Monthly Archives: January 2014

Va’el causing trouble – Who’d have thunk?

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Yesterday I got into think-mode, you know, to fill some of those gaps in my current manuscript that I have been yammering about recently – the next gap to go down had a small issue in it because Va’el needed a minor win over Palace Officialdom and, although not hugely important, it does supply some fun – so I want it to work.

That meant I had to think of a good way through rules and regulations that ought to be unassailable.

It can’t be too clever. Va’el might be an obnoxious brat, but he is only ten, after all, so I needed something that was more luck, bluff and bluster.

I came up with my solution in the middle of the night – no, I’m not going to tell you what it is (you didn’t think I would, did you?) – plus a few details for other scenes as well.

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Small gaps, Big gaps, GINORMOUS gaps – Okay, it’s how I write.

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Yesterday I mentioned gaps, the space where I work within a building manuscript – I thought I would rabbit on some more about them and about writing, too (wot a surprise) – There are different ways to write a story, some start from the beginning and work towards a goal, some just start from the beginning and trust it will go somewhere worthwhile – Others have a game-plan and know not only where they are headed but the route along the way.

Me? I have a string of main points. I know what ending I want – for example, I already have the climax for book 4 (the next one) worked out and the actual last words of that book already written. Book 5 is also already mapped. And yes, so is the one I am currently writing, book 3, The Bastard Line. Of the three threads in book 3, two have their endings set. The third one, although mapped out, is a bit more flexible where it breaks between book 3 and book 4, so I’ll know better where that ending is when I get closer to it. I do know it’s along a certain storyline.

Once I generate a string of events and put them into the order that tells the tale, I have my map. One or two of these events will go into my manuscript-under-construction file, the rest will be in one or more of my note files, awaiting their turn. I don’t like putting them all in at once, unless they are quite widely spaced, otherwise they get in the way of the other stuff that has to go in and you end up doing a lot of shuffling, which can trip you up in more ways than one and waste a lot of time.

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Doomed to Create.

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Okay, so we’re writers, a lot of us – We get up every day and live in our heads, we miss half the conversations around us because we drifted back into our current plot, we take on low paying jobs and accept an outwardly mundane existence because we won’t notice anyway and it allows us to daydream.

Does that sound familiar?

When I was a child before personal computers came along, the best gift anyone could give me was blank paper. I would get hugely exciting by a big fat notebook and a pen. People thought I was strange but, hey, I was easy to please.

When PCs did come along, how I drooled! In the 1980s when Greg got his first computer, he left it with me to work out how to use it for myself and at the end of the day found I had my manuscript already planted on it.

I try to have a pen and notepad with me at all times, but that doesn’t always work out, so those perfect words forming in my head so inconveniently get repeated over and over in a bid to hang onto them. I use a mental blackboard and write the words down, reinforcing each letter with different color mental chalk. That works for me quite well. White, yellow, blue, pink.

That means, of course, I don’t see the traffic on the road when I’m crossing the street, or I hook up with someone in front of me and tag along, thinking it’s Greg when it’s not. I get lost in town because I turned a corner and I don’t know which way I turned the corner. Greg’s used to finding that I’ve gone missing when we’re out in town and is now in the habit of stopping and checking on me regularly – I tend to lag behind.

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Whoo-Hoo Mornings!

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Some mornings start earlier than others – I’m one of those writers who loves to wake up in the middle of the night, hours before the alarm is due to go off, safe in the knowledge that I can lie awake and explore, plot, characterize, describe and expand my ideas to my heart’s content and not be disturbed in the process – Almost inevitably, though, the right words will form and develop beyond a mere string or two, and then I have to get up and capture the flow because that creativity always expands into something worthwhile.

Yep, it was one of those mornings not planned for. I just woke up with ideas flowing through my head and words that won’t wait and was drawn by the magic of a silent house (which comes after the younger of our two cats has won, of course, and gets let outside for his own early morning start).

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Fiddly little bits.

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It’s great! Not only have I had a chance to clearly see my work so far (on book 3), I’ve had the chance to tidy up a lot of fiddly little detail that needed looking at but had remained lost to me in the earlier draft – stuff I had at the back of my mind listed under “Oh, yeah, I must deal with that”, now dealt with.

