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mirror’s gate

Mirror's Gate, Research

Tired tonight

But I did throw about 200 words into Chapter 2 of Mirror’s Gate, and therefore have done something writing-related! Thus, I can go to bed with a clear conscience.

Thanks by the way to everybody who has made such encouraging comments about the appearance of Oscar on my character radar! Props to userinfosticckler in particular for finding me fiction that stars tuba-playing protagonists (although I note that in all cases, they’re all general fiction and not fantasy, mystery, or romance, so I’d be REAL interested to see if anybody could find me genre novels that fit the bill). She’ll be getting that copy of Faerie Blood I promised!

And I’ve already watched a few of the YouTube video links userinfokathrynt and userinfowrog provided, just to get a feel of how classical tuba music should sound. Some good stuff there, and it begins to give me an idea of what I want Oscar’s own music to sound like, but I need to listen to more. I’ve found an album called “British Tuba Concertos” on iTunes, which includes the Vaughn one in F minor, and I do believe I’ll be buying that; there’s a really nice-sounding Gregson on here too if the preview I’m listening to is any indication. I hear some nice smooth playing here.

It’ll be a while yet before Oscar gets an actual story, I think; I am still mulling that. I can add though that this boy has absolutely no magical talent inherent to himself whatsoever. He’s bog-standard human, and as previously mentioned, his music is his one awesome skill. Now, in the usual Instrumental Duel With the Fey type of story, the mortal always wins the day because the music of humanity is supposed to be Just as Awesome as Magic–but I don’t think I’ll quite play it that way, since that’s the Expected Way, and the whole point of this is to screw around with the trope.

But it’s all good. I’ll listen to the music and let myself randomly brainstorm and see what it tells me! Woo, buying iTunes music in the name of character research! 😉

And ha. I need a suitable tuba playing icon for posts about Oscar, I think!

Bone Walker, Child of Ocean Child of Stars, Mirror's Gate, Queen of Souls, Shards of Recollection, Short Pieces, Valor of the Healer, Vengeance of the Hunter

2011 says HIYA! And also, bring it

So by and large, 2010 went pretty well for me on a personal level–but not quite so much on a writing level. I’d like to change that this year, and that means getting Seriously Back on the Stick. Here are various goals I’m going to aim for this year. Sooner is better, but I’m not going to nail time frames down to these because really, the overall goal boils down to this: Get Back My Writing Discipline. Anything above and beyond that will be cake.

In general order of priority, these are the main goals:

  1. First and foremost: finish the edit pass on Lament of the Dove and get the revised manuscript back to Carina Press. Current status: Chapter 19 of the word count reduction pass.
  2. userinfoupstart_crow has given me an anthology invite, so I need to plan out what I’ll be writing for that. This is higher priority right now than either Bone Walker or Queen of Souls, since it’s a solid invite and will mean Actual Albeit Small Cashy Money, assuming the piece is accepted. More on this as events warrant; right now I don’t even have a story idea, and the antho in question is quite a bit far out yet.
  3. Follow up with Drollerie as to whether Bone Walker will actually be feasible for Drollerie to pursue this year, and if so, what they need from me to make it happen. Either way, I should go ahead and finish it. Current status: still in chapter 11, and I’m about to the point where I need to plan out what’s going to happen for the rest of the book.
  4. Review where I left off with editing Queen of Souls and get that into queryable shape. Current status: still pretty much on Chapter 2 of the second draft.

Everything above and beyond these things is a stretch goal, right now. This includes all of the current notable works in progress, which are:

  1. Shadow of the Rook. Current status: Made it into Chapter 4 before serious edits to Lament made it clear the beginning of Shadow will have to be heavily reworked as well. Therefore, Shadow will remain on hold until Lament‘s edits are done.
  2. Mirror’s Gate. Current status: Chapter 2.
  3. Child of Ocean, Child of Stars. Current status: Interlude between Chapters 3 and 4.
  4. Shards of Recollection. Current status: Chapter 1.
  5. Still-untitled Faerie Blood-universe piece starring Elizabeth the psychic, and Ross the brother of a murdered Warder. It’s still not clear to me whether this piece is going to be a novella or a novel in its own right. Review of it must occur.

