Jul 18

Body Art in Paksworld

Posted: under Background, Craft, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  July 18th, 2014

Many people in various cultures have used permanent markings on the body as means of identification–individual, familial, tribal, broadly cultural.    Any of these can be ornamental, and thus fall into the “art” category, but they are often more than ornamental–they have specific meanings.  Temporary markings applied to the skin with colors, mud, ash are even commoner, but ephemeral; the point of this post is the permanent ones in use in Paksworld, and their meanings to the Paksworld cultures that use them (or who abhor them.)    Tattoos, scarification, and piercings all occur in Paksworld, with very specific meanings both inside and outside the groups that use them.

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May 08

Re-reading and Thinking and Writing

Posted: under Background, Life beyond writing.
Tags: , ,  May 8th, 2014

I picked up one of my older books last night and read it a bit before going to sleep.  Gross Ego Inflation,  you may be thinking, though the internal editor pointed out every single place where–years later–maybe another word would have been better?  Huh?  Are you listening?    It’s not one of the really-old ones–it was written post Hurricane Katrina*, for instance.    But it ties in with something that affects all writers in all eras, even if they’re trying not to be tied to a particular time and place.  Read the rest of this entry »

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May 01

May First Already??

Posted: under snippet, Story, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  May 1st, 2014

How did that happen?   I keep combing Crown, looking for possible snippets  that aren’t spoilers, but…the last book in a group is more spoiler than anything else.    Especially for a group of readers who are as sharp as you folks, who seize on the slightest clue and go straight to intelligent speculation.  Even when you’re off the mark, you’re interestingly off the mark (and sometimes, I confess, make me wish the story itself had gone that way.)   Hence the shortage of snippets from Crown.

What I can offer, sort of, is snippets from stories that will turn up in the related short fiction collections and background information that might lead…anywhere.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 07

New Page on Paksworld Website

Posted: under artwork, Website Update.
Tags: , ,  December 7th, 2013

So here’s the new page on the website: the Character Gallery.    Here’s where art depicting the characters will be displayed.   First up is Arvid in his earlier days, much as he was when Paks first saw him.    I hope you enjoy this page, as it grows with more artwork related to Paksworld, mostly characters but maybe (depends)  some decorative stuff.

If you prefer to visualize characters yourself, in your own mind, no need to go see what someone else thought a character looked like–but if you enjoy others’  visual imagination, go right ahead.   I’ve commissioned several sketches from Richard Hescox; this is the first up.   Aliam Halveric will probably be next.  As he’s fitting them in between other work, it’ll likely be months between new appearances.

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Nov 29

Unwritten Stories

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: ,  November 29th, 2013

Like most writers, I have a head full of unwritten stories–only they aren’t nicely complete, something I could, with time, simply write down.   They’re like the old men who, when we moved here, used to sit on benches in front of the domino hall (no longer there) and grocery store (still there, and now including what was the domino hall, but the wide covered sidewalk is now cluttered with the ice machine, the propane tank locker, a newspaper stand, and signs, so it’s hard to even walk under cover let alone slouch on a bench and talk, as the old men used to do.

At any rate, every one of those old men had stories to tell, but they were shy of the newcomer woman who slowed down on her way in and out of the grocery store, hoping to overhear more.   A few of them (Doss and Wallace, particularly) finally relaxed enough to share some, but nowhere near all, their stories.    The characters in my head with unwritten stories have stories…everyone does…but they aren’t telling them yet, or not in enough detail that I can be sure it’s really a story and not an anecdote they want to share.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 17

Playing with Deep History

Posted: under Craft, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  August 17th, 2013

Story #2, of the new Paksworld stories, the “lightning strikes” post,  is one of those “out of the blue/accidental hits” stories.   Here’s the article I found that started it all:   “The Ghost Cavalry of Gondole.”  Right off the bat, the title begs for a story.   Reading the article and bring up all the pictures…skin-tingling stuff.  It belonged in Paksworld.  It felt right for Paksworld.  But right as background does not make a story…a big fancy gravesite (a real one) is a fact, not a story.

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Aug 08

In the Gap

Posted: under Background, Crown of Renewal, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , , , ,  August 8th, 2013

In the gap between sending off the revisions and hearing reactions to them,  I thought I’d discuss a few more things about Paksworld and the series you’ve been reading.  Still no spoilers for Crown of Renewal, though, I hope.

As I mentioned in a comment yesterday,  the series shifted from my original plan for a long story about Kieri Phelan to a consideration of how forced change affects people in midlife.   I began it after we’d had one, and as friends had lost or  were losing their jobs (again!, and several years after they’d just begun a recovery from the previous downturn, at a lower level)  in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.   So I had a lot of direct knowledge of how forced change–even good forced change (because that happens to some)–plays out in real peoples’ lives.   But at the same time, the invented universe I now call “Paksworld”  has its own set of rules and logic–and stories do too.  Read the rest of this entry »

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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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Jan 03

Some Thoughts on Character: The Why

Posted: under Craft.
Tags: ,  January 3rd, 2013

Because it’s already late in the evening (nearly 11 pm) but I had a long nap (largely due to a migraine, but that’s another issue) I’m now awake at a time when I can’t first-draft  fiction and won’t sleep.  So in light of the discussion of yesterday’s post–of character stuff–I feel like rattling on about characters in fiction.    Some of this I’m sure I’ve said before; if you need to go “Yeah, yeah, know that, get ON with it” feel free to do so.    But new ideas about characters keep popping up in my head that might be useful to those of  you who want to write fiction–or, want to write nonfiction about people.

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Nov 07

Names

Posted: under Craft, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  November 7th, 2012

At my friend’s daughter’s wedding,  I met my friend’s uncle, whose first name happens to be that of a character in Paksworld.    It’s a fairly unusual name in the U.S.    Naturally, she was curious why I had given that character that name, and wondered if she’d said something about her uncle, way back when.

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