Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Lot Of Things Wouldn’t Get Done

Well, I’ve been staying on track, but not getting ahead as I’d hoped.  The further into my five day stretch at work I get the harder it is to get words on paper.  But I will hit word count goal for the month on Tuesday, although I might still need to finish this novel during Camp NaNoWriMo.  I’m just too tired to do much more than the minimum right now.

Plus, now I’m not certain where and how I want the novel to end.

I know it won’t be on a cliff hanger.  The books do build on each other, but each is a complete story in itself, although I do leave a few relatively minor loose ends that get tied up later – threads that bind the series together.

But…

Do I end the series after the current scene?  Or do the people from The Academy of the Accord go to Arcane Academy and clean house there?  Should I show that happening or should it be “off camera”?

I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to write it – something in it has bearing on the next book and what happens there definitely has bearing on the last book.

(Ugh! I so don’t want to think about the last book.  I hate the thought of not working with these characters anymore…)

Anyhow, I think I’ve just talked myself into writing the stuff at Arcane, so, yeah, the first part of Camp will definitely involve finishing this book, unless I get really productive over the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t decided which book of the Academy of the Accord series I want to work on for Camp so no outlining has been done – by zombies* or anyone else.  It would help if I had time to pack up all my stuff for the series and go spend a few hours sprawled out on a library table, but with only one day off left before Camp starts, I don’t.  Unless I get the Sunday Snippets posts set up before work today and get my thousand words for Tuesday written before I go to bed tonight…

If not for the last minute…

 

 

*A test for passive voice is “Can you add ‘by zombies’ and still have the sentence make sense?”  If you can, it’s passive voice.

 

 

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Sunday Snippet June 28, 2015

Skipping ahead a bit. Taliya has finally left her mother’s house and the first thing she did was call her friend, Belyn, to give him a head’s up about the influx of new applicants he was likely to get for his employment agency.  When he heard what had happened he insisted on taking her to dinner and having her spend the night in his guest room.  This is the next morning.

(For anyone new to this, I’m posting excerpts from Onyx Sun, a science fiction novel currently in the first round of edits.)

The usual creative punctuation warnings apply.

Belyn is speaking first.

 

“Stay as long as you need to.”

“No.  She knows my friends and she assumes I’ll be staying with them:  I don’t want her to be right, and I also don’t want her to be harassing all of you because of me.”

He waved that off.  “Where will you go?” he asked, worried.

“I don’t…”  She smiled suddenly.  “My father’s.”

“Your father’s? But…”

“I know.  I haven’t heard from him in years and he was never really a part of my life.  But I always felt closer to him than I ever did to her.”   She sighed as she saw the time.  “I have to go.  I’m expected at Aelind’s office at nine o’clock.”

Belyn raised an eyebrow.

“To be given my inheritance,” she said in a clipped mocking imitation of her mother’s voice.

 

 

 

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Planning for Camp

So who all’s doing Camp NaNoWriMo next month?  What are you writing and what word count goal are you setting?

I said on the site that I’ll be working on finishing some WiPs, and I might work on the I’m-going-to-finish-this-book-if-it-kills-me Book Two of the Other Mages trilogy, but at the moment my plan is to focus on the Academy of the Accord series. I’m going to try really hard to get Book 10 wrapped up this month.  (I’m nearly there, and what’s about to happen is going to be an awesome lead in to the events in Book 12.)  Then I’ll work on either Book 6 or Book 8, or maybe do some of each as the mood strikes me.  (I’m currently leaning more towards Book 8, but there are a couple scenes in Book 6 that I really want to write, so…)

I’ve set my word count goal to 62k – 2000 words a day for 31 days.  If I can stick to working on just one novel that should be about enough for the first draft of it.  And if I get the current one finished this month that only leaves me two to finish before the end of the year.  (Next year has already been designated as the year of editing the Academy of the Accord series.)

I did 60k last camp but I’m thinking that it will be easier than the similar insanity I had in April because I won’t also be doing NaPoWriMo.  But on the other hand, I’ve been working full time hours lately so I don’t have the luxury of falling behind at all.

Working in my favor is that I’m off on Wednesday the 1st so I can push to get a cushion built up.

I’m also off on Tuesday, the 30th of this month, so I can set up July’s Wednesday Words posts and Sunday Snippet posts then if I don’t do them sooner.  (I might try to get them done before work – if I’ve hit my word count goal for the day – to leave Tuesday free.

