Jul 26

Milestones Whizzing Past…

Posted: under Background, Contents, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  July 26th, 2022

The New Book is now at 82,000+ words and still going strong.   It’s feeling like a “long” book, more like other Paks-world books and less like the SF books, which usually finished up around 120,000 to 130,000.   The Paksworld books, as y’all know, run 150,000-plus.   I can’t tell yet if it’s actually going to be multi-volume or not, but it keeps gaining “weight” (and so am I as I write it…which isn’t good, but I’m not going to strangle this book for the sake of dropping a size of jeans! )   Minor characters are acquiring the kind of backstory that could mean they’ll be more important in a subsequent book.   Locations are waving signs at me saying “Important things happen here!  Right here!  Look at this terrain–you’re going to need it!”  There’s another pregnant woman in this story and it’s summer and she’s uncomfortable because she may (or may not) deliver by the end of her husband’s part in this book.   She’s not major (yet; she has potential)  but her husband is a plot-mover by position;  he’s also just a wee bit OCD about some things (they don’t have OCD in their vocabulary but you know what I mean.  He wants to get everything exactly, precisely, to the nth degree right.)  There’s a horse with a problem, a family with several problems, a Marshal Judicar who remarkably learned some humility between the last book he was in and this one (he, like everyone else, is older, but I didn’t expect him to do that; I thought he’d be crustier.)  I will admit that my own once-broken ribs ached in sympathy with those of  a character hanging over a pit,  and that childhood experience in crawling along a ditch under thick vegetation plus seeing real hedges in England resulted in someone having to crawl along close under a hedge while enemies were searching for them on the other side.

So far there’s not enough food in the story (may be why I keep eating while writing??)    There are horses and a few dogs, a fire in a hay barn, weaponry including hay forks, lances, poles, sticks and stones, swords, daggers, crossbows (no longbows yet), and chamber pots.  Blame a little book in Fondren Library at Rice U., which I checked out over and over; Welsh Ballads ed. Ernst Rhys had a poem about a medieval wife who defended the home fort when her husband was out raiding, driving off the intruding force with the amount of stuff she and the other women threw down on the attackers.  It ends with a little praise of the husband’s fighting skills, and then says:  “but better still than Ievan, Ievan’s wife!”  Cities, yes.  Towns, yes.   Places where villages were, but haven’t been for years.  Ruins. Locations known by what used to be there (still common in rural areas–we were once given directions to someone’s house that included “turn onto the road just past that pasture where [name if person who used to live there] had that big paint bull.”  Roads in several Texas counties weren’t given numbers for decades, even now some are known by the name of the ranch at the end of the road (Greenwood Valley Ranch, for instance, in Real County.  That’s ree-AL County, and it means “royal.”)   That road wanders through two other ranches before it gets to Greenwood Valley where there’s a little airstrip in the narrow valley and hills all around.  Anyway, Old Forge had a forge once, and was a village, but now it’s a wide spot in a grass-and-dirt road where the Woods Way ends.  More-or-less south of Old Forge, the road meanders on, and eventually through, Serrostin lands, and more-or-less north it crosses the River Road between Verella and Fin Panir.

So far, the story’s working toward the second meeting of two characters, and this volume may end with that.   But there are floating loose ends that may bump into one another and lock on.   Where’s Dorrin, these days?   Is Torfinn still king of Pargun or did he die, and if so did his youngest son inherit or….?  Ganlin of Kostandan married the king of Tsaia’s cousin Rothlin Mahieran,  but what about Elis of Pargun?  Arcolin’s adopted son Jamis has turned out to have a gift for languages, and speaks gnomish better than Arcolin…and has also learned the horse nomads’ language…ability like that doesn’t exist for nothing; he’s going to have an interesting life one way or another, besides inheriting his father’s lands.  Will he also become a gnome prince?  Or…um…find a horse nomad girlfriend?    In the back corners of my brain, where the shadows are and shy little mouse-like ideas come out at night to see if they can find some cheese and grow bigger, there’ve been some high-pitched squeaky discussions of Old Aare, which isn’t just barren sands and heat anymore.   People are starting to sail over to take a look; some ships (not the largest) even dare to venture into the great bowl that was a shelter for multiple harbors at one time, and look at the plants now growing in the shores and the wild animals and think about moving in.

