Saturday, June 30, 2012

An update I did not expect to have ...

Managed to hit 50K last night on Boy & Fox, largely because the story is almost done. I have to figure out the final major scene, which -- along with the scene after it -- should be about 5K. I know a few things to change in the next draft, namely that Tychus has to show up more often and Do More Stuff, but I shall finally have a finished first draft to build onto for this story. The scaffolding works, the plot works pretty well though I need Reynard to be wrong about things more often and will need beta readers to figure out if the one secret is as obvious to the reader as I think it is.

(Essentially, there is a secret about Boy that the reader should figure out long before Boy does, and probably before some of the characters in the novel do. While it seems obvious to me, I'm well aware I wrote the story with that secret behind it so my view on 'obvious' is, frankly, skewed.)

I plan to wait on it a month or so, print it off, and then do the second draft after that -- which, unlike all my second drafts of late, will  NOT be a rewrite from scratch -- and then lob the result at the writing group and see what they turn it into :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Boy, a Fox, and an Update.

Closing in on 40K, to my surprise. The plot is finally reaching the second/third act. I suspect at least half of what I have written so far will be deleted in the next draft to pare down dialogue and trim unnecessary scenes from the story and one plot thread will be removed entirely as it doesn't fit the story.

On the plus side, Boy now has a mission to find a rogue Baron and is even getting paid to do it. He's being used, naturally, but he does know he's being used -- even if not why -- so I guess that counts for something. I have no idea HOW Boy is going to go about finding the missing Baron but I suspect the end story will be a damn sight longer than 80K at this rate.

Fun bit from tonight's writing:

"What do you know of wizards?"
"I don't think wizards exist where I come from."
"And witches?" Enzo asked.
"I'm not sure. I get echoes of memories sometimes, like reading a line of a book without knowing the title or anything else about the book. I don't think witches were real where I'm from but we also burned them alive."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In which my brain refuses to leave me alone

Way back at the start of June I began Bird & Jester, intended to be a YA story about two twins born to different parents dealing with a renegade member of their own family, fairies, and sasquatches living in a trailer park. Unfortunately, the MCs voice just never came together properly and the project died on the page. It happens.

Unfortunately earlier this week my brain began revising the setting, altering characters, shoving their ages up a decade and giving thought to using 2-3 POVs for the story instead. The vague plot running through my head in involves a town's Christmas In July idea gone horribly wrong and will also involve using a character from a short story begun at least 10 years ago and never finished. 

Naturally, the entire thing needs a  new title -- not that I much liked the Bird/Jester one anyway -- so I shall have to work on that and figure out how much of the setting and my notes I can salvage from the last iteration of the matrix. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tonight's output (half of)

 "Happiness is contagious," Reynard murmured. "But there is no magic in all the world to force someone to be happy. You can only gain happiness by giving it away; you gain bitterness by expecting it in return."
      "Do you want some? Never mind," Boy added as the fox raised his head from the earth to regard him in bemusement. "You'll just tell me you're a fox."
      "But I am a fox." The fox smiled as Boy rolled his eyes. "And I am content, Boy. To wish for more than is enough of anything – even of happiness – is to risk disaster."
      "Two mice are enough for me now, but if I was bigger I would want more," Boy said, his grin flattering as Reynard Fox's smile vanished, snapped shut as though it had never been.
      "You could be content with two," the other said, in a tone that caused the fire Boy had made to dim. "The world does not have enough mice for everyone who can have three to take them."
      Boy bit his lip. "I can't make jokes, can I? I try. but all I seem to do is hurt people."
      "I am old, Boy. I have lived through famines and stolen the larders of kings for their people, bargained with the Sun to end droughts and trapped the Moon herself in water."
      Boy opened his mouth to speak, and then closed it.
      "Boy," Reynard said, resigned.
      "The moon does get reflected in water? I've seen it, and I think there are songs about that where I'm from. How do you trap the moon?"
      "If you hold a mirror to a reflection, you can trap the real thing. It was long ago, when the Moon and Sun argued over power and place, when night and day warred for the land and drew boundaries that seared the sky and charred the oceans. The time came when the Moon had made a trap of stars and song for the Sun, and the Sun – older and perhaps wiser – refused to set. Heat baked the world, searing fields and throats. Entire lands were lost to the Sun, earth turned into desert, sand into glass and mountains melted into lakes.
      "I was known to have the ear of the Moon and spoke, asking her to relent. She refused. She justified it well; I told her all were excuses and she scowled and threw rocks at me for my insult. I escaped to fashion one into a mirror with the help of the folk under the hills and took it up into the night of the dark half of the world, now still and empty without the Sun. The Mon shone across a wide lake and I held up the mirror. The mirror became reflection and the water became the Moon.
      The Sun set, finally, the trap falling apart without the Moon to sing it true. Each night I allowed the Moon to rise, each day I trapped her until finally I broke the mirror once the world had healed. I made no promise not to trap her again, the Moon made no promise not to trap the Sun. We remain friends, though not as we were."
       "You tricked the moon," Boy said, and a lesser fox would have taken his shock as disbelief.
      "I betrayed her. She had betrayed the world first. Friendship is a gift, Boy. And any gift one cannot give up is a trap."
      "That seems really sad."
      "It is the way it was," the fox said in turn, and Boy said nothing at all because he could hear old sorrow under the words and the moon seemed brighter in the sky than it had even an hour ago.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This novel hurts to write....

