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.