Archive for 2006
The total for that chapter, anyway. Today’s actual tally is about a thousand words as I completed the fight scene I began yesterday. Originally, it was going to be from Ursula’s POV, but I thought it would have more merit from Azrael’s. At least the reader can now grasp why Azrael is being such a butt toward Ursula at the moment. This unexpected assassination attempt will break through Azrael’s distance, and get her past her bad self for the rest of the book.
The next chapter (or at least the next scene) is Ursula’s POV from the attack. I’m not going to harp on what’s already happened, just have her recall the terror and the blood coupled with the sight of Azrael facing her with bared steel. (EEEKS!) That will bleed into a discussion with Midia over the whole mess. Whether or not it’ll take another full chapter to cover it all remains to be seen.
Break time! WOOT!
Yesterday’s final tally was 2130 words. I’m still working on today’s, but I’ve hit over 1200.
I had errands to run today, and needed to check in at work to make certain payroll was ready to go for tomorrow morning. (My crew get so ticked off when they don’t get a paycheck! Go figure!)
So that’s my excuse for running a little behind. Might not make it at all, actually. At least not the completed chapter. Only one scene I’ve been working on – some introspection on Azrael’s part over her recent bad treatment of Ursula, leading into a surprise assassination attempt by a group of morons who think they can take her. I would have written more at Coffee People, but I discovered the sudden need for dice.
(Redhawk Fight Scenes 101—use role-playing games for scenes that require attention to multiple details. Keeps the whole scene realistic enough; you just have to fudge the rolls for the outcome you plan for. If the hero gets out alive, make ‘er work for it.)
I’ve mapped out where all the fighters and non-combatants are, and figured out the next series of parries and attacks. But something like this takes a lot more time to … choreograph, I guess is the word. If I slog through, it’l be midnight before I finish it to my satisfaction.
Which means yesterday’s series of planned goals will be a day off. Still… I’ve done more writing in the last two days than I’ve done the last two months. I’ve just got to stick to my guns and get the damned words down. (I really, really, REALLY want to finish this book before going back to work!)
It’s been far too long since I’ve posted here!
My left ear is healing up fairly well (despite one set back a couple of weeks ago.) As there was still some packing inside the ear, we decided not to do a hearing test at my post-op appointment. I’ll go back at the end of January to see how much has been taken care of.
To tell the truth, I think I’m hearing better now than I have in over ten years. The bass level is outrageously loud! Treble is good enough for me to pick up ‘ss’, ‘ch’, ‘kk’ sounds. In fact, if I don’t wear the hearing aid in my right ear, I can still carry on a conversation better than when I had both hearing aids on full volume! WOOT!
(I realize that eventually my noisy neighbors, the complex stairs right next to our living room, and my wife’s snoring will be annyoing as hel. But right now, I still get a ‘SQUEE’ moment when I identify a new sound.)
On the writing front … HAH! Writing? What’s THAT?
Now that the holiday party season is over, things will mellow out at work again. Part of my problem over the year has been my own ‘writer’s block.’ I think I’ve just been more interested in doing anything else BUT write in some cases. Plus what I’ve said before about working organically rather than from an outline …
As it is, I’ve got nine days off of work (of which I’ve already wasted two.) Then I go in to prep payroll for next week. After that, I have three more days off, work two, then two days off.
So On Azrael’s Wings is open on my iBook, and I just finished editing the new scenes for chapter fifteen. I’ve deleted one new scene I was scheduled to write because I couldn’t find any relevance for it to the rest of the novel. In fact, I might delete the last scene I wrote for the same reason in the end.
That leaves me six new scenes to complete and fourteen chapters to edit before I can submit the novel anywhere. The edits will be fast and furious, I can guarantee that. I just have to slog through the new scenes …
Yule was last Thursday. It was fun. Spent time with my wife, going over photo albums, remembering good times, talking about family and friends who are no longer with us. Then we opened presents, watched the Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest, and held the vigil with our Solstice candle.
Tomorrow begins the majority of the feast prep work. We’ve already received several RSVPs from friends in the area to join us. It’ll be interesting this year. I can’t turn off my hearing aids when they bug me too much! LOL!
In fact, all is EXCEEDINGLY well! It worked! The surgery was a success! I can already hear better than before I went in! YAY!
It’ll take a few weeks for everything to heal and settle down. Then we’ll know the full extent of the improvement. In May, when the hotel renovations cut back my hours, we’ll do the right ear.
Thanks to everyone for their well wishes and good thoughts!
Surgery. On my left ear.
At the hospital at 6:30am. Home by 1pm, I hope. Maybe in a couple of months there’ll be a noticeable improvement in my hearing. Here’s hoping.
