Saturday, December 26, 2009
I am continuing to develop the nature of the next project(s) and since the last post I've revised things further. At the moment I am looking at two distinct projects; COT1.5 and COT2.
(Note that the terms COT1.5 and COT2, like COT-O and COT-R, are used merely for the sake of this blog and will not appear in any official form along with the completed projects!)
COT1.5 will (maybe) be called Circle of Tales. It, like COT-R will be a collection of six books, but each book will be stand-alone and there will be no specific order (with one small exception!). Four of these books will introduce new plots and characters within the COT/CoSaS/Thief universe. One will be a prequel to COT-R and another a direct sequel.
COT2 will be called (as has long been known!) Contravention of Thieves, and will be quite like what has already been discussed.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Speaking of COT2, I keep going back and forth on certain issues. If you've been reading the blog you know that I was strongly considering doing the whole thing as a series of short stories rather than the tremendous epic novel that COT-R became. Now I am pondering actually splitting it into three separate projects. ~~ The first would be a collection of (rather long) short stories that can be taken totally in isolation. Some would be completely stand-alone tales set in the CoSaS Universe, some would be fairly closely linked to COT-R but not to Thief itself, and some would be Thief fan-fictions in a very true sense. The six principals from COT-R would get a mention from time to time, or even a cameo, but would not be featured heavily. All of these stories would be setting up backstory for what is to come, but all would also be rather self contained. ~~ The second would be again a series of short stories, but far less self-contained and rather more chapter-like. It would be a direct continuation of COT-R and feature the six principals heavily, though many would be told from the perspective of new characters. In fact I even considered naming this project "Book 7". On the other hand there's a total of eight stories planned for this project, so it might as well be called Book 8 as well! All of these stories would address an issue left unresolved at the end of COT-R and either provide a complete conclusion, or develop that plot in preparation for the third project. ~~ The third project would be Contravention of Thieves itself, and would be an actual novel with chapters and an interwoven plot just like COR-R. It would tie things from the previous two projects together and bring everything to a conclusion. Since so much ground will already be covered in the previous two projects, COT2 can launch directly into the meat of the story and provide a very fast-paced narrative with a minimum of exposition or backstory explanation. My goal would be to make it half to one-third the length of COT-R. Sounds good to me.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This children's book features a group of seven friends who confront a mysterious and (as the title suggests!) massive wall, and the adventure that results. The book is 8"x8" and 26 pages, with color illustration on every-other page. Recommended for ages three to ten, or grown-ups who are still kids at heart. 1st grade reading level.
Arnie's favorite thing to do was to run around and see what he could find. But one day Arnie found something new, though it had been there all along. It was a great big, enormous, neverending wall. He wondered what could be behind it. He was sure it would be new places to run and explore.
I hope there will be some interest for this here among my blog readers and COT fans. This little project came about back during architecture school while I was designing a preschool. I wanted to collaborate with my sister on a book project and this seemed like a great place to start. So, I found it, dusted it off, rewrote some parts, and she did watercolor paintings for it. We have a second storybook in the works, this time written specifically for her particular illustration talents. I'll be posting about that here, too, when it's done.
Some previews can be found here.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
That's now much longer COT-R is now that the 3rd draft is finished; around 8K words. That doesn't even take into account all of the stuff I deleted, either. If the new content is taken in addition to the deleted stuff (rather than in place of) the total comes around 30K words, which is longer than the longest chapter by just a bit. So basically, I deleted a whole chapter worth of stuff during this revision only to add back in a chapter and a half! (Or a really really long chapter!)
I'm pretty satisfied. The story seems much more solid, now. Plot holes were filled in and smoothed over. A great deal that was left unexplained has now been made much more clear. Conflicting and contradicting things have been straightened out. I think this will be the last revision. All that's left now is proofreading.
Unless, of course, one of my critics discovers a new plot hole I totally missed. It's still possible. I hadn't realized before that there would be so many.
Oh, and the current page count? 1,113
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
What was expected, though, was the dramatic reduction in surgery needed during the revision. I'm keeping a little "todo" log of things I need to keep my eye on while reading and revising. There's only one major plot-hole left to fill, a list of three topics I need to check for consistancy throughout the rest of the story, and six topics which I need to better explain, add more information on, or provide a reference to somewhere. I expect smooth sailing, except for that plot hole... which may be tricky to fill.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It was another case of me attempting to be vague with the reader, but falling into the trap of being vague with myself too. Even if some things are kept hidden or unclear, they should not be hidden or unclear to the author himself. Undoing the damage this caused resulted in the complete rewrite (not just deleting a few lines and adding a few) of two sections in chapter 5, the creation of a totally new one in chapter 4, heavy changes to a few others in both 5 and 4, and a dozen of small changes to sections going as far back as chapter 3. In the end some stuff I liked had to be thrown out, and the new stuff is not necessarily more entertaining, but now it all actually makes sense and has a logical flow of events.
What more can I say? Simply that Ghost gets a bit more backstory now than he did before.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
At any rate, I just finished with Book 1, though I may return to it before the 3rd draft is done. I except that it's Book 1 that required the most attention, but I will go through the entire story with the same care nonetheless.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Though usually only my critics get to see this stuff, I thought it'd be nice to do a comparison between the 2nd draft version and the 3rd draft version. But first, the bit that came before any of the eight revisions: Foreword, by an anonymous Keeper. In the original this section was written by a Keeper, Daelus was of course named Daneel, and much time is spent summarizing Thief: The Dark Project. Now, here's the 2nd draft version...
