Jul 11

A Bit More About The Book

Posted: under Background, Story, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  July 11th, 2022

When a horse’s cerebrum–the thinking part of its brain, small compared to the rest–is treated as an external storage device for about 30 minutes of a particular human memory by a dragon who is looking for a place to stash that memory so the human in question can’t reveal something the dragon wants kept secret, the horse is immediately faced with an terrifying situation.  The horse cannot understand human memory, but it can feel the emotional surge of that memory (it was a very, VERY emotional memory)  and it knows these new surges are connected to its owner/trainer.

When the owner is with the horse (best case) the horse has much less cognitive dissonance to trouble it.  This is a horse bonded to its human from the hour after its birth; it’s been trained by its human, and its human is a steady reassuring presence in its life.   Extra emotion is familiar (the human is a person of strong emotions.)   The horse can check in with its senses–smell, taste, touch, hearing, sight–and its excellent memory of *horse* experience–and identify the extra emotional surge as just like its owner.

The difficulty comes when the human (or the human’s father, another familiar human) is not with the horse for an extended length of time.  When the human…is sick, or injured, or forcibly separated, and the horse encounters only those it hasn’t worked with closely.  Then the emotional surge of unassimilated human memories conflicts with its own horse-memories and the horse–for want of a better word–goes crazy.  Nothing makes sense anymore.  The smell of its owner, the touch of its own, the sound of its owner’s voice, are all gone, and what’s left is the intense emotion of its owner but without the owner’s presence.  The horse wants to find its owner but it’s not allowed to go find the owner.

The dragon expected horse and owner to be together and thus made no provision for protecting the horse.  After all,  a horse’s cerebrum is small: somewhere between a walnut and a lemon in size, if you should take that layer (it’s flattish) and roll it into a ball.  Yet–to a dragon–a horse’s use of its cerebrum is limited to the simplest of “thoughts” and there would be ample room to stuff in those memories where they’d be safe, and yet unused and unavailable to the human until the dragon came along to reverse the procedure.

Why would a dragon, who prizes wisdom, do something so obviously (to us) foolish?   It’s impossible to understand dragonish motivation completely (at least for me) but dragons do like to carry out their own plans, and by their overall powers, they’re usually able to bend reality to their will.  The dragon had a plan for certain people to meet in a certain way at a certain time, and neglected to calculate the likelihood that any two humans in an urban area may, however unlikely, encounter each other.  Perfectly normal random events, strings of them for both individuals, put them in the same place at the same time.

We could say the dragon over-reacted, or was having a control-issues moment, but whatever the cause, the horse is now carrying its owner’s memory of that encounter and the owner is…in a life-changing situation.  The dragon isn’t there anymore (it’s off doing something else, and is confident the horse and owner will continue as it expects…)  The dragon has many dozens of irons in its fire and hasn’t thought it needed to revisit these two new ones (the man with a memory gap of the same length that the horse has the memory dump) for another year and a bit.

Writers are even trickier than dragons…that dragon’s in for a surprise.

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Jul 17

The Dun Mare’s Grandchild, Episode 4

Posted: under Background, Story.
Tags: ,  July 17th, 2016

When the storm passed, they rode on, over the melting lumps of ice and the wet grass.  Oktar’s sheepskin, sodden with rain, hung over his horse’s rump; he walked, leading his mount, his bare feet so cold from the ice he could not feel the bruises.  His grandfather rode ahead, not speaking to him, but muttering continually to the horses, who bobbed their heads as if they understood.

Home was too far behind to imagine, that cold night.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Jun 18

The Dun Mare’s Grandchild

Posted: under Excerpt, Story.
Tags: , , ,  June 18th, 2016

“Again?” Oktar’s mother glared at him. “Bloody nose, black eye, shirt torn, a complaint from the judicar–you’re a disgrace!”

“They said we were dirty stinking horse–” he paused; the word they’d used was forbidden. “–droppings,” he finished.

“You should ignore them,” his mother said. “They are ill-bred; you should not dirty your hands with them.” 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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Feb 03

New Story in Progress: snippet

Posted: under snippet, Story.
Tags: ,  February 3rd, 2014

There’s a new story barreling along this morning–not book-length, but it’s certainly alive and wiggling  in the writer’s hands, tossing off new ideas every few paragraphs.    Remember our discussion about top-down and toe-up sock knitters?   Thanks to that, I now know more about the great trade fairs at Fiveway, the craft guilds,  the pride of one particular sock-knitter, the jealousy and vindictiveness of one of her former suitors (she’s happily married to a wool merchant) ,  the duties of a Fair-warden, the duties of a Guildmaster in the Knitters’ Guild,  how booths are arranged (but not yet WHY there’s a saddler at the far end of the row in which Gralin has her booth.)     Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct 27

Structure: Making a Story Out of a Fragment

Posted: under Craft, Story.
Tags: ,  October 27th, 2013

The current story’s day or two in structural revision has made huge changes in its organization and now has it on an open track to completion as a story of approximately (after some cutting) the right length.    It’s an interesting example of the kinds of decisions writers make when something doesn’t run easily the first time.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct 23

On the Writing Side

Posted: under Background, Story.
Tags: , ,  October 23rd, 2013

I am still not happy with the Paksworld story written for the second anthology (and the deadline daily steps closer to my nose) so I started another one.   Actually I’ve started several that didn’t work at all, either because they instantly bulged and made it clear they would be too long,  or because fitting them to the anthology requirements would warp them too badly.   But this new one has retained its potential and is cantering along briskly.  It’s too long, but that’s because I had to work out background in the course of writing it–cuts shouldn’t be too difficult.  I hope. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 07

Your Birthday Present: Chapter 2

Posted: under Excerpt.
Tags: ,  March 7th, 2010

My birthday present to you is posting Chapter 2 of Oath of Fealty on the Paksworld website:

http://www.paksworld.com/excerpt-oathfealty.html

There’s also a link to Del Rey’s posting of Chapter 1, for those who are a bit behind.

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Feb 08

A Little Surprise

Posted: under Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  February 8th, 2010

This morning, Editor asked me to please write some posts for the Suvudu.com blogsite.    Sure, I said, and began fiddling, but was interrupted by a needed trip to an optician’s shop to order new glasses.  This afternoon, Editor asked me if I had any short fiction related to the new book.    Maybe something had been cut?  Maybe I could write a short-short?   Huh?  And I thought “O waily waily woe, I’m trying to write an essay (that wasn’t working well yet) and anyway I’m not good at short-shorts.”  (Yes, even experienced writers have self-defeating moments.)

And even as I thought that…up popped a notion of what might work.  Bing! Read the rest of this entry »

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Apr 04

Snippet–extended edition

Posted: under Background, Contents, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  April 4th, 2009

This snippet is from a passage that will not appear in the book–my choice, not an editor’s cut, so the scene was never fully fleshed out.  You have conversation, nothing else.   However, as a snippet, I don’t mind sharing it with you.  I believe, when the book comes out, you will agree that this and the extension of it (several more pages full of spoilers) were better left out.

Location:  Verella, the Verrakai house in town.  Time: 14 days after Kieri Phelan left Verella for Lyonya

Speakers:  Duke Haron Verrakai and his brother.

Read the rest of this entry »

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