Actually, what I’d really like to do is get ahead on word count for this month so that I can have Tuesday off from that to get organized for Camp – maybe even make an outline or two.  (Maybe I can squeeze some of those scribbles out in a few odd minutes here and there at work over the next five days – if I don’t get pulled off my regular unit.)  Right now, though, I’m on track with word count, but just barely.  No real cushion built up at all and since my only remaining day off this month is Tuesday, I can’t afford to fall behind.

It’s going to be an interesting rest of the week…

 

 

 

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Wednesday Words #26 (6/24/15)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

dancing
a telescope
an old birdcage

 

 

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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About To Start…

… playing catch up, that is.

Well, hey, I managed to stay on track through most of the month, then work got crazy and I got food poisoning.  Yay.

Anyhow, I’m only 900 words behind so that’s not too bad – as long as I manage to hold my ground and not slip further over the next few days.

Or at least not much further.

I have one more shift at work then I’m off for two days (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Most of Tuesday (that’s tomorrow! Yikes!) is going to be spent on the road. Some long-time online friends who live on the wrong side of the Rockies are on the right side of the Rockies for a few days, so we’re meeting up halfway between where I live and where they are.  I’m really looking forward to getting to meet them after knowing them for 20-ish years.

And their daughter, too – she was in grade school when I met them and now she has a son who will be starting kindergarten this fall.

(I officially feel old now.)

I’m excited. And a little nervous but mostly excited.

(And, of course, the writer in me is filing that excited and nervous combo away for future use…)

In other news, the current draft of Onyx Sun has been printed and is ready for its second round of edits.

The original plan was to have this round finished by the end of the month and the novel in the hands of beta readers by July, with a planned release date of “sometime in August.”

I’m not currently betting on it, but I will have it released before the end of the year.

(One of the not-often-mentioned perks of being an indie author is not having hard and fast deadlines for things.  This is especially important when working full time.  I’m getting somewhat better at self-imposed deadlines, though, thanks largely to NaNoWriMo and my own stubborn streak.)

Something else I had hoped to have finished by the end of the month is the first draft of the current WiP – Book 10 of The Academy of the Accord series. I’m pretty sure I can still manage to pull that off.

But, please…

The next time I decide that it will be fun – or even productive – to write a thousand words a day while also editing something totally different than what I’m writing, someone just smack some sense into me.

 

 

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Sunday Snippet June 21, 2015

Is Taliya free of her mother’s House yet?  Maureena is waiting in the foyer…

(For anyone new to this, I’m posting excerpts from Onyx Sun, a science fiction novel currently in the first round of edits.)

The usual creative punctuation warnings apply.

 

“Where are you going?”

“To find Luzita. I don’t where that will take me, but long as it isn’t here I’ll be happy.”

“And what are you going to do for money?”

She shrugged. “I’m a certified pilot.”

“I expect you’ll come crawling back sooner rather than later, once your so-called friends get tired of putting you up.”

“I do not intend to presume on their hospitality.   In case you didn’t hear me, Mother, I’m a certified pilot.  That means that I am capable of making my own way in the world, and that means that I do not need to rely on others to take care of me.”  

“Where is the file from Roseeba Seven? I want to look it over and put it away.”

“It’s in my HoverWing. I will leave it at Aelind’s office tomorrow: you can pick it up there after I leave.”

She stepped outside, feeling an odd satisfaction at the stunned disbelief on her mother’s face: if Maureena had expected a meek and dutiful daughter then she hadn’t been paying attention – Taliya had stopped being meek and dutiful years before.

 

 

 

 

Want to read more snippets from some really great authors?
Check out Sunday Snippets on Face Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pronoun Problems

Ugh. I’ve written… well… created… myself into a linguistics corner and I don’t know how to get out.

In Onyx Sun, one of the main characters is Ayess.  He’s Araxian – a race that does not have sexes or genders as we know them.  Cool, huh?

The Araxian pronoun for others is “ni” and it works out as follows:

ni = he/him/she
ni-es = his/her/hers
ni-en = they/them
ni-en-es = theirs

Before my FMC knew that, she referred to Ayess as “he” but has now switched to ni/ni-es when talking about…

And that’s my problem. In the narrative, do I continue to use he/him/his? Or use ni and ni-es?

An example to help explain what I mean:

(Taliya is the human FMC.)

 

Ayess turned when she entered and Taliya pulled up short. “I thought you’d be in bed,” she said as she sank into her chair.

“I could say the same for you.” Ayess searched her gaze for a long moment. “What is wrong?”

She shook her head and sighed. “Nothing. Everything. I’m not sure.” He tilted his head and she managed a smile. “I’m all right, Ayess.”

It’s the “He” and “his” that are problematic.  Should I keep using them or should I switch to the Araxian words?

