Tag Archives: Work in Progress

Number Crunching

I started today at 6962 words below par at the start of the day.  That’s worse than on Monday but a little better than my 7001 yesterday. And I’m looking at a 2K day today which will be the most I’ve written in one day all month. (Now if I can just keep it up until I catch up…)

I’m doing too much telling and not enough showing (a fairly common flaw in my first drafts and I’ll fix it later) and description is sorely lacking. (I struggle with description. Fixing the tell/show thing is a lot easier than describing people and places.)

Sometimes the words are yanked kicking and screaming from my head to the screen and sometimes they flow willingly. The kicking and screaming ones are the worst parts: stilted, awkward, and definitely not happy about being forced to come to the party.

And I’m now at over 23,000 words and still haven’t introduced the second main character.

I think I’ve figured out how to fix that, though. I’m going to be cutting a lot of what I’ve written (basically anything to do with Boyin, which should cut a fair number of words) and make him the second main character. I can merge Boyin’s current back story with the back story created for the original second main character, Arthen. (And get rid of the name Arthen which I wasn’t really happy with anyhow.) I’m still not sure where or when he’ll show up now, but hopefully soon, since Zin is almost free of the Fortress.

I might also cut a lot of the stuff at the beginning, before Zin leaves his home, and put it in journal entries at the start of each chapter instead. We’ll see.

But all of that is for later. Cutting stuff from the novel is for rewrites and editing, not for first drafts. In the meantime, I’ll just cut all of those scenes mentally and once Zin meets his partner I’ll use Boyin and pretend that everything else never happened.

Meanwhile, I’m addicted to the stats page on the NaNoWriMo site. It lets me set small goals for myself as I write.

For instance:
Words Written Today = 1673 means that I just need 27 more words to hit 1700. (I told you they were small goals.)

Total Words Written = 23044 means that I need 56 more words to hit 23100.

And by then the number of words I need to hit par for the day will be low enough that I can reach the next hundred on it. (I keep a calculator open on my computer and run numbers through it every time I update my word count, which is frequently.)

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get lucky, the words will flow, and I’ll have a 3K day.

 

 

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Goals for October 2017

We’re in October already, which means that November and NaNoWriMo are just around the corner, so it’s time to set up my goals for the month.

The main one, of course, will be to decide on a project for NaNoWriMo and get it outlined.

The other main one is to get the additional scenes for Onyx Sun written and inserted into the manuscript, then get it printed so I can do another round of paper edits on it. At this point I’m relatively certain that it is not going to be published this year.

I’m really balking at working on it, finding a million other things to do instead.

Why?

I’m not sure, but for some reason it just feels like my heart isn’t in it right now. The Academy of the Accord is calling. It’s been on my mind more and more lately. I really want to get back to it. I miss it, miss the characters, and I want to get back to it.

But Onyx Sun is my current project and I’d really like to finish it and get it published but…

But my heart’s not really in it.

My heart is with The Academy of the Accord and I’m starting to resent Onyx Sun for keeping me from it.

So, remember Friday, and that novel (prequel to The Academy of the Accord) that I’m not outlining? Yeah? Well, that non-outline now has an epilogue and the whole thing is looking like a good candidate for November.

It doesn’t have nearly enough plot points yet, and the main characters are still lacking some important things, like… oh… descriptions.

And names.

Definitely need names. (Actually, I need to check the current series and see if I ever named either of them. I think the wizard might have been named in passing, but it’s more likely that there is a note to myself to name him.)

Anyhow, writing down what the epilogue was going to be made me have to write notes to check and change things in the series.

Then I started making more notes that may end up changing other things in the series – mostly in the later books. (Book Seven, especially, and Book Twelve.)

I also wrote myself a note “Is this prequel going to delay the series?”

Then I wrote some more notes about things I will need to edit based on the epilogue, and then another note to myself: “Yep! Series may be delayed.”

(I hope not! I sincerely hope not. 2020 is a good release date.)

So, I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.

So yesterday I typed up what I have of the outline so far and today I wrote down another idea to include in it. It’s a rather vague idea and I’m not sure how (or if) it’s going to work, but it’s written down. (It kind of doesn’t fit the universe but I think I can make it work.)

 

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Friday Already?

Why didn’t someone tell me?

Seriously, I’m having a major issue with the day of the week today. On the one hand, I know it’s Friday because I have an appointment to get my car inspected tomorrow (Saturday).  But on the other hand, I had stuff to mail today and almost panicked thinking it was Saturday and I had to get to the post office before noon.

