Archive for October, 2006

Next Steps

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

I wrote the new ending for the novel (ended up being more than one scene). I’ll update the “final” wordcount soon. Now it’s time to get some feedback from readers, and that will determine what the happens next there.

The other novel I stated working on in January will remain on hold for a bit longer. I’m still excited about the idea, but I wasn’t giving it the time it deserved and I need to go back and flesh out my characters and worldbuilding some more.

Unless something stops me, I’m going to participate in National Novel Writing Month. That gives me a few days to solidify my idea before I need to start writing. I’ve always wanted to try NaNoWriMo, and while I don’t exactly have the time, I am between projects, so I might as well give it a go.

There are a few reasons why I want to do this. I need to learn to embrace the bad first draft. I need to write with the intention of rewriting it all later. That might sound backwards, but having just been through a novel revision on a book it’s something I need to try. If you’ve never been there, I’m not sure I can explain it. Besides, I want to have something else done by the end of the year. I have other reasons, but they are more abstract.

“You Can’t Win.”

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

One of the great life lessons my dad taught me was “You can’t win.” He taught me this every time he had a certain type of argument with my mother. Once it was over he would explain to me that he could not win these arguments, and that I would never win them either. I haven’t thought about this in a while, but just a moment ago, my wife came into my office to yell at me because when she came upstairs to go to bed she thought I might be hiding, ready to jump out and scare her. I wasn’t. I was checking my email before going to bed. Apparently she figured this out, and came to yell at me that it would have been horrible had I been planning on scaring her. In fact, she was scared that I might be doing something to scare her, even though I wasn’t. I asked for clarification that I was being yelled at for not scaring her. “No!”, she replied.

I’m so glad my dad prepared me for this. Thanks dad! Good night!

1-Pass Day 35 (88020/88020)

Sunday, October 15th, 2006
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I have one TBD scene at the end of the book left to write, but the type-in is done.

1-Pass Day 34 (79370/90351)

Saturday, October 14th, 2006
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Didn’t get a lot of days in editing this week, but I think I made up for it today. The ever shrinking type-in pile is looking pretty short. I’m hoping next week is it.

1-Pass Day 33 (71519/93173)

Thursday, October 12th, 2006
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Made some more progress last night. I’m feeling pretty ready to be done now. If anyone has some spare time they can lend me, I’d appreciate it.

Totally unrelated, but I found this pretty amusing. Oh, and if anyone wants to buy me one of these, I wouldn’t complain. I have just the spot for it in the yard.

1-Pass Day 32 (68501/94126)

Monday, October 9th, 2006
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This morning I had a great momentum going, and had life allowed it to continue I may have finished the whole thing today. Still, not a bad day all said.

The next scene is very fast paced and covered with corrections, and my eyes are crossing, so I think that’s it for tonight.

1-Pass Day 31 (60138/96439)

Friday, October 6th, 2006
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Not too bad. I hope I make some good progress this weekend.

1-Pass Day 30 (56346/97038)

Thursday, October 5th, 2006
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Got some more done last night. I didn’t have much time, but last nights pages needed a bit less work than the night before, which was nice. I’ve reached one of my favorite sections, so I’m looking forward to getting back into it soon

You Write Fantasy? Isn’t That a Lot of Work?

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Holly Lisle posted the the introduction to Holly Lisle’s Create A Culture Clinic, the next volume in her Worldbuilding Course. Reading it really drove some things home for me. My wife often asks why I choose to write stories set in a fantasy world that I have to create, giving myself that much extra work to do (other people ask too, but she asks most often). There are two problems with that. Firstly, it’s not so much a choice so much as when I sit down to write, I write fantasy stories. I didn’t make a conscious decision to write fantasy stories. Secondly, I don’t think it is more work.

No one seems to believe me on either of those, but the second one seems to dwarf the first in peoples minds. How can I possibly believe such a thing? Because it’s true.

If I want to have a race of purple headed bird people in my world I have some work to do. How to they interact with other races? How are their lives different than humans? What’s their history? Do they speak their own language? Do they eat worms? That’s just the start, and perhaps these violet faced flying folk will only play a passing role in my story.

What’s that? I’m failing to prove my point? Be patient.

If I want to set a story in modern day Saginaw, Michigan, where I’ve never been, I still have quite a bit of work to do. What are the people like? What’s the economic and social structure? What local slang is in use, and by what age groups? What clothing lines are popular with high schoolers? What’s the ethnic makeup of the city? What color are the police cars? How many schools do they have? That too is just the start.

See, in the fantasy world, I make my own answers. Sure I have to make them work in a believable context, and I might make some stupid choices I have to later deal with in some way, but I can’t really be wrong. After all, I’m the world authority on those purple headed bird people. You might think people will be forgiving in the second scenario. It’s only fiction after all, right? Not that I’ve seen. Authors who take liberties with the world we live in get ripped apart. Maybe not all the time, but I’ve seen it happen about really stupid stuff.

So why not write about my hometown, or somewhere I know more about firsthand? I’ve always felt I had a lot of good reasons why I chose not to do that. But Holly’s introduction gave me another one by pointing out a big danger in writing about the world you live in. If you fail to capture the culture in the story, once the culture changes you’re story will no longer work. Yikes! It’s not that it can’t be done, and maybe I could do it, but it sounds like a lot of extra work.

1-Pass Day 29 (54467/97296)

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006
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Made some more progress last night. Hopefully I’ll have some more time tonight.