Jul 19

Mistakes & Errors & Writing

Posted: under Craft, Editing, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , , , , ,  July 19th, 2023

I once bought my husband a book entitled “Mistakes and Errors in Surgery” written a long time ago but fascinating in its dissection of typical surgical errors.  And I love the title.  The sound of it, the rhythm and mouth-feel of the words.  Da-DUM, da-DUM-da, da-DUM-da-da.   (Yes, some writers hear/feel word sequences like this.)

So last night was an example of mistakes and errors in writing on a computer.  I had finished (probably) the last  edits on a story called “Final Honors” which is not a sequel to the previous story with a major character but a distant echo…seven years later, nothing in between written (yet.)   Still frustrated that MS Word does not include an e-acute-accent in its “special characters” you can insert, and also does not include a u-circumflex–both of which my previous Word had in its list–I wondered if those were available from the keyboard itself in some way.  A combination of Control with a vowel, or maybe one of the function keys with something, so I skipped several pages  and tried out a few things.  That was a huge mistake.    CTRL with lower case a deleted the story and the backup with the same name and a different time-stamp, and the other backup with the same name and a different time-stamp.  Gone.  I still had the drafts with a *different* filename  but the longest of those was about half the length of the final.  OOPS.  I retrieved the longest, and quickly wrote a precis of the missing part–I couldn’t hope to replace 3000 words word for word, and trying to do so will blue memory of the plot itself…even that took hours (and the help of Beethoven, because that second half of the story had been written to three Beethoven symphonies, each offering a mood-tone that worked for that part of the story.

Along about 2 in the morning, with my brain seizing up no matter how many times I played the 3rd (Eroica) from the funeral march on, I gave up and went to bed, telling myself firmly that I needed to treat this as an opportunity to write a *better* story, rather than grieve over the Truly Stupendous Powerful Story now gone forever, and went to bed.  Woke up tired, stiff as a board, and dabbled with it today, still not ready to tackle it again.  It’s not on deadline or anything, so letting it sit and marinate isn’t all that bad.

This afternoon, still tired and in need of sleep, I started to go down for a nap when the phone rang.  And lo! it was my agent.  And lo! he wanted to talk about Horngard!    And all the story-writing I’ve done since the latest head-bang has really cleared my brain’s plot-thingie (used to be my plot daemon and I really wish he’d come back because he was fun, but I now have a modernized version, smooth and metallic, not the Scots-accented engineer of the Inchcliffe Castle…this one, so far, just extrudes plot into prose without chatting me up or scolding me.)   In writing and editing these short stories, keeping them short-story length, I’ve become able to recognize the glop that sometimes extrudes along with the plot.  Sometimes it’s infodump.  Sometimes it’s story-stuff that’s not part of *that* story but another…like the side stories I wrote while writing Paks in the first place–things that happened, that I had to write, but that weren’t main-line-express-train plot for the book.

Today, I heard from my agent.  He’d had one of his people look at Horngard I since he’d led me through revisions several times and gotten–um–over-familiar with it, would be one way of saying it.  So today I got the other guy’s opinion.  Not familiar at all with the Paksworld books, and thus a really fresh viewpoint.  My problems with both the failed Vatta book and Horngard I once Joshua read it, was that I wasn’t yet able to completely understand what he was driving at…I could not see, when re-reading the book to try to work on it…what was wrong and what might fix it.  Horngard I understood more, but still not completely.   Now, looking at James’s comments, it’s clear and I can also see that the part Joshua really wanted me to cut, which I considered necessary, IS necessary but not in its present form, and in its present form, it practically is a nice side story…it sits *beside* the book, on a siding, not the main track.

