Apr 09

Brain Fog, Thunderstorms, and Plot Bombs

Posted: under Characters, Life beyond writing, Limits of Power, the writing life.
Tags: , , , ,  April 9th, 2023

Too many days without sunlight and my brain starts daydreaming about sleeping the clock around and waking to a sunny morning.  Kicking it out of bed is necessary, even when it tells me the balance mechanism is sub-par.  We had several days of heavy cloud with occasional thunder “somewhere” and not much actual water from the sky.  Finally however we got an inch over about 18 hours, including in a last 15 minute thunder on the roof at 1 am Saturday morning (it wasn’t the rain but a big BOOM!! overhead that woke me.)

No sun, though.  Easter Eve is a traditional time for Hispanic families in Texas to have big “end of Lent” parties, and our neighbors did.  You can tell when the pinata goes up by the squeals of the younger children and the “thwack-thwack” of whatever stick they’re hitting it with.  [drat this touchpad.  I just deleted the rest of that paragraph, with the incident of soccer ball recovery…grr.)

Skipping ahead.  Plot bomb burst in my head this morning and there’s a little over 2000 words of something new.  You may remember that in Limits of Power, Stammel dies delaying some pirates coming to the village where he’s been living.   After that, when the people return from the caves where they hid, they decide to honor him by naming children in his memory:  Matthis for the boys and Paksen for the girls (they’re not literate and never got Paks’s full name because he talked a little about having trained Paks in Fox Company.  Stammel stayed with Cadlin in that vill, so Cadlin’s next children carry Stammel’s family name as well:  Matthis Stammel and Paksen Stammel.  Everyone else names them as usual with the parent’s name: Matthis Volson, Telson, Rortson, etc and Paksen Voldotir, Rortdotir, Arndotir, etc.  This so Stammel’s name never dies out.

The children grow up knowing why they carry these unusual (for that region) names, and they…get ideas.  To live up to Stammel’s memory, shouldn’t they figure out a way to protect not just their village but the whole island?  Grownups tell them it’s impossible.  But…Matthis and Paksen Stammel are now (where I’m writing) meeting with Meddthal Andressat in the South Marches headquarters…and there’s this younger Lord Marrakai there, too.  They have a Fox Company ring…I know (I looked it up and sure enough) that Dragon took Stammel’s ring up to the Duke’s Stronghold with Stammel’s body.  But nobody would say Dragon couldn’t reproduce a copy for the village, esp. given that Dragon will certainly hear about the decision to name a boy and a girl in each family for Stammel and Paksen.  And the vill does not know Dragon took the ring to give Arcolin, so they don’t wonder when Cadlin finds it on the beam in his workshop where the sack of crossbow bolts hung.

The young folk now have a net of acquaintances between the vills–not just with the next one over but all the way around.  They’ve chosen lookout points to watch for pirates.   Pirates have come back several times, but now more vills empty ahead of invasion.  The adults are beginning to realize something might be done, though none of them have clue of what, or how, or where to find the resources.  Pirates being pirates, they decide to let that island alone for awhile to recover some stuff worth stealing and be less watchful.  Meanwhile Matthis and Paksen Stammel  travel to the mainland in one of the fishing boats to find someone who knows where Fox soldiers are.  Hence they’re in Cha…and meet someone who met Stammel (back in Siniava’s War and later) and someone who knew Paksenarrion when he was a boy in the far north (which these young people have never heard of.   That there is a mainland…but they imagine it as a really big island.)

But certainly word will go quickly to Fox Company that people who knew Stammel on this island have come to Cha…and from there to the north, to Arcolin. The right music for some of the writing is Elgar’s Engima Variations, esp. the Nimrod section.  (Earlier part went fine to Chopin Nocturnes.)

Oh, you want a snippet?   But of course.  Except they may get cluttered up with Word Sekrit Decoder Stuff.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….(And yes the Enigma Variations “Nimrod” fits this particular passage.  Esp. toward the end where the soldier realizes…this is a story he’s heard before, years ago.

The two stood looking for a long moment, then walked forward.  Without actually looking at them, the two soldiers blocked their way to the door with the crossed staves of their weapons.  “Halt,” said one, and “State your business,” said the other.

“We need to see the Andressat lord,” said Paksen.

“Who are you?  Where from?”

“I’m Paksen Stammel.  From the island out there in the big ocean.”

“Which island?”

She had no idea how to tell him.  The island was just ‘the island’ or ‘our island’ to the islanders.   “It’s where we live; I don’t know what other people call it.”

The soldiers looked at each other.  The one to her heart side tapped the haft of his weapon on the stone step three times.  “Wait,” he said.  “Someone will come.  Not the lord, someone who will know what to do with you.  Do you have a letter or a word from someone Andressat might know?”

“We have his-someone’s ring.”

“You will need to show it.”

Matthis pulled it out of his shirt on its thong, just as another man in a long robe of yellow edged with white came to the door.  “What’s going on?” he asked the soldiers.