Their numbers are as unknown as their intentions and origins. Even the title ‘Delegate’ is based on cryptic passages in old tomes. It is suspected that many pivotal events within The City for the past one hundred years could be linked to them, and that some important historical figures were actually Delegates themselves. Nothing is conclusive. There can be no conspiracy when the agents, by their very nature, do not conspire.
Five months prior to this day, and twenty nine days after the passing of The Trickster (see any and all annals concerning ‘The Dark Project’ for further information on this and related events), a suspected Delegate arrived in The City. The nature of his arrival within our borders was not uncommon; hence this event was not recorded, only researched in retrospect.
His name, Daelus Thresh, was discovered after months of delving through ancient texts. It had been written that he was a man possessing a shattered past welded back together by force of consciousness, with scars of great power and conflicting magical energies still burning at the torn edges of his psyche. His every action mirrored the duality of his nature, a subconscious schism which divided one path into two, yet with the conscious illusion of being one. He believed that his use of alternate identities was of his own free will; it was however a fact of his existence which ran deeper than he could fathom, an aspect of himself which he was unable to escape.
Like all Delegates, he came from another place; a place hidden from us. He was not the first of them, and not the last; but held an important distinction amongst them, for he would bring with him a shard of this other place into our own land, and from this shard his journey upon branching, twisting paths would begin. It was both arrogance and naiveté that allowed this Delegate to do what no reasonable practitioner of bizarre arts would dare to in all but the greatest of privacies. He conducted a ceremony which caused a structure to spring forth from the mountainside to the north of The City.
It was written that the Delegates, as their first rule, were not to make contact with one another. By this act, in all likelihood, soon every Delegate in The City would become abundantly aware of him, just as we were made aware. How this has affected their plans remains to be seen, but it is an important sign: secrecy is becoming a lower priority in comparison to other goals.
Now the tower stands as if it always had, and the people of The City seem to have accepted it as such; a startlingly appropriate metaphor for the man himself who, in this short time, has dug himself deeply into our society.
Though it's not stated, and Keepers are not in COT-R, it's still written with the idea that it's being spoken (or written) by a Keeper doing a report. Some have suggested that this entire passage ought to be dropped, as a story like this doesn't really seem suited to such a dry expositional opening. Well, it hasn't been dropped, but it's been rewritten in such a way that I think suits the story much better.
I had been obsessed with them since the moment I came to this land. Some unsubstantiated notion hidden deep within my clouded and damaged memories propelled me to pursue them, study them, and know them. In time I gave in completely to this desire, discarding all semblance of a life in the pursuit of this coveted knowledge.
They called themselves Delegates. In spite of my amassed discoveries, their numbers remained hidden as did their true intentions and origins. Though they all were perfectly unique, they held one important aspect in common. Their every action mirrored the duality of their nature, a subconscious schism between obedience and rebellion which divided one path into two, yet with the conscious illusion of being one. They believed that this was of their own free will; it was however a fact of their existence which ran deeper than they each could fathom, an aspect of themselves which they were all unable to escape.
Within that context they seemed to operate under two principal rules: achieve great power, and make no contact with one another. I found that many pivotal events within the past century could be linked to them, and some historical figures were actually Delegates themselves. Though they excelled at the fist rule, it seemed at the second they were less successful.
Five months prior to this day a Delegate arrived in The City. I did not notice it at the time, for the daily comings and goings of people through the sprawling, nameless metropolis were countless. There was however something specific which drew my attention to him, as well as the attention possibly of all other Delegates.
It was both arrogance and naiveté that allowed this man to do what no reasonable practitioner of bizarre arts would dare to do in all but the greatest of privacies. He conducted a ceremony which caused a structure, in all likelihood a shard of the Delegate’s own land, to spring forth from the mountainside to the north of The City. While it was possible that in some lands a deed such as this could be considered commonplace, in the world of The City it bespoke powerful and dangerous sorcery.
I soon discovered his name, Daelus Thresh, and that somehow I remembered him. I knew him, though I could not understand how. What relic of my shattered past did he represent? Could I weld the memory back together through sheer will of consciousness alone? That recollection, that spark of self awareness was what propelled me to focus all of my energy on mending the torn, burnt edges of my psyche. My obsession grew tenfold. My resolve became absolute. I would know.
Regardless of my own personal investment, what this departure from discretion meant for their plans remained to be seen. It was an important sign: secrecy is becoming a lower priority to them in comparison to other goals.
Though the rewrite of this was inspired by the passage at the very end of the story where I decided, finally, who this section is spoken by, the key term here is in the second-to-last paragraph. Personal Investment. A dusty exposition by an unknown scholar was no way to introduce the book. A passionate recounting of an obsession suits it much better.
Several bits of this which had been devoted to Daelus are now no longer pertaining to him. The first, dealing with the duality of nature, I felt was more appropriately applied to ALL of the Delegates. I also decided to go ahead and actually explain what the hell this is getting at – the idea that the Delegates are both compulsively loyal to their masters and must rebel against them. The other bit is the part about the torn burnt psyche, which now more appropriately pertain to the speaker himself.
Finally, I nixed the reference to Thief: The Dark Project because I felt that it was simply irrelevant to the speaker and would only confuse readers who aren’t familiar with the games. Fans of Thief will get an idea of where all of this takes place in the timeline later on.
