what i’ve been working on

Hey!

So you’ve probably noticed that posts have become few and far between. Mostly, this is because I’ve spent the last year or two feeling as though I have everything to learn and nothing to teach.

In lieu of my once-common craft essays, I thought I’d post the first scene of my latest novella, Painted, which I hope to completely finish before November.

Chapter 1

Wyrren had wondered, from time to time, if things would have turned out differently if she’d been able to smile at Sebastian. But she couldn’t, and they hadn’t, and now Wyrren stood at her stepsister’s bedroom window to watch the man she loved offer another woman his arm.

The formal greetings took place on the front steps of Sebastian’s home, the Palacia del Torlo, on a cool, sunny spring afternoon. Trees laden with violet and pink buds swayed in the wind, casting lacy shadows on the drive. Lady Kartania Reise dressed in white and wore her dark hair loose. Her people, a host of women in armor stood to one side, his elite bodyguard the other. Carriages pulled away to unload the guest’s luggage. Sebastian leaned close to Kartania, a kiss or a quiet word, Wyrren couldn’t tell which.

They filtered into the palacia; two of Sebastian’s bodyguard, then Sebastian and Kartania, splendid and regal walking arm in arm. The rest followed after, finishing with a man in a long green coat. The tall palacia doors closed slowly, but with a sense of finality.

Wyrren stared at the empty front steps for several minutes more, leaned on the wall with her forehead against the window frame. She shut her eyes, listened to the sound of her breathing and the trees below shifting with the wind.

It didn’t matter anymore.

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pre-nanowrimo snippet– the barn raising

Still practicing Leo– I wanted to see how he got along with his father, while I was at it.

While the four Soarin brothers danced to fiddle music and neighbors in dirty work clothes helped themselves to the food laid out on the baled hay, Leo had taken refuge in the loft above the barn proper. He could see everything from there– Merrily was laughing and clapping beside her niece, Mathew’s eldest son restrained a small herd of children while his youngest sneaked extra helpings of cherry pie. The barn vibrated with the beat of men and women clapping and stomping their feet in time to the fiddle. Noisy, dirty, enthusiastic farmers, unlike anything Leo had ever grown up with. He found himself partial to them… not their noise, or the hours they kept, or the distance from any real civilization, of course. That wouldn’t do. But there was something there, a common bond between them.

Leo didn’t see his father on the floor. He noticed this a moment before Maxwell marched up the steps, still wearing his immaculate blacks, somehow still free from dust and straw. “I see you’ve found the best place in the barn,” Maxwell said. He’d meant, of course, that the loft was as far away as they could get from the party without leaving.

Leo shrugged and glanced down at Merrily. Maybe now, or when the music died down a little. Or maybe it would be better after. But would she be tired after? She was in a good mood, but she had that niece-friend Nancy with her now, and she got to see him more than most of her extended family. He glanced up at his father. Maxwell raised an eyebrow.

“I can’t talk to her,” Leo blurted out.

“It’s a blessing. She’ll try to make you one of them,” Maxwell said.

“I don’t know if I can do the dances.”

“You, out on the floor with that lot?”

“What if I ask and she says no?”

Maxwell took a look at the girls from over the rail. Merrily with her brown skin and nappy dreadlocks was plainly visible, still in that yellow dress. Did she own any other clothes, Maxwell wondered. All Maxwell could see of Nancy was her long auburn braid, but from what he recalled she was a lot better looking. “Your mother was a pain in the ass, Leo. If you must shackle yourselves to one of them, at least try to pick a handsome girl.”

Leo didn’t even know why he was telling his father this. “Miss Soarin is the most wonderful lady that I have ever met. I don’t care what she looks like.”

As if on cue, the violin’s piece cut off and the boys began whooping. Leo turned and headed down to the ground, as if he’d only sought a quiet word with his father, aware that Maxwell was probably still looking at him with some sort of disgust. It served him right, though, for saying that about mother… but the barn was smaller than Leo had thought, and abruptly he found himself face-to-face with Merrily again. Nancy smiled at him, then cut off mid-conversation. Merrily looked at Leo, waiting, expectant.

