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.

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