Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It is so very frustrating to be waiting for the reviews to come back. It isn't that I want glowing praise dripping with words telling me it's wonderful. False praise does nothing for the book sitting on the shelf, trying to entice readers to take an interest. Of the dozen copies that I sent out, I received one full response, and one for the first few chapters. Both agreed on one thing; the first chapter was too slow. They were right. It was one big back-story data dump. I chopped out about four or five thousand words, right up to the action. I created a short prologue to cover some of it in an interesting scene, and some more got squeezed into the next few chapters. Only some. I left out a lot that the reader is going to have to discover later on. In the meantime, I'm up to working on chapter three of Raiu.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sent the revised Raiju out to peer review. It's a little bigger than when I first put it out, and I like it a lot better now. All I have to do is sit back and nibble fingernails until the comments come back. In the meantime I'll start on the next bit with Raiu so that it can become better. One of my terrible habits is the automatic compression of ideas. I can write a sentence, that in my thoughts carries the impact of hundreds of words, and I have to keep remembering that not all readers will fill in those gaps. In truth very few of the readers would intuitively see the unwritten parts the way that I had them in my head. I'm trying to go back and fill in those holes so that my stories actually look the way my characters told it looked.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Closed out another chapter in Ion:417 Raiju. That makes ten chapters looking much better than they did before. I figure that there's another twelve to fifteen thousand words to wade through before I find some people willing to give it an honest preview. Once that's done it will be my first book that I'll hire an editor for. At this rate that means about a week. Now I've made a few changes that are going to need to be carried through Raiu, Katana, and Otako

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Taking the train to work about half of the days. The boss let me shift the schedule so that I could catch it home as well. Good news: it saves me a few hundred bucks a month. Bad news: adds an hour and a half to commute time because connection routes miss by 3 minutes. I had been waiting two hours extra on those days to drive with someone and share cost. His schedule was 2 hours later than mine. So, now I spend the extra time typing on the train instead of typing on a make-shift desk near the work floor. A couple hundred bucks a month will be nice though.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving was, well... the usual. You know, go off to relative's house that you never see except on certain holidays, sit off to the side as some of them cheer for their favorite sports team, acting as though they had a personal hand in it when the score is favorable, and screaming at the idiots when they blunder. The most interesting thing to do is to play cards with the three year old because you weren't able to bring your laptop. I did manage to make progress on the re-write though. Scrivner has been a great help in keeping the sections notated so that I can go back to find what I need to change.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My NaNoWriMo novel is done! And I hate it. I'll keep it so that I can validate at the end of the month, but afterwards it goes into the future project pile as a re-write. Eventually I'll give it a second chance. If I still hate it, then it will meet the delete key.In the meantime, I've gone back to Ion, and doing a complete re-write/edit. Ion is a good story, and the start of a series that will go on for some time. It's just one of those stories that I went back and said YUCK! Did I really write this badly? I've already completed the first chapter on Ion 417: Raiju, and midway through chapter two. It will definitely be headed to an editor by the end of the year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Second NaNoWriMo write in went well. It was quieter, so more words got dumped into the stories, but we still had a good time. Note to self: BRING NOTEPAD NEXT TIME. In the rush to get everything ready for the write in I left my power cord sitting on the bed. I got in an hour and a half on my NaNo story before it died with barely enough warning for me to save my progress. I then sat there wishing for the notepad sitting on my desk as frolicking plot bunnies danced around telling me all sort of ideas.
An hour of that and I got my antique laptop back from the borrower, and so I could work on getting other stories edited. My new stuff is too new for the antique to understand, so I rely on the simple versions that I kept on memory sticks.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I know that I was going to stay on task with my own novels, and edit them to death (read as make them so that people liked reading them), but with NaNoWriMo going on I had to start a whole new project. That was just what I didn't need. Now I have even more characters talking in my head. To make it even worse some of the people at work discovered Nano, and so they have been tossing ideas at me. I'm running out of polite ways to tell them I make my own stories. It takes ten times as much effort to try and think in someone else's story and make it work for me. It's one thing to edit a story for a friend and make it work for them, but to make a story mine from some idea tossed at me just doesn't work the same. The next time it happens they will probably be dodging pencils and post-it pads as I tell them to write it themselves.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The first get together for the NaNoWriMo group was great! Even thought there was a bit of a change at the last minute, everyone was thrilled to be there. We even had a few people that only found out about it from the mass email that warned of the change in venue. I'm looking forward to working with this group. Every one of them has a great idea for their novels, and I still don't have one for me. If I can't think of one in the week then I'll have to be a rebel and work on old ones that need editing.
I'm still chugging through the re-write for Katana. Slowly.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

November is coming fast. I've volunteered to act as Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo and somehow got assigned to a group that's in the north end of the state. It's going to be busy. I have to get my own writing done as well as coordinate events and keep everyone writing.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I had a wonderful two weeks off from work and took a vacation. Wouldn't you know it, I find a hotel that hasn't heard of the twenty-first century's wonderful innovation of wi-fi. I spent a bunch of time visiting with my daughter and her husband. I even managed to squeeze in a bit of writing, though most of that was on the September Shorts Challenge. I'm getting to like the main character enough that I might just find a way to expand the story.

