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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Sep 12

First Draft: Done. First Revision Draft: Done

Posted: under Craft, Editing, Life beyond writing, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , , , ,  September 12th, 2022

NewBook isn’t *finished*, but it is complete in the sense of beginning, end, middle untangled so the segments are in the right order, some major side issues that belong in the long arc but not this volume sequestered for the next (or after that), and sufficient interior notes to do the next stage.

So…what are we looking at?  It starts the day the two major characters look down from adjoining mountains, one facing east, one looking south.   Everyone in it–whom I thought I knew from the previous books–surprised me at least once and sometimes more than once in the course of the book.  They showed up not when I expected them to, but when they just did.,..they were different than when I saw them last in Crown of Renewal.  Stuff has gone on behind my back, so to speak.  Because of characters’ physical separation, while each character’s plot line is briskly going on about its business, there was “braiding” to be done in this first, structural, revision draft.  Some of that may still be revised in the next revision draft.  But most of the characters are people that veterans of Paksworld, especially the Paladin’s Legacy group, will know, will have seen before…just 5-6 years on from where they were in age, experiences, locations in some cases.

From here–as fast as I can make it happen–NewBook will get its second revision draft, which will deal with remaining structural issues (a few gaps, now clearly marked on the first revision draft) , and its first “construction” revision (where something needs to be built better, so to speak…design is fine but that bit right there is crooked or unsound)  and then its third revision draft, which will deal with its more surface issues: the polishing part.  Third draft should be ready to submit, after a final run past some readers.  If the dental stuff hadn’t slowed me down, I’d be sure it would be done by Oct 1, but now I’m not…this dental thing is supposed to take several more days in the chair, I’ve been warned, and if they break the molar it will have to come out.  Last time I had one pulled it cost me 4-5 days of misery & no work on anything.  However, the later drafts usually (used to) go faster than the first revision, the structural one.

Once it’s clean enough to satisfy me, it goes to my agent, and if it passes him it goes out wherever he sends it (to start with, Del Rey, we’ve already decided) and I start the next one.  Then the decisions are up to someone else, and I’ll just work on what’s next and hope for the best.  It WILL come out in some form or other, if not from a trad publisher then Indie.   It’s certainly not perfect at this point, but it’s complete enough that I’m convinced it’s a real, and satisfying, story.    Right now I’m also having problems with my regular email but I can still access Earthlink’s WebMail, though the book is very close to its size limit on attachments, while Thunderbird was gulping it right down.  Another thing to fix when I have time.  No snippets today–apologies–but I have to feed horses, dress, etc. and get to the dentist this morning.

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Aug 24

150,000 And Bouncing

Posted: under Good News, Life beyond writing, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  August 24th, 2022

Yes, this afternoon I reached 150,000 words-and-a-bit, which is the “about right” length for a Paksworld book.   Was so gleeful I made a batch of fudge brownies (forgetting that with a temporary crown on one tooth, fudge is not the best idea…)  Celebration time.  We had fried chicken for supper,  brownie with ice cream to follow.  It’s not all done…one major component needs to be written, and a dull boring blob of a beginning needs to be ripped off and replaced with a crisp, sparkling, start, but…it’ll be a much easier balancing act with 150,000 *mostly* right words keeping it on track and zipping along.

Today’s snippet is also posted in the elizabethmoon.com blog, so you needn’t look there for extras today.

……………………………………………………………………………

By dark, he had achieved, he thought, the ugliest point ever put on the end of a pole, but it would hurt if it hit you right, and it didn’t fall off or break when he jabbed at a tree section with it.

…………………………………………………………………………

This is Aris, the not yet qualified blacksmith, king’s friend, duke’s third son, horse trainer, and former squire to Duke Arcolin until a series of unfortunate events sent him….well, you’ll have to find out in the book itself.

 

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Aug 22

Kicking the Last Furlong!

Posted: under Good News, Progress, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  August 22nd, 2022

Yes, this book has a home stretch kick, accelerating to the finish.   Current length at 2:45 in the afternoon of Monday, it sits at 141,201, which is 15,182 more than last Monday.   That’s despite deleting at least 3500 words (a scene I’d saved to see if it fit in later; it didn’t so I booted it out late in the week.)   So the week came out at something over 18,580 words for the week and averaging something over 2650 words/day.

What’s happened in that week?  Lots.  This volume’s clearly coming to *its* end, but there’s more to go on with.  This is just the volume arc plot elements merging into one coherent braid.   I can see the end of this volume more clearly now, but not the far end of “everything” that belongs in this storyline.  For those who’ve ever read Caesar’s Gallic Wars, especially in the short chunks offered to Latin students in a second year Latin book I had in high school (and still have “somewhere” but not in easy reach) you’ll remember the almost magical appearance of Labienus and the Xth Legion which got Caesar out of a lot of tough spots in various campaigns.   At the time I had also watched Rin Tin  Tin on TV, when Rinty appeared handily to save the day, and once startled our Latin teacher by saying that the Xth Legion was Caesar’s Rin Tin Tin.  The Xth was always “in” or “through” or “behind” the woods  or the hill that screened them so they could come out unexpectedly…or over or around a hill.  Sometimes even across a river, though moving an entire Legion rapidly across/through a river is no quick answer to immediate peril.