Leo opened his mouth. “Er.”

Nancy giggled.

“You’re gonna ask me to dance,” Merrily said.

“I am?” Leo asked. He was? Was that why he came down?

“You are.” She grabbed his wrist and dragged him to the makeshift dance floor. Leo’s feet hardly kept up, stumbling after her. He looked back, most likely from some latent instinct to seek shelter in a moment of terror. He caught sight of his father instead, leaning on the rail above them. The artificer mouthed, ‘I told you so’.

Why did he keep doing this to himself? Why?

it’s just an old writing scrap…

Today, while going over some of my old files (organizing… or maybe procrastinating from chapter ten revisions), I found a scrap of an old project. Just a single typed page of writing, nothing long or involving. The document properties says that I haven’t touched it since March ’08.

I know it’s mine. I know the characters. It’s based off of an old version of ‘The Artificer’s Angels’. I even recognize some of the turns of phrases that one of the character uses. After a good twenty minutes of strenuous recollection I have an inkling of what might have been going on, but I can’t be sure of that either.

I don’t remember writing it.

The funny thing is that it’s really, really good. The tension is excellent, the conflict hits in the gut, the dialogue has the stiff flow of the very angry, the description is short and vivid. The worst that can be said for it is one or two contradictory narrative lines. And then… and then it ends. In the middle of the scene.

… I kindof want to strangle the author.

(If anyone wants to feel my pain (or tell me that I’m delusional and it’s not that good) I’m posting it unedited under the cut.)


Continue reading

world building showcase, part i

Apologies for taking so long!

My original plan was to have this out on Saturday, after a full week since the start of August. That was moved to Sunday, and only then did I figure out the full extent of the sheer, vast quantities that people have been working on this project! I’ll have to start earlier next week. 😀


Eliza Wyatt has been spending the last week detailing the basics of her fantasy city Vastii, which is on a cold, inhospitable, lightless world.


Saint Know-All has been working on her dragon species, the Taal.


Kaya Alder began by introducing the Faercourt.


RG Sanders wrote about some of his ideas for his world Arbiture.


Nils has been posting on his world, Arnâron. The sheer volume of his work speaks to how much he’d put into this so far…


Nymeria wrote an article about epic versus simplistic worldbuilding.


Cirellio has been working on Lura (an old project– going further back in his archives will get several more months of world-building posts).


AC Gaughen has been posting about Shalia.


Natania Barron has been working on her story’s setting, the Aldersgate Cycle, focusing on religion.


Alex Moore wrote about the setting and creation of magic.


Ken Kiser wrote about his creation myth, the making of Kreggoria.


Aeronwy has started with a world called Tria.


Agarithia has neatly collected each of her current posts (of which she has five) into one page (here). The topics thus far are: Brief Intro, The Jaden Kingdom, The Yellow Nation, Map of Agarithia, and The Southern Green Noses.


Writer has written two world-building posts thus far, set in historical Paris.


Otempora has started her own list of world-building projects.


SMD posted about what he’d like to do for the month, and posted a map.


Goldirocks began with some research links, and a continent.


JanVanHove is working on a sci fi setting.


Selonus is working on a fantasy world, and has gone over his map, races, and feel that he wants to achieve.


M.C. Williams hasn’t written anything specific to World Building Month (yet), but has several articles on world building, with a focus on steampunk fantasy.


And that’s it, for this week!

Having gone over everyone’s projects, I want to say that I’m really, really impressed by the things that people have come up with! I’m looking forward to the rest of the month!

world building: introducing vastii

Blue Crystal is set entirely in a city called Vastii. I’ll touch on that next, before I get down to the basics: food, water, clothes, shelter, light. I should mention first that this is a large city, complicated, and I should probably take two weeks just to cover the different levels, not to mention some of the notable buildings.

So, this is a brief, incomplete overview to give an idea of the setting before I delve into other essentials.