Monday, November 16, 2009
There's no new news from COT2 land, though there is a great deal of other writing news in my life. My Japan Journal is back up for sale, and I'll be giving CreateSpace a proper shakedown to see how well it handles my store. I have two more works in the pipeline, both storybooks, both awaiting the final illustrations.
I have not yet decided what to do with the published original COT, but still think that if I do allow people to buy it I should only do so much closer to the release of COT-R, if not after it. I did a poll previously on this, but encourage the new readers to offer their thoughts on how to handle it.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Fanfictions are derivations of derivations. Works of fiction are derived from the real world, and then the fan derives farther still. This copy-of-a-copy approach (though now that the VHS days are behind us that concept will probably die soon) is a component in the fanfictions infamy. Different works have different levels of derivation from the real world. Books, oddly enough, seem to be derived the least from the real world. (This is ironic to me because books are the farthest from the real world, being just strings of symbols...) Movies go in the middle, and games are derived the farthest. I find this ironic again, since games are supposed to be interactive simulations so they should be the closest of all to real life, right? In reality I think all gamers agree that the abstractions in games really does push it the farthest away.
So the conundrum of the game fanfic is to be the type of work that should be the closest derivation of the real world, and yet it's derived from the thing that is the farthest derivation of the real world.
So, that's where the reverse derivation comes in. I am attempting to place my writing on the derivation chain where literature should go, rather than at a distant point beyond games. Of course, even though the Thief universe is derived from the "real world" it's a different world from our own. So what I've done is looked at patterns in games that are derived from the real world, such as historical shooters and so forth, and reversed their conventions along the same lines to arrive at what real world elements the game-world elements in Thief could be derived from. In many cases it's trivial. Games have health packs or first aid kits which deliver instant recovery from fatal wounds the same way that Thief's healing potions do. Thus, in the literary version of the Thief universe, health potions are no different from common medicine. The various fantastic arrows that the player is given is more difficult to reverse-derive since they're unique in all of gaming, but they've driven me to the conclusion that elemental crystals are real, and it would be possible to tie one to an arrow, but noone goes around with a quiver full of water arrows, and they would probably be very difficult to shoot.
Health potions and water arrows are trivial in the grand scheme of things. The real topics that interest me are the historic ones, the ones that deal with the culture of the Thief world and how the society operates. Those will be the topics I will tackle with great interest while writing COT2, and it's very likely that the broad strokes will not agree with what is presented in the games. I very much doubt that the Call of Duty games paint an accurate picture of World War II.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The first section will comprise three books, and will consist of 12 to 14 short stories. I say 12 to 14 because I have 14 ideas for stories, but at least two of them are so distinctly independent from the grand plot arc of COT2, they could easily be omitted. Five of the stories happen before COT-R, and the other nine after. Of the nine after, four of them build upon events of the previous ten stories. Does my math make sense?
The second section will be a stand-alone novella featuring Ghost and Lytha in an adventure that, while being a naturally progression of their story, is not intrinsically linked to the grand plot arc of COT2. I decided to do it this way because I wanted to continue their story, but I felt that trying to integrate it with the main one would be a disservice to both. I am not sure if I want to tell it in the COT-R standard four-chapter format, or go for something different, but it will be a stand alone story about as long as one of the COT-R books.
The third section will take the plotlines introduced in the first 14 (or 12) short stories and weave them together into a two-part novella (Books 5 and 6) in order to bring COT2 to a conclusion. It will strongly resemble COT-R (and COT for that matter) in that it will be telling multiple stories simultaneously, forgoing the short-story format used in the first three books.
I feel that doing it this way allows me to focus on the small issues for the first three books, in a series of stand alone stories any of which could exist separate from COT2 (or even Thief canon). Then, I switch from crawling to walking with a much larger-scale stand alone story, and finally wrap it all up with a tale that readers of COT-R would be accustomed to that can launch directly into the meat of the plot without having to spend several chapters setting the stage. All of this also assumes that COT2 will be about the same length as COT-R, but it's flexible enough to allow anything to happen.
In a nutshell, COT-R was one book in six volumes. COT2 will actually be six books. The first three will be short story collections, followed by a novel, followed by a two-part novel. That sounds doable, and fun.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
It's possible that for books 4, 5, and 6, I may switch back to more chapter-like stories, with a continuous flow. It depends on how things go! I suspect it may be wise to wait until these twelve stories are written before planning out the next twelve. I will say one thing is certain - going with a short-story format has made things much easier to manage.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
What I have for COT2 is in a bit of a pile. It's about 200,000 words long, with no chapter structure or any sort of clear narrative. There's a couple of story arcs going on, which fade in and out as the story progresses (told strictly chronologically) over the course of several months. It generally results in a convoluted mess that has no clear purpose or direction.
I'm going to start laying down the blueprints for at least a half-dozen of the stories which will form the starting point for COT2, but now it seems I'll be doing it without the aid of the existing text.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I intend to divide COT2 into books just like how I divided COT-R into six volumes. The COT2 books may end up being more thematically linked than the COT-R ones, or may not. We'll see how it goes. As the question in the poll states, what kind of stories do you want to see in the first book?
The first story already deals with a new character and a new plot, with only a small link to the original COT. I would like to continue doing this for the next few stories, but I know that readers can sometimes be frustrated when reading the next book in a series only to find that none of the familiar characters or stories seem to be present. So, make your opinions heard.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
This sets the tone for what COT2 will be. Rather than a 24 chapter 900 page epic, it will be a series of short stories that eventually flesh out a bigger picture. Doing it this way allows me to focus on each idea as a separate unit, developing each plot independently of the greater whole. Though the scope of COT2 will be much more vast than COT (dealing with dozens of principals over the course of several years) the methods used to convey it make the project much easier to tackle.
