Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Creating Legends

Seems I like writing about misfits whose destiny forges them into living legends.

First came Thorn Kingshield in the Falcons Saga--the easily embarrassed, always-late, scatterbrained scholar who ends up becoming quite the earth-shaker and storm-maker. Literally.

Now comes Sanjen Laurelius, a lute-player with a past, who possesses the singular talent of being able to manipulate his environment through the magic inherent in music. In his first (written) adventure, A Nocturne in Red, Sanjen is hired to save the City of Mages from a rampaging harpy. And in his second?

Lute, detail from "The Ambassadors" by Holbein, 1533

As soon as Nocturne was published by The Society of Misfit Stories in August, I started writing Sanjen's next adventure. He has no idea that participating in a bardic competition will lead to a complete shift in his destiny, and in the destiny of an empire.

Encompassing a far larger scope than Nocturne, the new tale (title undecided) currently clocks in at just over 60,000 words. So now the decision is whether to shorten it to make it more comfortably fit the word count of a novella, or to expand it and turn it into a full-length novel. Or to just say screw it, and let the story be the length it naturally is.

Anyway, legends... I have big plans for Sanjen. He no longer gets to remain the obscure tavern performer. His stage is about to expand exponentially.

Good thing characters can't read the minds of their creators. They'd run screaming in terror, right over the edge of the page.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

"A Nocturne in Red" Published!

At Books2Read

"Can a bard with a secret addiction and even more secret identity overcome his own problems long enough to save a cursed woman who has been transformed into a bloodthirsty monster?" 

The Society of Misfit Stories has published my novella, "A Nocturne in Red." I was so confident that someone would snatch this one up. The story is just too much fun.

Apparently the publisher listed it at Books2Read, which links all the venues where the novella can be found: iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Smashwords, and Angus & Robertson. Most of the venues are selling it for 99 cents. At this time the story is available only digitally, though I hope it will be included in the Society's anthology/collection. If it is, I'm so buying the hardcover copy.

Specs for "A Nocturne in Red" --

Length: 17,500 words
Genre: fantasy
Audience: not for children
Main Character: Sanjen Laurelius (but that's just an alias)

There's so much I can do with this character. This week I'm outlining and brainstorming a new story (of undetermined length) that will focus less on Sanjen's turbulent past and more on his precarious present. I know (mostly) how it begins. I know (a little) how it ends. Now just to figure out the middle bits and start recording what Sanjen has to say. To what lengths will he go to keep his empress safe and his own skin intact?

(I haven't posted much this year. Plans for a lifestyle change took all my passion and focus. Then heartbreak sent me reeling, so blogging became a last priority. That's my excuse anyway.)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Adventures in Writing: Faith and Good Endings

For Writers:

As I may have alluded to in an earlier post, I hadn't even completed the first draft of Blackbird before I realized the ending, as I had first envisioned it, wouldn't work. After a bit of agonizing and brainstorming, a potential correction presented itself:  an entirely new character.

Now, here I am, revising that very rough draft and inserting the "correction" in among the old content. But, my brain worries, is it actually a correction? Will this "fix," in fact, break the story worse? Provide unnecessary complication? Swell the word count needlessly?

All an unknown. Writing, I have discovered, is an act of faith. It's embarking upon a voyage with a map drawn in crayon and no sight of a shore before the prow. The new oar I have devised to employ may crack midway through the trip and leave the story stranded for a while. Or it may see the tale safely across the uncertain waters.

When you write, how do you feel about taking risk?

For Readers:

What ending, book or film, do you wish had been done differently? Why?

* * *

Current Project: Blackbird
Genre: Victorian Drama
Theme: the wound

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Celebration: Completing Drafts

Pop the cork off that champagne! I am celebrating tonight. The first ugly draft of Blackbird is finished. A natural high. A feeling of complete, deep satisfaction in this first leg of a new journey.

I have not posted yet about Blackbird. Mainly because I was off writing the darn thing. The novel takes place in 1870s England, both in London and the West Country. (No, it is not another Fantasy novel, sorry Fantasy fans, maybe next time.) The research stage has been phenomenal. I get to return to my first love and explore history, houses, mannerisms, early medical developments, music, art, and literature of the time, etc. and I still have much research to do and apply.

Yes, yes, setting and all that, but what's the story about? It's about a young man with Savant Syndrome (it wasn't called that at the time, so I must avoid all reference to such labels), and the young woman who draws him out of a deep childhood trauma (before the science of psychiatry was prevalent), and the father who is desperate to protect his son from being condemned to an asylum.

The story touches on deep, lingering wounds, and the difficult subject matters of abuse and mental illness.

I typed the opening chapter the first week in November. Four months and 120k words later, Blackbird is a newborn baby duckling that is ready to transform into a swan. Yep, lots of bird references there.

I was just beginning writing the final chapter (things hadn't sat well with me for at least four chapters) when I realized what was wrong and how I might attempt to fix it. Despite that, I pressed on, finished writing the draft according to the original vision, though I didn't bother trying to nail down details that, later, I will discard anyway.

So excited to start putting these restructuring ideas into play next week. Though I may be too excited to wait. Revisions may well begin tomorrow.

I may record the rewriting progress here in my blog, just as I did for much of the Falcons Saga, along with strange research tidbits I come across. *crossing fingers I stick to that plan*

Onward! The next phase awaits...