And oh yes: I DO still intend to do the last couple of How to Read Ebooks posts, as well as any further ones that occur to me. If anyone has specific requests about ebook-related things you’d like to see me post, please let me know!

Tonight, I can safely say that editing of Lament has happened. I doublechecked Chapter 18 and realized there was another minor scene with Celoren that I could completely nuke–partly because it didn’t really advance the plot much, and partly because removing it also addressed one of the various issues from Carina’s editor. And I’ve headed into Chapter 19, where I’ve re-discovered that I did leave this chapter in a bit of a mess after cleaning up the tail end of 17. Now I get to clean that mess up.

It’s also become clear that I will indeed be swinging back around for a sixth draft once the word count reduction draft is done. It’ll have to be the sixth draft where I go back in and put in significant new content.

And since I’ve made it a couple of pages into Chapter 19, about 20 minutes shy of midnight, I’ll call that today’s writing-related activity. More tomorrow. DAMMIT.

Edited tonight: Quite a bit, actually
Chapter 18 revised total: 3,750
Chapter 19 revised total: 5,815
Lament of the Dove revised total (fifth draft): 105,783

Mirror's Gate

Finally, some WORDS

I’ve been really rather irritated at myself at not producing anything for the last several weeks, but have come to realize that the best way to fix this problem is to, well, write stuff.

Which is easier said than done, as I think any of my fellow writers reading this will know. “Open the Word doc and add words to the work in progress” sounds terribly simple, and yet, if you’re out of the habit–at least, if you’re me–you have to get past the mental block of whatever the hell’s been messing with you all year. And that’s hard.

But. Kind of like with guitar playing, I’ve also found that I can’t press at it too hard. If I do, I just get stressed. I have to find that sort of zen place where the creativity is, patiently wait it out, and let it pop out when it’s ready.

Tonight, it was ready. And I threw over 500 words into Chapter 2 of Mirror’s Gate, wherein our heroine Yevanya is now headlong into making plans with her dead husband’s friend and colleague to try to track down exactly what she thinks she saw back there on the street. Woo!

Let’s see if I can do this again tomorrow maybe. That’d be a nice Christmas present.

Written tonight: 532
Chapter 2 total: 3,919
Mirror’s Gate total (first draft): 7,702

Mirror's Gate

Works in progress update: Mirror’s Gate

My muse has been an aggravating and fickle creature all year. Usually I’ve been able to coax it to do something for me only after I’ve had a long enough dry spell that it starts to aggravate me, and then and only then can I start kicking the words into gear again. And even then, only if I come at it obliquely and try not to stress too much about getting something done.

Bah. My discipline has suffered sharply this year, and it’s still taking much to get it to recover.

But that said? I wrung words out of my brain tonight. Part of tonight’s work, I think, has been fueled by needing a break from editing Lament of the Dove for Carina Press–and so I’ve thrown about five hundred words at Mirror’s Gate tonight, continuing Chapter 2, and letting my heroine Yevanya follow up on the strange sighting of a man who looked very disturbingly like her dead husband. She’s come to visit her husband’s teacher and colleague Genrek, and Genrek reacts quite strongly to her news:

“Do I want to know what you were trying to accomplish?” For the first time in more days than she could remember, Yevanya felt herself grinning with honest pleasure. Genrek was a great hulk of a man, towering over her by many inches, and yet she had never found him anything but amiable in his gruff fashion. She always supposed it was not because he found her fragile and dainty; next to Genrek many things were, such as carriages, hills, and the smaller varieties of bear. No, she’d won him over for venturing what her cousin had never been able to: interest in the nature and workings of magic, for all that she had not a shred of the talent herself. Nor had it ever hurt that Genrek had been Aleksandr’s best and favorite teacher–and later, his colleague and his friend.

“Bah. If you had been here in the city these past months, you would not need to ask that question.” Genrek clapped both his great hands upon her shoulders and gazed down at her, all traces of levity fleeing his face. “You should not have come to Istra, my child. Tell me you have not brought the children?”

Her grin fading, Yevanya shook her head. “My uncle looks after them in the country. I didn’t wish to subject them to–” To my selling the house, her mind finished, even as she could not. Nor did it seem to matter, with Genrek’s worried scowl so fixed upon her. “They are safe,” she said instead. “What haunts this city, Genrek? I must know!”

