Jan 23

Tomorrow…..Became Today

Posted: under Revisions, the writing life.
Tags: ,  January 23rd, 2023

Yesterday I was going to write a post saying I’d be talking to agent tomorrow.   Never hit SEND.   This is it:  “Another chat with Agent.  You will get a report.   As for Horngard II, it creepeth onward (it doesn’t want to cooperate unless I’ll give it all day…this splitting time with the County Tax Office’s deadline-looming Wildlife Management report doesn’t suit Paksworld, which thinks-since I’m back in it now–it owns my brain.  Does, mostly, at the moment.  But I’ve misplaced the Kieri’s First Command store I found I could work on in short snatched, which makes me hate Word’s misnamed “search” function all the more. Search INSIDE a file fine.  FIND a file (actually Microsoft’s FIND function for files is the problem–apparently it won’t look inside folders, and Word never lists the path while you’re IN a file so you can take notes.  The memory thing of TBIs kicks in when I try to remember which folder that file is in…I’ve looked in the Paksworld Stories and Stories folders, both of them, for a hint, but no.  On both drives it might be on (Data, under D: in the computer, and Data under the (folder) that replicated the D: drive on the card, F:/”

Today had the chat.  Still another draft to do.  SIGH.   As he said, and I also agree (but hadn’t agreed *in time*) , when you are first fixing a flawed ms. every fix can make it better but open up new views of what’s not that good yet.  The goal, of course, is to have it equally good from start to finish (whatever level of “good” is reached.)   Or at least a “smoothed out” reading experience so it’s not four good chapters, a boring chapter, two OK chapters, two good chapters, two real stinkers…etc.   He was encouraged because it’s definitely better overall…except….where it isn’t.  SIGH again.   He pointed out that since I hadn’t been able to write even remotely publishable book-length fiction for over 4 years, I could expect to have lost some skills, and since the cause of not writing was the brain injury…it’s more remarkable that I can now…with more revision…than it would be if I couldn’t.   I remind myself that the original Paks books had three full-length drafts before I submitted it (when I’d had only one concussion) and then the estimable Betsy Mitchell worked them over…so I’m still within the envelope.  Fast first draft, multiple revisions.  Because I don’t know the whole story, haven’t sorted out what “really” happened and thus can’t critique the whole story structure.   I’ve muttered before and say it again:  using Michelangelo’s analogy, my method seems to be to create the block of marble first and *then* cut away everything that isn’t the final statue…except that the creating of the stone and the cutting away occur multiple times.  Very messy process.  Chips of marble all over my mental and physical floors (in the form of sheets of paper covereed with notes to self, notes from agent or first readers, pages of ms. in the trash.  Only right now I can’t print any of the ms, so…grrr.

ANYway, I was working on the next little collection of Paksworld stories, trying to decide how to group them.    Several would fit into a group of “young people as protagonists”:  “Dream’s Quarry” from Horse Fantastic, a horse nomad story, “First Blood,” from Shattered Shields,  maybe “Mercenary’s Honor” from OperationArcana, because Aliam is still a young man and Kieri is in it as a squire, “Gifts” from Masters of Fantasy,   “The Dun Mare’s Foal,”  serialized here,  or       “A Bad Day at Duke’s East” (a story never published–Arcolin’s adopted son Jamis is in it.)   The story now called “Kieri’s First Command” could be retitled for its main POV character, that Marrakai kid, if there’s enough room.  It’s the first half of the longer story (which was written back when, and both file (in WS) and printout lost over the years)  that ends with Kieri  saving the Tsaian force and pushing the Pargunese back into Pargun.   Duke Marrakai is badly wounded and (IIRC) died on the way home; the Crown Prince is killed.  Kirgan Marrakai lives.

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