writer link – the writer’s database

So, I’m back to (slowly) working on The Artificer’s Angels again (huzzah!).

And I thought to myself tonight, “You know what I really need while I’m avoiding this paragraph? A nifty online word-per-day word count tool that’s available online. But not a word count widget. More of a graph-thing… that remembers your project…”

So I waste yet more time searching the internet for a writer-toy. Yes, I’m a very focused person. But I did find a small website dedicated to managing your projects’ word count, the markets you write to, and where you’ve submitted your work.

Alright, sure, you could use Excel, too, but I thought this was highly nifty.

http://www.writersdb.com/

the end

After months of sweat, tears, and very probably blood, I bring you the most beautiful image I’ve created in some time:

For those of you who may not understand what this is, allow me to explain. This is the last page of the last chapter of the last draft of my novel.

Three drafts, from 52k to 96k to finally 105k, bringing us up to over 250,000 words written on this novel over the last year and a half– my first version was written because of a spur-of-the-moment decision to join NaNoWriMo 2007.

It needs to be revised, proofread, ect..

I also think I’ll need an agent, or at least an agent-hunt list, by the end of the year. And a new project for this November.

making up a schedule

I admit it, I’ve been gone lately far more than I have in the past. Things have been a little crazy.

I quit my job two weeks ago (and four days after that, they laid everyone off at the company), moved up to a more remote location. I was set then to write full-time, but the new house has needed a lot of work. Old, smelly carpets to tear out, popcorn ceilings to scrape off, walls to spackle, everything needs to be painted. I’ve also taken on an informal job designing a logo, business card, brochure, and website for one of my neighbors, in exchange for a huge, gorgeous wooden desk that’s soon to be the center of all writing-related activities (not to mention the crowning glory of my bedroom).

So, the short of it is, we’re not moved in yet, and we’ve got a metaphorical ton of work to do before carpets get in, much less furniture. It seems that I’m taking a longer break from my book after all. It has, however, emphasized something that I’ve been thinking about for writing full time. You need a schedule. You won’t make the time if you don’t think of this as a business.

Or, at least, I do.

So. Since November 1st is the day our short-term apartment lease runs out, as well as the first day of NaNoWriMo, I’ll be sticking to a schedule, most of which centers on writing.

Priorities:

  • Write ‘Blue Crystal’ (no side projects): 2,000 words a day. Estimated time… 4 hours?
  • House remodeling. I’m not stupid enough to think it’ll be over by then. 1 1/2 hours.
  • Spanish. Because I’m stubborn, and determined to learn it. 1/2 hour.
  • 3d, art, and design work (such as that commission I took on). 1 1/2 hour.
  • Exercise. I’m cranky if I don’t move at some point. 1/2 hour.

That’s eight hours. I figure that my house remodeling hour and a half will be replaced by my internet social networking time once work is done (it’s so much harder to keep up on now that I don’t have a boring desk job). So, with a bit of scheduling… my tentative schedule will look something like this:

09:00-09:30 – Exercise.
09:30-10:30 – Writing.
10:30-10:40 – Break.
10:40-11:30 – Writing.
11:30-12:00 – Spanish.
12:00-12:30 – Lunch.
12:30-02:00 – House remodeling/housework/blogging/networking.
02:00-02:10 – Break
02:10-04:00 – Writing.
04:00-05:30 – 3d, art, and design.

That’s a full eight hour day. If I don’t make my 2,000 words, then I get overtime. Too harsh? Too much to do? Anything I’m forgetting?

starting the 3rd draft

I’ve started the 3rd draft of Blue Crystal today.

I haven’t finished my plot-scrub. I’ve made some changes, questioned some motives, filled in several characters, but the detailed chapter-by-chapter plot lies incomplete on my notebook. I think it’s time to admit that I’m not much of a plotter. Which isn’t to say that I won’t be using all the ideas that I did come up with for those chapters.

I’m resetting the word count bar. I’m also putting up the first five hundred words in my excerpt page. Go take a look– I think this draft is already much better than the last.

(intelligent) magic

I’ve been reading through one of the Forgotten Realms series– not a particular favorite, but since D&D is a hobby of mine, and because some of the aspects of the books are interesting, I’ve been slogging through them.

One of the things that annoys me is just a little detail. Anyone familiar with the D&D magic system knows that the spells are geared to be balanced game mechanics, and doesn’t really hold a lot of internal consistency, or even any economic sense. I can accept fireballs, I can accept bolts of lightening flying from wands, teleportation, shadow-stepping, slow-falls, ect.

But I can’t accept an enchanted whip.

Not just any whip, either. This whip is fashioned to have snake-creatures instead of lashes, which will occasionally speak to their wielder, warning of poison, eavesdropping, ect. And when she uses this whip, the snake heads will sink their fangs into the victim, poisoning them.

I’ve seen this whip in action for three books now. And every time the snake heads bite down, they inject poison. So you have long, extended battles with this weapon in use, and all I can think of is ‘where do they get all that poison from?’.

Since the snakes never eat, never drink, never diminish, I can only assume that they somehow repeatedly conjure poison up from nothing, expending no energy or resources to do so: a never-ending supply of venom, by nature of the design. Nothing else in the book does this. I don’t see good, cheap poison readily available. It’s a ridiculous mental image, but I keep picturing the characters getting into financial straights and trying to figure out how to milk this amazing whip.

CHARACTER: “Here, you guys each grab a head. Now, whip, when I say ‘go’, start squirting poison.”
WHIP: “F*** you.”
CHARACTER: “Hey, you always contributed this stuff before…!”
WHIP: “I demand death first. It turns me on.”
CHARACTER: “Hmm. So you’d say that you’re rather ‘limp’ right now?”
WHIP: *attempts to murder the character*
CHARACTER: *holds up the vial, tries to hide behind it* “The tube, not me, the glass tube!”

