Chapter 19, the terrible thrice written Chapter 19 is done. It was not from Karactis's point of view. Karactis stays alien and distant, especially in the first book. But the end is in sight, in two chapters, a chilling end that is an end... and not, because it can pick up again in the next one and we conveniently have a bunch of mortal enemies with imperialistic ambitions collecting fairly tangible tough armies, we do have some side threads resolved but easily picked up and a tragic-romantic ending that's pure fairy tale.

It's that good a book and it was worth rewriting that chapter that much to keep its pace and feeling. Thanks to a friend in chat at Forward Motion, I have a term for its genre - it ain't pure high fantasy traditional classic quest, he called it "Magepunk" what with the flying castle sentient, the magical cyborg, the AI like Swordfolk and various other underpinnings... it has got a little of that feeling and a stronger dose of magic than Shadowpunk, the techlike elements are subtler and are all analogues rather than actual "functions without magic" technology except in the most basic sense that any functional magic IS the technology of the people who have it.

I like the world. I like it enough to do the whole trilogy and to pitch the trilogy on the basis of a good book one - and the number of other books I've written, the reliable speed I could bang up the rest if I got a good agent who pitched them. Or even got a good agent who said "Good. Write the other two and have them ready at least in rough draft."

Sticking my neck out a bit, but hey, this one's coming out great...

Robert and Ari >^..^<


Friday morning. Up early at around 7:30 - result of an overheated, sweltering night when I only got four hours of pretty bad sleep - to the relief that today is NOT anywhere near as hot. I'm starting to recover from the fatigue. I'm not hungry yet, but I was a bit overexhausted from the heat. Go fig. I should know my body and its weaknesses by now. For some reason I have trouble handling either extreme of temperatures, it may relate to the general energy levels it takes for me to have any normal activity. Bothersome, but I need to accept it, live with it and plan for getting at least a fan for the summer.

By noon I'm feeling a lot better. Sitting still with the temperature something endurable, I'm a lot stronger and more optimistic again. This is something else to remember. My mood swings tend to hit when I hit extreme exhaustion. Duh. "Puts the D in Duh" the way Darleesh always says. Right. If I get chronic fatigue from what's essentially a physical problem, then I get tired and don't count that as mattering at all - and wind up cranky as a toddler - or miserable as a man on a forced march. Everything looks impossible because my body's screaming that walking another few steps is the impossible. No wonder I write about stuff like that all the time.

It definitely leaves me feeling better about myself to recognize that and that instead of a whiner, I've been more like Grandpa, the 'tough it out' kind of guy. But with the heat wave over, now I feel like working again. Chat this morning solved the problem of the terrible Chapter 19 - maybe this is not a good time to show villain's point of view and I can get it across in a better way.

So now I'll follow the example of my pro writer examples, apply seat to chair, fingers to keyboard and find out what the Porcupines are up to - in the scene where they both go too far. And the enemy is waiting for the first real crack there...

Robert and Ari >^..^<


Up again early again tomorrow for third of three classes on writing Series Characters - right before going over to Andrew's to finish the Buffalo Covers and start another issue. Yep, the covers thing is going good and time just keeps rolling past!

Did a short story tonight, vampire thing, vaguely romantic but sad. Kicked off by something DragonDancer posted in chat as a start point because I was grumbling about not being able to get going again on "Quest" through having lost concentration. This happens if I'm interrupted - and I'd been interrupted repeatedly, it was hard to stay focused. So I had the evening and didn't want to be up all night anyway, so it was short story time! It's up for critique now. Hopefully I'll send it out soon.

The class homework for Holly's class was startling! It should have been easy and wasn't! But I did both days' worth and I'm very happy with the results - not one but two series characters sketched, each with their series premises for the second class homework. The premise posts I carved down to 200 words for the SF one and 199 words for the Fantasy one. Very proud of myself. I went through horrible conniptions getting mad at the characters for not being all that I wanted to be - till I wound up expressing two different things in the different characters. The SF android chap is very dark and he now has some personal motives that make him lovable. The sword and sorcery hero, a barbarian mage, now has a slightly rougher life and a different set of constants for the series. SF android has his enemy as his most constant relationship, his enemy lasts to the end of the series. Sword and Sorcery fellow has a best friend he'll meet in the first story and stick with indefinitely while enemies are more disposable (though falling into some fairly obvious types including feuds and consequences of previous exploits). Both get in trouble a lot. Both sometimes go looking for it. Both have some genuinely heroic qualities.

And counting hours of rumination - they're real work!

Robert and Ari >^..^<


And let's not forget my faithful sidekick...

Artificial Robotic Individual

They rebuilt him humanoid, go fig. Or at least the profile is. Actually the acronym would fit a robot cat just as well.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (Well! At last you finally thought of including me in one of those things? When are you getting an air conditioner? I'm still wearing a fur coat, you know!)
Online personality tests are a kick. For one thing, I *did* come up Chakotay on Jeri's, so there.