Work being weird isn’t helping. The kid I ride the van with was supposed to be back in school on Thursday, but then they called and said he’d be back on Wednesday.  So, yay for a three day pay instead of a two day.

But Thursday morning I got a phone call telling me he was back in the hospital until the 29th. A few hours later I got a phone call telling me he’d be released on the 22nd instead, and would be going back to school on the 25th. (Could someone please make up my mind?)

So, that’s where work stands, at least for now.

Despite the lack of structure with my job I have managed to get a little more writing done, but we’re coming up on a space battle and I’m dragging my feet (fingers?) because I really hate writing fight scenes.

So, inspire me, folks. Or at least let me know I’m not alone.

What kind of scene do you find the most difficult to write?

 

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Anything But Routine

This is the promised follow-up to Monday’s post.

Well, so much for routine.

When the staffing agency was telling me about this job they said it would be from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, then from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  (I’m riding a school bus (well, van) with a special needs child.)

Great! I thought. Three hours in between to work on writing or whatever.

Ha! It’s more like from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm with an hour from 11:00 to noon which turns out to be more like half an hour sometimes. (It’s a three hour round trip twice a day, plus time to unload and load the kids. And that doesn’t take into account traffic and road construction.)

So, anyhow…

My first day was Tuesday and I was pretty wiped out. I hadn’t slept well Monday night, and Tuesday was rainy and grey and dull and it was almost impossible to stay awake. I was also getting moderately car sick, which didn’t help.

So, nothing got done on Tuesday other than survival.

Wednesday was better. I slept well Tuesday night so I was able to use my down time (“lunch” and waiting for the kids to get out of school) to work on… not writing exactly (as in, I didn’t write any sentences for a novel) but I did start on some character sketches that I need for Soraine’s crew.  Only one of the three has a name so far (well, maybe two – I think I named one in the last attempt at writing this scene) but they all had descriptions by the end of the day.

Thursday…

Thursday was not so good.

The kid was getting a little out of hand and being a distraction to the bus driver. When I tried to get him to stop he hit me in the face, then bit my arm. (Fortunately I was wearing a hoodie so all I have is a bruise.) By the time all was said and done I’d been hit in the face three times, head-butted in the upper arm I don’t know how many times, and warded off a couple more bite attempts. I think I got kicked somewhere too but he’d taken his shoes off so that’s no biggie.

But on a more productive note, I rewrote my notes for Soraine’s crew, enhanced their descriptions, and actually gave another one a name.

And that brings us to today.

Today started out well. I actually wrote some real words. The kind that go in a novel.

Then the van arrived and my work day began, and about an hour later I got hit in the face again.

So I called the agency to tell them what had happened and that I was sorry, but I was done.  They agreed that I shouldn’t have to deal with the abuse and would take me off the assignment after today’s shift.

Then they called me back with another question: “Where was the monitor?”

Me: “What monitor?”

Apparently there was supposed to be a monitor/aide on the bus to deal with the behaviors and I was only there for medical emergencies.

After much back and forth and at the very last minute they got an aide to start on Monday so I’m not unemployed at all.

Yet.

We’ll see. This whole thing has been a SNAFU heading for FUBAR since it started and I’m seriously out of patience.

So, I’m still trying to find my routine, but I did get some progress made.

Finally.

And as promised, here it is. (Please keep in mind that this is a rough draft.)

(This is part of an added scene for Onyx Sun. Taliya and Ayess have responded to a distress call and have rescued the crew of the StarFire, captained by Soraine, who will be getting a spin-off eventually.)

Soraine was tall and busty and flamboyant – everything that Taliya wasn’t – but there was genuine relief and gratitude in her eyes.

“Captain,” she said, extending her hand. “Thank you for the rescue. I was beginning to lose hope.”

“I’m glad we were in range,” Taliya replied, accepting her handshake.  “You are a bit far out from the normal shipping lanes.”

“Yeah, well…”  Soraine shrugged, a glint of mischief in her eyes. She turned to the three people behind her. “Allow me to introduce my crew.”

Taliya suppressed a smile as Soraine avoided the issue of her ship’s coordinates.

“This is Olleen Osten, my engineer.”

Olleen was a short thin man with fine blond hair plastered to his scalp. He wore a form fitting heavy shirt with another looser heavy shirt over it. Round green eyes darted in constant movement and seemed to be looking in different directions at the same time.

“Welcome.” She extended a hand but he ignored it, giving her nothing more than a quick nod, and it was only a lifetime of training that kept her from frowning.