Some additional stories can still be excavated from the discarded COT2, but the majority of it was made irrelevant by COT-R.
Of course, COT and COT2 are still on the backburner. I just did this as a break from the job hunt, so don't expect Story 2 to show up any time soon. :)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
One of my proofreaders has made it as far as one third through the story, and she seems poised to finish the whole thing unless something crazy happens. While I am currently very preoccupied with the employment effort and cosas 3, having a set of proofing notes to spearhead the next revision is a very good step forward in the finishing process.
I also set up a new poll, just for the heck of it.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
As for now, I'm working on an update to my portfolio, which shall take a few more months of work, I think. At the moment I am working in 3dsMax 2010, which I am finally starting to feel comfortable enough with to actually show some of my work off. After that I really should move on to UT3Ed and/or TES4CS.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The binding seems a bit shoddy, but lulu's tended to be shoddy sometimes too. The paper is bright white, much whiter than lulu's. One other issue is that the book warps. It's hard to really convey from the photos, but when it's left flat on the table it gets all wrinkly and the cover curls open. Not very good. Lulu doesn't do that.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I would like for the blog readers to check out the pdf file and offer any suggestions or comments about the formatting, as this is the prototype for how COT-R will be formatted.
Friday, June 12, 2009
In fact I've started formatting COT-O into a book for eventual publishing along with COT-R. On one level it's a good prototype to experiment with formatting and how I want everything to look, so that as I do the next revision and edit to COT-R I can format it for publishing then, rather than having to do another whole pass for that purpose. On another level, I am quite fond of the original, and I think many others are too, so it makes sense to make it available in book form as well. However, it will be done as-is, which means that whenever I typed solomon but meant solemn, the error stays. All of the errors are part of COT-O now, and thus they shall go with it to the printer and onto our shelves.
I think that about wraps things up for me for now. Everyone whom I had ever sent a copy of the unfinished COT-R now have a copy of the current draft whether they wanted it or not, so my fingers are crossed that I'll be getting some good critical feedback within the next few months. In the mean time, it's time to take off my writer's hat and try to focus on other things.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Book 1: - Jyre - Her climbing up Nightfall's tower (Dominus)
Book 2: - Ghost - Zombies and Hammerites on either side (redface)
Book 3: - James - Seated in a study overflowing with books (Ireth)
Book 4: - Lytha - Something to do with the Hammerite Castle (Julia)
Book 5: - Sheam - In the clutches of Balastar Ramirez (Ireth)
Book 6: - Nightfall - Dunno yet (Dominus)
I gave Ireth and redface more information than that... probably enough to get started. For Julia I tried to get the ball rolling with some speculation, as I am not sure yet exactly how the scene should be set up. Dom is already at work.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The new poll is a double one so I did a strange multiple-choice answer system, since it's asking a pair of yes or no questions.
First question - should I name each of the six books? I believe no, because I do not want to give the illusion that they are in any way stand-alone novels to be picked up and read in any order. That's why I am calling each one "Book # of 6" and not just "Book #".
Second question - should I number each section? I can see this being useful during the editing process, so that someone need merely say "section 76" rather than the chapter number and the name of the section, but as I reader I think I would find it a little obnoxious to be reminded that I am reading section 124.
I've narrowed down basic ideas for each cover scene, but I still need to nail down the particulars before I contact the artists. I limited the options to scenes that are actually pertinent to the volume they adorn, while still tyring to choose moments that are both pivotal to the principal character they illustrate, and does not give any big spoilers away! In some cases I should maybe discuss it with the artists to see where their particular strengths want to pull the direction of the designs. Before I do any of that though, it would be really good if I gave the artists a template to work with, so that they'll know the exact proportions of the image, where the spine will be, where certain text is going, and so forth.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
How would you describe COT-R to newcomers?
It's like Thief (the PC game) meets 24 (the TV series). It's like a film-noir detective story set in an alternate reality 18th century European city, but with steam-powered technology and zombies and religious factions wielding real magical power. It's about six different people from different walks of life with very different needs and agendas, and how their stories weave together. It's social commentary mixed with horror and romance and violence and comedy. It's a thriller. It's a story where the characters are in charge and the author is along for the ride as much as the readers.
For those of you who have been reading COT-R, how would you describe it to a Thief fan or a non-fan?
I sent out copies of the finished story to a few people, and am anxious to hear what they think. Only two of them are up-to-date on their reading, so I don't expect to get all of the impressions of the ending for a while yet. Now I need to try to relax and focus on other things.
Since a major point of this was to make COT2 actually possible, I will admit that I have been giving the sequel some serious thought lately. I even made a list (it's pretty long) of the things I no longer need to do in COT2 because they've been taken care of by the rewrite. I've decided that COT2 will probably be a collection of 24 short stories probably around the length of a COT chapter each. Some will be fairly stand alone, but others will link together into a longer narrative. It's not going to be the same long epic plot as COT was though, which means that if I want to stop at 8 or 16 chapters, I can. There won't be principals in COT2, but rather each story will have a set of characters who tell it, maybe sometimes just one, so the reader never know when a "chapter" will introduce a totally new main character. I am doing it this way because the story I want to tell has a very long timeframe (several years) and involves many seemingly (and actually) unrelated events in many non-local locations. Thus, trying to fit that into a novel-like framework would be disconcerting. It would lack a proper arc, and seem like just random stories and events. SO, that's exactly what I will present it as... a series of short stories.