This one was the Cyborger, it takes your name and comes up with what kind of robot the acronym would stand for:

Synthetic Lifeform Optimized for Assassination and Nullification

Now is that cool or what? Sounds like one of my main characters! lol
Blogging a brainstorm... >^..^<

Ari is on my lap, having been distracted from the squirrel outside the window by a scritch. Two more Word Wars later, I'm hitting a stuck point on "Quest" with the top of Chapter 19. Made 2,000 or so on it and then scrapped that as backstory. Gave the start of it another go with 600 words of the Icky Evil Sorceror in chapter 8 starting to get his deserved comeuppance. Henchie just showed up as petty despite the horrid things he did. He ain't keeping up with a promising start and would've been a good villain in his own right if he hadn't been overshadowed by that remarkable castle, Karactis.

And that's stewing. Sometimes these things take rumination - and some of it is "how do I come to a volume one ending that is *that* powerful, enough it will stand alone for however long it takes for the rest of the trilogy to hit print?" Unless it has, and it's a little shorter than it could be and I don't pull that till the next book. Other than foreshadowing it with that little bit of villain to villain conflict.

So while mulling over that, I've got a new challenge. Started the three session Series Character Class and now have to develop a series character concept. Just a couple of paragraphs, bare bones, but it has to hook me enough that if it works I'd want to write him through a lot of books.

This is where life gets interesting. I've got a good series character. The class even opened up my eyes on how to get him back on track in the rewrites - oh, and thankfully none of his stuff has hit print yet, so any changes I make to give him a bit more sticking power don't contradict anything early. But for the class homework what I want is a completely different fellow. Not the same formula. One that's just as exciting to me, a type of epic that I enjoy as much as my first guy.

What I know in general at this point: he has no ties and has good personal reasons not to settle down. He might have good personal reasons not to settle down in terms of place either, because that gives me "new exotic settings" as a series constant. I'm thinking of it in terms of constants and immediate situations so that there's variation on the theme. Sheila's class showed me how the series theme is a steady rhythm beat, like the "sound of rock and roll" while the melody changes volume to volume. Why do I always put these ideas in terms of other arts?

Cause I do, hallmark of my style. It's what I understand, and I've got that background...

Robert and Ari >^..^<


And three quarters of the way into Monday's words, when I finished Chapter 18 on another Word War that I entered belatedly due to a thunderstorm. I went offline for the storm. Common sense prevailed.

I'm doing the twist again. The twist in the next chapter is kind of one of those hairpin curves you get going down mountains. Whoooops. Oh wow, man, there's a precipice and nobody's been here before, so, there's no guardrail either, so, yeah, okay... oh boy.

And it all fits like clockwork and it's implicit in the world building. This is why I really like Coral Reef style world building. There's a reason Heinlein managed to write lots of really good fat potboiler SF novels that varied a lot in style and theme and character - and yet managed to tie them all together in his Future History. That's coral style.

The agglomeration just keeps building on what went before until it starts breaching the waves, and then it's a nice little atoll. My ending ticks.

Like a lot of other books I've done, it'll have this neat thing that readers who have read more of the other books first will eventually read it as Knowledgeable Readers going "ohhhh boy" and get a little more of the Hitchcock style of suspense, with some idea of what is happening or what could happen maybe a page or two before the readers who don't. Or with a little more depth to it and some idea of what the mysterious foreign people far elsewhere would think of it. Whichever their favorite mysterious foreign people from elsewhere do.

It's as if I were doing one of those classic SF universes with a big lot of planets in known space and this novel set on one of those odd little Rim Worlds that just doesn't get much traffic. Readers who've got my other books, which will definitely all get cut and rewritten neatly into modern book sized books instead of walloping overweight Sumo Novels, spinecracker paperbacks you can't hold open without breaking, will get that richness throughout. And still love Thendraga for being itself.

I got a look at the villain's view of things and the main villain, Karactis itself, is a little more cosmopolitan than some of the characters. This will result in veiled hints and mysterious accusations. That's going to show more than it tells, readers may have to work to find the underpinnings but they're there. It's a satisfying feeling to me to know they're there. The difference between "Cujo is about a 400lb predator with teeth and a disease that maddens it to homicidal viciousness that used to be tame" and "Oh no. I've seen St. Bernards. The thought of that with rabies..." - the punch is the same whether you know the breed or not.