“Chelu Sulov, my navigator.”

Chelu was tall and slender, her head and shoulders covered with long fleshy protrusions that stirred and shifted slightly around her. It was the protrusions that had earned her species the name Medusens from the humans who had first made contact with them.

“Welcome aboard. We may have the ship a bit too cool and low-lit for Fidian comfort, but feel free to adjust the climate in your cabin to whatever you would like.”

Slitted eyes registered surprise as she accepted Taliya’s proffered hand.

“Thank you.”  The warm voice carried an inflection that said she was grateful not just for the welcome but also for the courtesy of using the proper name for her race.

“And this is my first officer,” Soraine said. “Dektlan Arigral.”

Dektlan was tall and burly, with a wide mouth and leathery skin. He was completely hairless and his upper body was covered with geometric tattoos.

Taliya’s gaze traveled over the markings and she smiled and interlocked her fingers in front of her and bowed slightly.  “Mahishi.”

He started and withdrew the hand he had extended, interlocking his fingers and bowing.  “Sho-mah. Mahasho.” He tilted his head curiously as he straightened, and Taliya smiled.

“I had a friend who was a Desrath. I spent a lot of time with him and his family and learned their – your – customs.  And enough of the language to probably not get myself executed.  And this,” she added, pulling the collar of her shirt to the side to reveal a geometric tattoo.

“What happened?”

Taliya took a deep breath. “There was a fire. Arson. They – and a lot of other good people – did not survive.”

His eyes closed briefly.  “I knew that house.  They were honorable people.”

“The youngest boy survived. I’ve been trying to find a sponsor so he could return to your home world and be raised in your culture, but…”

“But my people are suspicious of the motives of outsiders, especially humans.”

She nodded.

“My family will sponsor him.  We’ll make arrangements when we are back at our home port.”

 

 

 

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Unhappy Camper

Well, this hasn’t been going according to plan.

And by “this” I mean “Camp NaNoWriMo” of course.

And by “plan” I mean at least one thousand words a day.

It’s day three and as I write this I have written less than a thousand words.

What happened?

I wish I knew.

Saturday I had every intention (Yeah, yeah, the road to Hell is well-paved. I know) of writing three thousand words.  I managed a little over seven hundred.  (Soraine is being a very uncooperative pirate captain and is trying to do some sort of odd heroic thing that is going to completely mess up other stuff… But maybe I should just scrap the other stuff and let her go and do it.  But anyhow, I digress.)

I did have one hellacious headache all day, though, which didn’t help.

So, Saturday was a bust.

Sunday was even worse – I managed to scrounge up another two hundred words or so, despite the headache that staggered in from Saturday.

And so far today hasn’t been very productive either. I was running errands for a large part of the day, though, so at least I know where some of the time went, unlike the two previous days.

But still… How did I get this far behind already?

I think maybe part of it was the departure from what I had planned. I’m fighting against the natural flow of the characters and story, trying to force it into what I had planned.

Or maybe it’s that I didn’t really have a whole lot planned for this scene, but when it made a 90 degree turn from my expectations I still insisted that it needed to follow along my non-existent planned route.

Either way it seems that the problem is my reluctance to give up control and go with the flow. (Maybe because what I’m writing is an extra scene to a more or less completed (a beta reader wanted more added) novel that I’m trying to finish up?)

At any rate, the solution now seems clear.  Strike through a lot of what I have written (don’t want to lose the word count) and start fresh, letting the characters lead the way.

On Friday I’ll let you know how that works out.

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Families II

 

Way back at the end of March I wrote a blog post on Families.   It’s about the kind you (well, your characters) are born into and how they shape you/your characters.  And I said that my next post would be about the kind of family that you find or create. That didn’t happen because the next post was for Camp NaNoWriMo and for some reason the topic got pushed aside. But seeing as yesterday was Father’s Day I’ve been thinking about families again so here it is, at long last.

I think that most people have someone (or multiple someones) that they consider to be family, even if not related by blood. For instance, my roommate is my best friend and the sister I never had. (And the person I’m most likely to murder, which I’ve been told is the actual definition of a sister.)  My mother even says she has two daughters: one genetic and one generic.

(I also have someone that I think of as a daughter.)

In the Academy of the Accord series, it is noted that families you “find” are often better than those you are born into. It’s also noted that the school feels like a family, mostly because the leaders have formed their own sort of family unit.  Marsden, the Commander of the Garrison, is the father Kordelm never had and the one Wellhym wishes he’d had.  Vinadi, the school’s Headmaster, is viewed in much the same light by Torlew and (especially) Yhonshel, and as a surrogate father by Caristen. (Kordelm and Wellhym are warriors; Vinadi, Torlew and Caristen are wizards, and Yhonshel is both.)

