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Posts Tagged ‘high fantasy’

Now that I’ve finished The Renegade Count (or whatever I end up calling it) it’s time to take a break. The weather is supposed to be in the 70s here, perfect weather to be out in my garden. I have a few transplants to get in, and more than a few weeds to get out. I’m also taking in a webinar about soil care, because if you don’t have good soil, your flowers and vegies will only struggle.

While my hands are busy, I’ll be thinking about the new names and titles I need. Some of them might sound strangely botanical. Nobody will notice that, right?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I’m still doing a bit of work on the very end of The Renegade Count, just making sure everything fits together the way it should. While I do that, I’m also starting the first step of my revisions, which is to name or re-name a few people and places.

Names are a detail that I pay a lot of attention to. The sound of them, and how they fit together, is an important part of my world building. I want them all to sound like they come from the same place and time. Although I try to come up with a list of good names before I start the first draft, and pick from that list when I encounter a new character, there are always a few I get stuck on.

For this novella, I’m re-naming a couple of characters whose names are too similar and might cause confusion for readers. There are also a few, very minor, characters who I didn’t anticipate needing names. No big deal, I’ll just play with sound combinations until I get them how I want them.

The major problem that I have it with the title. The Renegade Count was supposed to be about Berisan accidentally being appointed “count” of an obscure village. Since the people are expecting military-style magic to defend them, and Berisan is a pacifist, I thought that would be an interesting conflict. As it worked out, though, Yamaya’s character arc took up a lot more of the story. The village didn’t draft Berisan as their protector in the way I had anticipated.

This leaves me the choice of completely re-writing the plot to force my original intention on it — you writers out there know this hardly ever produces a better story — or coming up with a new title. Guess which one I’m choosing?

So the work goes on… or begins, depending on where you count from!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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So close to finishing up with The Renegade Count! That octopus of a plot is pinned to the matt except for the end of one tentacle is still twitching.

Basically, the last chapter is a big ol’ mess. It’s really disorganized, but in a way I can handle. There were a couple of great observations made by Berisan and Yamaya. They’re so great, I think I used them more than once. So I need to go back over those chapters, decide where the great lines should go, and generally shape the conclusion to my liking. With any luck, I’ll finish that this afternoon.

Saturdays are my day off from writing, and I have a fun thing going on where some friends are running an online role-playing game. I’m going to moderate a chat for them. But, on Sunday I should be able to start the next draft. It had been my intention to finish The Renegade Count several weeks ago, so that I can publish it in mid-May. That’s not a lot of time, which is one reason I’ve been anxious about finishing this draft.

However, the pauses to think and attention to detail usually mean that my revisions go quickly. So a May publications date looks chancy, but it’s not beyond possibility. If I have to push it into June, so be it. I can feature that book during Queen Titania’s Court.

Onward!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Coming to the end of The Renegade Count has turned out to be sort of like wrestling with an octopus. There are so many arms, and they’re kind of slippery! I have good stuff written, but I’m struggling to get it in the proper order.

As I start the chapter, the two viewpoint characters each have a big question left to solve. The thing is, Yamaya just solved Berisan’s problem for him. And her solution makes so much more sense!

I think that I’ve mentioned Berisan stepped in to help some villagers being menaced by bandits. Then the village headman drafted Berisan to protect the village if the bandits come back. Berisan isn’t a fighting mage, but the Headman won’t listen to his protesting.

Returning to the village a few days later, Berisan intended to negotiate some other arrangement with the Headman. Yamaya just marched in with knives on her belt and said, “Leave my employee alone.” End of problem.

I love this approach and how it avoids so many unnecessary words. It’s just that it leaves Berisan without much to do for the rest of the story. If I could, I would have him turn around and solve Yamaya’s problem for her. Fair is fair, and again would be a surprising twist. But it doesn’t quite work.

Yamaya’s remaining problem is that she’s being courted by a sort of arrogant guy who might actually mean well. Since Berisan is not in a relationship with Yamaya, it would be really awkward for him to tell Kinson, “Leave my boss alone.” Yamaya needs to make her own romantic decisions, and besides, she can’t do all the lifting at the end.

I know I’ll figure it out. It’s just really confusing right now. Sort of like wrestling with an octopus!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I’ve been dithering a bit with The Renegade Count this week. Mostly I think it’s because my pacifist main character is about to find out he seriously hurt someone. Maybe even killed them.

As we all know, life is never totally under our control, even in stories. I like to to express that by not completely planning some things. I’ll roll dice for some outcomes. So the situation is that Berisan reflexively pushed away at some people who were attacking him with swords. They were standing on a slope of loose stones, and it started a rockslide.

What I have to decide is how badly the two attackers were hurt in the rockslide. A couple of dice rolls showed me that one attacker had 30% damage to his left arm. That’s pretty easy to describe as having a broken bone. The other one had 50% damage to his chest. This one is puzzling me a bit to interpret. Fifty percent damage sounds serious. Like multiple broken ribs, maybe? Or internal injuries? With no medical care to speak of, he might still die.

Neither attacker was killed outright, but they won’t be coming after Berisan again, either. Still, I want him to have that realization that he isn’t some emblem of perfection. His philosophy of non-violence can’t insulate him from all circumstances. Even if Berisan was defending himself, he hurt these men. It’s going to be a painful realization.

We all know writers who chuckle gleefully when they think of some torment to put their characters through, but I’m not one of them. Inhabiting this part of Berisan’s journey is going to be stressful for me, too. That’s why I often dither and delay starting those scenes.