So I will start–not tonight because I’m still fighting a week’s sleep deficits–tomorrow, on Horngard I again, for what we all hope will be the final (until it sells or doesn’t and meets a real editor) cleanup.  Chapter whatsit will be gone, replaced with a stout coupling between the cars that were before and after it.   What was carried IN chapter whatsit will be compressed to the plot-relevant-only and put where it will do the most good.   I have (out of my agent’s hearing, more or less) pledged to myself to remember I’m not writing the epic fantasy equivalent of The Eustace Diamonds, in which vast amounts of wordage are expended on details of manner, dress, architecture, internal workings of this or that bar, this or that court, etc., all fascinating  to some readers (I’m one of them) , but in terms of my genre of fiction, could easily be handled in a novella.  The widow is a dishonest cheat who is illegally hanging on to her late husband’s family jewels, which jewels are part of the estate and thus entailed, she’s lied about everything.  In fact, the widow in The Eustace Diamonds has done what Trump has done with the classified documents…in her case using some unwitnessed comments of her late husband the way Trump has used the “Clinton Socks Case” (IOW, the reader is led to believe that the late husband did NOT tell her they were hers to do with as she pleased but lied about her justification, just as Trump has lied about the Presidential Records Act and the “Clinton Socks Case.”  At any rate, the train of Horngard needs to stay on the main track and plow ahead through snow and flood and dubious bridges and all that.   No detours.  No stops to admire the view, or the wildflowers, or wander off to discover the weirdities in Guild League regulations compared to the Code of Gird.  That’s what side stories and data on the site are for.  CHARGE!

Comments (8)

Jul 10

Another Story? Yes!

Posted: under Editing, Life beyond writing, Progress, Revisions, snippet, Story, the writing life.
Tags: , , , ,  July 10th, 2023

Writerly egos really do work this way.  Inspired by the review copy of DEEDS OF YOUTH,  I was able to finish the sequel to “Consequences” (last story in that volume) yesterday.  MUCH faster than I finished the first one of the pair.  Together they cover the entirety of Kieri Phelan’s first independent mercenary command.  The original version I wrote in the neighborhood of 35 years ago hasn’t been found, so I was reconstructing from my memory of it.   I’m sure it’s not an accurate reconstruction, but nobody else knows the original at all.  Ha.  What you’ll finally get, when the collection after the new collection comes out, is  all there is.

An ego-correction was finding out, while doing what I thought was the final revision, that I had *reversed two characters’ names.”  Between stories.  Within weeks of having re-read “Consequences”.    Yes, OK, I’m good enough to write an exciting story in less than two weeks, a story that involves blocking out a clash of militaries (size, location, terrain, opposing forces’ different weapons, mobility, background of military theory for each, etc.)  and collapsing all the details the writer then knows into just the ones the *reader* needs to know to grasp what’s happening, the sequence of events, the personalities and back stories of the POV characters, and fitting all that into less than 7500 words at most.   But I’m not apparently good enough to noticed that between “Consequences” and (its current name, this may change) “Unintended,”  Crown Prince G-‘s name turns into younger Prince H-‘s name.

All fixed now.  G- is back to being G- across the narrow temporal gulf between reading story C and writing story U.   Be sure that from now on in I will be looking harder when writing subsequent related stories to existing stories, and doing the name check *earlier* in the process.   First-readers of story U liked it a lot.  I still like it a lot today, having spent last night and today cleaning it up.  Is it spotless and shiny, all ready for its debut later?  I’ll know better after letting the resident Nitpicker at it.  Meanwhile, a snippet.

……………………………………….

“Get a horse,” the king said.  “A good one.”

……………………………………

Meanwhile, in the daily life stuff, it’s been very, VERY hot so I’m feeding horses later and later in the evening and today moved the morning feed up to “nearly all hard feed in the morning because it’s cooler and better for them.”

A US Senator (former football coach, whoop-te-do) is taking out his spite on the Department of Defense by blocking all promotions that require Senate approval and thus leaving many commands without a commander when the previous one reached legal retirement age.  Including my branch, the Marines, who are without a Commandant for the first time in over 100 years.  (And, dear friends, you really truly do not want to leave the Marines to their own devices without a solid command structure.  You don’t want to leave ANY military that way, but we have particularly…strong…well…our nickname with at least one other branch is Uncle Sam’s Misquided Children, and our reputation is “If you want something absolutely totally destroyed, call in the Marines.”  I, of course, am now a sweet old lady, perfectly harmless except for the razor edge on tongue and pen.

I called said Senator’s Senate office today and gave a brief and non-profane description of his misdeeds (this is only one of them; the guy’s a raging racist and a contributor to the J6 insurrection) before calling on him to resign.  He won’t, of course, but this is what I can do legally, for now.  Let him know he’s not the strong noble hero he thinks he is but a pissant southern neo-Confederate who broke his oath of office, tried to overturn the government, and has pissed off a Marine veteran.  At least one.  Sure there’s more.   I’m feeling that the Senator, who never served in any branch, should perhaps contemplate the effect of Marines minus a complete command structure on something closer to his heart than the rest of the country, since he doesn’t care about the rest of the country, just his billionaire donors and the white folks in his home state.  Needs to be reminded that the Senate doesn’t command the military.  That’s an executive function, and it needs a whole, unbroken, chain of command from POTUS on down to the lowest level just-out-of-boot-camp E-1.