What is not decided is when I'll do it though. If COT-R goes "live" and the community seems to love it and I get lots of orders for printed books, I'll gradually start working on COT2. If COT-R gets fairly ignored/panned, that's just my cue to start thinking about the other, totally original story ideas I've been brewing over the years.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I dreamed all night about finishing COT, so when I got up this morning (around noon, I went to bed at 7 am after writing all night) I got to work. I never do this... it's usually impossible to write during the day.
I went over all I had written in Chapter 24, did some additions and tweaks, and then wrote the final scene. In a strange twist, the rewrite for the final scene was much shorter than the original. (And aside from the setup and the location, bore little resemblance to it!) When that was done I wrote the final segue, which isn't a segue since there was nothing to segue into... more like an afterword. Of course, it provided symmetry with the foreword. (something missing in the original!)
So that's it.
(In the original they discussed the nature of evil vs. chaos, who the mysterious robed figures were, and what the summoned entity actually was. In COT-R chaos vs. evil has already been discussed, they know exactly who the figures are, and have no reason to further discuss the summoned entity... so they are freed up for other topics.)
Chapter 24 is going to end up being half the length of a normal chapter, but with the segues preceding it included, it will be just a hair short of the previously shortest chapter.
Another oddity... 24 is the first chapter I've written in a very long time without an outline.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
- Outline and maybe start on Chapter 24... but probably just write up the outline.
- Try to pin down what I want to see for the book covers and who I'd like to do which. There's still only four artists but I think that will be enough. I'm going to make each cover actually pertain to the volume it adorns, rather than just being a pivitol character moment.
I don't know why I made that into a list when there's just two points. Hm.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
My main thought is that the forum would help me keep all of the comments in one place, rather than in dozens of emails and assorted text and word documents all over my computer. So it's less about the critics discussing things as a group and more about just making things easier for me to manage.
I guess I can address some of the topics of past polls too.
Each character's sections are headed by their name, a title, and a date. How should Daneel "Nightfall" Todulem's sections be headed?
The sections are headed with Nightfall, but his name is now Daelus Thresh.
Share your thoughts on the way this type of story should end.
Asymetrical but balanced was what I went with. There aren't six distinct endings, but each character still had their "moment".
Concerning things left open for COT2
This is more the domain of the unwritten chapter 24, but I already know that there's going to be no cliffhangers, rather a very strong emphasis on the idea that everything is still in motion.
Getting near the end here, the rewrite is no longer going to resemble the original much. That was always the plan. Feelings?
I think I already mentioned that there's plenty of pretty strong ties to the original's ending, but fans of the original will still have no idea what to expect.
If COT Book 6 ends up being too long for just four chapters...
Book 6 will be a perfect length, not too short and not too long. Four chapters, one a little long, one a little short.
I've kept a copy of the original COT at the bottom of my main rewrite document (as tiny black text) and delete things from it as the rewrite overtakes it. There's still a few sections of tiny black text that haven't been removed yet.
I'm going to take a break before continuing though, probably saving the finish line for this weekend. I expect Chapter 24 to be fairly short.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
One of two things will happen. I'll go to bed and pass out and then know that I really needed sleep, or I'll go to bed and feel wide away within an hour, at which point I will resume.
Monday, June 1, 2009
I'm 12,000 words into it, which is probably half-done. There's still a great deal on the outline sheet that hasn't been grayed out, most of which is the harder stuff to put into words.
I find myself going back and forth from one section to the next, tweaking, fiddling, adjusting, adding, changing, on and on. It's expected, though. The ending is always the biggest challenge.
Edit: Close to 16K and calling it quits for the night!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
(23 will be officially the end of the story, like the original's 25. The rewrite's 24 will be an epilogue. The original also had an epilogue, but it wasn't given a chapter number or title.)
Because I like comments and I never get them, I'll ask a question. For the epilogue chapter, which minor or side characters would you like to see a segue about, to know what happens to them after the story is finished?
In fact the whole thing came together much more tightly than I had thought, making this hardly an over-long chapter at just under 23K words, which actually makes it shorter than 21. There were many things I could have easily drawn out, but in the interests of keeping things moving, the writing is fast-paced and focused.
There's still a great deal of things to wrap up in 23, not the least of which is Sheam's plotline, which was totally absent from 22. It wasn't just a matter of the tone being completely different. Every event in 22, from Nightfall to Ghost to Lytha to Jyre to James, was connected, but Sheam's plotline by its very nature is not connected to the others - she's the one facing what's going on at the home turf while everyone else is out on their adventures.
I think fans of the original will be happy between the balance I struck between honoring what they remember while also keeping them in suspense. There's shades and echos and mirror images of nearly everything that went on in the old story, but everything plays out a little differently, in a different order, and with some wildly different results.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
As mentioned in the previous post, I think one of the cooler things is that finally the events described by each principal are directly linked to one another, and what happens to each character and what each character does has a big impact on what is going on with the others (well, with one exception...).