When the “second generation” starts, they all think of Senzu as a daughter. (Her race doesn’t have families as we think of them so she doesn’t think of them as fathers.)

When Draethlen joins the group, he thinks of Marsden as a father. (He doesn’t remember his own family.)  Kordelm and Wellhym think of him as a little brother, and as the other cadets join their family group they (along with Torlew and Caristen) think of all of them as “the boys” – the same way that Vinadi and Marsden think of them.

(Kordelm and Wellhym do, however, refrain from thinking of Marsden as the boy’s grandfather, mostly out of a sense of self-preservation of their pride; both are relatively certain Marsden could probably still “dust the pit” with them in a spar.)

The family that the characters form is unbreakable, unlike the ones some of them were born into.  They share a common bond, not of blood, but of Honor.

In other not-yet-published (or even completed) novels, I also have families that were found, not born. In Book Two of the Other Mages trilogy, Katheri is confused when a visitor helps with the dishes, thinking that it isn’t right for a guest to be put to work like that. Trebor and D’Laron explain to her that Luthen isn’t a guest, he’s family.

Doing the dishes becomes sort of an inside joke then, and when they later send Katheri to the kitchen to do the dishes (so they can talk about things she’s not ready to be involved in yet) she sees it not as being dismissed, but as being accepted.

And after all, isn’t that what family is?  People who accept you as you?

 

 

 

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Plot Bunny Census #1*

I’m not quite sure how the conversation started, but I think we were comparing how many plot bunnies we had, so I started making a list of books in progress or planning, and it’s… well… Let’s just say I’d better discover the Fountain of Youth or a Philosopher’s Stone.

I thought maybe I should lay my shame out here for all to see.

1) Onyx Sun
2) The 12 (or maybe13) books of the Academy of the Accord series
3) The Other Mages trilogy
4) The Betrayal trilogy (desperately ISO a better name)
5) Sequel to Sanguine
6) Sequel to Onyx Sun
7) A spinoff from Onyx Sun (Soraine)
8) A possible spinoff from Onyx Sun (Jad)
9) Two sequels and a prequel to Song and Sword
10) Lost House
11) Sea Witch
12) Dragon’s Tear
13) Paranormal Picnic
14) Hedge House
15) a nameless novel that involves a Minotaur and a Sasquatch
16) Disturbed Magic (which is going to end up being a trilogy)
17) Benn and Rin (needs a name)
18) Fighting Back (needs a new name)
19) Guardians of the Abyss (probably needs a new name)
20) another novel in need of a new name
21) Rainbow Rescue (in need of a new name)
22) SRish (the name makes sense to me, but, yes, it’s in need of a new name)
23) Vishkaya
24) a Demon and Angel story that started as a flash fiction piece
25) genie in a bottle
26) The Sword and the Shield

That’s something like 45 or 46 novels.

I’m 56.

Do the math.

And that’s not counting a bunch of stuff in my “Plot Bunny bag” or in a file called “story starts.”

Now, in all fairness, some of the above are written, or nearly so.

Onyx Sun, for instance, is in revision and should be out this year.

The Academy of the Accord is an editing nightmare but I’m making headway.

The nameless trilogy (Betrayal) is written and just needs to start the editing process.

Hedge House is mostly done.

The first book of Disturbed Magic is done.

Lost House is… maybe a quarter of the way done?  Maybe a third?

The Minotaur and Sasquatch is done, but needs to be expanded.

The Other Mages is… well… we won’t talk about Book Two, okay? I might make it my next year’s project, or tackle it after I get Onyx Sun released.  Book One is done, and Book Three just needs some massive changing but is mostly done, if I could just figure out what Book Two is doing…

The Sword and the Shield is almost done: just a couple more scenes to write, really.  But it needs a massive editing job. (As in, I need to completely write out one character and find another way to advance a relationship that she was unwittingly (and unwillingly) a part of.)

Most of the rest, however, are a few paragraphs to a few chapters in length.

Hmm…

I wonder what would happen if I wrote a sentence or a paragraph in each one every day?

 

*Someday I’ll add the contents of the plot bunny bag and the “story starts” file to the list.

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Camp is Coming

Well, it’s been an interesting week, writing-wise.

