Tomorrow…..Became Today

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


  • Comment by Jim DeWItt — January 23, 2023 @ 7:52 pm


    I admire your attitude, but don’t envy you another set of edits.

    Yes, to another set of short stories. To borrow a phrase, “Please, Mistress, may we have some more?”

    It would be wonderful to hear the rest of the story of Keri’s first command. We have too short summaries of it from a couple of other characters’ POV, enough to have made me think the full story had been written, or at least outlined.

  • Comment by elizabeth — January 23, 2023 @ 9:11 pm


    Not thrilled. Tired of it, to be honest. OTOH, I want it to be the best I can make it. It took Betsy Mitchell’s expert editing to finish-polish the first three.

  • Comment by Annabel — January 24, 2023 @ 7:06 am


    I’m so sorry you need to do another revision, such a pain for you. I’m sure it’s a wonderful story…. longing to read it!

    Meanwhile YES PLEASE to another collection of short stories!

  • Comment by Nadine Bowlus — January 24, 2023 @ 2:21 pm


    Just ordered “Phases”, to have more of the short stories listed in my hands.
    Is “The Dun Mare’s Foal” related to the story about the young Carcolna, you published on the Pax World site during the time you were working on the Paladin’s Legacy books?
    Positive engery being sent for the work on both Horngard books.

  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — January 25, 2023 @ 3:05 am


    Nadine, do you have the “Moon Flights” anthology? In it are “Gifts” and “Judgment” (another story with a young-adult protagonist).

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — January 25, 2023 @ 7:40 am



    In Windows you can have the full folder path show up. It’s saved me many a time for exactly the reasons you list.

    In a “File Explorer” window/pane. There will be the “View” menu at the top. Choose “Options/Change folder and search options”. Another window pops up. Near the top there should be “Display the full path in the title bar”. Check that and you will have the path show up at the top.

    Daniel Glover

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — January 25, 2023 @ 7:42 am


    Oh, wait. Second reading this won’t exactly help.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — January 25, 2023 @ 7:51 am



    I hadn’t noticed that part of search before. That is annoying. It does pull up word strings found in both Excel and PDFs. But, you are correct. I am not seeing that it does for “Word” documents.

  • Comment by Patricia Lanigan — January 25, 2023 @ 8:35 am


    When I read ‘another draft needed’, I immediately thought of a horse and rider jumping the Puissance Wall at the Dublin Horse Show, with the wall built higher on each round. You are certainly showing us what makes an excellent professional writer – all the hard, often tedious, work of revising and refining, using your chainsaw of correction so many times, re-imagining, re-writing, and then having to weave all that into the full story. As a reader, I can only say how much I appreciate your commitment.

    I’m delighted to learn of a new collection of short stories. A personal plea – could we have something on the back story of Jandelir Arcolin please? I’ve always wondered about his character development from a runaway teenager into a young captain with Kieri and eventually growing into a Duke and father of young children.

    As for the Search command in MS-Word, I so agree with you! I usually do a ‘save as’ (Alt+F+A) then click ‘browse’ in the menu that comes up, to see where Word thinks the file should go, and to choose where I want it to go.

  • Comment by Caryn — January 26, 2023 @ 3:46 am


    Sending virtual chocolate and best wishes.

  • Comment by Gareth — January 26, 2023 @ 11:06 am


    If you might have somethiung useful in the document name you can search over the whole pc for documents that match the string. For example if you put agenda in the search window by the start button you can see all documents with the word agenda in the file name, can filter to documents at the top. Seems to be a whole word match. You can also use DIR /S to search directory and all sub-directories using a wild card – so for example cd \ to get to the root folder of a drive and then DIR /S *gend*.doc* would find all doc file (doc or docx) that have “gend” anywhere in the name. Still looking for content serach that works well with docx. In theory should be able to do it with an option on search to include contents not just keywords but it caused search to crash when I tried it.

  • Comment by Talis Kimberley — January 31, 2023 @ 3:56 am


    *Waves* from the slightly-distant past, in social media exchanges including songs and knitting.

    This Reclaiming is such hard work, but so worth doing. I’m very very glad you’re in a writing place again and I wish and will all the tools in your mental toolkit will return to your grasp and sharpen up to serve you as they have in the past.

    I think, personally, that pretty much every creative soul I know is dealing with some level of trauma from the last few years, and those who’ve had injury, illness, and worse have that multiplied.

