Saturday, January 28, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: A Broken Race 2

In this week's excerpt we meet One-fifty-two, one of the Simples. When I started this story, I never intended to have him become the foremost MC of the four, but with his emotional vulnerability and unique pov, he quickly became my favorite to write.

He’d had a name. A name of his own before he’d become One-fifty-two. He looked at the numbers stamped on his hand. They’d hurt when William had put them there with a needle and ink. But it was part of being a man, of growing up. He’d cried, but not too loud. No one had wiped away his tears.

Check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another new old project

What a difference years makes when it comes writing. After blasting through edits on A Broken Race, I was up for conquering another project that had been languishing on my hard drive. I picked Sahmara's Sunset because it had been giving me the puppy eyes the longest.

 Sahmara's Sunset as the distinction of being my very first NaNo novel from 2006. It was the first novel I wrote in thirty days. It proved that I could actually write something that didn't take years to finish. In fact, it was the first novel (and still is to this day) that I wrote knowing what the end would be before I started.

 If only I'd known the middle. This is also the novel I discovered that leaving vast tracts of 'connect the dots later', is a very bad idea. I've since learned that if I'm going to do this, to at least leave an outline and notes in that section.

 Other things I didn't know back before I joined a critique group and did some educational reading that are now driving me insane:

- Utter lack of proper formatting. I've since become a little OCD about this and won't even write a rough draft without it.

- Large blocks of telling. Blah, blah, blah. I'm even dozing off. - Repeating myself. Sadly, that one's never gone away.

- Chapter placement. Yes, chapter length varies, but an 11k chapter? Really? And no, it's not the only one.

- Unnecessary scene breaks. Why didn't I just change a couple lines up a little and continue on? No idea.

- This one suffers from the same thing as my early drafts of Trust and the reason why there are so many discarded characters running about: Anvilitus. Not just repeating myself, but making similar events happen repeatedly to drive a point home.

 But I think it has promise. So I'll continue wringing out my mop and keep my pruning shears sharpened as I tackle this project. One thing is for sure though, it's going to take a lot longer than the last one.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: A Broken Race

Today's excerpt is from the opening of a project from a few years ago that I'm finally getting cleaned up and ready for the big world. This is a conversation between Jack, one of the MCs and a man he's just captured during an attempted raid on his fortress. It neatly sums up what what the story is about.

Gunfire again filled the air.

The Wildman shook his head, tears running down his face. “Please, we just want a woman or two. You have so many.”

There weren’t many, barely enough to produce a steady population in fact, and far too many of them Simples. “Your women are not my concern. Your kind is full of the disease and fifth that got us into this mess to begin with.”

Check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts here

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Racing through revisions

Wow, so when I said I thought revising A Broken Race would go quickly, I was right! It's done. Granted, that's about all I've been doing for the past few days, but I've really enjoyed getting back into these characters and the story again. Having only spent 30 days with them before, and that, a couple years ago, I was surprised at how much depth of character I'd crammed into 50k. Darn it, I even made myself a little teary a few times.

Since I've been plowing through NaNo rough drafts, I thought I'd share a few faults I keep finding.

• I do not use contractions. There must be some subconscious 'it counts as two words instead of one that way' thing going on.

• I repeat myself. I rephrase what I've just written, sometimes right after saying it. I get stuck on a particular thought and go at it until I've achieved total anvil status. Sometimes I rephrase a thought several sentences later. It makes for some confusing clean up work. I had to go back again and again to keep those spots straight and it got confusing. Hold on, didn't I just say that?

• I change people's names. In this year's NaNo novel, Nervo became Neko. In A Broken Race, Miranda became Emelda, and Violet who was dead twenty years suddenly was reborn. Oops! I do make notes as I'm writing, but its the secondary characters that sometimes miss out on being included in my orderly efforts.

• Consistancy. There's twelve women. Yet, there are more like forty of them. It was morning, now its suddenly night. When did that character get clothes on? He's only wounded a little. No wait, he's almost dead!

For you fellow CC folks, A Broken Race will be going up for critique very soon. Please feel free to tear into it as I know you love to do.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Onward into a new old writing project

With Trust and it's sequel finally off my writing plate, I'm finally able to give some of my other novels in progress some attention. Yes, I know, that's a lot of finally, but that's how it feels.

After waiting patiently for its turn, fantasy short: Children of the Leaves got a turn in the revision chair. It's up for critique in early next month. I can't believe it's been almost a year since I had a chance to submit anything to CC. And that last thing? It was the first version of Children of the Leaves. It's like I've been stuck in my writing cave or something.

Next up is A Broken Race, a dysotopian novella that was NaNo 09. I haven't touched it since I hit my 50k. The wonderful thing about this project is that it's the first NaNo I actually wrote from beginning to end. There are no sudden blank spots of doom. I set out to write a novella and I did! There are some troubled areas, namely the ending, but for the most part, I'm thinking this shouldn't be a massive undertaking to get it from rough to first draft status. Famous last words right?

So what's this new story about?

In fortress ruled by impotent men and protected by testosterone-ridden powerhouses, One-fifty-two is one of many, a simple man, a worker. But he's not quite as simple as the others thought, and when he sneaks into the the vault where the precious few healthy women are kept, he discovers the nasty secret the breeding masters have been hiding. And it's been hiding in the garden where his food is grown, no less. Emboldened by his new knowledge, One-fifty-two takes back his childhood name, Joshua, and vows to set the women free.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A single resolution, an edit, and a treat

A couple of my NaNo buddies latched on to this idea so I hopped on the boat (yes, a few days late). Pick one word for your 2012 New Year's resolution. It might sound a little odd, but my word is: Less.
Yes, I want to be less this year.
Less busy
Less distracted
Less obligated
Less stressed
I made some good steps toward this at the end of the year. Now I just have to keep going.

The first round of Untitled Sequel edits is finished! Wow, that went fast. Mostly it was cleaning up all the little notes I left to myself when charging through NaNoWriMo. Things like: go back and verify number of days between A and B. Or my favorite: Might want to give MC at least a sheet else he's fighting naked. Oops! Or maybe not... Ok, ok, I'll get him something to wear. Maybe.

There were also a couple typo-heavy sections that I obviously typed with my eyes closed while visualizing a scene. Untitled Sequel (nice title isn't it?) is now going onto the shelf. But, you can tune in to Flogging the Quill very soon and weigh in on the first page.

For the first time in seventeen days I was home alone all day. My beloved silence, how I've missed you! I treated myself to a viewing of the new Conan the Barbarian. As I wasn't expecting anything spectacular in the plot department, I found it entertaining. If you like good-looking, half-naked muscular men cutting each other up with swords, a little sex and generally watching Jason Mamoa do anything, you'd probably enjoy it too. Having watched the 1982 version a good dozen or so times over the years, I can easily say the effects, dialogue and general plot were much improved. There was a lot of blood, violence and the sound effects people obviously had a great time with wet, squishy blood sounds. So yes, pretty much what you'd expect from a Conan movie. I'd call it Spartacus lite. Speaking of which, I can't wait for Season 2!