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.

 

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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.”

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Aug 15

Home Stretch: Horse Runs Strong, Jockey’s Hands Tiring

Posted: under Good News, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  August 15th, 2022

In other words, as of this time, 8:41, Monday, August 15, the word count is 126,019.   The yarn is flying off the yarn-winder, the thread off the spool, the story out of my head and onto the computer drive as fast as I can type.  It’s literally coming fast enough that I can’t keep up and am writing well  over 2000 words/day.   (In the last 9 days, if my notes are right, approaching 3000.)   2000 is really all my arthritic hand joints tolerate well, and 9 straight days of 2800+ is…amazing, wonderful, and painful.

If this book is considered as a horse race in the US, think of Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes run.  (Or, OK, just think of the Belmont,period.  Big oval track, big round curves.  Last week I felt I was past the straight part of the backstretch, into the second curve.  Now I know I’m in the home stretch, in the final drive for the end.   Some horses have a final “kick” for the home stretch and some don’t.  This book came out of the gate fast, charged past the stands into the lead, extended itself to the 2000/day and stayed there through much of the backstretch.  Then sped up again.  And again.  And again.

So from what I can see now, I know pretty much where this volume will end, and that there will (God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, or a piece of space debris land on us) be more story in another volume or several to come.

A snippet from yesterday’s writing:   Dowager Lady Marrakai (her husband recently died) and Juris Marrakai, her eldest son, the King of Tsaia’s best friend and now Duke Marrakai, having succeeded to his father’s title. Those who’ve read the Paladin’s Legacy books will remember Juris from early in Oath of Fealty, when a courier arrives with word of the Verrakai family having attacked Kieri on the way to Lyonya, and Mikeli is still the crown prince.

And here he is again, older and still the king’s best friend, having told his mother that his oldest sister Gwenno (two steps down the sibling ladder from him, formerly Dorrin’s squire before Dorrin had to leave to save the world) has joined a merc company.  He expects her to be horrified.

………………………………………………………………………………..

His mother laughed.  “That girl! Woman, I mean.  I knew she’d run away eventually.  Over the mountains seems a bit extreme, but she never was temperate.”  She looked at him, her eyes alight with humor as they hadn’t been since his father died.  “Actually, none of you children has been temperate.”

“Mother!  I’ve been the calm one, the quiet one!”

“Juris, you were an inveterate sneak and probably still are.  You had to know everything. You bored holes in half the walls of this house trying to find out what everyone else was up to.  Do you really think I didn’t know about it?”

……………………………………………………………………………….

For those horrified to find a Marrakai eavesdropping,  it’s a valuable to a king to have a personable friend who is completely reliable (both to eavesdrop and to report it to the king accurately.)   Juris no longer bores holes in walls and he never spies on the king.  If holes need to be bored, he knows who to persuade.

 

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Aug 06

One Hundred Thousand (and 688)

Posted: under Contents, snippet, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  August 6th, 2022

Words, that is.   I hit one hundred thousand words on the new Paksworld book just after 1 am yesterday morning.   Celebratory snippets follow (not the same snippets as in the Universes blog on the main site, BTW.)

1) Camwyn, who has forgotten his past before the injuries that required healing by Dragon, has a great deal more to learn about the world.

Camwyn rode back to the city thinking about what she’d said.  Dragon had said nothing about a Company of Camwyn, about “dragonkin,” but M’dierra did not feel like a liar.  He wished he knew exactly what she meant, who they were, what their rules were.  Paks and his other tutors had taught him about beliefs, about familiar heroes: Gird, Falk, Torre.  They had not mentioned a Camwyn, though if Dragon’s name was also Camwyn…but Dragon had said his name, his real name, was too long for humans to say and known only to the high gods.  “In my disguise as a man,” Dragon had said, “I use Sir Camwyn, but very seldom.”  He’d liked it–liked it now, in fact–that the name Dragon had given him was kin to that name.

2) Aris Marrakai, meeting a Royal Courier from Tsaia on the bridle path of the Guild League Road between Foss and Ifoss.  The courier asked Aris if he was the third son of Duke Marrakai, for whom he was carrying a message from the king, as well as messages to Duke Arcolin.

“Yes,” Aris said, immediately thinking of his father. Had he died, then?  “Your horse won’t make it to Ifoss faster than a walk, in this heat.  I can ride faster and have a mount sent back for you.”

“No!  You give me your horse! ”  The courier sneered at him, rage and contempt in every line of his face, his voice loud.  “Of course it’s hot! It’s the summer, it’s the gods-blasted South!  But the king expects his couriers to travel at a gallop.   I have the king’s authority to requisition horses from any Tsaian.   Hurry up and get off.  You can pamper this lazy nag all the way to Ifoss at a creeping walk if you want to.   I don’t have the time.” From the corner of his eye, Aris saw heads turn on the Guild League road itself.

“This isn’t my horse to lend,” Aris said, keeping his voice level with an effort.  “It’s Duke Arcolin’s, one of his own chargers. There may be one on the road over there you could hire.  Some caravans–”

“I don’t care whose horse it is! I order you, in the King’s name!  Get off that horse and give it to me!”

3) Gwennothlin Marrakai, now a member of the Bells and just resigned from service in the Royal Guard because of her father’s ill health (and her own boredom), demonstrates her investigative talent faced with the reluctance of the king and her own older brother to tell her why Juris’s marriage may be delayed and what is really going on.

“Thank you,” Gwenno said.  “Now that you are no longer my commander, but still are my liege, and in consideration of the family emergency I mentioned which has to do with–very likely–the succession to duke of my brother here, and thus the status of everyone in the family, I ask you to tell me truly what you and Juris are talking about.  I am quite capable of keeping secrets, as Juris knows from the secrets I kept for him.  I’m sure he remembers.”

Juris flushed a deep red.  “Gwenno!”

 

Keep in mind that all these are in first-draft status, which means that the wording of incidents, as well as incidents themselves, could–and likely will–change a little by the time the book’s finished and the revisions are done.  But all three of these (and the incidents in the snippets on http://elizabethmoon.com/blog/ should be in the final book in some form.  I think.

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