So I think I need to call his office *daily* with things he clearly doesn’t know, and needs to know, about the real, serious, deal it is to stand in the way of the Marines having a  Commandant.  His name, in case you don’t know it, is Tommy Tuberville, and he pronounced it TUBBER-vill.  Wouldn’t want to say a Senator’s name wrong, would we?  (Rubber-Tubber?  Flubber-Tubber?)  I leave the cussing out to the senior NCOs, who are superb at it (an art form, once they’re up in grade)  and recommend that former officers and lower grade enlisted just list any four or eight of his “errors” as politely as possible within the need to make it clear what a [redacted] he is.

 

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Apr 28

Deeds of Youth Has a Date

Posted: under Deeds of Youth, Good News, Life beyond writing.
Tags: , ,  April 28th, 2023

Deeds of Youth will be released in mid-July (roughly)  and I will post links for pre-purchase as soon as I get them from publisher.  The collection has eight stories, arranged pretty much by age of the main character (that is slightly messed up in the last story, but it’s pretty close.)  Total length is, I think, once again a little under 50,000 words and it should look like a green book the size & shape of Deeds of Honor. and

I should be able to reveal the cover and the exact date,  and the links, within the next couple of weeks.  The release date is on my husband’s birthday, which I hope he will accept as part of his birthday celebration.  Wondering if I can get the bakery down at the big supermarket to do a version of the cover with DEEDS OF RICHARD THE BEST on it for cake decor.  Don’t tell him.  (He doesn’t read this blog.  I don’t think he reads this blog.)

Meanwhile I’ll be checking copy edits (due by May 13), working on putting together a new computer system for both of us, and trying to get the horses to the vet’s for their annual shots, Coggins test, and dental stuff.

Comments (4)

Apr 07

It Would Be a Cover Reveal, Except…

Posted: under Collections, Deeds of Youth, E-books, Life beyond writing, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  April 7th, 2023

…I don’t yet have permission to reveal it, and I can’t figure out how to make it show up in an email (did a test with a friend…got the link but it did not work)  and clicking on the image itself, with this computer, doesn’t yield the “copy image” choice.  It just enlarges or goes back to the other size.

What cover? you ask.  The cover for Deeds of Youth.  Tara, the designer, found a really good green-leather background for it, that will go with the dark red of Deeds of Honor.  Cover uses the same font for the title, the gold stuff is all gold just as it was, and between the change of title and a II  added to the line “paksenarrion world stories” people should not confuse I and II.  When I get permission to share, and when I have loaded Paint Shop Pro into this computer so I can play with images in the software, I’ll post it.  I like it a lot!

Meanwhile, the busy (but not organized) brain has worked out why King Mikeli’s being so stubborn about something in Horngard I, and who can unstick him a couple of weeks earlier, thus not having a long, long stretch that my agent thinks is dull for readers rather than tedious for one of teh characters.  Of course Dragon’s quick idea to mmph the ;ukmph into the xzllz is still a bit of a problem….and creates other problems, which is always good for the plot unless it convinces readers it’s totally impossibly stupid and a creature like Dragon would never think of it.  (Oh, yes he would.  Did.)

Will there be other exciting news over the next few weeks?  Probably not, but not *certainly* not.  Agent is headed for the London Book Fair later this month for a couple of weeks of connecting with his foreign (to us) fellow agents in Europe and getting their input.  He’ll be at the Nebulas in Anaheim not long after he gets back.   I’ll be working on that little blobby bit  in Horngard I and also posting more.

 

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Feb 18

Deeds of Youth: Off to NYC

Posted: under Collections, Deeds of Youth, Life beyond writing, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  February 18th, 2023

The seven stories of Deeds of Youth have been combed over and checked again and again; the two that were serialized here have had a few minor changes made.  One has never been “out in public” yet.  Those three (two seen in the blog, one never) will get a professional polish from a copy editor; the other four, suppposedly (I HOPE!) clean enough copies are as they appeared in the anthologies.  I’m hoping Agent agrees to use the same basic cover design with the new title and the background in green “antique-leather) behind the gold lettering.  I do not yet have a release date, but I expect to have the date within a few weeks (that’s how it happened last time) and it should be out this year for sure.

Back to working on Horngard I.

