginning needs to be ripped off and replaced with a crisp, sparkling, start, but…it’ll be a much easier balancing act with 150,000 *mostly* right words keeping it on track and zipping along.

Today’s snippet is also posted in the elizabethmoon.com blog, so you needn’t look there for extras today.

……………………………………………………………………………

By dark, he had achieved, he thought, the ugliest point ever put on the end of a pole, but it would hurt if it hit you right, and it didn’t fall off or break when he jabbed at a tree section with it.

…………………………………………………………………………

This is Aris, the not yet qualified blacksmith, king’s friend, duke’s third son, horse trainer, and former squire to Duke Arcolin until a series of unfortunate events sent him….well, you’ll have to find out in the book itself.

 

Comments (7)

Aug 22

Kicking the Last Furlong!

Posted: under Good News, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  August 22nd, 2022

Yes, this book has a home stretch kick, accelerating to the finish.   Current length at 2:45 in the afternoon of Monday, it sits at 141,201, which is 15,182 more than last Monday.   That’s despite deleting at least 3500 words (a scene I’d saved to see if it fit in later; it didn’t so I booted it out late in the week.)   So the week came out at something over 18,580 words for the week and averaging something over 2650 words/day.

What’s happened in that week?  Lots.  This volume’s clearly coming to *its* end, but there’s more to go on with.  This is just the volume arc plot elements merging into one coherent braid.   I can see the end of this volume more clearly now, but not the far end of “everything” that belongs in this storyline.  For those who’ve ever read Caesar’s Gallic Wars, especially in the short chunks offered to Latin students in a second year Latin book I had in high school (and still have “somewhere” but not in easy reach) you’ll remember the almost magical appearance of Labienus and the Xth Legion which got Caesar out of a lot of tough spots in various campaigns.   At the time I had also watched Rin Tin  Tin on TV, when Rinty appeared handily to save the day, and once startled our Latin teacher by saying that the Xth Legion was Caesar’s Rin Tin Tin.  The Xth was always “in” or “through” or “behind” the woods  or the hill that screened them so they could come out unexpectedly…or over or around a hill.  Sometimes even across a river, though moving an entire Legion rapidly across/through a river is no quick answer to immediate peril.

Until the most recent concussion, I had a clear memory of the battles in Gallic Wars that I’d diagrammed for my Latin project one semester.   One of them is in Sheepfarmer’s Daughter but I don’t now remember which “barbarian” tribe it was against.  I do remember that back when movie-makers were making movies of such things (way back, B&W I think)  my mother was watching TV late one night and one such came on–a costume historical, with Romans in their helmets and short uniforms, Caesar on a white horse (??), barbarians half in loose trousers and boots.   I heard the shouting and clash of swords & spears (always an attraction at that age) and left my homework to come around to her room.  Took one look and said “Oh, that’s the battle of such  and so and that’s got to be [barbarian leader’s name, and tribe’s name]…and it looks like it’s about time for the Tenth Legion to show up.”  Sure enough.  My mother said “How on earth did you know that?”   “Reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars,” I said, very likely with all the disgusting smugness a HS junior could produce.   “See, what Caesar’s doing…”    “NEVER MIND.”   I really enjoyed Caesar.   When I tried taking Latin III and had to read Cicero, not so much.

Anyway, there’s a not-really-equivalent but good surprise about to fall on Our Side toward the end of this book.  Maybe even being a good reason to close the book with it.  We shall see, sometime in the next 5-10 days of writing.

Also along with 0.6 inch rains in the past few days (the first rain for  a couple of brutally hot months that were already “dryer than normal”  we got another 0.7 inches today and right now it’s raining very lightly…soaking-in type rain.  Cracks in the soil aren’t closed yet but the ground is notably softer.  YAY!!!

And the big rain-collection tanks we have are getting some input instead of just emptying out.   Horses are enjoying the cooler weather (not really cool, just not 95-109.)

Three snippets to hint at things….

  1.   Fox Company captain on the gnome-controlled pass over the Dwarfmounts to Valdaire:

Captain Talvan stopped beside the post and tapped it with the provided hammer.  “Law is Law,” he said in gnomish.  Within seconds two gnomes in armor, bearing pikes appeared as if from the rock itself.

“Law is Law,” one said.  “Is it that it is that Prince Arcolinfulk has message for Prince Aldonfulk?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2) Captain Burek of Fox Company to a young man who had marched with them about one and a third campaign seasons:

“I saw a horse rather like yours earlier today, except instead of solid bay it had some white on the face, graying in the mane and tail, two socks in front–uneven–and a stocking behind, on the near side.  Same Marrakai conformation.  Ridden by a youth dressed like a groom, and a gaggle of mares of various sorts.  Not quite the usual kind being driven over the mountains to sell here, but I can’t think what else he’d be doing with them…”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

3) Fenis Kavarthin, Senior Master of the Moneychangers’ Guild in Valdaire, to a client (about to be former client):

“I am not permitted to hold the account of a criminal; it violates the rules of our Guild.  You admit to a crime that could have been punished by death.  I cannot be your banker.  I cannot offer you any services, give you advice, or do anything but restore to you your earlier deposits after you swear that none of them were obtained by criminal activity; you will have to swear before a Judicar, whom I shall send for in a few moments.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Comments (7)