Ni tilted ni-es head and she managed a smile.

 

(And yes, the terms ni and ni-es have been introduced before now, and Taliya uses them when speaking about her first officer.)

I posed the question to several writing groups on FaceBook and the camps seem to be fairly evenly divided between stick with he/him, use the Araxian, avoid pronouns altogether, and use they/their, or use “it.”

Avoiding pronouns just isn’t practical.

I refuse to use “it” because it’s demeaning.

I suppose I could use they/their but it’s going to be tough to think of a plural pronoun standing in for a singular.

So that pretty much leaves me with using he/him/his or ni and ni-es.  And I think I’ve reached a compromise of sorts.

I’ve finished the first round edits and it’s in the hands (well, on the computer) of a pre-beta reader.

I’m taking it to be printed again so I can do another round of edits on it and when I do them I’m going to highlight all of the he/him/his that refer to Ayess and when I finish the other changes I’m going to make two versions for beta readers.  If the ni version makes their eyes bleed I’ll stick with he/him/his and include a note explaining why.

(And for those who are curious: Ayess doesn’t care if she uses male pronouns. In fact, Ayess is highly amused at the reason that she thinks ni is male — “You’re taller than I am.”)

(And for those who are curious: Ayess doesn’t care if she uses male pronouns. In fact, Ayess is highly amused at the reason that she thinks ni is male — “You’re taller than I am.”)

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Wednesday Words #25 (6/17/15)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a unicorn
a roll of duct tape
a calendar

 

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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It Wasn’t a Plot Hole!

At least, it wasn’t much of a plot hole.

More like a speed bump, actually.

On Friday I wrote about coming to a screeching halt on the edge of a plot hole that was going to swallow the entire Academy of the Accord series.

About 3:00 or 3:30 Sunday morning as I was getting ready for bed the solution jumped up, bit me on the nose, slapped me with a wet trout, and called me a first class idiot.

There wasn’t a plot hole.  There was just me over-thinking things.

I’m currently writing book 10, in which two students – an apprentice (Calef) and a cadet (Rarian) – leave Arcane Academy and come to The Academy of the Accord, because… reasons.

Book 11 is done (well, the first draft is) and the events and timing in it were interfering with this book.

Except they aren’t.

Let this be a lesson to me:

Never write a series out of order again!

Seriously, Self, it’s not worth the headache.

And, while we’re at it, Self, timelines are awesome tools.  If I’d had a timeline (or a series outline) I wouldn’t be trying to dig myself out of non-existent plot holes and retconning half a novel or two.

So, with the timing sorted out, a nifty little twist has shown up.  I’m not quite sure what it is, but it’s important:  I need it to make book 11 work.  And now I can’t wait to get to that point in this novel and see what it is.  (Sometimes you just have to trust your muse to get you there.)

In the meantime, I need to make sense of the notes I wrote last night – and make them legible.

And happy dance.

Definitely I need to happy dance!

 

 

 

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Sunday Snippet June 14, 2015

Picking up from last week, Taliya is facing a choice.  Leave to find her lover that her Mother sold into slavery (and live her own life) or stay and try to act as a buffer between her mother and the servants, people that she considers her friends.

Speaking of friends… it’s good to have a variety of them.

The usual creative punctuation warnings apply.

(For anyone coming into this for the first time, I’m posting a few excerpts from a science fiction novel-in-editing called The Onyx Sun. The first round of paper edits have been finished but I still need to make changes in the Word doc, and then decide if it gets another round of paper edits before it goes in search of beta readers.  Right now, that second round of paper edits is probably going to happen.)  

 

Taliya speaks first. (Emla is one of the maids.)

 

“Emla, have you ever heard of Elite Employment Agency?”

“They are supposed to be the best in the city, very hard to get registered with.”

“The owner, Belyn, is a friend of mine.  If you and the others want, I’ll contact him and let him know that I will gladly provide a recommendation for anyone who wants to leave here to find new employment.” 

“You would do that?”

“With pleasure.  And I’m fairly certain that he would move you all to the top of the placement list for me once I tell him what is going on.”

“Thank you.”   The relief and gratitude in Emla’s voice were so heartfelt that for a moment Taliya thought the woman was going to break into tears.  “I will tell the others.”   Her eyes sparkled as she barely suppressed a giggle.  “Maureena will not be happy.”

“No she won’t,” Taliya agreed, grinning.  “But you will all be happier and safe and that is all that I care about.  Maureena being angry about it is just a bonus.”  

 

 

 

Want to read more snippets from some really great authors?
Check out Sunday Snippets on Face Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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