I finally hit 26K. According to nano, by tomorrow night I should be at 30K; odds are I will not be. This story is strange, and has always been a beast to write: I know the next draft of it will pare down dialogue and boost description, but beyond that I am swimming for a shore that feels far out of reach. Boy & Fox has one thing going for it: I know the characters. They work, and they're alive in my head. The genre is however far outside my comfort zone of writing and each scene is pulling teeth and hoping I pull the right ones and end up with something that works by the end.

I don't expect to. Things enter, things fall away, the story shifts under me, but I know what works, and what will have to be fixed. That's something. There are no sections that will be deleted flat out and there are several scenes that almost worked as well as they did in my head.

This, however, may be the first time in my history of doing nano that I won't make the 50K. I could, by writing crap. But anyone can do that: often, my goal with nano was to get an idea out of my head. A break from serious novels. At some point, I began doing drafts of serious novels in nano. Boy & Fox is one of those. I may not make 50K on it. I know that if I do, I won't have finished the draft regardless.

And I think I'm okay with that. And a bit surprised to be okay with that.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

This took so long to write :)

I doubt there will be many tales like this in the novel: it takes more time to think them up than to write 'em :)  Also fixed a typo where 'king of beasts' was rendered as 'king of beats' 

"You're travelling with Reynard Fox," Bess said, her voice terribly calm and gentle as her knife vanished into the depths of her cloak.  "You said you had no memories of yourself or the world. I believe you now."

"Thank you?" Boy said. "But I don't know why. He told me he tricks people sometimes, but –."

Bess cut him off with a sharp gesture, her voice dropping into a low cadence as she spoke. 

"A long time ago there were dragons in the world, and they were fierce and terrible, with bellies of fire and scaled skin that could turn back claws and teeth with easy. They were proud and mighty and could fly through the air like birds, swim like fish and stride the world like giants: even the king of beasts feared them and dragons were given many treasures and wonders to remain in their homes and not venture into the world.

"Eventually man came to the world and we had weapons that could pierce hides and fly through the air. We sought the wonders of the dragons and slowly pushed them back from hills to mountains and further regions because we were many and dragons always few. But even then there was one dragon who resisted all the weapons and spells of men: So powerful was the magic of the dragon that it had discarded the scales of it's brethren save for his tale and taken on the body of a lion, with terrible wings and breath that burned as hot as the sun itself.

"The king of beasts could not abide such an insult and one day called the cleverest fox in all the world to deal with Gryphon, for such was the name of the greatest of dragons. Reynard Fox was promised a place in the court of the king if he could deal such an insult to Gryphon that the dragon would never dare show itself to the world again. And so Reynard Fox journeyed far and wide to the lair of the dragon.

" "Mighty dragon," said he, for the Gryphon was all that and more, "I have heard stories that you claim a body not your own, and I would wonder why this is so."

" "I am Gryphon," the dragon roared, and mountains quailed at the sound. "I can do all things."

" "It is true," said Reynard Fox, 'that you are the master of the sea and sky, and the land itself is your domain. But what about under it, O dragon? Has your legend reached the mighty caverns and tunnels under the world?"

" "No," Grypon admitted, "It has not."

" "It is a simple thing," said Reynard Fox. "You need only take on your true form, discard your wings and burrow deep into the earth. There you will find many new challenges and your legend will grow all the greater."

"And so the first and mightiest of the dragons discarded legs and wings and fur and slunk deep into the bowels of the earth and was never seen again though some claim all the snakes that ever were are his children, each trying to reclaim a world he has lost."

"And that's bad?" Boy said.

"No. But he does not confine his tricks to the deserving. Many a farmer or inn has lost chickens and far worse things to his tongue," she said.

"But you put your knife away," Boy pressed.

"Reynard Fox has cheated Death many times, and always extracted revenge on those who killed him. You travel with a monster out of legend, Boy."

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The terrible silence

And so, on Day 5, the Author scowled and tossed 7,700 words aside to the waste bin of his mind and looked anew at the story of a Boy and a Fox and thought: this will be more fun. I will do this. And on day 6, approaching 5000 words, he knew his choice to be Right and Just .