The rest is looking pretty good so far, too, and I expect to be able to sweep through with some big advances, putting in heaps of things already written and ready to go, just awaiting the right place to slip into. I’m looking forward to that for the simple reason that my page count will jump up and look much healthier.  :D Those same things aren’t in there now because I wanted to keep my work area clear. If I put in the stuff too early, I spend a great deal of time shuffling it around until it finds the correct place, which wastes a lot of time, so it’s much easier to keep it out of the way until needed.

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Fixed and Moving

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By that, of course, I mean that I have fixed the current issue in the “thread that didn’t fit” – all segments of it – and am moving on with the read-through full steam ahead.

I’d like to give you a page number of where I am at, but I don’t want to frighten you.

All right, all right, I confess, I am currently behind schedule, but there are quite a few months still to go and plenty of time to catch up, so no panicking just yet, please, if you don’t mind.

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It Slices, it Dices – How Many Books in the Series, again?

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The ‘basic set’ was going to be three books – I say ‘basic set’ because, while each book has its own story and climax, the overriding story also is heading to a climax – then one toss away line delivered by Ialle (about how he got the scar on his face) developed into a story that just had to be told, and in came book 2 – a total surprise to me.

Half of what was intended remained (Mij and her story), while the other half shuffled over to book 3 to mix with another new addition (Va’el and his development), so all is well and gives four books in total.

Only… it doesn’t. Why not? Well the initial story, when it was one book, focused on the good guy/bad guy situation and the clash between them. The lovely knot I have planned is still there and waiting and will play out in book 4, but so much else has evolved, including the power play back at the Khekarian Core and the hunt for ultimate power at the Terran planet of Zumaridi with its alien-natives, the Jshi. Suddenly there is much more to tell, namely and what happens with those mysterious interdimensional beings and how Zumaridi fits into the scheme of things.

So four books have now become five. But wait – there’s more.

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The Trials and Tribulations of an Aussie writing English in American.

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HELP! As many of you know, I’m an Aussie, and Aussie English is closer to English English than American English – To complicate things, my mother was brought up both in England and Canada, so some American-Canadian-English terms and spelling have snuck into my usage/abusage – It seemed kind of natural, given that the majority of my readers are American, to write in American (it seemed easy, too, I just changed my spellchecker to USA English as well as going with what I “knew”) Anyway, there are plenty of American books in Australia, so we’re laid back with the language whichever way it comes.

In my first two books, I’ve written “grey” rather than “gray” (I thought “gray” was English English). To me, it’s “grey” (I like “grey”), but now I understand that “gray” is the correct American term.

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A thread that doesn’t fit – Uh-oh.

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This is where putting your work aside for a time really helps – Reading through my manuscript to date (book three in The Khekarian Series – The Bastard Line), somewhere after page 40, I came across one thread that just seemed out of place – nothing seemed really “wrong” with it, it carried information necessary to the plot and future events, the writing itself was fine and it was not one of the earlier problem areas – I read on, having marked the place for further consideration.

Then the next segment in that thread didn’t sit right, either, and nor did the one after that, so clearly something was out of whack with that particular thread.

It took me a little while to work out what the problem was and why it didn’t sit right. I realized that the book up to that point had been concerned with the present, which is necessary of course, as a whole lot of stuff is happening there, but I also realized that the problem was that references to the past had been more focused on the distant past and not the recent past. I had referred to Sturn’s time away in exile, which leads in importance when it comes to his homecoming, but I had skipped over most of his recent traumatic events.

As the recent events (book two – The King’s Sacrifice) will have repercussions, these cannot be ignored, so the “fault” turned out to be not in those non-fitting segments of thread, but in my lack of setting up the background earlier, against which these thread segments would make sense.

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Missed yesterday, but moving forward anyhow.

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Sorry, everyone – Things are not quite right yet and I slept through much of yesterday (I don’t have my voice fully back, yet, either), although I am off the meds and breathing okay – That aside, I have started reading through what manuscript I have in order to pick up the threads and work out what direction I need to go in – so, I’m underway and finally moving forward.

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