Vastii, the king’s city: ruled by the Kanichende family, whose crest is a serpentine dragon in gold curling across a field of stars. Vastii is built into the ground, into the shaft of a now dormant volcano and covered over to protect the residents from the cold on the surface. Temperatures here range from roughly -5 to -20 degrees Celsius, depending on where in the city you are. There are places even warmer deep in the earth, but the trade-off is sulfur and other various forms of gas. Dig too far down, and eventually magma will be rediscovered. References to glowing rivers are a very common form of profanity.

A Map of Vastii

Vastii is built around a very large, circular hole in the earth, called the Pit. Along the Pit runs a long road that descends counter-clockwise, always keeping the open ledge on the left as it goes further down. This is called the Spiral Highway. Carts, shipments, anything moving from one level of the city to another will be transported (under heavy guard) along this route. Though it’s a good path to take for someone who doesn’t wish to get lost in the tunnels, it can also be very dangerous. The easiest way to commit a murder in Vastii is to shove a man off of the edge, and there are no rails.

At the very top of the Spiral Highway is the palace, which is build into the stone at the top. As the residents of Vastii had carved and dug their city rather than building it per say, the idea of building roofs are lost in their architects. They prefer to make elaborate facades without defining an external structure, which would take much more work. Across the Pit from the palace is the university, which also takes up a space on the level below it. Not far from that is the Arena, which takes up four levels and provides stairs. Using the arena, a man can move quickly from the fifth level of the city to the second.

Each level of the city is defined by the palace. The palace begins the first level, and where the road moves under the palace walk is where the second level begins. Furthermore, they define their addresses by level, then radial degrees, then distance from the edge of the Pit. The palace, for instance, is 1:00:75, with ’75’ being the distance in yards to the palace gate (through a long path of sculpture and rock gardens). The University is 1-2:175:05, indicating that the structure spans two levels, is almost exactly halfway across the Pit from the palace (175 degrees), and begins only fifteen yards away from the edge. The Arena is at 2-5:220:00, as the Spiral highway moves through the Arena’s facade.

Beyond the Arena is the craftsmen’s district, and after that, the very humble cave dwellings of the common men. Most don’t bother with addresses down there; once you get past the seventh level there’s no point in counting. No one respectable lives down there, no one who would know or use an address. Of course, there are numerous side streets that link to the Spiral Highway. Near the bottom they move like the tunnels of burrowing insects, the middle is filled with nonsensical but helpful routes to spare travelers from needing to take trips around the highway, and the top levels have long, straight avenues, each home with its own address given by the city’s cartographers.

world building month: participants

Here is a list of the participants for World Building Month, one day early as promised.

Latecomers are welcome (just comment with a URL of where you’ll be posting, same to anyone whom I might have missed (though I hope not)). Participants without links for will still be listed, but I’d still love to get a URL from you guys.

Eliza Wyatt
Saint Know-All
Kaya Alder
Merrilee Faber
RG Sanders
Nils
Nymeria
Cirellio
AC Gaughen
Natania Barron
Alex Moore
Ken Kiser
ShadowSaine
Aeronwy
Agarithia
Writer
Otempora
SMD
Goldirocks
JanVanHove
Selonus
M.C. Williams
K. Jayne Cockrill
jenniedee
Storytellingofravens

So, we have some familiar faces, many new ones. This looks like a really fun crowd, and I know that there are some really talented authors participating. Looking forward to see what everyone comes up with!

showcase of villainy, part iii

Villain Month

Here’s the weekly showcase for the third week in June. We’ve got one more week before the end of Villain Month!

I worked on my bully, Redaechyl, and wrote about what I think makes a good villain.


Saint Know-All started on her second villain: Darren Hare.


Aldersgatecycle has been working on Sir Sylvan DeLoire.


Nymeria spent this week focusing on Dawnelle Nymeron.


Ashley made a post on her villain’s setting.


That’s it for this week! I’ll post the final character showcase on July 1st!