It’s taken some time to get my head wrapped around the things that I need to do. You might have noticed that since my last post was April of last year!
Sometimes life just throws too many changes at you at once and things you love to do get pushed aside. For me, what was pushed aside was my writing.
I have been working on it, just not at a pace that was conducive to success. It was more at a pace that allowed me to keep it on the back burner while life sorted out all the other little and big things going on around me.
But in the end, the plan remains unchanged. I am going to keep writing with the intention of getting a publishing deal OR self publishing.
Because of the hectic pace of life this past year, I have focused on my short story projects. Specifically The Yoke and The Flames. Also, my two short stories that are prequels to my Daughters of Fate project have received a bit of attention.
The Daughters of Fate project is still moving forward and I do still plan to publish bits and pieces of it online as they come out in a workable draft. Right now, chapters 1 through 4 are the focus. Draft of draft is about 50% done.
The Yoke is about as good as I can make it. It is preparing for submission to a major writing competition this first quarter of 2016. The Flames will be a second quarter submission. By that time I hope to have the first four chapters of Daughters of Fate up for everyone who has been patiently waiting.
Outsider has made quite a bit of progress as well, and is coming along.
Under the Darkened Moon is still out there and I am preparing some new queries for it. It may get another “Final” edit, and if there are no takers it will be up on Amazon in the next year or two.
So that’s where everything stands. Hope the new year is treating you all with luck and joy. I’ll be talking to you soon!
I tend to find that when I am working on a novel project it generally takes about 50 pages or 12,000 words before the real basis of the story itself is charted. Usually by about page 50, about three quarters of what I had originally mapped out as the course of the story has gone into the scrap heap. Or at least that stuff is stashed away for a possible future story. Under the Darkened Moon followed this rule which I did not even consider a rule when I started writing it as it was my first project. However over time the law seems to be holding true. I have at least 50 pages completed in several other novels and each of them have resulted in 75% of the planned course being discarded or seriously revised. Be it The Half-Orc Princess, Cry of the Golden Wyvern or Her Lovely Blood, the 12,000 word rule has been a nemesis to the finest laid plans for each of them. Even a project I just started today as a sort of test story, The Arrow, completely went off in another direction by the 1,500 word mark and is, honestly, better than what I had sketched for it.
I attribute this to the fact that I seem to work better when actually writing than postulating and sketching things out. I just cannot see how everything fits together until I start actually writing the actual text. Maybe some other writers can. But I cannot. So I am just accepting this and embracing.
Last night I picked up my short story titled “The Yoke” and gave it a fresh look. The editing process added roughly 500 words to the story and it stands at 6,534 total words with epilogue.
Current “readability” statistics are:
Passive voice sentences 1%
Flesch Reading Ease 85.7
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 3.8
Not sure if it still needs another edit or not. Will probably revisit it in a few weeks and decide.
Marinda is a character from my short story, “The Yoke“. The following is a free writing excercise seeing events prior to that story from her point of view.
[Begin 6:34 PM]
The foul, little runt of a man drew far too close to me for comfort. He never seemed to give my personal space any consideration. The fact that he smelled like an unbathed horse did not help matters much either. Nor did his eyes; eyes that I felt wandered far too freely about my body with hardly hidden fantasies of what he would do to a woman if allowed to.
Often times I could just think, strongly in my mind, stop it! And it seemed as though he would oblige and withdraw his eyes. Sometimes he would even take a few steps away as well. But I knew it was just coincidence and my imagination. I was a mage, trained in the arts of elemental magic and not some illusionist who delved into the manipulation of minds.
My hand never moved much from the hilt of my long, thin sword whenever Halen was around. I think he got the hint. Whenever I did tell him of my displeasure with his closeness, like as now while we hid together in the weeds, he would just tug on the thick, silver band with the large orange stone about his neck as if using that as an excuse. It what an exact match to the one about my very neck.
Only once had we made the mistake of separating the collars too far from one another. The raw, once boiled skin under where the stone rested still bore the rippling from the burn that such as foolish action caused. Escaping from the bondage the stone and necklaces kept us in would not be simple. I needed time to study the device. But again, I am a mage and not an enchanter. I was aware of the art of imbuing materials with spells, blessings and curses, but I was not well enough versed in them to understand the process. Usually, enchantments were weak against elemental magic. As I had already stated, I just needed time to study the devices and find out how to break them.
Getting that time however was something that was easier said than done. He was always watching us; the man we only knew as “My Liege”. That was what the guards all called him. Never a name. Never anything less. Any time I had tried to look at the devices it was not long before either he or one of the guards was there to separate me into a neighboring cell. They did the same with Tsala, a Southman and a shaman who possessed a fair knowledge of magic but not as detailed as mine. She was also part of the “group” and her magic was spiritual in nature. Kort, our muscle, and also a Southman, was not versed in any sort of magic so he never tried to meddle with the devices. Halen had tried to use his thieving skills to get them off more than once but could never find any lock upon them to pick.
The collars seemed to have been cast directly around our necks although none of us remembered it happening. And as long as we did exactly as “My Liege” requested, other than the cells and the inability to escape, we had been pretty fairly treated. Although he did keep my spell book isolated, ensuring that I would not use it to try and hasten our often planned escape, he did allow me any number of interesting tomes to read. Although none of them were magical in any way, they did keep my mind sharper than not reading would have.
Halen put his arm around my waist. I wanted to slap him, but the gesture was clearly not in an attempt for affection. At least not primarily. He was guiding me to look down the trail, to the coach slowly coming into view. Then, after doing so, he did pull me closer to him.
I pushed him off. “Halen!” My tone was harsh but hushed. “Enough of that. Let’s just get this over with.”
“Aw come on darlin’, don’t flatter yourself.” Even as Halen denied what he had been trying to do, I knew better. He was not that good at hiding it.
[End 7:24 PM]
“The Yoke” has just completed being drafted. It stands at 6,069 words including a short epilogue.
Summary: “The Yoke” is a story about four adventures who are together not of their own free will but out of a macabre necessity. The party encounters a danger that threatens them all and forces them to chose their fate and their future.
Friday marked a milestone in my progress towards my first completed short story. The first draft of “The War Within” is sitting completed and ready for a fresh look in a week or two after I have let it simmer for a bit.
Total word count sits right now at 5,553.
In the meantime I will be revisiting project “Dark Moon”, my novel which this short story is based on, as well as “Sacrifice”, my other previously existing short story project. Also I have opened another new project file preliminarily titled “The Yoke” which I came up with during a brainstorming session on Friday. I will be putting down some ideas for it as well.