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Saturday Taste Test

Well, it’s Saturday in my time zone, so get over it … (o:

So, I’m following a blog that is getting back into regular Friday snippets – sections of the author’s current work in progress (first draft). I think it’s kind of cool, but I don’t know if it interests anyone. Plus, my stuff is already fully available online to those who are curious enough, so I thought I might play with the idea of short shots. Little tasters that introduce my world.

Brief excerpt (the current blurb – see also comments) might help with “getting it”:

She gripped his hand and arm as she had done for Jonas and repeated her efforts to think healing thoughts. But, again nothing happened. She released her hold, shook out her hands and tried again.

Aris’ murmuring ceased. She sat back, looked up at him and said, “Am I broken already?” Was she only good for one external healing?

“He passed several minutes ago. I think it’s too late.”

“There’s a time limit?” Llew was beginning to get really pissed off at her power. It killed when she didn’t want to, but couldn’t save those that mattered.

Too brief? Want to read more? Well, I am after alpha-readers (“What’s an alpha-reader?” you ask, why, it’s someone who helps keep an author on track … or, at the very least, says “Keep going, you’ve got this!”) so if you’re keen, I’m keen. I’m going to post links to where I am posting updates under the WoW menu.

Pitch-slapping: It’s awkward, but you can do it to yourself

So, I played with my “pitch” a little today, and I was curious what people think. Half of it is still what the helpful Canaries worked out for me – for which I am most grateful – and while I like it, I’m still a little iffy on whether it is how the final pitch should read.

Anyway … if you’ve got an opinion, I’d love to read it:

Llew can heal herself, but it’s at the expense of whatever she’s touching and it’s proportional. When she dies, she comes back, but she is surrounded by death.

Leaping from the frying pan, she finds herself in the fire: travelling with a man carrying the one weapon in all the world that can kill her for good – a beautifully crafted knife.

The last of his warrior race, Jonas is surrounded by the ghosts of his loved ones. At his side, the knife that took their lives. His oath to keep it from claiming more souls is a heavy burden, made more so by his half-brother, the devious magician Braph, who is hunting for a new source of blood to fuel his power.

And Llew’s unexpected and unwanted presence may finally bring his resolve to breaking point.

Oh, yeah. I do realize I’ve used a cliché. At the moment, I’m happy with that, but I am pondering other options, too.

The difference a check-mark makes

Heh.

I edit my story in Scrivener. When you tally up your total word count, you have the option of only counting the sections you have marked for inclusion in your compile (when you export to another programme to prepare for submission, or e-book creation). This is handy, as I have been known to keep “Notes” files alongside my scenes for compile. Scrivener also has a “Research” folder where you can keep all your prep files – character studies, setting descriptions, images, etc. Within my Research folder, I’m also keeping my “sandbox” scenes, where I play with alternatives before deciding whether or not to commit them to the compile version.

So, my new version of Chapter One was one of these sandbox files until last week some time. So, I moved the old Chapter One to my Research folder, and my new one into the Draft folder. But, I forgot to mark it to be included in the compile. What a difference that little check-mark makes. Now, all of a sudden, I have more like 46,000 words in my draft. Wow. That feels like a lot. Almost 50% if I was planning a 100,000 word story … which I was to begin with, but I doubt I’ll be able to tie it up by then, so I’ve set it to a 120,000 word goal for the time being. 46K-odd words still feels good.

Humbling Experiences

I was just driving home from work (with a stop to pick up Mr 19mth) and found myself stopped at lights with a rather nice BMW in front of me and a Mercedes Benz behind. I drive a Toyota Caldina. It was rather humbling.

I was put in mind of the time I was on holiday in Hastings (NZ), and came out from an ice cream shop to see the end result of an old Toyota running into the back of a parked Porsche … which just happened to be parked behind an old Ford. Prosche squished. Porsche sandwich. I just hope the guy who caused the accident was insured.

Ticking Along and a Prequel

883 words on “Weapons of War”, so far today. And I should get another moment to add to that, as hubby would like to play his drums tonight – he’ll do that after Master 19months goes to bed, so I’ll have some time (if rackety) to myself. I like making this sort of progress.

As a bonus for you, readers, I have decided to post up a prequel-scene short story. I wrote it for a writing.com competition called “Bring Forth The Darkness: Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n Roll”. I thought that with a theme like that, it would be a good chance to explore my antagonist (not that my protags are goodie twos, but …). For the competition, I only had to touch on one of those themes but, for fun, I decided to get all three in there – so, you have been warned. Read if you feel like exploring the world I am creating, don’t if it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea. The story is called “Toes Across The Floor” and I have filed it with my “Weapons of War” chapters.

I didn’t win that competition. There were only two entries, so it was a case of win-lose. So, while I could say I came second, I really don’t know how I would have done had there been more entries. Still, I had fun exploring my psychologically damaged antagonist and his relationship with my main female protagonist’s mother … indeed.

Progress … It doesn’t look like it, but I’m making it

I just wound my little widget up the side back … You see, it was still reading over 42,000 words, which is what I had got to a week or two ago. But, then I played with my Chapter One, and shortened it. And then, as mentioned previously, I was struggling with my Chapter Eight (and Seven, and, therefore, Nine). Finally got Chapter Eight sorted, as mentioned in my post “Letting it go“. And today … 1,164 words (during the hour and a half my toddler slept). If I had more time to sit here, I could write a ton more. That’s how freeing getting that chapter sorted has been. Sure, the new stuff isn’t perfect, but this is a draft. But, it’s moving the story. It’s just a matter of balancing the info-dumping that could happen now with the very big (very cool) fight I want to have happening.