Friday, September 28, 2012

It's funny how you can know things, and yet the knowledge doesn't burst forth in your head when you need it to. I have been doing the work on Shimmerwings and had this nagging feeling that the Dragon's name was familiar. I had created it along the same styling as the other Dragons I included in the story, but this one felt familiar in a way I couldn't place. Name Change! No more cheese Dragon.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The re-writing of Shimmerwings is proceeding quite well. I'm focused on getting that book ready to be published in a form that I like. When I first wrote it the story was good, though not as descriptive as I'd like. Now I've been adding a bit more to the descriptions. I have made a few minor changes, but most people wouldn't see much difference.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It has been a very hectic week, and I've gotten little in the way of writing accomplished. I did manage to squeeze in some time to read a couple of books about setting up descriptive scenes, and working to make characters believable. I'm hoping this will rub off into better writing for my own books. I also worked in a bit of time for reading C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner book. Still working on that one though.
In other things, the status of Shimmerwing still bugs me. I'm spending some time filling out the rest of it. I can't recreate the missing parts, but I can fix some of the junk that's in it and finish out the story again. I've already decided to add Lapis Lazuli to the book as a bonus chapter, and now I think I might come up with another section as well.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Just like in everyday life, the people we meet in books should have a diverse assortment of personalities. We as authors want our characters to be likable, or at least memorable. I build up a personality profile for each of the characters, and do my best to hold them to that. There have been a few scenes that when I wrote them, I needed a certain outcome to happen that my characters just wouldn't perform. A few times I brought in another character that would give me the result I needed. Oft times this leaves me contemplating just how large of a role to give to these impromptu characters. Traxell was one such impromptu appearance, and his personality changed a few times during the writing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I recommend against writing from a first person view with strongly accented narrative. I wrote the piece for Scirririn several years ago with a first person view, and with a narrative that would have felt right at home a backwoods person that was raised by cross-eyed raccoons. The problem was that somebody reading it for the first time was unable to relate to that style of writing. Even though at the time that I wrote it, my mind could follow the style, and understand her completely. Years later I go back to it and wonder whatever possessed me to try it with that style. It is a tedious process to pull enough of that garbage out while retaining the important aspects of the story, and have it come out as a readable story.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Remind me to not blog when I'm overworked, and distracted by the fifty some odd co-workers carrying on with industrial style maintenance behind me. Of course I'm typing this in those very conditions once again.
Like most of the authors that haven't been featured on the New York Times Best Seller List, I have to actually earn a living at something other than fitting words together. For me that means working on electrified light rail vehicles that move people around the city every day.
I routinely disregard best writing practices all the time by trying to squeeze it into my lunch break, which usually results in a few ugly looking paragraphs each day if I'm lucky. Later, when I go back and read the results I find myself gagging as I punch the delete key.
Today for lunch was the usual two yogurts, and dodging the inane suggestions of the crowd that likes to offer me story ideas on their way to reheating leftover pizza. I have more ideas than I do time to write them all down, and my ideas mesh well with my thinking process. That's not to say that a fraction of the plots tossed at me aren't good enough to write, but those don't have any connection to me.
I mean like today, I was offered a plot where robot ninjas hijacked a trainload of creampuffs. Meanwhile a picture that I had posted of a moss covered ruin (borrowed from another publishing site) was the prompting for the contest I am hosting for September. When that picture was joined by a preliminary sample cover from my artist, that didn't fit the character it was supposed to fit, I mentally named the picture, mixed it with the ruins photo, and laid out the beginnings of a plot that frankly may end up as my entry into the September challenge. The plot that sprang forth in my head had the feel of something that I could relate with well enough to do the story. Frankly the robot ninjas that were armed with chainsaws just didn't click into place for me.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I supposed it would be good to talk about what projects I'm doing.
Uiyah's Paw was the first story that I set out with the thought of actually publishing it. It has gone through so many revisions along the way, and about a dozen major re-writes. When I started it one of the main characters talked with such a bad grammar/accent/uneducated manner that it was near impossible for other people to read. Through five re-writes aimed specifically at moderating the speech mannerisms it has become much better. This current editing is aimed at further refinement of the speech, and restructuring the religious aspects. The main church is now a lot more believable as well as diabolical, though the extent of that aspect will not come out until another book.
Stones of Magic was created to fill out the story after Uiyah's Paw. A couple of characters we met briefly in the first book are now returned in a leading role. The first real hints of trouble start appearing. So far this book is just completing the first section, and the real action is just beginning. I am writing chapters in this in order to keep a straight story line with Uiyah's paw.