Or: Bird & Jester died. Redoing/fixing the first chapter was a Hint. Getting rid of all the back-story chapters was a bigger hint. The final one was that I just wasn't getting a proper voice for the MC: she just didn't feel distinct enough, and Wren wasn't working at all. In retrospect, some of the built-in parts of the setting too away more narrative tension than they should have; I should have left healing magic in, for one thing. Ah well. We live. We learn. 

As for Boy & Fox, it no longer bears the 'Falling Toward Sky' moniker at all, as the real world main plot/goal no longer exists at all. When the story first began, it was about a Boy from our world entering another, and trying to follow his dead grandmother into the land of the dead: he doesn't find her, loses his memory, and tries to find out who and what he was with the help of a fox and a werewolf. 

Both Boy, Reynard Fox and Bess remain. Nothing else of that plot does. The story has altered itself, plots have shifted and it's less directly a fairy tale and not an allegory for this world at all now. In some ways it's a pity, in other ways I'm looking forward to finding out where this story takes me and if Boy can finally meet the King. 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Day the third

Closing in on 6K words, slowly. Have decided to drop the alternating chapters idea as the past stuff just breaks up the flow and urgency of the plot too much. Which means half of what I've plotted out this far won't be used. Granted, 'plot' is really 2-3 sentence summaries of chapters. Hell, the notes of was  chapter 11 are: 'Chapter 11: Snag Mishi, head to Otherworld.' I prefer plotting in broad terms since it allows for more deviance and juggling of things if it becomes necessary. Scrapping half my plotted pieces will make things interesting, if only in figuring ways to incorporate some of the actually useful info. into the story.

And, thanks to writing group, I am currently trying -- as best I can -- to ignore the urge to do up a new notes file for Boy & Fox. I may give into it .... now, in fact.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Signs one is not doing a nano correctly ...

Include re-writing most of the first chapter already. On the plus side, it's now 2400 words. On the downside, my output for this morning is technically 300 words :)

Story-wise I'm still getting a feel for Jess's voice as I poke at the second chapter.

facebook & google+ status updates part XII (June 1, 2012)

The first time the four horsemen had a poker night, it unleashed the black plague. The last time, four celebrities spouted pseudoscience and endorsed products.

"The serial killers are working in tandem," the Detective said. "Six cities, six people killed at the same time in what can only be described as synchronized murder. We think they're failed Olympic hopefuls."

"Free Ipad3 for every hundred animals kills!"
- A proposed campaign against having too many domesticated animals. Unfunded.

In a world devoid of kindness and hope, where mercy and compassion were outlawed and justice no longer a concept, one power remains to the people: "Charge it."

The aliens assumed we'd begun to colonize our solar system when they saw signs in store fronts reading: 'Space For Lease.'

"There is no law saying we have to make money." The manager smiled. "Let's see the competition beat this price."

The compassion of the wealthy is dependant upon how many of their social circle they can shame with their false halos.

The world is too full of empty promises.

Today's Fun Fact: if you eat enough McDonald's, zombies won't infect you.

"I'm sorry, but God isn't going to return: you're confusing Him with the Great Pumpkin."

For sale: almost new car. Airbag works!

The aliens determined that earth was too boring to allow to exist shortly after watching golf on TV.

The present is always more beautiful than the future.

Cake chart: a pie chart with more information.

The sphinx smiled. "Who were you before you were?"
Stone eyes narrowed. "And who I was I?"
At which point the sphinx ate the questioner for being too clever by half.

Between the idea and the execution lies the internet, a modern siren whispering sweet, sweet distractions.

Dentist, n.: An ex-tooth fairy.

A single streetlight never turns green, vehicles slowly backing up to freeze the entire city.

She no longer gets haircuts after her hair began to cry each time it was cut.

News just in: Mideast peace talks stalled as midwest feel their voices are not being heard.

Paintings on an office wall: all places you've been to, each as deserted as once they were full.

A PA system that only broadcasts the most private of thoughts.

Tongue Depressor: a mother-in-law's criticisms.

Two scoops of brains in Kellog's Cannibal Bran!

In this respect religions are like quantum mechanics: if they don't scare you, you haven't understood.

There never was a first date
"Wow, that looks Greek to me," he says with a laugh, glancing at her book.
She pauses, doesn't look up. "That's because it is."

"I'm sorry," he said, almost gentle. "There is no rivalry between us. There never has been. I don't hate you. There is nothing in you worthy of hating."

Smite(tm): the favourite iphone app of deities everywhere! Buy now and get free trial run of 'try being an atheist now! One curse fits all annoyances.'

For Sale: One soul. Never used.

"How many people do you have to kill before being branded a serial killer?"
"It's just that this is the fourth bird our cat has killed in one week."

RPG idea of the evening: Anime-style mecha game with a twist. MechaCthulhu.

"We found two red socks at the scene of this crime as well," the Detective said to the press. ""I believe the perpetrators are trying to hide the evidence of their crimes using clues."