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Green Night is officially finished. Thank the stars and quasars it's done and out of my hair until it comes back from one final reader. Ugh. I still have to write a synopsis and query and all that. I'm getting pretty good at synopsizing, though, thanks to workshops.
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I'm starting line edits today. This is the first time I've used The 10% Solution on something this long. We'll see if I go nuts by weekend's end.
I'd thought my novel was a clunky 145,000 words, but then I realized I was still including some scenes that I'd hacked out in a fit of ruthlessness. (I feel like an abusive parent, but hopefully I'm hacking off unsightly tumors rather than cute pink toes.)
And so, my novel is 135,769 words, pre-polish. Ten percent is 13,577 words, leaving it at 122,000, which I can live with.
Already I did the first scene, taking it from 1,841 to 1,793. Okay, fifty words isn't ten percent, but it's still satisfying.
Time for a celebratory cookie.
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Bit of a writing breakthrough today. It started last night, when I was putting off analyzing a long complicated scene. Right before bed I realized that the answer to why the scene seemed to have no purpose (interesting scene, still no purpose) was that it was needed to be rewritten entirely from the pov of a totally different character. Cue groans and passing out. I'm forcing myself to go over my scene checklist (see below cut) for each scene. I have to force a choice out of at least one of the characters in each scene, something that affects events in future scenes. So I forced the proper pov character to take action. what action should they take? Why, that big thing he does, that before was halfway through the book, but is now scooted up a few chapters? I'll move it forward even more! Cue a lot of mental dragging and watching scenery go flying every which way. So that shook things up for the best, and it forced me to dump a second scene and replace it with something that will be even more exciting and plot relevant. And hopefully have mermaids.

I say it a zillion times, but I'm going to keep saying it. I'm so glad I do this for fun, because I'd hate to think I'd be crushed if I did a whole lotta work which I had to toss and replace with more work, which got tossed, and then replaced that, and in the end, no one even liked the book and it never sold...ugh. I'm not letting myself go there.

Read more... )
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I've had a couple dreams lately where I've tried to talk to guys I know (whom I've either dated or crushed on) and was unable to, either because the opportunity never came up, we just weren't able to understand each other, or, in one case, he was in a coma. I think this means I've lost touch with my animus, and I'm not sure what that means for me, or what I can do about it. But hey, I get to go mucking about in my subconscious, which I haven't had to do in a long time, and which I actually enjoy.

Other things I enjoy but don't often get to do: study at the university library. Having seen this awesome video on Youtube (see below) I realized I needed to study Georgia and the surrounding cultures for my novel. So I dug up books on the Scythians and Sarmatians, as well as more recent stuff. This is all to brainstorm the imaginary culture my characters are descended from. So I'll find awesome tidbits like how Sarmatian maidens supposedly had to kill a man in battle before they could marry. Sarmatian women were equal, Scythian women, not so much. My fake culture's women are somewhere in between, but I've filed it away to use for a neighboring culture. My evening was like that, skimming through books and mentally dealing out ideas like cards to different parts of the cultures. When I found something that was relevant to the culture I'm immediately focusing on, I copied it or checked out the book.

And then I found a knee chair on the way home, and I carried it to my work for my co-worker who's been looking for one. It needs some love, but Ryan's just the kind of fixer-upper to do that. Now my biceps hurt, but I'm happy.
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Melty brain
When I have written lately, it's been good, but there are days like today when I can't summon the energy. I'm going over and over my rewrite notes, figuring out what I need to do and projecting the likely spots in the book I can do them.
I do a lot of worldbuilding, but I also bullshit a lot. I now have to go through the stuff my writing group called me on and not bullshit it.
I've got my list of stuff I need to clarify, and stuff I need to have in the first three chapters or so. I take one item that appears on both lists and scribble it atop a new notebook page, and brainstorm away.

Current de-bullshitting session: clarify the necromancers' place in society. Before, if a reader was like, "these necromancers seem to be important and feared, why is that?" My answer would be, "because they're necromancers, duh."

Up next: Does my title have anything to do with anything at all in the book?
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Last night, I put something through my critique group for the first time since we restructured it. It was also the first time the new group used our novel critiquing system rather than the short story system. We read the first three chapters, then decide if we think we can tackle the whole novel. I think it worked really well. My group rocks.
I'd already given [ profile] kehrli the full novel, and he printed it out at work in two neat, coil-bound volumes with laminated sparkly gold covers. <3

I got a couple of moments of, "you know that thing you always do in your books and that everyone yells at you for, but you've actually not done in this one? You should do that here." (Specifically, I always throw out too many characters and plot information at once. In this book, the start's more leisurely, but the plot doesn't really get going for two chapters. I'm pretty sure I can find a way to have it both ways.