Ion 417: Katana is basically complete, though I don't like the final scenes. I am working to edit them for a better presentation. At least I have the new cover work for this book. My artist is working to make new covers for the first two books in the new style.
I discovered that Shimmerwing was published with an old file, and the right file was destroyed. I am spending some time recreating the lost chapters. In addition it will be re-released with an extra story that I wrote as a submission to a fantasy fiction contest. I discovered a short story contest that had been running for about five months, and I found it only four days before the deadline for submission. I surprised myself by pumping out about 8500 words in two days, sent it to a friend for an emergency edit, and managed to submit it with 7998 of the 8000 word maximum. I even had a day to spare. Now I'm nervously biting nails while awaiting the judging of the 1800 stories that were reportedly submitted.
Right now it's August, and that means Camp Nanowrimo is underway. I'm madly trying to cram fifty thousand words into a story format before the 31st. I just deleted a few thousand words from that project because they didn't work.
I have a good dozen other stories that are sitting as ideas in a file.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Many of my stories came along as simple random thoughts, usually in the middle of talking to someone about mundane matters. Most recently I was talking to one of my writing friends about a short story challenge. She had dreamed up a good story idea, only to have it fade when she woke to the cat's nudging. Thus I proposed a theory about cats and dreams that is now on my list of pending stories.
That list of pending stories has grown sizable already, and will likely never be completely written. This is not a real problem; the real problem comes in restraining myself from diving into this list while I still have a half-dozen projects in active working status.
Working on multiple different projects at once has benefits as well as drawbacks. One benefit is that my mind can ponder possibilities of a story line while I'm working on something else completely. I don't get burned out on one particular story because I take a break from it to do something else. One of the drawbacks is the possible blurring of characters.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When did I begin writing?
That was so long ago that the first instance is long forgotten. I can tell you that the first times were when I'd write new endings for books I'd read. New endings does not imply that I tore out the final chapter to make it more the way I wanted it to be, but sometimes I felt the story lacked a proper ending. I wanted more. So, instead of tearing out chapters to do a re-write, I would add a chapter that brought closure to the story. Ironically, most of my own writing is leaving that bit of room at the end as well.
The definition of writing usually includes a couple version of making marks on paper. Realistically that's true, but nothing says that the paper has to have a physical form. When I was reading those books and extending the stories, I almost never had a pencil and notebook in my pocket. A lot of the time those stories were written on the parchment in my mind. To me it was like watching a movie with a split-screen. One screen would have the words flowing onto the page, while the other was a visual of the characters playing out the scene like a movie.
Imagination is one of those traits that need feeding. Thus when I discovered a new style of adventure in the form of Role-Playing games many long years ago, it was only natural that I would dive into it with gusto. I went with a friend to a little shop that doubled as a comic book shop and model shop. A small group of them had been getting together every Saturday for a few weeks. The owner of the shop had opened up the small empty shop space next to his as a gaming room for them to play. That first game was D&D when it was still in three small paperback booklets. Since that time I have lost count of the number of games I played, many of which have fallen into obscurity.
This was so exciting to be able to act out my own book! We would create these avatars to go on adventures while we shared in the thrill of that adventure. It didn't take long before a large blank spot in the story began to make itself noticed. That blank spot was the avatar's origins. The games only called for creating this character that had such and such abilities. I began to develop backgrounds for the characters, and giving them a reason to embark on adventuring. Many times I would add in little quirks as well. My creations were almost never the biggest baddest ones on the field. I had a wizard that was atheistic and would refuse any form of holy healing. I had a starship captain that painted her ships neon pink. Often times the quirks would draw groans from the other players that liked the simple method of smash everything in sight, but nobody ever claimed it was boring.
Some of the stories I have now are ones that evolved from characters that began their existence in games many years ago. In many cases the games are long gone, but the characters were ones that I loved enough to keep their story going. They had developed lives of their own. When they moved out of the game context, it was into fresh worlds I had designed; those worlds naturally came with a host of other characters that never had time in any game.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Before I ever went off to my first day of school I was reading. I loved it.
I did my fair share of running all over the neighborhood with a host of friends whose faces changed with constant moves. What never changed was the thrill of new worlds filled with sights that challenged my imagination. There were concepts that I had never even thought to dream. The greatest tool we have as thinking beings is the ability to think. Why not sharpen and customize that tool? There really is no limit on what it can do. There is not one single invention in the entire world that wasn't spurred into existence by somebodies imagination.
For me, reading took on countless journeys to worlds that felt completely alive. I've hung in the vastness of space as a glistening orb slowly rotated beneath my feet. I've stood upon the deck of a ship as the bow spray coated my face. I've delved into caves reaching deep underground, and watched my lantern tumble down into the abysmal pit at my feet. I've clung to the side of a mountain as the wind did its utmost to pry my fingers loose from the crumbling rock. I've even dove through the clouds perched atop a green Dragon as we wheeled in the sheer delight of freedom.
And now I am bringing some of my own worlds forth to spread this feeling to others.