Monday, August 27, 2012

The Falcons Saga - Progress Report #3

 Lots of meaningful information in these pages. Now, just to find the most entertaining, punchy way to tell it. Ah, but it is so painful when scenes I love no longer work and must be cut. Killing one's darlings is never fun. Good thing is, I will still have them saved in the old draft, so they're not gone completely, and readers will never know the difference. Trick is, then, to make the entire final version my darling and be proud of the content that survives the cut.

Chapter(s) of the Week:

Pages Revised: 12
Deaths: 0
Births: 1
Good things that happen: Thorn goes home
Bad things that happen: old tensions surface

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Falcons Saga - Progress Report #2

Given that there are currently 44 chapters in the rough draft, and given that there are 52 weeks in a year, and given that there will be holidays and the occasional need to flee the novel for a few days here and there to save my sanity, I think it's safe to say that rewrites on Falcons 2 will take at least a year. That's if I succeed in rewriting one chapter a week. The tally does not make me happy, but there it is. A realistic estimate, for now.

But, like I said last post, rather than look at the whole wall to be built, take it one brick at a time.

Pages Revised: 3 1/2
Pages of New Content: 5
Deaths: 30+
Dreadful Happenings: There is much blood on the snow
Positive Happenings: Kelyn is going to miss a certain lady

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Falcons Saga - Progress Report #1

Here we go again. A full week of writing (or rewriting, as the case may be) is under my belt. Ground has been broken, and what do I find but bricks strewn absolutely everywhere. Reconstruction has begun.

I was rather disheartened last weekend when I opened that huge 3-ring binder to read over chapter one and found that what I thought was good was, in fact, shallow characterization and boring exposition. Instead of penciling in corrections line by line, I sat down at my laptop, heaved a sigh of dread, and typed "Part One, Chapter 1." This is going to be an uphill battle, no mistake. I refuse to set a deadline yet. Doing so, I fear, will be setting myself up for failure and expectant readers for disappointment. So, suffice to say, I'm taking it one chapter at a time, one scene at a time, one page at a time. If you look at the building as a whole and how much progress still has to be made, the job can look daunting, even impossible, but keeping focus on one brick stacked on top of another doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

So here's to the long haul! See you at the other end.

Number of pages revised: 5 1/2
Character deaths: 1
Dreadful happenings: a young prince makes a deadly move
Positive happenings: a young prince finds hope in a new friend


Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Wild Cards I by George RR Martin, ed.

“There is a secret history of the world—a history in which an alien virus struck the Earth in the aftermath of World War II, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Some were called Aces—those with superhuman mental and physical abilities. Others were termed Jokers—cursed with bizarre mental or physical disabilities. Some turned their talents to the service of humanity. Others used their powers for evil. Wild Cards is their story.”

When I became a George RR Martin fan some years ago, I kept hearing Wild Card this and Wild Card that, but couldn’t figure out what the hype was about. When Wild Cards: Inside Straight, the seventeenth installment in the series, came out in 2008, I ran out and grabbed a copy. But I still didn’t see what the big deal was. For instance, I found myself asking the same question that opens Inside Straight: “Who the f—k was Jetboy?”

This wouldn’t do at all. I tried to track down a copy of volume one in the series, only to learn that the book was no longer in print. ‘How can a popular series no longer have volume one?’ I asked, highly disappointed. So when Martin announced on his Not A Blog that the book had been re-released and that the ebook was temporarily on sale, I whooped and hollered, grabbed my Kindle and downloaded a copy. I was in for one wild ride…

Originally published in 1986, the first installment of Wild Cards was a collection of 10 stories and several interludes that followed a timeline from the virus’s release in September 1946, up through the social changes of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, all filtered through the lenses of those who suffered the virus.

With its re-release in 2010, the original stories are joined by 3 new tales that enhance the early progression of the Wild Card virus. Michael Cassutt’s contribution, “Captain Cathode and the Secret Ace,” describes the fear in Hollywood after McCarthy’s Communist trials in the 50s, but with a twist. The HUAC hearings not only targeted suspected Communists, but aces as well. “Powers,” by David D. Levine, goes inside the CIA as a secret ace strives to save a kidnapped spy while trying to remain anonymous. And Carrie Vaughn explores Jokertown and the 80s club scene in “Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan.”

The progression of stories not only touches on well-known historical and social events, but also on phobias. The kind of phobia that comes to dictate how we treat our neighbors who look differently or live differently from what is deemed “normal.” The authors managed to weave this common and dangerous paranoia into the action until it becomes the predominant theme by the end.

Wild Cards I provides my first run-in with a collaborative work on this scale. While reading, I was continuously astounded by how these authors managed to pool characters and information into an elaborate patchwork that forms a dramatic, cohesive whole. Though the book may be most accessible to readers who have some knowledge of the events that marked the last half of the 20th Century, I think the bizarre elements found in these stories will appeal to a new generation of sci-fi fans.

I give Wild Cards I five out of five magic wands:

(I’m also rating this book Mature, due to language and sexual situations)

For another review on Wild Cards I, visit Book Spotlights at The Bearded Scribe

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fan of the Olympics and Janis Joplin

The games are back again, which means the writing suffers. I just can't help it. Sports were never my thing. The only reason I like to watch football on Sunday afternoons is b/c it's the best thing ever to fall asleep to. An endless drone of pointless noise. Sorry, but that's the way it is. Now, the Olympics on the other hand? I'm glued. Everything else, or nearly, takes a backseat for two weeks every two years. Even writing. That's permissible, right?

Good thing is, despite the games, I finished the short spec-fic involving Janis Joplin yesterday. Lots of fun. A bit macabre. But lots of fun. Now I must choose between endings. I have two options, which I will keep to myself. And where to submit the bloody thing? But first things first, I must cut down the word count, as usual. My stories are always so full of character development that I have a difficult time keeping them brief. But I love the narrator. I can't decide if she's reliable or not, even now. Maybe that will keep readers guessing, too.

Anyway, back to the games. Then, when they conclude, it back to the Falcons saga for me. Don't even want to contemplate the workload waiting in that stack of paper...