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Posts Tagged ‘Renegade Count’

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!


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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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I’m late getting this out because… Honestly, I could make excuses, but I just forgot. The Renegade Count was stalled for a few days, and finally I got the story knot untied. I was more focused on pushing the novella forward than on preparing this blog ahead.

Anyway, I feel like I owe you a story, so here goes.

In the curriculum I’m teaching, they have me giving nonsense names for common objects, and then working with the students on what properties the object has. Today’s lesson had a silly word for a shovel: fuf. I was supposed to explain that a shovel is a tool, so a fuf is also a tool. A shovel has a handle and you use it to dig. So a fuf also has a handle and you use it to dig.

It’s probably obvious that “fuf” sounds a lot like a different word. A word that students normally are forbidden to use at school. A four-letter word.

Long story short, I couldn’t get these third-grade boys to stop laughing. We talked a bit about how the people who wrote the curriculum might have thought a little bit more before they put that particular nonsense word in the text. Anyway, I’m pretty sure the boys will remember this lesson, but forget everything else about it except for “fuf.”


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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What’s Happening? I am happy to say that I got my greenhouse to stay up in the wind. We had snow last week, but I’m confident that my seeds can germinate in relative warmth. In addition, I’m experimenting with a slightly different form of online seminar, with a gardening webinar series called Cabin Fever. There are sessions on Monday and Wednesdays evenings, which unfortunately go across dinner and writing time. However, I only have to attend the ones I’m interested in, so it shouldn’t slow my writing too much.

What I’m Working On. As related in my previous post, I’ve reached 15,000 words on The Renegade Count and the complications are multiplying. Berisan has been busted as a mage, and is thinking he should get the heck out of Dodge. But that would mean abandoning Yamaya. I’m working through a gap until Yamaya gets her turn at being busted as a former bandit. Given her past, Yamaya’s turn is likely to get messy.

What’s Next? SpoCon, the local convention where I volunteer as programming director, is still hoping we can hold an in-person event next October. I’ve started the process of inviting speakers and getting ideas for what activities the convention will include. As a fund- and awareness-raiser, we’re hosting an online game in early April, which requires a few rehearsals. I’ve seen the face rigs they’ll be using, so if the players are talking to a dragon, the person they’re talking to will actually appear to be a dragon. It is going to be really cool.

Fun and Games. Right now, the only video game I’m playing is Animal Crossing. The one-year anniversary of my village is coming up, which is pretty incredible. The rest of my relaxation time has been split between reading (gotta keep up with my Goodreads goal) and building jigsaw puzzles.


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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What’s Happening? Slowly my school is coming back to in-person learning. Third-graders are attending every day, and the Fourth-graders start in A/B cohorts tomorrow. I was a little dismayed at first, but that was just the knee-jerk reaction of my schedule being overhauled. I’m getting more excited for it now. This is the job I’m supposed to be doing as a paraeducator.

What I’m Working On. The Renegade Count, naturally. I’m about 6,000 words in to the latest Minstrels of Skaythe novella, and feeling worried about where the plot is going… or not going. But my anxiety is typical for this stage of a novel, so I think I have a shot at finishing it before April, which is my goal.

What’s Next? In two weeks, or a little less, I’m doing a virtual convention. RadCon is a science fiction convention that I attend in person most years. This year will be online. I’m going to do a few panels and help with a virtual room party. It’s my first time participating in this way, and I’ve ordered a new webcam to make it look better. So here’s hoping it goes well.

Hey! Since it’s online, you might be able to join in some of my events. It’s even FREE! Here’s a link if you’re interested.

Fun and Games. Fallout 4 and Animal Crossing. What can I say? I like a game where I get to build things.

Speaking of building things, I’ve started pre-planning for this year’s garden. I set up my small greenhouse/cold frame over the weekend. It promptly blew down. Guess I need more bricks!


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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This will be a plotting day for me. You could call it outlining, but it’s a little more free-form than that. Basically, I believe that people react based on emotion rather than intellect. So to carry The Renegade Count forward, I’ll look at the events that have already happened and ask myself what the characters are feeling about them.

Based on that, I’ll generate as many ideas as I can. Some of them may be so obvious that it would be unrealistic not to use them. But if so, I’ll try to find ways to make them more interesting and unpredictable. Above all, I don’t want to write a story that’s boring!

The other thing that’s going on is, we got a new china cabinet. We’d noticed that our old one was starting lean over. Fortunately, it was leaning into a corner, so we knew it wouldn’t fall. Last weekend we wandered through antique malls until we found one that would fit into the limited space. At the moment, all our stoneware and glassware is currently arrayed on the dining room table. We also have some small appliances that need to not be packed onto our kitchen counter. Later today, we’ll decide what goes in the hutch and what we don’t need to keep around.

Fun times, 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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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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