Between the ice storm, the aftermath of the ice storm (heavy rain onto the melted ice) , some power outages and a total failure of plumbing, the past few weeks have been hectic and requiered a lot of “adjustment” to daily life.   Having both toilets nonfunctional for a week + days, and the septic tank having to be pumped, and such…not the most fun in the world.  But we’re lucky that it’s now back together and functioning.

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Jan 06

Yesterday’s Event…

Posted: under Craft, Horngard, Life beyond writing, Submitting, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  January 6th, 2023

…was sending NewBook, Horngard I, back to my  agent in the hopes he doesn’t find I’ve left a large chunk of orange text (or even one orange word) in it so it can go straight on to a potential publisher.   (Orange, I’ve found, is what will catch my attention and remind me that I had doubts or concerns about a passage.)

It’s down to 175,026 words, 802 pages from its greatest length (which I think was north of 185,000.)  And it’s a lot better since my agent Said Things and sent it back twice for more work.   In the sheer glee of being able to write fiction again at all, and trying out the new Plot Thing (which isn’t the Plot Daemon I had before–feels completely different) , I let it run very freely.  So it acquired a lot of–attached bits, as on a ship that’s been at sea a long time–and while some of the barnacles were interesting in themselves, they were slowing down the story too.   My agent didn’t tell me to cut it–in fact, said “Don’t worry about length,” but I knew it was kind of baggy or shaggy in spots and needed trimming.  In the final version, having gotten some problems fixed, I was able to be firm with myself: “Does the reader need to know this stuff *right now* ?  Prove it.  No?  Chuck it out.”  Running alongside that was the internal command to cut one word per page (or more, but at least one.)

I rediscovered all those techniques I hadn’t needed to use for five years (mid-February will be the 5 year anniversary of the latest concussion)  to cut wordage without cutting meaning.  Of course, the familiar “cut extra modifiers,  cut “there is/are” phrases, change inactive to active verbs where possible” cuts, always useful.   But also the sneaky versions of weakening verbs: progressive tenses (“He was beginning to think…” vs. “He thought” or “She was running as fast as she could” vs “She ran as fast as she could.” ), subjunctive voice (not always a problem but it isn’t always needed when it shows up), any time you see a “helping verb”…question it.

Today is gray, chilly, gloomy.  Yesterday was a glorious sunny, clear, just cool enough day.  So as soon as I sent it off, I went out for a walk on the land.  Without binoculars or camera, just walking (and resting a couple of times) for almost 2 hours.   I’m going out again this morning, but probably not as long.

In the “always longer than I want” sequence from writing to seeing a book printed and on shelves, where are we now?  Into the realm of conjecture and the unknown:   it’s out of my hands at this point (unless of course agent sends it back, but I don’t *think* he will for more than “typo on page 497, line 18” kind of thing.)   It’s Agent’s job to find it a home with a publisher or declare he can’t.  This finding it a home can take anywhere from a week (if someone’s panting in the wings, eager to grab it) to months (if everyone’s attitude is “She uses to write some decent books, but our list is full and we don’t know when we’ll have an opening and anyway she’s probably lost her following and she’s old and it may not be that good…”

If  one of my former publishers wants it, then it’s “always longer than I want” for it to go through the steps of publication:  assignment of an editor for that book and tentative scheduling,  Editor’s editing, my changes to satisfy Editor,  the cover art discussion, etc, etc,  shift to Production, where it will get on the formal production schedule  (the one that is “hard” as opposed to “sorta squidgy), a copyeditor, and then I’ll get the copy-edited version to check over and return, then the Production questions if any, then it goes to the printer, and then to the binder where it’s married to its cover and shoved into boxes and then the release date comes.  Whoopee.

If one of my former publishers doesn’t want it, and neither does anyone else, then the decision comes down to further discussion and…dunno yet.

 

 

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Nov 07

Onward With Horngard II

Posted: under Horngard, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  November 7th, 2022

With Horngard I with my agent, Horngard II is up for some work, even though I have Other Things that must be dealt with.  Over the weekend (M-‘s birthday weekend, so less writing time, in addition to struggling with a computer/printer difficulty and a .pdf file difficulty) and today, Horngard II has gained 4000 words without excessive effort or loss of sleep.  I hope it continues to behave like #1 and roll itself out in front of me.  And if it doesn’t…I’ll cope.