I suspect things will move forward pretty swiftly for the next wee while. Things are coming back in line with my previous draft (ish), so I will almost be able to copy-paste some stuff … not quite, some characters are coming in, and some are leaving (sad face) earlier than I had planned, but it will be easier, I think. The meat of the story has arrived, anyway.

So, this morning I “attended” a Brent Weeks’ forum chat – in which the man himself signed in. It was really cool. He answered people’s questions regarding the “Night Angel” trilogy – of the Brent Weeks fans, I almost feel like the only person who doesn’t love it …

Read more…Progress … It doesn’t look like it, but I’m making it

Letting it go

So, I’ve been a bit stifled, lately. Sure, I’ve been writing a good 800+ words on the WIP progress per day, but I haven’t been moving forward at that rate. Last night, I finally had the “Ah ha” moment that I feel is going to let me move forward.

Thing is, I have a general outline prepared, and then as I get closer to bigger events I start thinking about them with regards to what’s happened so far, and I flesh them out in my mind, and make notes, and start building toward them, write them and then work on the recovery. That is the theory,anyway. The problem I was having with this particular scene, though, was that I had these images in my mind, but I couldn’t  feasibly make the scene happen the way I had it in mind. About a week ago, I had an “ah ha” moment that improved it, but I was still stuck with my original idea, and was still trying to figure out how to make it happen, believably. Yeah. Not happening.

And, last night, I had the “Ah ha” moment I mentioned originally, and it was that I should let go of my original image for the scene. And, suddenly, what I need to happen can happen, and I don’t have to twist and fold my characters in unbelievable ways to make it happen.

Relief.

Currently playing on Winamp: “Find our way” – Our Lady Peace (Curve).  Yeah …

The most excited I have been about an album release in years

I think the last time I was this excited was when OLP released “Spiritual Machines”. I imported my copy directly from Canada. It came out in NZ 6 months later. I wish I had been on to it sooner, though, because they released a very limited edition of the album, which I missed. Doh!

Since “Spiritual Machines”, I admit, I have been one of those fans saddened by the, in my opinion, blandness that the OLP sound took on (with the exception of “Angels/Losing/Sleep” … if it wasn’t such a depressing song lyrically, I so would have walked down the isle to that song … Or, if I could have got an instrumental version … LOVE!)

Anyway, now you know where my heart lies, musically. I have been waiting for these guys to get all experimental again. Now, I just have to find out how to buy it without going through iTunes (yes, yes, I am a hater).

So much for the “Press this” button in Chrome … it works, but I don’t know how to successfully link videos …

Music Discovery, I do it

Hey crew … (I’m pretending I have an audience … that’s what writers do, we pretend)

So, something else I love, along with writing, is music. A few years ago, I was privileged to be asked to join an online community of music lovers and give my 2-cents regarding my enjoyment of music from around the globe. At the same time, I get to showcase music from New Zealand. Now, I was keeping this separate from my writing life, but, well, I figure there are people out there who might be interested in both … maybe.

So, I thought I might share the video that one of my lovely fellow Countdowners compiled for the April 2012 competition. It gives you a brief taste of the songs competing this month. If any of them catch your attention, I encourage you to go check them out further …

I have been grateful for my participation in this competition several times. Some of my most “inspiring to write to” songs have come from here …

Read more…Music Discovery, I do it

Taking a step back

Hey world! Award-winning writer over here … look at me! Ha ha. I jest. But, seriously, I am quite proud of my little second-place certificate from the Dunedin Writers’ Workshop for my piece ‘Oasis‘. The fact that I was up against some very talented writers does make me wonder how I achieved it (I had even read one of the stories that didn’t place … and I’d liked that one), but I’m gonna take it and run. My ego needs it.

Especially as I agonize over my WIP. For some reason, I have this aversion to calling it a romance, despite the fact that I started it as a little piece just to entertain myself and it did, indeed, begin as a vehicle to bring two characters together. But, then I discovered WRITING. And, I realized that my characters had so much more potential than to just end up in each other’s arms. Still, I find myself thinking of my main plot as romantic and, when I do, I get down on the whole thing. Yes, I do want the romance element in there – it’s something we all feel, all strive for in life, in can all identify with it. But, I don’t want it to be the all.

So, at the risk of proving to myself that my main plot was romance, I did a little plotting exercise, and was actually surprised to remind myself that the romance is one potential resolution to the main problem – that of my female protag’s safety. I guess it’s easy for me to forget that, because it’s not a story goal I can present within the first few chapters – the danger she is in presents itself later, but when it does, wumpf! OK, so maybe I should start with that danger but, if I did that, my girl wouldn’t have the support around her that she needs to stay safe … the bad guys would find her, capture her, end of story. Dumb. So, she needs to meet friends. And, the readers need to like said friends. So, yes, my story has “set up”. There are mini-goals in there to keep things moving, but there needs to be that opening to give my girl and the readers a chance to learn what she is and why she needs to not end up in the hands of the antagonists.

And, suddenly I feel a whole lot better about keeping on keeping on.

I have an outline, I really do. And, I’ve done all this before. But, sometimes you get bogged down in the writing … and then you read an awesome book with a cool plot, awesome magic system, sexy character–  uh, characters … sorry … where was I? Oh, yeah, you read someone else’s work and realize you’ve still got a long way to go … Um …