So the plan now is to go over 22 word by word and do a revision, though since I technically am not finished with the 1st draft yet I am not counting it as a revision, merely a continuation of the writing process. Who is keeping track, anyway? In other bad news, the outline for chapter 23 is in pretty rough shape, and my family is expecting out of town company again next week, so I won't have much time to write. Taff!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Everything seems quite on track. I have about half of what I had planned for 22 written, and am right at the 10K word mark, which is telling me that I'll be able to wrap this story up without going on and on and on like I feared.
22 is being written old-style again, where everything is done in order and I finish a section before going on to the next one. I need to for this one, because much of what happens in one section is built off what happened in the previous one, and helps me decide some things about the next one after it. The widely divergent activities of the six principals over the previous book are beginning to impact one another.
In other news, I moved one section from chapter 20 into chapter 21, because chronologically it happens a few hours into 21. When I first wrote it I felt like it needed to be on "paper" before wrapping up 20, but now that it's been moved it does feel right as part of 21. It more neatly contains Ghost and Lytha's adventure at Soulforge inside Chapter 21 (which is continued in 22) and also lets 20 end with a little more bang.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Just goes to show, sometimes when writing the outline I can't seem to figure out how to make the events flow naturally, but when I am actually writing the chapter it all seems to come together and make sense.
We're now at about chapter 24 of the original, and though the rewrite's 21 bears little resemblance to the original's chapter 23, the final sections directly correspond to one another. In fact, I probably could have cut and pasted it verbatim into the rewrite. (I didn't though.)
One slight problem I am running into is cronological slip. Nearly half of Chapter 21 takes place before the final events of 20. I am not sure if I should worry about that or not... probably not. I could try editing it up later to put things in perfect chronological order and see how I like it, but right now I am happy with the way things are.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Oh, and I know that the "ending" poll isn't close yet, but I can spoil it by now. The new ending will very much honor the original, but I still intend to keep the fans guessing until the very end.
To my surprise a very big scene with Lytha turned out to not only be something I am quite happy with, but an excellent continuation of her character arc beyond what, in Book 4, could have been the end of her story. (Not to mention a big plot thread introduced early in the story finally coming to a head.) It's essentially the 'big moment' of Chapter 21 that leads directly into 22. Did I mention that I am writing out of order now?
James is proving difficult, but in a good way. He's a unique challenge, due to his character's sytle of having a much more dense internal monologue than any of the others. This is needed since he's facing the pure unknown, and the reader will probably appreciate having an expert analyst along to figure things out with them.
Jyre is mostly an observer this time, which had given me a chance to flesh out some of the minor characters I really wanted to get some quality time with. Unexplectedly, I stumbled upon a very natural way of progressing the plot with her in a direction that I had recently given up on because I, well, couldn't find a natural way of doing it.
Ghost is really enjoying being away from Lytha. By that I mean he hates being away from her, but I am enjoying writing him being away from her. After four chapters of them being joined at the hip, it's refreshing to write a Ghost scene that doesn't have its tone colored by Lytha's dramatic hues.
I was afraid that with all of the high-level stuff going on with the other five principals, Sheam's stuff would be a boring drag in comparison. After writing some of it, I think it makes a refreshing intermission from all of the Goddesses and Alien Beings and Serious Spirital Contemplation, and gives the reader something they can relate to on a much more down to earth level.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I haven't decided yet what the six covers will be, except for the first one (which Dominus is already working on) that will feature Jyre climbing the tower in the opening chapter. I am a little torn between two ideas; having each cover focus more on the contents of that volume, or having them focus entirely on a pivotal moment for that character no matter where in the story the scene falls. I started a new poll - but if you're reading this note that the third option is a lark. I have no desire to see movie-poster style covers for any of the books. :)
The City is a place of conflict, where technology and magic eek out an uneasy coexistence, where the religious and the occult vie for dominance, where crime and politics intermingle and corrupt everything within their reach.
Jyre had escaped from a life of servitude, holds a meager existence in the gutters, and seeks to right the wrongs of her past.
The nobility knew him as Lord Thresh, the church as Brother Daelus, but the underworld knew him as Master Nightfall.
To Sheam it was a simple job, cataloguing, managing schedules, turning a blind eye to the criminal intent behind it all.
No one had ever broken into the sacred tomb before, but no one held so little regard for their own preservation as Ghost.
She stole, and had never been caught. Lytha lived apart from the world, yet could feel every thought and feeling around her.
James loved coffee, baked potatoes, and knowledge; especially knowledge cherished by others as secrets. His spies rarely failed.
Six stories tied together by chance and circumstance, between the belching factory towers and the haunted hidden grottos, between the clutching fist of the church, and the conniving fingers of the criminal underworld.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
I don't know how much writing I will be getting done over the next week, there's some stuff going on, some good, some bad, but I will keep plugging away at the outline and polish it up. It surprises me how fast I can go from "no idea" to "this works great" really well when I sit down with no distractions. Also, when taking a shower.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I updated it. Can you belive there were dozens of spelling and grammar mistakes on that page? It was also really poorly written, and I think a little insulting to Alex, James, Beate, and Steve. I hope they weren't offended. I don't think it offered much hope for the rewrite... three whole years ago. I think the new version is better. It's only accessable through The Circle's fan-novels page, so it will only be read by taffers going after some fictions, not by the forum goons.
So, are there other questions I should be answering there? Also, I really do wish Helen Vesper was actually a real person and not a name I made up on the spot.