Right now (this instant) it’s at 17,289 words and 81 pages.   The words before about 75-100 pages are very…fragile, vulnerable to alteration or even abandonment later.  For a middle book, in particular, as I expect this one to be, there’s a lot of mist and fog and not much to see from the beginning, which is back down from the height the first book reached.  Characters are alive, vivid, full of themselves right now.  Story itself is eager to get to the next “good stuff,” but in that hurry is quite capable of running madly ahead and off the cliff into a nasty ravine of “it never happened, go back and write something different.”  That happens once a book at least anyway, so though I don’t LIKE it, it’s not a really serious problem.

So Horngard II is alive, moving, has withstood its first long interruption (when working on agent’s suggestions, and all that suggests it will follow its older sibling and continue to grow with its own vigor.

 

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Oct 16

And Next….Horngard the Second Has Begun

Posted: under Good News, Life beyond writing, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  October 16th, 2022

So all the stages of revision (the big three) got done and in the process of the last one I realized that I’d lost something somewhere…cut & didn’t paste, and since I’d chosen “cut” the something was long gone lost.  I’d have to write it again.  Which I did one day this past week and I like it better than the first version.   Then I went on with the spit-polishing of the surface and finished that Friday.  Yesterday morning, Saturday, I was primed for a day of loafing–or at least working on other things like having actual *space* in the study, nothing on the floor (!!!) instead of the Useful Books now there, along with the many not-useful things.

But wait!  Something was stirring.  Something had hold of my brain and was yanking at me.  “Come here!  Don’t do that!  Come HERE and sit DOWN and put fingers on the keyboard and get going!!!”

And out came…the start of NewBook II or Horngard II.   “But, but, but,” I stammered.  “I have other things to do!  I need to go do this, and go do that, and go do the other thing, lots of things have gone undone since I started NewBook I!”

And the book said “Nonsense.  Keep going.”  Ten pages later that was it for the day.

It’s not even noon yet and another ten pages has appeared in the file.

“But I have to do these things…”

“No, you don’t.  Shut up, quit arguing, and get going…this train is leaving the station, toot-toot-toot, and you’d better be on it or be sorry.”

“But I haven’t heard back from my agent, and shouldn’t I wait until…?”

“NO!”

“But there’s a weather change and it might finally rain and I need to spread seed, and…”

“NO!”

You know what’s really, really, really fun…is the feel of being on a fast-moving book with the story pouring into your head and out through your fingers.  Even if you’re eating unhealthy food, your neck hurts, your finger joints are beginning to burn, one leg’s going to sleep…it’s really, really fun to have live characters doing their thing right there in front of you, and the book’s  plot daemon prodding you in the ribs: “Hurry up!  Get that bit—right there–that’s good, keep going, don’t stop, yeah!!!”

I do have to go feed horses their lunch, even if the book’s hollering at me.  I’ll be back.  How many pages today?  I have no idea.  What’s going to happen?  I have no idea except that I’ll be spending time in this chair and more Story will be in the file. and I’ll be grinning at times and tapping my foot and thinking how very lucky I am in some back corner of my mind while the rest is occupied playing all the instruments in the orchestra at once.  Hooyah!

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Oct 05

Finished, Sort Of

Posted: under Editing, Revisions, snippet, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  October 5th, 2022

NewBook is now complete, where complete means the story makes sense end to end, the plot and subplots are correctly articulated (in the sense of how a skeleton is articulated), there are causes for effects, and effects from causes, and the motivations of POV characters, in particular are shown through behavior, not just chit-chat.  Though frankly I think any female person will know *exactly* why Gwenno was bored with the Royal Guard.

It is a proper Paksworld book in size  (a bit under 170,000 words)  and geographic scope (smaller than some, but covering locations from northern Tsaia, in Arcolin’s domain to well south and west of Valdaire in Aarenis.)  Chronologically it’s a spring/summer/fall book, even though there’s a blizzard in it.  It’s an *early* blizzard and melts back into a cold nasty wet period.  The gap between this book and the last previous Paksworld book is about 5 years, so the page who woke up, ran upstairs when everyone else was spelled, and pulled the non-working rope that wakes the Bells of Verella only in real disasters ….is now a late teenager  and considered a young man.  The prince with no memory is 20 or 21.  An 18 year old squire of Duke Verrakai is 23.  And so on, including the people who were hale and healthy five years ago and now…aren’t.  Some of them.