    May all good things come to your hand and to your mind. I don’t know if you’re still knitting socks, but I’m wearing handknit ones right now, and there’s still joy in them. (As well as, y’know, feet!)

    I’ve had to relearn how to memorise songs following covid. It’s been a slog, but along the way, in my songwriting and my playing, I seem to have forgotten some of my bad habits, whilst relearning and streamlining the good ones.

    Very very warmest wishes, lady. I hope today is gentle with you.


  • Comment by elizabeth — January 31, 2023 @ 11:09 pm


    Talis! Sorry to hear you got the Covid. Glad music is coming back to you in both creation and performance! I’m not still knitting *right now*…writing came all the way back first and knitting is still very difficult. I had a pair of socks partly finished, but when I tried to turn the heel…I produced the weirdest and least useful sock heel you can imagine (part of it stuck out to the side and no I don’t know why) and then I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t imagine HOW to fix it. So I’m in commercial socks again and that SUCKS for my feet. If I get lost in a row of plain knitting (a scarf I started for my husband in 2021, I can’t envision how to knit the next stitch. Literally…poking the needle in and out of the loop panicking about “is it this way? That way?” When the book suddenly caught hold, I thought I better just stick to that, which DID seem to be working, lest I use up my ability to function by pursuing something that wasn’t. If I can get this book off to a publisher (ever!) and the next one is rolling, I’ll pull the knitting out again. I watched a lot of knitting videos trying to get back into it, when the writing wasn’t working at all (at least I have plenty (!!!!) of yarn and need socks) and will again. But someone needs to do a video of fixing all the common errors, paced *slowly* for those having a real problem. Before the concussion, when I made a mistake it was one of about five, and I knew the fixes for them and could visualize how the fix worked, in 3-D (lots of practice led to that.) All that is gone. I do have a serious hope that it, too, can cme back.

  • Comment by elizabeth — January 31, 2023 @ 11:31 pm


    Young Arcolin was an interesting fellow but he was also very close-mouthed at first, since he did not want to be found and thus treated his writer as a potential agent of the prince he hated. The progression from Kieri’s senior captain (in Sheepfarmer’s Daughter) to where he is now is, I think, pretty clear though not overly details, but getting him from Horngard to Valdaire and into Halveric Company, and Aliam’s careful mentoring that got Kieri into Falk’s Hall and Arcolin up to sergeant and then shunted to Tsaia where Kieri could find him again was pure conjecture on my part…I know some more now. I have the first paragraphs of a story from Aliam’s POV to start:

    Aliam Halveric watched his senior squire and a yokel from some farm come up the lane to the Halveric camp together and shook his head. Initiative would never be a problem with Kieri, but judgment…would take awhile. He kept bringing back the least likely prospects for soldier.
    Take this gangly fellow, clad in outlandish clothes–a sort of knee-length leather skirt, a leather vest over a striped woolen shirt, and something on his feet that looked like strips of fur, with a leather sack slung over his shoulder. Shoulder-length dark hair in two braids, the dark shadow of a youthful attempt at a beard…one of the woods-folk maybe?
    Kieri, of course, was all enthusiasm. Aliam could hear him now, telling the sentry he’d found another good one.

  • Comment by Jace — February 1, 2023 @ 4:23 pm


    More, can we have more please? We are so hungry!

  • Comment by Jim DeWItt — February 3, 2023 @ 9:14 pm


    A wonderful description of a Horngard yokel from Aliam’s POV. I agree with Jace. May we have some more, please?

    May I recommend to you Rob Wilkins’ biography of the late Terry Pratchett, “A Life with Footnotes”? Pratchett’s struggles to continue to write while suffering from post-cortical atrophy are wrenching, and will resonate with you, I think. Wilkins was Pratchett’s personal assistant, aide and friend. The last few years of Pratchett’s life, from Wilkins’ POV, are amazing and devastating.

  • Comment by Patricia Lanigan — February 9, 2023 @ 9:46 am


    Wow! That’s much more of a transition for the young Arcolin than I’d ever imagined. It certainly points to the isolation of Horngard from the rest of the world, and what a cultural shock the move to Aarenis must have been. Looking foward to much more that your fertile story-telling produces.
    Take care of yourself and family, including horses. I hope you don’t get more of those ice storms.

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