Friday, May 15, 2009
What can I say? As I already mentioned, the goal of 20 was to get everything poised on the verge of the climax. For every character that means something a little different. For Nightfall, it means facing the consequences of a choice he made. For Jyre, it means her journey coming full circle. For Ghost and Lytha it means facing the aftermath and side effects of their turmoil. For Sheam, it means pushing ahead in site of a worst case scenario. For James, it means realising that one can become hopelessly out of one's league.
As my critics may note, Chapter 20 is extremely rough. When doing revisions, I usually have the luxury of many months of additional experience in order to boost my writing ability and refine a chapter based on a better understanding of what's coming ahead. Well, Book 5 will get the last part, but there isn't going to be much going on to boost my writing ability in the next 90,000 words of Book 6. For the last book, a revision will be even harder, and I will have to rely more and more on the input of my critics.
I have two confirmed yeses for cover artists, and one strong possibility, with a few others who I plan to ask if one of the three artists I have either can't do two covers or can't do even one. I'd like to have fewer artists rather than more, so that the styles won't be too far all over the place (the three I have all possess very, very different styles). I've also started thinking about proofreaders. It would be perfect to have six, and assign each to two books. How could I find six proofreaders who don't mind not being paid, though?
In case anyone is still keeping track, this point in the rewrite very, very loosely lines up with around Chapter 23 in the original.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Additionally, I solved a problem I was having with James, being that a lack of a personal conflict for the character weakened his integrity as a principal. I have developed that inner conflict, and have evolved his adventure to take full advantage of it. This separates his path even farther from the other principals, which is what was needed, giving him his own set of goals, needs, fears, and possibilities of failure.
Amusingly, sometimes I like to check on the fraction of the entire story each principal represents. I discovered that Jyre, Lytha, Ghost, and Sheam all sit at around 17/16% of the total (in that order from high to low), with Nightfall having a much larger chunk and James a much smaller chuck - but if you average out Nightfall and James, both come to 16.5% ... I wonder how I managed to balance it out so evenly.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The other method that is working well is moving out to the garage-turned-studio to write, totally isolated from the internet and any distractions. As a bonus, that room has a separate air conditioning system from the rest of the house (the whole house has five air conditioners... yay Florida!) which mean I can make it so much cooler than my own room. Thus, I really like being out there. :)
Thursday, May 7, 2009
As some of you know, I alternate in my writing style between writing "chapters" and writing "the story". When I write "chapters" I have a particular chunk of the big plot I focus on and it is composed in a mini-arc according to a given theme. When I am writing "the story" there is no mini-arc, just events which play out as they must, without me composing them into a neat chapter-like package that will span 20-25 thousand words. As a result, these tend to go on much longer, sometimes to nearly 40 thousand words, because without the clear arc or theme, I don't know when to stop! What usually happens is that after it's all written, I will edit the content into chapters and then come back in a revision and edit it even more into mini-arcs. Those who were reading the blog months ago may remember when I revised some chapters that didn't seem to work by splitting them into two chapters, maybe at the expense of chronological storytelling. I have a feeling that chapters 19 and 20 are going to be like this. After completing the outline for 19, which was going to focus on James, Sheam, and Ghost, I realised that I had far more in it than will probably fit into one chapter, and that if I went that far ahead with each of those characters, then it will have been too long since we've seen Nightfall and Jyre (Lytha is with Ghost so it doesn't hurt her as much). The solution? Work on The Story, not on A Chapter, and edit it into Chapters later.
Monday, May 4, 2009
The title of the chapter is Guests in Alien Realms, which is taken directly from the original, but it's as far from the original as anything I've written so far. It puts Jyre, James, Ghost, Lytha, and Nightfall all in unlikely situations that they were not at all prepaired for, even though they were certain that they knew exactly what to expect. (Ghost is in it, but only told from Lytha's point of view.) It includes a scrap I had actually written nearly a year ago, inserted nearly verbatum into a scene I had long imagined but finally was able to completely illustrate.
Finally, I've included the name change I had been planning for Nightfall for a long, long time now. He's still called Nightfall, but his real name is now completely fictitious, rather than being a distortion of my own name. I am not going to say it here, yet. I'd rather my critics judge it in context. (On the other hand, it doesn't matter what they think, since I am not going to be changing my mind about this topic!)
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I don't know. It's the logical progression of everything that's come before. It seems silly to add some strange twist because I am bored. And yet, if I am bored... won't the reader be too?
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The first is with the opening narration. He says that this is fine for a pulp fantasy novel, but for literature it should be avoided. Not a problem per say, but with the way the story is written it seems to deserve a less cliche opening.
The biggest problem he had was with Ghost's humor.
His personality doesn't really feel consistent to me; sometimes he's rational and cold-blooded, but sometimes his internal monologue is too silly, too self-deprecating; it breaks the immersion for me. I think having a sarcasting internal monologue is good, but he goes too far, and combined with the repeated bumbling/falling down/etc, it seems more like slapstic comedy than anything else. It ruins the tension, but isn't funny enough to be comic relief, really.
He had the most to say about Nightfall though, and the confusion, contradictions, and otherwise obscurity (not in a good way) of the character's presentation. I couldn't find anything I disagreed with. Oie, more work!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I moved. I created an online cv/portfolio for my game design job hunt. I learned UnrealEd and 3dsMax. I resumed work in dromed. I have not been working on COT.