The words came out more stridently than she intended, and the sorcerer’s gaze upon her sharpened. “What have you seen?”

“Purest impossibility.” To her dismay and disgust, sudden wetness blurred Yevanya’s sight. She offered no denial, no equivocation; relief that he’d so quickly divined her purpose required matching forthrightness. “A man on the streets, as my cousin and I went past in our carriage. Genrek, he…” Her voice shook. “He was so like Aleksi that he might have been his twin. Or his ghost.”

“Blood of the saints,” Genrek rasped, round-eyed. Then, before she could utter another word, he whirled and stalked away to one of the room’s innumerable shelves. From one he plucked a corked and slim-necked bottle; from another, a pair of small cups that looked as fragile as eggshells in his grasp. Returning to her, he thrust one of the cups at her. He uncorked the bottle with his teeth and spat the cork aside, heedless of where it fell. “Drink,” he commanded, pouring for her into her cup, and then into his own.

It’s going to be fun when Yevanya actually finds the man she saw. Muaha.

Written tonight: 508
Chapter 2 total: 2,877
Mirror’s Gate total (first draft): 6,660

Bone Walker, Mirror's Gate, Short Pieces, Vengeance of the Hunter

Word count metrics update

I’ve been in another prolonged writing funk, which has been frustrating–so tonight I tried another round of throwing tiny bits of words at stuff. Got up to just over 200 by throwing small words at four different things, so I’ll take that!

So we’ve got 51 words into Chapter 4 of Shadow of the Rook, which is currently in the middle of an Enverly scene–his first since the events at the end of Lament of the Dove. Let’s just say Father Enverly has had his first actual religious experience, shall we?

Mirror’s Gate is still in Chapter 2, with Yevanya going to have a friendly little chat with her dead husband’s former teacher and colleague, which should set her up nicely to learn some disturbing things about what’s going on in the city of Istra. 57 words to that, and I gotta say, I rather like this fragment:

Genrek was a great hulk of a man, towering over her by many inches, and yet she had never found him anything but amiable in his gruff fashion. She always supposed it was not because he found her fragile and dainty; next to Genrek many things were, such as carriages, hills, and the smaller varieties of bear.

Over in Bone Walker, I’m still in Chapter 11, with Kendis and Christopher about to get hugely distracted from the question of whether Christopher can, in fact, cross Lake Washington. ‘Cause something is about to give them a disturbing little phone call. 52 words there.

And last but not least, in the still untitled Warder-universe story of Elizabeth and Ross, Elizabeth is realizing that she has no business snarking on a man who’s just told her his dead sister was the magical defender of the city. Not when she is, herself, a psychic. 67 words here.

So yeah. 227 words total. Not much overall, but something!

Bone Walker, Mirror's Gate

Ooh hey, progress

Looks like I’m back to trying to lure words out of my brain a small dribble and drabble at a time.

Tonight, at least, I managed to throw words at both Mirror’s Gate and Bone Walker, though, so I’m calling that a win! Still in Chapter 2 on the one and Chapter 11 on the other, but between ’em I got roughly 500 words tonight. So I call that a win!

Mirror’s Gate:
Written tonight: 267
Chapter 2 total: 2,231
Mirror’s Gate total (first draft): 6,014

Bone Walker:
Written tonight: 293
Chapter 11 total: 682
Bone Walker total (first draft): 30,683

Bone Walker, Child of Ocean Child of Stars, Mirror's Gate, Shards of Recollection, Short Pieces, Vengeance of the Hunter

Yesterday's writing metrics

I’ve hit another dry spell lately, which is annoying, so yesterday I decided to try to do something about that. Throwing small chunks of words at everything I have in progress seemed to help. I did at least over my usual desired target quota of 500, even if those 500 words were scattered across six works in progress. 😉

It all means no real major progress in any of it, but at least there was small pointer advancement! We’ll see what I can do today.

Written on Mirror’s Gate, Chapter 2: 157
Written on Bone Walker, Chapter 11: 174
Written on Shards of Recollection, Chapter 1: 150
Written on Child of Ocean, Child of Stars: 26
Written on Shadow of the Rook: 30
Written on Untitled story about Elizabeth, psychic chick of size, and Ross, brother of a dead Warder: 34
Total words written yesterday: 571