nonionay: (Default)
Time just seems to be zipping by! I'm taking time off from writing to read. I got a bunch of WWII history books and am cramming them down. Alternate history is so damned hard to figure out, especially when you're throwing in random fantasy crap like I'm doing. For instance, I've started reading the sensationally-titled "Hitler's Master of the Dark Arts: Himmler's Black Knights and the Occult Origins of the SS." and at the same time, I'm reading the more straightforward, "History of the SS". They both paint similar pictures of Himmler, but from different angles. The former, of course, is focused on the mystical woowoo stuff he was fascinated by. After skimming the table of contents, I turned immediately to the chapter, "The Witches of the Schutzstaffel," which basically started out with, "popular culture likes to show off a bunch of leather-clad witch-ladies with whips, but FOOLED YOU! There totally weren't." and then goes on to talk about the boring things women actually did*. And therein lies my dilemma. Since I'm writing fantasy, I can totally go the sensationalizing route, and have as many leather-clad she-wolves of the SS that I want. But 1) that's so cliche, and 2) I'm also writing history, and sort of want to be serious. I have to figure out the balance I want to strike.

Today is a lazy day. I do plan on cleaning my apartment, which is littered with wrapping paper, but there will also be a lot of laughing at Nazis, (or at least laughing at the people who write about them. I could make a fine drinking game out of every time they write "These guys were EVIL!!!" more or less explicitly in their text. GEE, I COULDN'T TELL!!!**) and figuring out how to exploit them for my own nefarious purposes.

*With notable exceptions. There's always Ilsa Koch, whose preferred decorating material was human skin.
**Nazis were bad people, just so you know.
nonionay: (nano summoning)
Just wrote 2400 words in less than two hours. I seem to have a couple styles of writing. One is prose intense, pretty, and usually involves short stories and/or lots of action, description and inner monologue. The other happens in my novels, and is the way I started writing. I inevitably fall into the pattern of having a bunch of characters sitting around talking. And that's what happened with this scene. One line just flows after the other (especially since I'm dealing with my second favorite character, ever) and suddenly, I've got 2400 words, of mostly dialogue. Whether or not this is a good thing is something I'll determine later. I'm just happy to be writing, even if it's all indulgence.

I'll give you my favorite bit (which, look! doesn't involve dialogue!)

Vittore was taken up a graceful but gray spiral staircase to the Low Matriarch's office. It was much like the rest of the temple--simple but with bright and careful embellishments. In this case, a single line of multi-colored tiles ran around the plaster wall just below eye height. Lace curtains fluttered beside an open window and just barely shrouded the view of the ocean beyond.

The room was unostentatious without being boring. It annoyed him that he liked it. However, the straightbacked chair he sat in was, to his relief, hard and uncomfortable.

"You haven't brought me here before, Holiness," he said.

The Low Matriarch nodded. She was a short woman who appeared taller when sitting behind her polished maple desk. The mica sewn to her veil was neatly done, but a single piece was missing on one side, and a frayed thread dangled on the other. She was neither too neat, nor too messy. Matronly, with expressive wrinkles that made her interesting to look at, she was the least offensive person Vittore had ever met, and he tried hard to find ways to dislike people. She perpetuated the belief in gods, but too many people did that for Vittore to hold it against anyone. Not that he liked her.
nonionay: (nano summoning)
I was complaining to the Writing Mentor over chat about how I wanted to write something new. (I'm stuck in Query Land.) He ordered me to write something starting with a particular sentence he gave me. I was skeptical, but felt required to obey, and lo! I have written a 700 words flash piece, which I'm not sure if I like or not, but hey, it lets me go to bed feeling productive.
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Bull sharks leaping up river rapids like salmon. For real.
I'm listlessly researching river systems in hopes of finding cool setting stuff to get excited about, for the novel I'm starting. (Montana Book is temporarily set aside in favor of Fat Fantasy.) This imaginary river in particular has the geology of the Zambezi, but with the climate of the Danube. I want a floodplain to start with, but I'll probably just throw in a nice gorge and waterfall and make myself be content.

And salmon shark. I can't forget the salmon shark.
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I got an Honorable Mention from Writers of the Future for my story, The Pearler Tree. Now I just have to figure out where the heck to send the darned thing now.
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I'm at the Rainforest, having a most excellent time. Right now I'm 222 words into the day. Had 2200 words yesterday. I'm not sure what I'm writing next though, so I think I might be bound for a walk.
I definitely have a fascination with writing characters who are two people in one body. I love transitioning smoothly between two voices. This time, I'm writing first person, and both personalities are speaking first person with no scene break. But it should be pretty obvious. And to anyone who reads this and considers exactly how autobiographical it is, I have never ever felt like I wanted to disembowel my whole family, and I've never actually suffered a dissociate personality episode. Just so ya'll know. I did, however, replicate my grandfather's ash scattering yesterday in a highly emotional scene. (Different location and people, same spontaneous huddle and ash beneath my fingernails.)