I was making pretty good progress on the Elven Bard novel (sequel to Song and Sword) and then…

And then a character showed up that I wasn’t expecting and sort of trashed my scene. I have no idea why she’s there, either, but I know I need to find a way to get that scene back on track – there’s stuff that needs to happen in it that got pushed aside because of her arrival. (I think I just figured out how to fix it.  Work in the other stuff before her presence is announced.)

But anyhow, I kept going to see if I could figure out how her being there was going to play out, and then I realized that the conversation I was writing just plain would not have happened in that setting.

But the conversation is important.  It can work into a sub plot that’s been mentioned (and which will be of more importance in the next book) and it makes use of the above-mentioned character (Inizi, for anyone who is curious) but it has to happen in a different kingdom.  (I hate writing scenes out of order, I really do, but this was an accident.)

So I added a bunch of white space before it and will use it when the characters get to the other kingdom, hopefully some time this month.

Why this month?

Because next month is Camp NaNoWriMo and the cabins are already opening for it.

Yes, I’ll be doing it.  No, I’m not sure if I’m going to commit to 50K for it.  I’ll be doing NaPoWriMo again too, and job stress is really getting to me so I don’t know if I can do 50,000 words of novel, 30 poems, and cope with work.

Anyhow, keeping Camp word count separate from your main Word doc is hard enough without trying to work it in around already existing scenes. And since I do want to work on this during Camp I’d like to get caught up to that scene by the end of the month.

I have a 9k word goal for this month, so we shall see.

Of course, I can always work on something else during Camp. It’s not like I have a scarcity of plot bunnies and started novels. (I think my count currently stands at 40, plus I’m sure I’m missing some.) I’d really like to get the first draft of this book wrapped up this year, though, preferably before November so I can start the next sequel then.

Or I can use Camp to finally complete the current round of revisions to Onyx Sun.  That might be a more productive use of it.  Has anyone ever done that? If so, how do you verify it at the end?

 

 

 

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Sunday Snippet February 26, 2017

I decided to still post from the twelfth book of The Academy of the Accord series.  This is something that I’m pretty sure I’m going to cut, but I like it too much to just let it disappear, so it will probably be transformed into a side story or something.

Jorsen took Autheren home with him for the summer and the two of them went on a sailing trip up the coast for a few days. A storm blew in and they took shelter for the night in a cave on the cliff, only to wake up and discover that they were being watched by an Afiani, a bird-like race that is not known for friendliness toward humans. I’m picking up from last week’s snippet, in which Autheren (who is known for his friendliness to everything and everyone) has invited Lirit to join them for breakfast.

Lirit had just explained that among her people, “Life mates usually are the same sex.  For male and female to nest together for life is very unusual.”

“It’s the opposite in most of our society,” Jorsen said as he knelt to build up the fire for cooking.  “Most people mate for life with the opposite sex.  Same sex partnerships are…not common and are… sometimes looked down on, like there is something wrong with the people involved.  That’s not true, but that’s what some people seem to think.  But Autheren and I are a bonded wizard and Warder pair.  That’s also not very common, but it creates a different sort of relationship, one that pretty much doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.”

She tilted her head curiously.  “Why would anyone else care who you nested with?”

Jorsen laughed. “That’s a good question.  Unfortunately, it’s not one I’ve ever heard a good answer to.”

 

 

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

 

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Sunday Snippet February 19, 2017

I decided to still post from the twelfth book of The Academy of the Accord series.  This is something that I’m pretty sure I’m going to cut, but I like it too much to just let it disappear, so it will probably be transformed into a side story or something.

Jorsen took Autheren home with him for the summer and the two of them went on a sailing trip up the coast for a few days. A storm blew in and they took shelter for the night in a cave on the cliff, only to wake up and discover that they were being watched by an Afiani, a bird-like race that is not known for friendliness toward humans. I’m picking up from last week’s snippet, in which Autheren (who is known for his friendliness to everything and everyone) has invited Lirit to join them for breakfast and they are trying to get dressed without exposing themselves to her.

(Autheren is currently using a levitation spell to hold a blanket between them and Lirit while they dress.)

 

“You mate for life?”

“Ideally, yes.”  Jorsen tucked his shirt in and hesitated, but belted his sword around his waist.  He was fairly certain that she was no threat to them, but he had Autheren to protect. He gave the wizard’s shoulder a squeeze and nodded, and Autheren let the blanket drop.

Lirit studied the two of them for a moment.  “The two of you are mates?”

Jorsen glanced at Autheren and smiled. “You could say that.” 

She nodded.  “Life mates usually are the same sex.  For male and female to nest together for life is very unusual.”

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

 

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