That and a glorious nightmare gave me the answer to Desolation. There's a little scene early on in Stephen King's Desolation that's been picking at me for a long time, because King made a decision on who and what the main villain was that wasn't the direction he took it. In essence, the man threw away a big fat horror novel as good as the one he wrote in a couple of pages when he took that fork in the road! King isn't going to write that! Well, gee, I can't plagiarize him and steal a few pages out of one of his books as a starting point either. But. The kernel of the idea, the general idea of it has stuck with me like the seed pearl it is ever since I read it. Then it came back in a dream and it happened to me in the dream in an utterly different setting for completely different reasons and, well, there's the answer. That one will get written. And yet that isn't the original idea the throwaway in King gave me, so some riff off of that will come up too. It was a good nightmare. First the relief it wasn't really happening, always pleasant when nightmares are so vivid they're indistinguishable from reality (the knock on the door was actually the postal carrier leaving mail) and blurred with it... then, the delight of recognizing "Boy is that good story!" I did jot it.

I've been reading my Crime Manual too much.

Robert and Ari >^..^<
Slow start today, but I made my words thanks to another Word War at Forward Motion! Thank you, Holly!

That and got another chore out of the way. I took photos and put up two AOL pages with my First Day Covers - the buffalo cover, the Alexander Hamilton cover and all the permutations of carnivorous plants set of four except the cartoon versions. I did cartoon versions too. That will take another dang page. Arrgh.

But it's worth it. It was fun once I had all the pictures done and on the second try, Easy Designer didn't choke on me and the pages look good.

http://hometown.aol.com/ironwolf53/page14.html and http://hometown.aol.com/ironwolf53/page15.html

If you collect hand drawn/painted First Day Covers, or if you just like odd art, check them out. If you collect and you have trade covers in nature themes, please, definitely check them out and get in touch with me! I've gotten a real start on my collection at the stamp show and I'm particularly interested in Collins nature subjects, also Pugh and Swindell and Ham. If you recognize those artists' names then you're into the hobby, right?

Collins is a major cachet maker, a brilliant commercial artist who does fairly large pen and ink editions, prints them and hand colors them. Andrew's collection spans some years of Collins's work and he's also improving fantastically in how well he renders just about anything. I think Collins must be working full time at it for the number of covers he does, even hand coloring takes a lot of time and he seems to do every issue that comes out in a large edition.

The pages came out pretty neat, but with the problems with the first one, I think I'll add more pages rather than more images per page. Especially as the first one will have to be a first day covers index. Though I'm also linking them all to the front page Index too:


And I really need to post a new book there! Yep! I am *itching* to get another book in print. Yeeg, it's been a year! Ludicrous... but let's shoot at the big leagues before chucking something at print on demand or e-presses... let's get the agent bait out there and see if I can get some good professional guidance on how to handle that. But the story collection should be pretty easy to put together, after the Dare stuff is done - and that would be another title. And that would come out quickly. And that would be something that isn't in itself as marketable as novels. I can just pull together most or all of the stories that appeared online without worrying about whether they're virgins, add a few selected ones to fill it out and theme it nicely. And finish Launchpad around the same time.

Boy will it be nice when Launchpad makes money instead of costing it, lol...

Robert and Ari >^..^<


Another Saturday night and I ain't got no money... but I got words!

Just posted my week's totals for the Master Word Count Dare, the pledge to write 2,000 words a day on average. I think my habits, my real habits, are pretty well established. I am an insane sprinter who tends to slob off on days I'm not writing and pick it up again in long marathon writing bouts.

I picked up everything I missed on the first week and came in with an average of 2,145 a day or something like that. I did a chapter and a chunk today. I did a lot and the book's still really rolling! Taking a little break to post a blog, because it's good to come up for air once in a while!

Thanks again to Word Wars, which pop up all the time lately at Forward Motion for Writers (can be found at http://hollylisle.com ) with a bunch of people delurking and jumping in actively! It's been a wordstorm over there! It's incredible! The energy is fantastic and I'm beginning to see that my organizational plan for all those Master Dares makes sense. Just finish this book and some critiques. Then do all the short stuff - 4 articles and 8 stories - interspersed between the rewrites and submissions, culminating in the rewrite of this book after rewriting the stories to get my mind off it. Then reward myself with another blitz into the next big fat novel, whatever that is. I can't even imagine what the next one's going to be about, unless this turns into a trilogy. It might. Its ending would come off better as a trilogy and I think I'm going to write the "first of three" version now and in the synopsis, explain the alternate ending as a potential rewrite - rather than finish it off rapidly with the Trilogy End without all the neat stuff that could go in the middle.

Because what I"m really hoping to sell is the trilogy. It would be great. It would do a lot more for kicking my way out of Welfare and if I give it the good Breakout Novel treatment, maybe it'll swim upstream just enough to wedge more than one book through the door. I can be optimistic - especially since this is an agent search and an agent doesn't want a One-Off writer, an agent needs a steadily producing, consistently high quality writer who will get him or her good commissions next year and years after too.

I'm optimistic. It's a much better attitude and more conducive to "thrill of the gamble."

I can raise the stakes a little on me, too.

Robert and Ari >^..^<