It also has horses, swords, spears, lances, thieves (not nice ones), brigands (ditto), pirates (ditto) ,  bad relatives, good relatives, an overprotected little boy who isn’t that little or shouldn’t be, a birth, some deaths, and–because it involves the Matter of Horngard–Dragon.  Several assumptions about eldest girls in a family.  But also politics, economics, history, psychology, and such things.  Oh, and a song.    Sung in an ordinary way and people who also make weird scary noises some other way.

Someone on a Twitter writing group asked people who were writing things  “What is your book about?”  and I always draw a blank on that because I think my books (and most books) are about more than one thing, and different readers will fix on one or more of the possibilities.  But this book–still untitled, though its “barn name” is Horngard, name of the place in which a lot of important things happen–is a story about friendships as people grow up, trauma, memory, honor, personality, politics (et al) from the above list, and so on.   The “lead” characters are two boys (in the Paladin’s Legacy books) who became friends, were separated by violence,  and their meeting again 5 years later.   One has lost all memory of his past due to a traumatic brain injury.  The other temporarily loses the memory of having seen his friend again, for the first time in five years because someone else thinks it’s the wrong time for them to be together again.  Now the boys are men.

The loss of memory, whether temporary or permanent, has profound effects on them.   It interferes with “agency”–that capacity to make things happen, to not be just an object swept along, but to make decisions that work, that move other objects.   If you do not know–if you have no story of–your past, it’s a mental amputation of the information most of us use to make decisions and act from.   I remember the first time I was lifted up to sit on a horse; I remember how wonderful it was to be up there, able to see so far,  to not be blocked in by the legs of older children and adults.  That memory starts the chain of my understanding of how I feel about horses.  I remember being in an open boat out in the Gulf of Mexico and peering over the side into the green depths…seeing something large rising out of the dimness far below and come up closer, closer, and reveal a mouthful of very sharp teeth.  That memory starts the chain of my understanding my relationship to deep water.   Horses are wonderful, they’re freedom, they’re lifting me out of limitations.  Deep water is scary, dangerous, limiting me to less vision, less freedom, less opportunity.  These are not “facts” about horses or deep water, but the memories are at the roots of my attitudes, my deepest feelings.

Soo…what about a snippet, then?  And a test on it?

Here are the words of a song (translated into English because I write in English) which can be sung to the tune of one of my favorite songs.  The song itself was not, originally, English.   Can you figure out from reading the words what the music is?  (Don’t go looking over in the Universes blog because it’s listed there.)   These words appear in this book (unless an editor rules them out) and I hope to write some music to sing it to *other* than the one I know.

Dragonkin we stand before you

Dragon’s iron wings fly o’er you

Dragon’s iron teeth will score you

We will stand for all

 

Though we tire, though we hunger

Though we grow not any younger

We will stand as stone in thunder

All will stand for all

 

Men of Horngard ready

We will all stand steady

Taste the iron of our spears

Your swords will never wake our fears

 

Our hearts lighten, our eyes brighten

Blood or death, they do not frighten

We of Horngard, Dragon’s kin,we!

Never will we yield.

 

If you do catch on quickly, just answer with “Got it” or something like, until others have a chance to answer.

I can’t find on YouTube the version I like of the original, which was a capella, not over-enhanced with orchestra  or even piano accompaniment.  It doesn’t NEED that.  It does need a good stout choir.

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Sep 27

It Keeps Going…and GOING…and GOING!!!

Posted: under Progress, the writing life.
Tags: ,  September 27th, 2022

Besides the outside stuff that’s happened. the book has decided that it needs more in it.  Like “How DOES Gwennothlin get a dozen horses from here to there without being robbed or killed?” and “Yes, but what about those two cohorts of Fox and quarter cohort of Golden…you can just have them pop up like mushrooms in the middle of the battle!!” and “If Vladi has been to Horngard in the past–distant past–back when it was occupied by the former kings (one or more of them) shouldn’t HE know where the lower entrance is?  Wouldn’t he tell the people he’s traveling with?”  and “Who’s behind the sudden problems in the Royal Couriers?  WHY are they abusing their horses and dropping like flies in the past year or so.  Who made these bad decisions?” and “What’s with Dragon??”

That’s why I *thought* it was slotting nicely into the 150-155,000 word size until the past several days.  Tonight it ran right over the 160,000 barrier as if it wasn’t there.  And there are several thousand more to go.

It’s after midnight and I need sleep badly and am making typos every other word, so I’ll have to come back when I can and add snippets and more explanation.  Apologies for brevity.

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