In other Rainforest news, we went for a drive around the lake yesterday, first having to go way up the river into the mountains. We saw roughly 40-50 elk in about five different groups, all of them right on the side of the road and not at all inclined to flee. They just stared a bunch at these people who eagerly hopped out of the car to stare at them in return.
There's also a Christmas tree out in the middle of nowhere.
Also, a coyote.

And this morning, I discovered a wonderful thing. I wanted a shower, but instead of combing out my gawdawful bedhead and twisting it into a bun, I just twisted up the tangles, and it's actually really nice. It almost makes me want to tease my hair on a regular basis. Almost. Anyway, I'm totally rocking the cute secretary look today.

Okay, back to work.
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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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Holy Smokes, I wrote a non-genre short story! With me submitting this to our group for next week, that will make three weeks in a row we've had one non-genre piece (out of two). What's the world coming to?
nonionay: (Default)
Today has been a day of Nazis. We've been scanning in pictures of Nazis for some guy's history book--from a genuine Nazi book of Nazi army stuff. It has a lot of pictures of horses in it. There's one amusing shot of some soldiers jumping over a foot tall wall of fake bushes. "You know how dangerous that shrubbery is in England!" said my co-worker, whose unpronounceable Austrian last name I just stole for my polite Nazi character.
Tonight I looked up Nazi POW camps and Nazi ranks and insignias. Sometimes it's hard to believe that they actually wore the stuff they did. Skulls, sheesh. If I read about a villain with a skull on his hat, I'd laugh. But then again, the Allies had bombers named stuff like Satan's Mate and Spawn of Hell. And we get emblems like this

Nazis sucked, but they make awesome villains, because there's no way you could get away with this if it wasn't real.
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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... )
nonionay: (Default)
As I was reading over a scene I wrote, I found this sentence: "And he’ll take our money and our horses and throw them away on his violet warrior whims."

Now, color is an important metaphorical part of my fantasy culture. The title's "Green Night," for goodness' sake. So my first thought was, "what was I thinking when I wrote that? Said warrior _is_ rather dreamy* But why would I just suddenly dump that concept, which is a cool one, into the dialogue? Why didn't I capitalize it? Why didn't I remember doing this?" Then I realized I meant to type, "violent."

In other news, I feel both productive and not today. Productive because I'm having fun and fully immersing myself in my project. Not, because I'm kind of crawling through the scene.

PS. OMG I need donuts. Why isn't anyone else up yet?

*Violet =Yesod=the basic template for my fantasy world color qualities, for those who care.
nonionay: (Default)
Urghh... my head hurts. Sinus headache, I think.

I'm going to try to submit something for the next Sword and Sorceress anthology, deadline May 15th. I spent the last couple days brainstorming ideas--all of them based in my giant world, of course. If nothing else, I'm going to get some worldbuilding done.

Last night, I had the first of two sessions with my writing group critiquing my novel. We've never done anything like this before, and I think it went really well. Julie "Precious World Virgin" McGalliard, and Keffy managed to focus on different things--Julie on plot arcs, and Keffy on character arcs. They both picked up on what I was trying to do, and noted where I wasn't quite succeeding.

Tonight, I hear, there shall be Dexter and fake margaritas and Thai food. Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll convince [ profile] lordseamus to see if the pull cord on our lawnmower can be fixed, since no one in the house can turn the damn thing on and mow the lawn before our landlord yells at us.
nonionay: (nano summoning)
I'm at Lake Quinault, in the mist and the moss and the goose poop. It's beautiful and atmospheric and inspiring, but I realized as I walked to the World's Largest Spruce that this was a disadvantage, since everything I'm working on is set in hot, dry places.
Getting to the Spruce, you walk through a forest of giant stumps--ghosts of the trees that weren't the World's Largest. I walked on a bridge over a little marsh with a huge wad of lichen shining pale and corpse-like beneath the water. Creepy as hell, but totally distracting. :-( Next year, I shall take this into consideration when deciding what to work on.
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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: (nano summoning)
Six scenes rewritten, and now I'm procrastinating. I discovered that the scene I had been dreading, where I have to rewrite so everyone is sitting on the floor, is already rewritten. I worry that such things will make me lazy, that I'll skim a scene and declare it good, rather than making sure it's perfectly in the voice of the pov character.
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.
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I've started sifting through my "need to add" file--notes I jotted down as I wrote the novel. There's a lot, but not as much as I feared. One of many things I love about Scrivener is that I can attach a text file to each scene, and so I'm sorting miscellaneous notes into those files. A lot of them are little things that highlight a bit of worldbuilding or character, and can stick them anywhere. But where is the perfect spot! That's the rub.
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.
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Thankfully, I never published the book this is a prequel to. I'd be so screwed. I'm finally at the big battle scene that history (and a character who was present!)speaks of later. I just looked at that original book, and the long letter that described the battle and the events building up to it in detail. What I wrote then, and what I've spent the past couple months writing, are nothing alike. I write all my stories backwards. I don't know how I'll survive if I'm ever published. o_O


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