“These two.  Fisherfolk, I suspect, from an island.  Say they want to see the Andressat lord and that one’s got a ring.”

“An island…plenty of islands…name?”

Paksen shook her head.  “We don’t know what other people call it,” she said again.  “It’s just our island to us.  Matthis and me aren’t fisherfolk; we live up the mountain.”

“Name?” the man asked.

“Paksen Stammel,” she said.

He blinked.  “Stammel. That’s not an island name…your father?”

“No, Blind Stammel,” Matthis said.  “He lived on our island a short time and saved us—well, the olders, we hadn’t been born yet—from pirates.  He said he was a soldier somewhere else.”

“Sergeant,” the man in the robe said to one of the soldiers.  “Could that be–?”

“Let me see that ring, young man,” the soldier said.  “And your name?”

“Matthis Stammel.”  He took the thong off over his head and handed the ring to the soldier, who looked, and took in a sudden breath.

“By the Dragon, it is!  Fox Company ring.  Must be three hands of years at least since he was blinded, more like four.  I was up in Valdaire when I’d heard the rumor and then saw him riding past with the Duke.” The soldier looked hard at Matthis.  “And you’re named for him?  But not his body-son?”

“No.  Cadlin’s my father.  Blind Stammel lived in our house on the island.  That’s why my sister and I have his last name.”


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Dec 05

Plotbombs Away!

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: ,  December 5th, 2014

No better sign of a really live book than plotbombs, annoying as they are when they arrive as I’m trying to go to sleep because I have to get up early in the morning to be ready for the 8 am plumber, because R- will be somewhere between here and there picking up M from his apartment in the city to take him to the dentist in a city between here and there.  Why couldn’t the plotbombs have arrived at a decent hour, say 2 pm in the afternoon?  (I hear the plot daemon’s wicked chuckle over there behind the boiler…followed by a headshake and “Ye should be thankin’ me, lass, not complainin'”)

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Feb 04

A Sprinkling of Plotbombs

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: ,  February 4th, 2013

So…now that I’m well again, and have gotten the two government reports off my desk, and finished another commitment that held on until last night (committees…not my favorite work environment, but someone has to do it sometimes.  Just not me for awhile now)…now the book is trotting briskly ahead and today threw some plot bombs at me.  Lovely ones.

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Apr 10

3:30 am Plotbomb Attack

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: , ,  April 10th, 2012

I woke up with a headache, and lay there thinking “Not a migraine today, PLEASE.”    But apparently, the headache was a plot bomb about to burst in my skull.  Two, in fact, one each for the viewpoint characters involved.     As you have heard before, I enjoy plot bombs (words flow out with less effort and at least 80% of them are going to stay.)    But I see no reason why these plot bombs had to wake me up after only three hours sleep, instead of letting me rest until daylight and dropping their contributions down my turret hatch then.

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Mar 21

The Megaton Plot Bomb

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: , ,  March 21st, 2012

Evidently Book V is over its snit.   I did not sleep much last night (memory of the previous night’s scorpion sting meant that any noise in the house translated into “There’s a scorpion” and so did any “feeling” on my skin) but the reward for insomnia was a massive download of intuitive stuff for Book V.

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Oct 30

PlotBomb Goes Kapowie

Posted: under Contents, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  October 30th, 2011

So this afternoon I was hacking away at stuff, helped by Ms. Rancherfriend who has an excellent eye for the “enough of that, already” passages (she’s the reason the first Paks books did not chronicle every single hour of slogging through the mud. )  And while talking to her, a nagging little worry about a scene you will now never see  (because it Did Not Happen that way!)  suddenly rose up even though she hadn’t mentioned it, and I asked her what she thought about it.

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Jan 10

Out of the Starting Gate

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: , ,  January 10th, 2011

Saturday didn’t really count.   Today is the official Day One of Book IV, and Book bounded out of the starting gate and gave me its daily wordage in a little less than 3 hours.    The pace isn’t flat out gallop (boy, the first two paragraphs were!) because it’s a long race and it’s better not to push too hard too soon.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 17

Plot Bomb Again

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: , ,  December 17th, 2010

Very, very, VERY big plot bomb.   Jaw-dropping for the writer looking at the mass of Story that just exploded into her head and is wondering how the heck to write it as well as it deserves.  This one covers a lot of ground, temporal and geographic.

All praise to the Plot Daemon, who has outdone himself.  (“All right, all right, lassie.  Now will you just go back up there and steer?”)

(Back to work.)

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Feb 19

Day of the Plotbomb

Posted: under Craft, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  February 19th, 2010

I’ve talked about plotbombs before, and how they sometimes dump 1-2 chapters on me without warning, exploding all through the plot and making some things clear while making other things change. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jan 12

Plot Bomb

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: , ,  January 12th, 2010

Book three just dropped a plot bomb on me.   And boy, is it going to have repercussions if it turns out to be a real one.

And no, I can’t tell you anything about it.

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