The last day… sniff
Believable and Lovable Evil
How do you write believable villians taking over your story? Can you make them evil and still lovable?
Mary Rosenblum, David D. Levine, Todd McCaffrey, phyllis irene radford
– motivation is primary for a villain. He is a hero in his own book.
– “Fanaticism isn’t about faith. It’s about control.” radford
– evil ruler – usually in power long before the story begins – in power because the people allow him to remain in power – WHY
– if motivation is primary, choice is secondary. He chose to be the bad guy – WHY
– not so much a villain as an anti-hero
– Story idea – Main Characters are enemies for valid and known reasons. Storyline follows one who becomes more sympathetic with the other, seeing that the villified and demonized enemy just ain’t so…
– “The villain does the wrong thing for all the right reasons.” Levine
– build up the villain. The hero will grow to overcome what the villain does. The bigger the villain, the bigger the hero. (Note: spend more time explaining Shonal in Azrael
. Create a REAL
villain for Sanguire
– using the Achille’s Heel isn’t a very satisfying conclusion or confrontation (which I used in Castle Walls
– setting up conflict – two people each want something VERY
badly … and each oppose the other. As far as romance goes, it helps to boost this in the beginning between the MCs, but it has to be lessened to allow a romance to develop.
by Elizabeth Vahn (sp?)
I attended one other panel about the economics of immortality. It was… kinda boring. The questions the panelists focused on were about extending human life into the 150’s rather than immortality. With my work on the Sanguire and such, the whole conversation was pretty worthless to me.
Such ended Orycon 28. Now I’ve got a year to go for 29! UGH!
More convention goodness… Notes follow the panel descriptions.
We Don’t Need Another Hero
From Kimball Kinnison to Dylan Hunt, strong-thewed heroes have strode the spaceways, protecting the galaxy from evildoers. But the trend in contemporary literature is shifting from “heroes” to “protagonists” to “viewpoint characters”. What are the ways that main characters can be used in science fiction? How can ensembles and event-based plots build great story lines and lovable groups?
Sheila Simonson, Mary Robinette Kowal, phyllis irene radford, Jean Lamb, Michael A. Martin
– a tragic, dramatic departure from the norm is what creates a hero.
– Jo Clayton, author – look her up. – in order to have a Hero (with a capital H,) there must be a villain – who’s the villain in Iditarod
? Circumstances, at the very least. Thereby assuming that none of those characters are truly heroines.
– is a heroine simply a female hero? Or is she something more? Not so much a difference as a different dynamic created between a heroine and villain…
– writing an ensemble piece ain’t easy – Freya’s Tears
, when completed will result in the loss of at least two crew members – will the next book (assuming there is one) focus on a different protagonist?
– it’s not enough for a heroine to decide to take control of a situation. She must choose to END
it. (Azrael, Dusky, Els, Kathleen.)
– a woman’s heroic journey follows a similar path as the hero except she gets to a point where she must decide between two paths, nurturer or warrior. The journey continues until both paths merge again, and she finds herself doing both.
Orycon and the Future
The Death of OSFCI and what you can do to keep Orycon alive after Orycon 30.
Andrew Nisbet, Patty Wells, Linda Pilcher
Considering how much I enjoy Orycon, I had to attend this panel to see what was going on. Apparently there’s a dearth of people willing to fill the long term, committed openings that are required to put together a convention. Things have been in flux with Orycon for the last four years and don’t appear to be letting up. This was a panel to drum up fannish support.
I dunno, man. I’m interested, truly, but … I do enjoy attending the panels. If I worked a convention from planning stages to culmination, it’d have to be in a position that wouldn’t deter me from attending the panels. I’ve worked Dealer’s Room as assistant, and that takes a lot of time out of the day. Same goes for several other positions in a large con.
Role-playing Game Design and Publication 101
How writing for the role-playing market differs from writing for the fiction market, what is involved in designing and publishing a role-playing game, and how much reward one is likely to get for all one’s work. A beginning writer’s guide to the RPG market.
Greg Gorden, Gwendolyn Kestrel, Joseph D. Karriker, Jr., William B. McDermott, Riannon Louve, Anthony Pryor
Not that I’m particularly interested in writing a RPG
. I like gaming, and my primary reason for attending this panel was to consider another potential money-maker. (Anything to get out of my current job, doncha know? LOL
– contact the game developer, ask what he or she needs, and give them EXACTLY
– gaming articles are good for background and resumes.
– prove comprehension of the material when writing a module.
– website, website, website! If a particular game inspires artwork, be sure to give credit (‘based on’...)
– Note to self – business card.
– write novels based on a gaming system as a sideline for money making (‘based on’...)