We talked about using clothing descriptions to relay the technological level of the society. I've done my best to downplay the generic medieval fantasy-land stuff in my story, and as a result, I think my world-building's lopsided. As in, all my details are of non-generic stuff, but if it's generic, then I don't mention it, even if it's something important like the tech level.
nonionay: (wwjd)
I have to write an addition to a scene that will involve one of my necromancers going through the enormous pile of work requests he gets everyday, and figuring out which jobs he'll take. Because of the way my necromancers work, this involves raising the dead, certain types of healing (broken bones being easiest--they usually leave disease to the priestesses) and exorcisms.
So yeah, slush pile from hell.
nonionay: (nano summoning)
Zero Draft = Done!
Currently at 116816 very barfy words.
nonionay: (Default)
Just one more scene to write in Draft Zero of Green Night by the River. Since the first part of the climax and the first scene are merged, I've just gone back to read the first scene I wrote two months ago at the start of November. I don't know how anyone manages to write a novel straight through with minimal revisions. Much of my world-building takes place as I write, as I figure out what the story needs, so there are so many stupid little details I need to change. I talk about a king in the start (and one of the main character's names is spelled differently) but then I changed "king" to "Prince" and still have to figure out what exotic title I'm using in the place of that. (Something based on Khan would be perfect, but I just finished Daniel Abraham's "Shadow in Summer", and he uses that, so I'd feel guilty.)
I have one scene that contains the note, "rewrite with everyone sitting on the floor." Jesus, I hate this part. And I'm not even there yet! One scene left, with three different versions of the same action. I'm procrastinating. But dammit, the first thing I'm going to do this year is finish a draft.


Dec. 29th, 2008 09:18 pm
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The Running of the Zombies!
Here's a snip from what I wrote today--the climactic battle. Morya's running through a city with the zombies his family is controlling. He's the only one to volunteer to keep the zombies from eating anyone they're not supposed to.

Read more... )


Dec. 21st, 2008 04:37 pm
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This is from the pov of a character I've been struggling with. I now love him, because it appears he enjoys scaring himself silly.
Relevant backstory: They're a bunch of necromancers hanging out on an isolated island while making a zombie army.

Read more... )
nonionay: (wwjd)
And SLAM! At 86000 words, I just hit my first solid plot wall. (As in, I don't know what happens next, plot wall, as opposed to everything I usually angst about) I know what's beyond the wall, and I could cop out if I wanted to, but I need my hero to fail at something, and I need him to fail spectacularly. At the moment, I can only think of how to make him fail pathetically. Right now, my choices for him are: run, die, or successfully cripple the bad guy. None of these are acceptable. Likely, I just need to my icon and ask, "What Would Joker Do?"

Meh. I've got to clean the day-job office, and that's good for working out knots. I'm going back to Jo Beverley.

I also realized that, if I stick to the magical/metaphysical system of my world, there are times when my semi-amnesiac hero should regain the entirety of his memories. Warning, severe brain damage may occur (to him, not you.)
nonionay: (nano summoning)
"Somewhere in here should probably be the actual wedding, though I really want to skip it and define it by the spaces around it. E+B with the preparations, M+A with the aftermath, the marks and phantom pains on their bodies. Their rain-soaked wedding clothes tossed on the floor."

I hope it works. The wedding ceremony could be cool (it takes place outside on a hill in the rain, and involves tattooing and blood-sharing) but it's basically a remix of weddings in other books of mine, and one of the themes I want to play with in this book is defining things by the empty spaces.

For those who remember my question about goat milk, that was when I was writing the preparing-for-the-wedding scene. You have to milk the goats on a wedding day. Just because. Drinking the milk is optional.
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Since Esther Friesner is the GoH at Foolscap this year, I got a book of her short stories. The one I just read is a stylistic tribute to Federico Garcia Lorca, who sounded familiar, but didn't exist soundly in my knowledge base. Now that I've looked him up, a bunch of little things in that knowledge base suddenly tied together--Lorca's Novena, by The Pogues; the concept of duende*, which I'd heard of from a book on tango by Teo Morca which my work printed; other little things.

The story itself (about Lorca's murder) was dense and dreamlike and reminded me of the mystic poem one of my main characters in Green Night by the River writes.

October approaches, which means Nanowrimo prep. I'm cheating this year, as I often do, and finishing something I've already started--Green Night by the River. I spend October cramming my brain with inspirational stuff, and I think this year I'll be reading lots and lots of poetry, alchemical and mystic saints' visions. Did I mention alchemy? Lots and lots of alchemy. Oh, I'll finally read Dali's 50 Secrets of Master Craftsmanship all the way through! I may subject myself to The Naked Lunch.

All this to write a high fantasy about two countries going to war, and two families of necromancers duking it out.

I'm going to try to keep the mystic woowoo as grounded as possible (and relevant to the plot without degenerating into prophesy), but I plan on having a hell of a lot of fun with it. And hey, Nanowrimo will give me a great opportunity to throw in the disjointed bits I want.

*The other night, I dreamed there was a black bird over my shoulder in my bed. It was so real, I woke up with my heart pounding, and turned on the light to shoo the bird away. The bird is my death, my duende. When I think of duende, I think of that bird and the physical despair that opens a mineshaft into my soul.


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