Feb 28

Paksworld Politics

Posted: under Background, Contents.
Tags: , ,  February 28th, 2014

Many forms of government have existed, and now exist, in our world…many forms of government can be depicted in fiction (including ones we haven’t yet seen in reality, like, um, a completely fair one.)   Epic fantasy is frequently criticized for having monarchies and aristocracies  (and the writers thereof accused of romanticism about the Middle Ages.)    So a reasonable question is “Why are the political systems in Paksworld what they are?”

And the answer is, “I studied history at Rice under F.S. Lear and K.F. Drew and C. Garside.  That explains everything.”   And I see a row of stubbornly frowning faces in front of me, with thought balloons over their heads saying “That explains NOTHING.”  And I’ll bet the stubborn faces would still have those thought balloons if I added, “OK, there was also prehistory and cultural anthropology…” Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb 26

Paksworld Plumbing, Part II

Posted: under Background, Contents, Life beyond writing.
Tags: , , ,  February 26th, 2014

The historians and archaeologists among you know that plumbing–its existence, variations, quality, and effect on human health (both good and bad)–is highly variable throughout history.    Elaborate systems for providing fresh drinking water, for instance, existed in time (and within a short distance) alongside the simplest, least effective ways of getting water to drink and a place to put your waste.   This allows fantasy and science fiction writers to play with the co-existence of different kinds of plumbing, and different attitudes towards what we now call public health issues.

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Oct 18

Paksworld Food Basics

Posted: under Background, Contents, Life beyond writing.
Tags: , , ,  October 18th, 2013

So…Paksworld’s northern kingdoms are more like Europe north of the Alps, in terms of what they grow and eat, and Aarenis is more like the Mediterranean countries.   But there are variations.   Paks’s family had a small amount of land under plough,  for grain and the few vegetables they grew; they also harvested field herbs, wild berries,  and some wild grains.    The nearest mill was a considerable distance away, so her family ground grain to make bread in hand mills (stone.)   Grain was also cooked into a mush, flavored with herbs and sometimes meat.   They were lucky in having good-quality hand mills that didn’t put a lot of stone dust in the meal, so they didn’t have their teeth ground down. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 06

Crown Molding

Posted: under Contents, Crown of Renewal, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  August 6th, 2013

A terrible pun, true.   But also true that revisions consist of more than pulling out the Chainsaw of Correction.   Sometimes revision means noticing that the arm of the statue is on at the wrong angle…and remodeling, molding it, until it looks right.  Both Agent and Editor found things to say about Crown of Renewal that pointed to the need for more remolding than chainsawing and clipping (though those did occur.)

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Jul 27

Help the Author

Posted: under Contents, Crown of Renewal.
Tags: ,  July 27th, 2013

In the first book of all–Sheepfarmer’s Daughter–there is a comment about the colors worn by Sofi Ganarrion’s cavalry troop and by Vladi’s polearms company.   I can’t find it.   I thought it was in this chapter…then in that chapter…it’s just a casual mention, but…where?   I know it’s there, but I have conflicting notes from another time…and I’m writing a side-story from Crown of Renewal that involves a cohort of Ganarrion’s people, and need the colors.  (If the editor likes it, that story will be in an anthology called Shattered Shields, coming out from Baen.)

So I’d very much appreciate it if someone who’s got the time could  answer that.

In the meantime, revisions are almost done (somewhat slowed by needing to get this story out of its snit and finished.   I’ll post about its intransigent nature later.)

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May 30

How to Get in Trouble

Posted: under Contents, Limits of Power, snippet.
Tags: ,  May 30th, 2013

As  King Mikeli’s younger brother has demonstrated in previous books, he’s an impetuous, energetic youngster with a gift for ending up in difficulties.   He’s also warmhearted, well-intentioned (in his own way) and brave.  He was supposed to be one of those minor characters who decorates the margin of the story,  illuminates the context of major characters.  However, Camwyn  did not stay marginal.   Quite the contrary.  Rather like Arvid, in that respect, he showed up at the oddest times, doing things that put him center stage.

It’s not that Camwyn wants to cause trouble for himself or others.  But a lightning rod person will always snag any electricity around, and he does.  Hence…a snippet.   By keeping it annoyingly short, I can just barely avoid spoilers, but may it bridge the gap over A-Kon, when I won’t be around to post anything. Read the rest of this entry »

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Apr 18

Asking the Right Person

Posted: under Contents, Craft, the writing life.
Tags: ,  April 18th, 2013

I’d been struggling with a chapter–and specifically the first scene in that chapter–for weeks, off and on, in and around others.    It’s pivotal to a very important plotline and also to the chronological tangle previously  mentioned.   I’ve rewritten it.  I’ve written completely new versions, not looking at the old one.  I’ve cut and pasted…cut and not pasted…moved things, ripped things out, added stuff…and nothing was quite right.  Today it began to make more sense (well, I understand what it has to do better, maybe) but something was still missing.  Finally, the missing detail was outlined for me  (X needs to have found/be holding Y), but what the heck was Y?

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Mar 12

Moment of Panic (Unnecessary)

Posted: under Background, Contents, Conventions, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  March 12th, 2013

So…I went in last night to do some late work on the book after supper (which was late)  and after typing away decided it was time to quit.   Whereupon Microsoft Word said (in my phrasing)  “I feel sick and I’m quitting and what you’ve been working on may be lost when I shut down…Too bad, sucker.”

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Mar 02

Falling Into Place

Posted: under Contents, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  March 2nd, 2013

Today’s work finally cleared up one nagging problem and may have also improved some other things.   Well…on second thought it cleared up a couple of nagging problems, one of which is a definite untied knot, and the other of which may create new nagging problems if I’m not careful.

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May 04

A Productive Day

Posted: under Contents, Craft, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  May 4th, 2012

A productive day is a day on which at least 2000 words pile up.    I’ve been dealing with 1000 word days, 850 word days, 1600 word days, even 1854 word days…but the clear-sailing ahead 2000 word days have been thin on the calendar.   Today was one of them, plus some.

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