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So. Um. Comments asked for. Please?

Edith has just announced that I have her ALL WRONG, and that Kit has been her favorite cousin ever since he was like, four, and looked up at her with those big brown eyes and told her he loved her. She has melted like putty in his hands ever since. (She was eight, and relegated to the nursery over at Grace House to help take care of the little kids while her mother had another baby.) They were close until he was sent away to school.

And she got married at eighteen. To a blind man. Who was actually pretty good to her, except that he died within two months of the wedding (stupid heart attacks). Alas, there were no children, her in-laws didn't want her around, and her jointure was small, so she ended up coming home again.

She figured she'd be okay with being the widowed auntie to her sisters' children, but her mother has gotten more and more weird about her birthmark.

started nano

Okay I started writing tonight. And in two and half hours I wrote 1790 words. The last time I worked this fast was when I was in high school. This is exhilarating. Maybe I can actually do this?

There was one slight hitch. I spent so much time trying to get better from being sick and then trying to shovel my house out from under the filth that had accumulated while I was sick that I never finished my outline for Sailing the Abyss. I had next to nothing. No plot, only a couple of character names, just nothing to work with. So in order to be able to do nano, I had to switch gears and go with another story. Phoenix Rising is the story I'm actually working on. It's got humor, action, and a cast of characters that I actually have a good handle on, so here's hoping that the rest of it comes as smoothly as the opening four pages did.

Good post

I liked this post. I do feel I need a lot of strength to get words out of my head...


"But does the character care?"

Recommended by sartorias.

Please to read this post by madwriter --

http://madwriter.livejournal.com/610305.html --

Very interesting observation about one method of removing the lumps of exposition from the sweet sweet oatmeal of one's story.
I will let you guys know how it rolls. Once I get over the fear of trying this!
Clarion is The Big SF writing workshop (most graduates who continue writing WILL sell stories and become known SF/fantasy writers). theferrett is attending this year and wrote a post about what he's gleaned thus far.

This link is to his post.

Read. Discuss. I thought about you, Lisa, when I saw the "overexplain to your reader" point.

Some interesting quotes from Simon Morden

This is taken from a lecture he gave on the "problem with Christian fiction", which you can read at this webpage. It has a lot of interesting things in it, but I thought that this section had a bearing on something I was discussing with lisapt.

When I create a character, I don’t tend to list a set of attributes, choose a name, and build them like I would a character in a role-playing game. Roll some dice, pick a race and a gender, pick a profession. Now, I know this is going to sound weird, but they choose me. I remember a conversation – rather, an argument – on the Subway list: one Subwayee was particularly affronted by the idea that I somehow called on my invisible friends to inhabit my books. It might affront you. But as an example, take the character of Va, the Finnish monk, from my next book, The Lost Art. He’s an incredibly complex individual – fervent to the point of fanaticism, utterly determined, single-minded in his devotion to God, yet damaged to the point of breaking by his past, which, quite literally haunts him.

Because he was his own man, and I knew him intimately, I could judge what he would do in any given situation. In the same way that you know your friends, and even closer than that, in the same way that God knows you, I could write about him in a way that made him real. Despite that The Lost Art was not originally Va’s story, it was Va who sold the book for me. A bald, scarred, Orthodox monk bordering on the psychotic became the reason I was taken on by one of Britain’s most respected publishers. And I had all sorts of problems with the rest of the characters: two of them fell in love without telling me first. Some of them dredged courage from the depths of their hearts that I didn’t know was there. They surprised me. They took the story in directions I hadn’t anticipated. It was exciting finding out what was going to happen next.

A lot of the writers I talk to don’t know when they start, what their book is going to be like. I think, rather than this being a handicap, that it produces the creative freedom for a story to genuinely live. It’s not me moving the characters around like I’m playing some great game of cosmic chess. We imitate God the Creator, and I don’t believe God treats us like chess pieces. Why should I treat the characters in my books like that? Just as I do what I don’t want to do, and don’t do what I ought, so do they. I am not an actor, reading out someone else’s lines and following stage directions, and neither are they.

Because my characters live independently in my imagination, it becomes foolish, if not futile, to deliberately cram in a message. I would find myself frustrated at every turn. Winston Smith and Montag explored their worlds, lived and loved and cried and bled in them. The message comes through the way they live their lives. I don’t need to tell you that we have a very real and present model for that.

First Scene

Meandering thoughts about my novel

It's wrong. All wrong. I'm bollixed up in a nest of hissing and therefore quite distinctive... err, not quite that... um. Let me back up. I started the whole "Silk Road" novel as an outgrowth of a shared tale on Ghostletters a very long time ago -- in response to and a wish to share in the tale of one Adrian Herrick, opium addict and spritualist, written by someone whose name I believe was sealwyf, a very good writer indeed, who had some very stiff beliefs about what did and did not make for a good story, as I recall. Major Leslie was a good fit for the late-Victorian tale, and even after the abortive matchup bollixed out of control (I think that was about the time I stopped writing due to the Gabriel-Richard III dustup), I still thought the idea of Leslie going to Egypt and finding a mysterious artifact was cool. Eventually, due to wanting to write with yet another person, my friend micklpkl, we came up with a labyrinthine and fascinating plot that would have been totally bizarre but cool, including his errant scion of a Galveston ranching family, my Chinese opera singer (male but presented as female), Leslie, and Kit. For a while, that struggled on. When I decided it needed to be different, I came up with Alex. Then magic. But it's still not what I want. Not exactly.

What did I want -- what attracted me to the whole idea? Adventure. Pulp style adventure in the mysterious Orient. Egypt as a place of mystery and desire, and a trek across an unknown landscape that promises danger and romance and mystery. I'm not sure that I actually NEED it to be in the late 1800s, anymore.

So. How is anyone else doing with writing? I have ideas but my brain hurts. Very much. But I do think there's stuff rattling around in there.