– keep up on the comings and goings within the company. Not much different than the regular or small publishing world, really. In fact, the gaming industry is just as political and incestuous as any other. Be professional, and don’t quit your day job until you have a year’s salary in the bank.
– the more complete the module, the better. Don’t just write up the specifics. Create the characters needed, the maps, artwork, tech data, the whole shebang.
THEN I was going to go to another panel or two. Instead, I got sidetracked by work (the dangers of attending a convention in your workplace.) So I ended up leaving property for a quick lunch downtown and returning for a trip through the art show.
Bought two prints from my current favorite local artist, Alan M. Clarke. He’s got some great stuff, morbid as hel, and a very smartass sense of humor. Also made note of Sarah Clemens. She’s got some great pieces with Magnus and Loki—a cat and a small dragon who get into various troubles.
How to Make a Living as an Artist
How do artists make a living? Can you break the starving artist traditions and really make some money?
Margaret Organ-Kean, John R. Gray III, Jeff Fennel, Jeff Sturgeon, Alan M. Clarke, Vincent DiFate
– “Diversify!” Clarke
– Pinging off that comment, I can go digital (sell prints at conventions, sell online, pick up work via gaming companies.) In Second Life (virtual world), I can design and build virtual clothings, behaviors, items, buildings for sale. I can possibly offer services as book cover illustrator with my current contacts with authors and publishers.
– I need a high quality Epson printer and a scanner.
– Create book covers for books I’ve read (‘inspired by’,) and put them on my website – use the web as a portfolio of digital artwork.
– “Art is about making pictures. The tools you use are irrelevant.” Vincent DiFate
A’ight… end of day two (Saturday.) I went home to take a nap, with every intention of returning that evening for a concert by Heather Alexander. Yep… you guessed it. I stayed home. I REALLY have to stay in the hotel next year!
Weeeee! Guess what I’m doing this weekend?
Yesterday I spent the morning helping the guys finish the room sets. Then I spent a good portion of the afternoon attending panels. I’m going to note the panels and some odds and ends notes here to keep them on file for future reference… Prepare to be bored… or not…
The Effects of Space Travel on Earth Religions
Will a Christian, Jew, Muslim or other Earth religious believer, have trouble tolerating the religions of Aliens? Will Earthlings need to reevaluate how they believe about “being created in God’s image” if the other beings look differently than they do? What hapens if Earth was seeded and we run into the society responsible? What about those aliens that display powers that some fundamentalists consider to be evil?
Mick Shepherd Moscoe, Judy Lazar, Elton Elliott, Richard A. Lovett
About the only direct quote, per se, I recieved from this panel was from Judy Lazar. She said there’s a direct correlation between lifestyle and religious development. Those societies that have chaotic lifestyles, fraught with uncertainties, tend to develop deeper and stronger mythos and dieties to explain their world. Those with milder lifestyles have no use for such trappings, and their mythos tend to reflect that.
Notes, Ideas, Questions:
– created in ‘God’s Image’ (future title?) – aliens = angels? – theology = alien method of control?
– aliens also have theology of being in ‘God’s image’ – which is right / true? – could result it war?
– tie the rapture into alien visitation – disappearances of true Christians are actually abductions…
– an UNbenevolent diety responsible for creation – no God, but a devil responsible
– God an King, a monarchy – what about using a different political system to base a religion upon?
Law and Social Order in World Building
How can a writer design the basic legal structure of an alien, futuristic, or fantasy civilization? How do laws, courts, and government organizations arise from the basic legal structures and concepts, the constitution (formal or informal), common law, and other sources of justice? What are some of the options a writer has in making their civilization unique?
Rory Miller, Richard A. Lovett, Sara A. Mueller, phyllis irene radford, Andrew Nisbet
Again, no quotes from the panelists were interesting enough for me. I took what they said and let my mind wander here and there, scribbling down things that came to me.
– dichotomy between law and societal taboos – illegal to beat and harass, yet acceptable for children to thump and terrorize one another through school.
– some taboos aren’t truly taboo unless they’re witnessed in other cultures – some things are only illegal if witnessed.
– laws exist because of criminal definitions – DEFINE THE CRIME
– defining the crime will determine the society’s view on it, and reveal deeper issues and taboos involved in it.
How to Reproduce Your Artwork
You have finished your masterpiece, now how do you make the prints? What reproduction options are out there and what works best?
Jeff Sturgeon, John R. Gray III
Unbeknownst to most of you, I used to be an airbrush artist. My first year in ‘business,’ I was only a hundred bucks in the red. I airbrushed SF & F type people and sold it at conventions like this one. I began writing when I had to pack up my airbrush study from lack of space.
