Friday, January 28, 2011

Excuses

I have been doing awful about writing. I did plan a very successful birthday party for a 4 year old, bless a baby, have houseguests and buy a very cute new netbook. I love the netbook. I have also done a few workouts which felt great and makes me think ok, I need to write now. :) I also read a steampunk novel. I had several objections to the book but I really wish I could write a good steampunk novel. There is something awesome about the whole steampunk world. My husband says he'll collaborate on that one. Though I imagine even if we did collaborate, he would not want publishing creds for it.

Well, I need to get lunch and then pick up the munchkin. More next Friday with less excuses I hope.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Revision

With the baby's unique sleep schedule, revisions of my book are going a bit slow. I have decided to completely rewrite chapter one, not just edit. The biggest change is that the story is beginning a few hours earlier. Before, the novel begins with Inesh's dad's funeral. Now it begins with him returning to camp and discovering his dad is dead. Why the change?

1) Contrast of emotions- now it starts with triumph and drops to despair. I believe this contrast makes his despair stronger.
2) More immediate emotions- at the funeral, the emotions are slightly less raw. By showing the moment he finds out, the emotion is deeper, unprocessed.

I also made a slight change in how Inesh's father died. Before, his father was on the battlefield. Now, the demons infiltrate the camp and kill his father. It is a strike force. This is far more personal and represents a clear change in tactics. It also would make Inesh feel more threatened because the demons have entered his world, a place that is supposed to be safe. On the battlefield, men die all the time, but they rarely die while in their tent. While a minor change, I think it will make the rest of the story flow better.

These two changes pretty much require a full rewrite of the first chapter. Starting a few hours earlier changes the way things are presented so it isn't just telling what happened a few minutes earlier, it is changing how the world and characters are shown. It is redundant to look back at the battle if we already saw the character in battle.

Once rewritten fully, I'll have to read both chapters and decide which way works better. And then on to chapter 2, which also has bigger rewrites needed. More on that later.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Battles!

I know very little about battles. I have played a few war games but I am not all that interested in warfare. My husband got me a very simple book reviewing key battles throughout the world. some were important because they signaled the end of the was, some the beginning, some turning points, some because they introduced new technologies or ignited public imagination. Reading this has been very informative. There are lots of pictures too. :) Some probably obvious but hadn't occurred to me realizations:

1) Soldiers loot. I always thought the looting took place when the battle was over. I was wrong. The enemy realizes they are getting their butts kicked and just runs. They leave a whole lot of stuff behind. Do you pursue or try for your share of the loot? Undisciplined armies full of conscripts pretty much always go for the loot, despite orders. Somehow, the image of people battling around someone as he searches for money in a tent amuses me, even if it is realistic.

2) Horses require technology. I visualize horses with knights charging. To be a shock troop, you need stirrups to hold you in. You can also use horses with chariots, which is how they used them in the past. In the battle of Medea, the chariots had two passengers, one to drive the horse, one to shoot at people. When you ran out of arrows, you threw your javelin. And if you got stuck in the battle, you had a short sword to battle your way out.

3) A win is not always a win.

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 here we come!

As a new year begins and my little one has started sleeping through the night, I am refocusing on my writing. I am not sure yet how much time or energy I will have, but I know I still have the desire to write. I would love to get published this year, though in many ways that is out of my hands. However, I can work to be the best writer I can. Towards that end I am trying to blog my progress weekly, reporting on these five basic goals.

New writing: I currently have a scifi short story I am very excited over and two novels with basic plot outlines.

Editing: I think good editing is the difference between good and great. Perhaps someday I will get so good that isn’t true, but for now, editing is an important skill. I have 2 short stories that need a final edit and my novel still needs some work. Hopefully those new stories will soon move to editing as well.

Research: While I have a decent education, I think there are many, many areas were my knowledge is weak. I don’t write anything where my degree would be helpful. On top of adding authenticity to the worlds I create, increased knowledge should help inspire me. My initial plan is wiki and perhaps the nano boards. Once I have a bit more focus, I can check out some books from the library. Some ideas for research I currently have:

  • Warfare/Strategy
  • Fighting/Weaponry
  • Animal care
  • Architecture
  • Navigation
  • Foods
  • Roman history (might be related to one of those novels not yet written)

Publication: Publication requires a great deal more work than simply having a story. I need a synopsis and a query and a list of agents. Shorts are a bit simpler, but still need to mail things out. While at the beginning of the year, this might be ignored, hopefully, I’ll get my writing up to snuff before the end of the year.

Exercise: How can I mix a personal goal in with my writing goals? Easy. When I work out, my brain works better. I can write more cleanly and edit clearer. Also, it increases my kinesthetic awareness. I write speculative fiction and my characters tend to be very active. When I have worked out, I am aware of muscles and movements. When my character swings a sword, I can better visualize the movement, the effect of the sword’s weight, what other muscles it will pull, the change in weight in the feet. In an ideal world, I would master fencing (with long swords, broad swords, etc), learn to fight with a quarterstaff, get a horse and ride daily, hike a mountain except the list of physical stuff my characters do is a bit longer than I can practically handle. So, I will settle for increased body awareness through yoga and wii obstacle courses. And reading about those things online. J

Saturday, February 20, 2010

WIP: For the Gods

Ananda is content in her life of meditation and prayer. When the gods call her on a mission to retrieve holy words from a distant land, she agrees, though it takes her from everything she loves.

Inesh will do anything for his people, including attacking the home of the gods. After the disastrous battle, the gods offer Inesh a deal: the freedom of his people in exchange for him acting as a body guard to their chosen agent.

In addition to the mundane challenges (bandits, sickness, exhaustion), shape shifting demons believe that eating the flesh of the gods' chosen one will grant them the powers of the gods.

Ananda's vow of pacifism will be challenged by the constant assaults. Inesh, used to using his sword as the answer to every difficulty, must learn to find less violent solutions.