I am a little discouraged about it, thinking again that I don't really know what would make all of the work I've done worth it. I don't even really know what worth it would mean. I continue to grapple with the "fanfictions ought not to be written" concept versus the "this isn't really a fanfiction, it's something else" fantasy and the "I am really only doing this for practice and experience" excuse. On top of it all is the higher truth that I don't need to pretend this is something it isn't, I don't need to justify it to anyone, and I wouldn't have already spent so much time on if if it wasn't worth it to myself merely writing it. Noone will read it who doesn't actually want to and the only ones who will ridicule it will be the ones who don't actually want to read it.
It all comes back to Daneel Todulem. I am going to change the name. The question is... am I changing it because I think I should, or because I want to? The truth is that I like the new name I came up with more than that name - but is it honest to do so? Why pretend that this is something it isn't? Why disguise it? Will it make the story more accessible to people if they do not believe that one of the six main characters is "played by" the author? Maybe it will.
I also can't forget this truism: you can only be at your best when you're taking yourself the least seriously.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I am still indecisive, so I'll ask my (probably only three) blog readers. Who would you like to see?
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The second poll about loose ends was split 2/2 between what would essentially be a COT2 that was a "second season" and a COT2 that is a sequel. (The third option would have been more like COT2 as a spin-off). Even though it's a tie, it sounds like most people don't want things wrapped up in a neat little bow. Well, I can promise you that, but because I have no idea if or when I'll do COT2, there's no way I am going to leave anything big unfinished at the end of COT.
Any ideas for a new poll? There's only two votes for the last open one. I don't think anyone reads this blog anymore.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Supplemental: Okay, I managed to finish up the section I had stopped in the "middle" of. Now let's see if I can write the next section... one thing at a time.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Chapter 18 has the dubious honor of mirroring events that were cut from the original COT, only to end up (probably) being read far more than COT actually was. I am talking about the excerpt that was included in Thumper's Guide to the Strange and Unusual. I edited it out of the original because I felt that it contained too many direct and obvious references to the work of H.P.Lovecraft, a nod to the Cthulhu statue seen in the original mission, The Lost City. (The authors for James and Jyre were both fans.) I felt it appropriate to include in the rewrite because of its probably infamy as part of the guide, the fact that I've now read some Lovecraft and actually know what it's all about, and because it was one of the few parts of James and Jyre's adventure where something actually happens. Of course, don't expect it to go anything like it does as seen in the strange and unusual guide.
The Ultima Underworld references, on the other hand, I did without.
Friday, January 9, 2009
I'm really tired.
Oh yeah, and with these revisions, the story actually broke 400,000 words. Scary.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
As I mentioned in the last post, the side effect of outlining the final chapters has been more revisions. Again, it has to do with Sheam (go figure?) but this time it's because I need to change a small aspect about what happens at the end of Chapter 16, which was shoehorned from the start, seemed forced during the revision, and in retrospect while planning the next chapters, simply doesn't work. On the other hand I am taking this opportunity to do more work on the chapter in general, as benefited from a new understanding of where the story is going, as only finally writing it down in an orderly fashion can generate. It won't be a huge change or an addition, just a bit of a smoother transition into new territory we need to get into, and a chance to visit with a character who was mentioned and described in great detail, but I realised was impossible to meet without having him make an appearance sometime before chapter 18. He's much more pertinent to COT2, but I've decided that making a big deal about something (or someone) only to never hear about it again is probably a bad idea - especially if it's just a setup for something in COT2.
Also, and embarrassingly, I've finally corrected all the times where I mistakenly called Othello "Oberon". I can see how that would be confusing.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Blah blah blah.
I started up a new poll, concerning what is to come. Since COT2 is what inspired the rewrite to begin with, it seems logical to assume that COT2 is in the cards. Of course, as long as I am not getting paid for this, nothing is set in stone - but it's still worth thinking about. Basically, it comes down to this. Even if I never write a COT2, the "lives" of the characters and the world they live in will go on after the final chapter of COT is set in stone. The plot for COT2 has been decided for years, and though it's changed dramatically because of the rewrite (as was the point of the rewrite to do so) in essence it's there. The one thing I haven't decided yet is how heavy-handed to be with that thought. Personally I can't stand it when the last thing an author does (this goes for scriptwriters too) is tack on a cliffhanger to let everyone know that Part 2 is on the way. That's worse than simply not ending it at all. Horrible. So don't worry - I am not going to do that. So I am avoiding the two extremes of a non-ending / tacked-on-cliffhanger versus the complete-closure / everyone-dies / the-epilogue-tells-us-how-each-character-lives-the-rest-of-their-lives thing. Where the ending will fall in the middle of that is yet to be seen, and something that blog-readers are invited to comment on.
Friday, January 2, 2009
They're not easy, because they have to...
- Be told in around 300 - 1000 words.
- Involve a snippet of story that isn't involved in the plot-flow around it.
- Deal with and rely on characters the reader may never have met (and will never).
- Still need to fit in with the framework and tone of the chapters around it.
- Actually provide some relivant information.
So even though they're short, writing the segues was just as hard as writing chapters. Crazy!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
The numbers are all 'words' (according to MSWord2007) and the pie chart shows what percentage of the story is told from which character's point of view (excluding the segues) with the bar chart showing the chapter lengths. The only surprising thing is that Lytha, Jyre, and Ghost are all so evenly divided.
Chapter length looks slightly top-heavy, with the earlier chapters tending to be longer and the later ones tending to be shorter. Again, I think this can be attributed to the 'world building' done early in the story that isn't as abundant later. As you can also see, a good number of the segues (red bars, shown as ... in the chapter list) haven't been written yet.