My arthritis has made returning to airbrush an impossibility, but I’ve decided to learn digital artwork, using a tablet and pen connected to the computer. Hence the reason I attended this panel.
– Jeff Sturgeon highly recommended Epson printers and high quality Epson archival paper for prints.
– John Gray uses Canon printers.
– both use small labs to print larger than 11×14. Both use Pro-lab in Seattle. (Research for Portland area!)
– Keep in mind there’s a difference between what’s on the screen and what prints up. Do a print proof first to compare your idea and the reality. Tweak artwork to match.
– Research print proof types.
– small booklet of artwork? Cafe Press?
When the Heroine Isn’t 18, Blonde, and a Size 3
Why do some authors and filmmakers think a lab coat and glasses on a young blonde heroine can convey the same level of expertise as a grey-haired male scientist? Is it credible for the young post-doctorate researcher to also be a martial arts black belt in her spare time? Writers will talk abouth the why and how of writing female protagonists who break the mold.
Madeleine E. Robins, Alma Alexander, phyllis irene radford, Judith R. Conly, Dianna Rodgers
– give the heroine only what she needs to do what she has to do.
– Azrael – too beautiful, too much like Xena in abilities? Create more scarring?
– flaw the character!
– look into Alma Alexander’s books
And that was that!
Started to sit in on another panel, but it wasn’t going where I was interested, so I bailed early. Today’s panels include artwork and writing oriented stuff. Tonight is a concert by Heather Alexander… I’m debating whether or not to stay for it. I hear she’s good, but it’ll be way past my bedtime… LOL!
Oh, yeah! I picked up a sword in the Dealer’s room, too! WOOT!
Today – Sunday, 11/12/06 – is the last day for Paypal donations to Zero! Every little bit helps, folks! I’ll remove the link tomorrow morning.
A heartfelt thank you to everyone involved, not just from Vic, Jean and me, but from Zero and her cousin Aries, as well. Together, we’ve taken a lot of the financial worries off their minds, giving Zero the necessary stress-free environment to rest and heal from her injuries.
Nearly finished with the fifteenth chapter. I’ll probably rewrite it a bit, though. Azrael’s cousin is … nice. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it makes him somewhat bland. I’ll spice him up a bit before I shove this into the manuscript.
Less than five hours before Zero’s auction ends! Now’s the time to keep an eye on things. I’m off for a nap, but will be back in plenty of time to keep things as up to the minute as possible.
We’ve had a multitude of donations of $5, $10, and $20. To you I give a hearty THANK YOU! It may not seem like much to you, but when you add it all together to the others who couldn’t really afford a lot, it adds up! Another twenty bucks and we’ll be over $1800 in donations! That is so very cool!
Zero’s auction finishes today at 7pm CST! Bid one, bid all!
Pleased to report another 500 words written on new scenes for On Azrael’s Wings.
Last scene I even worked in a reason for the title, LOL! Up until now it was a play on the name of Azrael being that of a Christian angel. But this novel is a fantasy one with a completely different mythos for a background. So, I added another goddess, had Ursula have a dream about Azrael flying and protecting her with her wings. Bingo!
This scene is their arrival at the governor’s palace of Diosa, a largish city. The army is still on their way home, picking up swordsbrothers and sisters as they go along the garrison circuit. (I’ve expanded their travels from the original storyline to give the two MCs time to truly fall for each other.) I think the romance is coming along nicely now.
On the auction front, take a gander at the offerings. Things are starting to heat up there! Total collections and bids are over three grand! YAY! Let’s drum up some more! Two more days until the auction ends. After that, donations will remain open until November 12th. Even $5 is welcome!
... for Zero’s auction! It ends November 5th! Added a few more new items to the bottom of the list, so scroll down! Scroll down! Blayne Cooper’s nearly completed novel, printed up and signed; SX Meagher’s newly completed novel, printed up and signed; Ali Vali’s book Carly’s Sound, signed; and another grab bag have been added. (And did I mention that the technical edit is from MY technical editor who’s a joy to work with and knows her spelling?)
About the time the auction winds up, Zero will have a chance to actually see what’s going on. (She doesn’t know yet. I suppose it’s a mixed blessing that she can’t get online right now, huh?) Anyone have an extra room in the States for her cousin? She may need to flee after being an accessory after the fact…
... is going well. There’s a whole passle of new stuff added to the good list, so have a look at it!
by the donations button on the left column, I’m housing Zero / Jac Hill / Insane Englishwoman’s donation and auction. Head over to the auction page to see the wonderful selection we have for you to choose from. And if you’d just like to drop a dime in the bucket, click on the link above. All proceeds go to Zero between now and November 12th.