Until the most recent concussion, I had a clear memory of the battles in Gallic Wars that I’d diagrammed for my Latin project one semester.   One of them is in Sheepfarmer’s Daughter but I don’t now remember which “barbarian” tribe it was against.  I do remember that back when movie-makers were making movies of such things (way back, B&W I think)  my mother was watching TV late one night and one such came on–a costume historical, with Romans in their helmets and short uniforms, Caesar on a white horse (??), barbarians half in loose trousers and boots.   I heard the shouting and clash of swords & spears (always an attraction at that age) and left my homework to come around to her room.  Took one look and said “Oh, that’s the battle of such  and so and that’s got to be [barbarian leader’s name, and tribe’s name]…and it looks like it’s about time for the Tenth Legion to show up.”  Sure enough.  My mother said “How on earth did you know that?”   “Reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars,” I said, very likely with all the disgusting smugness a HS junior could produce.   “See, what Caesar’s doing…”    “NEVER MIND.”   I really enjoyed Caesar.   When I tried taking Latin III and had to read Cicero, not so much.

Anyway, there’s a not-really-equivalent but good surprise about to fall on Our Side toward the end of this book.  Maybe even being a good reason to close the book with it.  We shall see, sometime in the next 5-10 days of writing.

Also along with 0.6 inch rains in the past few days (the first rain for  a couple of brutally hot months that were already “dryer than normal”  we got another 0.7 inches today and right now it’s raining very lightly…soaking-in type rain.  Cracks in the soil aren’t closed yet but the ground is notably softer.  YAY!!!

And the big rain-collection tanks we have are getting some input instead of just emptying out.   Horses are enjoying the cooler weather (not really cool, just not 95-109.)

Three snippets to hint at things….

  1.   Fox Company captain on the gnome-controlled pass over the Dwarfmounts to Valdaire:

Captain Talvan stopped beside the post and tapped it with the provided hammer.  “Law is Law,” he said in gnomish.  Within seconds two gnomes in armor, bearing pikes appeared as if from the rock itself.

“Law is Law,” one said.  “Is it that it is that Prince Arcolinfulk has message for Prince Aldonfulk?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2) Captain Burek of Fox Company to a young man who had marched with them about one and a third campaign seasons:

“I saw a horse rather like yours earlier today, except instead of solid bay it had some white on the face, graying in the mane and tail, two socks in front–uneven–and a stocking behind, on the near side.  Same Marrakai conformation.  Ridden by a youth dressed like a groom, and a gaggle of mares of various sorts.  Not quite the usual kind being driven over the mountains to sell here, but I can’t think what else he’d be doing with them…”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

3) Fenis Kavarthin, Senior Master of the Moneychangers’ Guild in Valdaire, to a client (about to be former client):

“I am not permitted to hold the account of a criminal; it violates the rules of our Guild.  You admit to a crime that could have been punished by death.  I cannot be your banker.  I cannot offer you any services, give you advice, or do anything but restore to you your earlier deposits after you swear that none of them were obtained by criminal activity; you will have to swear before a Judicar, whom I shall send for in a few moments.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

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Aug 15

Home Stretch: Horse Runs Strong, Jockey’s Hands Tiring

Posted: under Good News, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  August 15th, 2022

In other words, as of this time, 8:41, Monday, August 15, the word count is 126,019.   The yarn is flying off the yarn-winder, the thread off the spool, the story out of my head and onto the computer drive as fast as I can type.  It’s literally coming fast enough that I can’t keep up and am writing well  over 2000 words/day.   (In the last 9 days, if my notes are right, approaching 3000.)   2000 is really all my arthritic hand joints tolerate well, and 9 straight days of 2800+ is…amazing, wonderful, and painful.

If this book is considered as a horse race in the US, think of Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes run.  (Or, OK, just think of the Belmont,period.  Big oval track, big round curves.  Last week I felt I was past the straight part of the backstretch, into the second curve.  Now I know I’m in the home stretch, in the final drive for the end.   Some horses have a final “kick” for the home stretch and some don’t.  This book came out of the gate fast, charged past the stands into the lead, extended itself to the 2000/day and stayed there through much of the backstretch.  Then sped up again.  And again.  And again.

So from what I can see now, I know pretty much where this volume will end, and that there will (God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, or a piece of space debris land on us) be more story in another volume or several to come.

A snippet from yesterday’s writing:   Dowager Lady Marrakai (her husband recently died) and Juris Marrakai, her eldest son, the King of Tsaia’s best friend and now Duke Marrakai, having succeeded to his father’s title. Those who’ve read the Paladin’s Legacy books will remember Juris from early in Oath of Fealty, when a courier arrives with word of the Verrakai family having attacked Kieri on the way to Lyonya, and Mikeli is still the crown prince.

And here he is again, older and still the king’s best friend, having told his mother that his oldest sister Gwenno (two steps down the sibling ladder from him, formerly Dorrin’s squire before Dorrin had to leave to save the world) has joined a merc company.  He expects her to be horrified.