Please, fellow fantasy writers. Do not do this. Please think carefully about your magic/magical items/magical effects.

world building: pictures ’round the net

When I find some picture around the internet that remind me of a setting, I like to take them and save them on a computer. That way, when I’m feeling unfocused, I can browse over them and see if I feel inspired to write.

That said, only one of these pictures were stored with credits (which I’m very sorry for– I hate being the person who re-posts things). Just the same, I thought that I would post the ones that fit Vastii best.

Continue reading

world building woes

Recently I started reading an enormous book (700+ pages) that had, among other things, fantastic world building. History… no, it wasn’t just history. It was economic history, military history, artistic history, mythological history, the history of arcana, discrepancies between the histories and difference of opinion based on source. It spanned racial customs, clothes, weather, standards for different classes, idioms, the difference between different districts in a city, children’s skipping rhymes. It included little details, always relevant, always practical: a minor character took a room not far from a butcher, and the main character can’t help but notice the smell every time he comes by to see her. And the method of immersion into this world was so well done that finding more about it felt as if I were slipping into a steaming bath, or cuddling up to a down blanket. I get excited when the author writes a few pages of summary or explanation; I feel as if I can safely laugh at the show-don’t-tell Nazis now that I’ve seen it done so well, so efficiently, in such an entertaining and smooth fashion.

I have a difficult time reading new books. I can’t turn off my internal editor, which tends to focus on plot, theme, and composition. So when I’m trying to read for fun, I keep finding myself considering the question, ‘If I’d written this, would I be proud of myself?’. When I find that the answer is ‘no’, I tend to stop reading. And when I find something as detailed, complex, and well-done as this, I start raising my standards. My novel just got a little worse.

June was ‘Villain Month’. That seemed to go fairly well. I think I need a ‘World Building Month’ next, a concept that was mentioned a few weeks ago. I do want to finish this draft of my book first, but there are fifteen days of July left and roughly twenty thousand words to write. And I get anxious the closer I draw to the grand finale. That puts me at 1,333 words every day (including this one) until July. … On the bright side, it’s not as bad as NoNoWriMo.

Here are my goals, then:

  1. 1,333 words a day until the book is finished. I estimate that will let me finish the book before August.
  2. Finish ‘The Name of the Wind’.
  3. Write a book review.
  4. Possibly send girlish fan-letters to Patrick Rothfuss.
  5. Start the hype for ‘World Building Month’. Set it for August.

I’m imagining that World Building Month will be more useful to writers of speculative fiction than contemporary fiction. Even so, solidifying a good, living setting does deserve some attention. So, since Villain Month met with such approval, I’ll be doing the same thing. Anyone interested in signing up and joining in the event are welcome.

showcase of villainy, part iv

Villain Month

As promised, here is the last showcase of the month-long villain series.

This ended up being more difficult than I thought it would be. Just spending time thinking about the antagonists was useful, and it was fantastic seeing other people join in. Thanks to everyone participating!

I spent the week focusing on my last villain of the four I meant to go over, Sorche du Remerdii. I also wrote a closing message and introduced a bonus villain-type, the king’s secret police, nicknamed after the silver masks that they wear.


Saint Know-All finished a few more drawings, and bid farewell to the month.


Nilah wrote a short article about human predators, in regards to the villain month project.


Aldersgatecycle focused on her last villain, Sally Din.


Nymeria wrote about Orion Novak, Dahlia Laras, and posted a gallery of her villain portraits.


And, last, even though she wasn’t actually participating, Worderella was kind enough to write up a few posts on villains on her blog as a kind of villain-month-tribute.


Closing links:

A list of participants
Showcase of villainy, part i
Showcase of villainy, part ii
Showcase of villainy, part iii

Thoughts? Comments? Shall we do this again someday? 🙂

A ‘hero month’ idea has already been put out, and I wouldn’t mind spending some time dedicated to world building as a future project…

twittering

I’ve never done flash fiction before.

Supposedly, this is about the time in my book’s progression that I should really start networking, so when I start dancing about, screaming, ‘I published the book I published the book!’ someone might actually take notice. A blog is nice. I can take care of a blog. Something like twitter? Not so much. And yet… a few days ago I found a contest that I thought had a fun prize (free critiques and editing from a published author. One of the ways to enter was to friend said author on twitter. Painless, right?

I never had done flash fiction before. I’m finding it surprisingly fun, though I suspect that I’m bad at it. So. Here’s my new twitter account, and this is the latest bit of fluff to fall out of my head:

Mark thought that he said his proposal very well, on one knee in a park’s rose garden. She considered it. “Ok. But stop wearing my clothes.”

writer’s block

I don’t actually believe in ‘writer’s block’.

Or, rather, what I think that throwing the term ‘writer’s block’ around is like calling an illness ‘a bug’. Yes, there’s something wrong, yes, writing hasn’t happened… but usually I can pinpoint the symptoms. I haven’t started the chapter because I know what happens, it’s a big, important scene, and I’m scared of it falling short to what’s in my head. I can’t keep going because something doesn’t feel right. I have no idea what happens next. I can’t keep going because I’m really taken by this idea for a different story.

Or, this week’s ailment: I plotted out the chapter, tried to go too fast, and did too much action in summary. Everything feels wrong now, and my stomach turns when I look over it. I need to slow down, go back, work things out in scene, because narration isn’t cutting it this time.

Back to the start of chapter eleven.