Oh well, better get to it!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Once upon a time… Okay, until about two years ago, this blog was totally focused on dragons. So today I’m returning to my roots and reviewing a book that’s all about… dragons! How did you guess?

The Cloud Roads is the first in a series, Books of the Rakshura, about a race of shape-changers who can shift between humanoid (groundling) form and something more like a bipedal dragon. Rakshura can easily be mistaken for a much more malevolent race called the Fell, and this causes constant friction with other groundling societies.

Moon is the main character. Orphaned at a young age, he knows that he’s different from other groundlings, but doesn’t even know the true name of his species. Soon after the book begins, though, he’s found by another Rakshura named Stone, and recruited to join Stone’s community. Naturally, it turns out that Moon has rare gifts that make his presence both hotly resented and desperately needed.

As an outsider, Moon is confronted by a lot of unknowns. Finding his way gives the reader a chance to get acquainted with Rakshura life. This is a device that a lot of authors use, and in some ways, Moon’s situation is not much different than Harry being bullied by Malfoy in the Harry Potter books. Since this book is for older readers, there’s an added spice of romance and some complicated political intrigue. But still lots of dragon battles!

Wells creates a really interesting world where groundlings come in all shapes and sizes. It’s kind of nice that they don’t judge each other (except for the Fell) based on physical differences. Wells also hit one of my sweet spots by littering her Three Worlds with relics of past civilizations. Not just assorted ruins on the ground, there are sky islands drifting around, their origins lost to history. This seemed like a callback to Hayao Miyazaki’s seminal animated film, Laputa. As a Miyazaki fan, I enjoyed that.

The Cloud Roads was first published in 2011, so I’m coming a bit late to this party. On the other hand, the series is already complete. No fear of waiting for the next one to be released. There are five books in the main sequence, with a number of story collections and side stories focused on individual characters. If you’re a dragon fan, this series is worth a look.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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With all my recent posts being about RadCon, you might think I’ve ground to a halt on my current novella. I’m glad to say, you would be wrong. If I hope to get this one ready by May, I’ll have to hurry, so I set myself a goal to write 500 words a day (roughly two pages), five days a week. That gives me 2,500 words per week. So far I’ve kept up with that pace. It helped that February has a couple of minor holidays that gave me a day off work, so I had extra time for writing.

Currently, The Renegade Count is about 15,000 words, or half way to my goal (maybe). My two main characters, Berisan and Yamaya, have a slightly uneasy alliance. In this week’s work, Yamaya’s village market was disrupted by a couple of thugs — people she knew in her shady past. Berisan stepped in to help out a woman who was being dragged around, and ended up revealing that he is a mage. The village headman (the guy who was supposed to protect the residents but hid instead) is now demanding that he protect their village every time the bandits come back.

Since Berisan is a pacifist, he refused, but now the headman is threatening to call the Count’s guards if he doesn’t cooperate. In Skaythe, no good deed goes unpunished. Meanwhile, Yamaya is afraid that her former associates will rat her out. That could mean she loses the farm she and her late husband tried to build.

This is where things stand right now. Moving it forward next week should be… interesting!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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You know what they say… Two steps forward, one step back? The Renegade Count is feeling a bit like that. I work on some stuff, then I think of something I hadn’t before. After which, I have to go back and account for whatever it is.

The knot I’m currently picking at is about revealing too much of Yamaya’s background, too soon. Not that I want to deceive the readers in an unfair way, but holding back a little can be a very effective technique. Give them a few pieces of information and let them try to figure it out before I come out with it. If they guessed right, they’ll be pleased with themselves. If they guessed wrong, they’ll be delightfully surprised.

In her initial POV section, Yamaya told major pieces of her back story right away. My task of the moment is to snip some of that out and work it into a conversation with Berisan slightly later in the story. I’ve always found conversations a really effective means of revealing character while also giving back story. So I need to avoid tipping my hand too soon.

That’s the approach I’ll be taking tonight — as soon as I finish this blog!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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The Renegade Count is up to 2,000 words after three or so days. That’s great progress, the plot has lots of energy, and the characters are coming to life. I’m really happy with it. But, I need to reassess.

The issue is that Yamaya is at the point of knifing Huld. The tension might build up to that by the end of the novella, but I’m only 4 pages in. This wasn’t meant to be my starting point. Besides which, my original intention was that Berisan make allies — first with Yamaya and later with the village where Huld lives. Having this level of antagonism at the outset will eliminate that possibility.

What’s happening, I think, is my fury at the attempted coup in Washington D.C. and the shameful non-apology from those who supported it. Real as the situation and emotions are, the story I’m writing needs to be separated from them.

Possibly, however, my muse is telling me that the novella is not really about Berisan making allies. It’s about Yamaya holding onto her farm. As I cool down that first conversation, more new ideas are already starting to pop.

So my job today is to step Huld back from his most inflammatory words, not trigger Yamaya’s rage, and let the plot build on a stronger framework.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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No sooner did I start on The Renegade Count, than an unexpected character strutted into the scene. He actually developed from the fourth potential introduction I was working with. So — yay for my strategy!

Huld is going to be an antagonist. He is an unwanted suitor of Yamaya’s, with intentions not at all pure. This makes him pretty much a stereotype. Yet stereotypes often contain a kernel of truth. As a writer, it’s my job to make sure Huld becomes more than a negative trope.

Anyway, the obnoxious strutting is definitely permissible for such a character. It gives the plot a kick, as Berisan and Yamaya have someone actively striving against them.

Now — back to my writing!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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