………………………………………………………………………………..

His mother laughed.  “That girl! Woman, I mean.  I knew she’d run away eventually.  Over the mountains seems a bit extreme, but she never was temperate.”  She looked at him, her eyes alight with humor as they hadn’t been since his father died.  “Actually, none of you children has been temperate.”

“Mother!  I’ve been the calm one, the quiet one!”

“Juris, you were an inveterate sneak and probably still are.  You had to know everything. You bored holes in half the walls of this house trying to find out what everyone else was up to.  Do you really think I didn’t know about it?”

……………………………………………………………………………….

For those horrified to find a Marrakai eavesdropping,  it’s a valuable to a king to have a personable friend who is completely reliable (both to eavesdrop and to report it to the king accurately.)   Juris no longer bores holes in walls and he never spies on the king.  If holes need to be bored, he knows who to persuade.

 

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Jul 16

Zipping Along

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: ,  July 16th, 2022

NewBook is now at 65,000 words, and still moving briskly.  It’s nudging me all the time to write faster…which is a lot more fun than the other way around when I’m pleading with a book to please wake up and move *that* direction.

The backbrain, though it doesn’t feel exactly like it did before, is functioning the same way.  It’s a help that it’s been over 100F every day but one, and there’s been no rain, so the heat and over-brightness outside is a reason to stay in here and work on the book.  I still make mistakes (besides the typos)…I launched into one scene that I really liked and it was going well until…oh.  It’s winter (it had to be winter, because Character A was in mmph doing fmrmuffm),  but the outcome of the scene was supposed to be A traveling somewhere that can’t be traveled in winter.  Absolute limit established in earlier books.  Not only is the snow too deep in the pass at that time of year, but the gnomes (who are less susceptible) don’t *let* humans cross over then, even if the humans can make it.  So that 2000+ words are archived in a separate file because I think I want to use a particular description of something, and it may fit in another winter in another mountain range.   (Sometimes you don’t kill your darlings, you just put them in the closet for awhile and then decide if they’re worth dragging out.  The answer is usually no, but occasionally yes.)

At 65,000, the book feels as if it might “want” to be a 130K book, a little smaller than previous Paksworld books.  But since it’s still generating new complications, it could end up in the usual range, or it could trim itself down.  I’ll find out by finishing it.  Everything is rough-draft right now, which is normal for me.  I don’t polish in first draft at all; I’m trying to get the story down.  It’s readable (an alpha reader’s already on it) but it’s not, as she said, “true to voice” yet.   Even more, I’m sure, since I haven’t written in Paksworld for six or more years.

 

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Nov 04

Up From the Depths…

Posted: under Cold Welcome, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  November 4th, 2016

Bubbles rise to the surface of the murky water…the water-lily pads bob up and down…somewhere something is moving, but nobody can quite see what it is…until a large blob, crowned with two water lily pads and a glob of slime that drips down a face obscured by a wetsuit hood, rises to the surface.

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Mar 04

Whirlwinds

Posted: under Revisions, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  March 4th, 2016

(Mirrored from Universes blog)

Working on the rewrite of Cold Welcome.  On Monday, I sent Editor the latest draft of the new ending, and in light of Editor’s comments worked on it some more, then started in on front-to-back run (actually crawl!) through combining her original letter, the marked up manuscript line edits,  and the changes that would be required by the new ending.   This also involved having two versions of the first chapters on the monitor at once, the letter, a stack of reference printouts, and the marked ms beside me on the desk. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 23

New Website & Blog Announcement

Posted: under Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  December 23rd, 2015

It’s not here yet, because my web designer is over in London having Christmas with her family (her son married an Australian living in London–they got married in Denmark and are now living in London.)   And she’s retiring in March (this is Not Fair: she’s younger than I am and I’m not retiring yet!!)   But there will be a new website and blog specifically for the SF side of my writing.   You are the first outside the business to know (my Editor thought this was a great idea, as some of my SF fans are adamant about not sticking a toe into the Fantasy area, lest they be sucked into the swamp)  but never fear–if you’d rather hang out here,  I plan to mirror some of the content there over here (possibly not some of the straight science links I’m planning to include–your opinion on that is welcome.)   And this area will not go away.   There will be more short fiction coming out if things go as planned, and perhaps more long stuff later.

That  blog will be called “Universes” and, like this one, embedded in its site.  In this case, that site will be encapsulated in my main site, thanks to the ingenuity and cooperation of the site host and my web designer.  The Vatta books will be one “universe.”

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Nov 02

Just to Complicate Things

Posted: under Life beyond writing, Revisions.
Tags: , ,  November 2nd, 2015

Roofing Begins

Yes, those are roofers tearing off shingles at the house my mother owned when she died.  Our son lived there awhile and stays there on weekends, as do guests.  It’s where we have parties, too, as it has  more room than our house.   It will soon have a metal roof, which should last longer, given that we have hail storms and branches that fall on the roof and squirrels who think getting through roofs is a lot of fun.

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