Meanwhile…it’s late and I need to write more tomorrow.

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Sep 18

Things Change, Things Move

Posted: under Collections, Contents, E-books, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  September 18th, 2014

The short fiction collection has a new title:  Deeds of Honor.  Remember how I said the cover design for the short fiction collection was tentative?    It was indeed, and that design has now vanished from mortal ken (well, not exactly…) and a new rough has been shipped out for work.   You’ll see it when it’s done.   Some things will be the same, and some things won’t.   The stories are in the hands of those who will prepare them for the collection.   I am alternately working on new fiction (not ready to talk about it yet) and the head-notes for the individual stories, which I should have done in another day or so (the new title has suggested changes in the head-notes.)  Read the rest of this entry »

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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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Oct 18

Paksworld Food Basics

Posted: under Background, Contents, Life beyond writing.
Tags: , , ,  October 18th, 2013

So…Paksworld’s northern kingdoms are more like Europe north of the Alps, in terms of what they grow and eat, and Aarenis is more like the Mediterranean countries.   But there are variations.   Paks’s family had a small amount of land under plough,  for grain and the few vegetables they grew; they also harvested field herbs, wild berries,  and some wild grains.    The nearest mill was a considerable distance away, so her family ground grain to make bread in hand mills (stone.)   Grain was also cooked into a mush, flavored with herbs and sometimes meat.   They were lucky in having good-quality hand mills that didn’t put a lot of stone dust in the meal, so they didn’t have their teeth ground down. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 06

Crown Molding

Posted: under Contents, Crown of Renewal, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  August 6th, 2013

A terrible pun, true.   But also true that revisions consist of more than pulling out the Chainsaw of Correction.   Sometimes revision means noticing that the arm of the statue is on at the wrong angle…and remodeling, molding it, until it looks right.  Both Agent and Editor found things to say about Crown of Renewal that pointed to the need for more remolding than chainsawing and clipping (though those did occur.)

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Jul 11

Sailing, Sailing…

Posted: under Crown of Renewal, Life beyond writing, Revisions, the writing life.
Tags: , , , , ,  July 11th, 2013

This will be the last post for awhile because a) deadlines and b) medical stuff–appointments, tests, all that, all taking time out of the writing day.    So I decided to hint at some things coming up in Crown of Renewal, along with the background research that went into them.   I hope this will tide you over for a couple of weeks, while I finish the revisions and the shorter work due for an anthology. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 12

Moment of Panic (Unnecessary)

Posted: under Background, Contents, Conventions, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  March 12th, 2013

So…I went in last night to do some late work on the book after supper (which was late)  and after typing away decided it was time to quit.   Whereupon Microsoft Word said (in my phrasing)  “I feel sick and I’m quitting and what you’ve been working on may be lost when I shut down…Too bad, sucker.”

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Mar 02

Falling Into Place

Posted: under Contents, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  March 2nd, 2013

Today’s work finally cleared up one nagging problem and may have also improved some other things.   Well…on second thought it cleared up a couple of nagging problems, one of which is a definite untied knot, and the other of which may create new nagging problems if I’m not careful.

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May 04

A Productive Day

Posted: under Contents, Craft, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  May 4th, 2012

A productive day is a day on which at least 2000 words pile up.    I’ve been dealing with 1000 word days, 850 word days, 1600 word days, even 1854 word days…but the clear-sailing ahead 2000 word days have been thin on the calendar.   Today was one of them, plus some.

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May 03

Distant Snippet

Posted: under Contents, the writing life.
Tags: ,  May 3rd, 2012

You won’t see this for a long time, but I can’t resist:

As he lay wondering about this, a sound moved in the darkness, a sound for which–like everything else–he had no name.

And no, I’m not saying who “he” is or what’s going on.  There’s a book and a large chunk between now and then.

Nor is this a good topic for open speculation.    You might accidentally hit on details that would spoiler it for many.

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