crows: (Default)
Ruminating on putting down Chant for a while in a more specific capacity (I haven't worked on it since I got home three weeks ago, but the binder is sitting on my bed) in favor of research. Both research for some of the in-story subjects (part of the goal is to establish a somewhat different medical and scientific climate than present day for the early part of the story, but I do need to be a little more up on the technical matters at hand) and of the market in which I'd like to have this published (eventually. I'm not close, now - the novel needs massive revisions before we even get into the polishing and fine tuning phase). It's high time I got behind learning more about the process. I also need to spend some time reading in the genre and thinking hard about my audience so I can actually go at selling my book with some degree of a strategy in mind, when the time comes. The marketing aspect of being a new writer is a little daunting.

The more immediate goal that I hope will help me take an initial and more manageable step into all the things I need to learn is the publication of a short story I've been working on for the last couple of years. I'm going to go sit down with Unbroken Thread for a couple of hours this morning and see if I can't make a final decision about the last (potential) new segment, tracking the time line for the reader, and the damn epilogue. I still want to have that sent to a market or two before the year is out. I won't feel like a total failure if it doesn't get picked up this year, but my goal is to at least send it. Somewhere. I need to get the ball rolling, however slowly, if I intend to be in a position where I can realistically hope to have this novel published when it's done cooking.
crows: (Default)
After sending the manuscript to a young man last night, I was compelled to crack my novel again and start working. I actually got some stuff done today; seems the couple of months time sitting on it allowed me to get far enough away from feeling overwhelmed by what's missing from the whole story that I could address the first chapter by itself. It needs more revision, but the things that I needed to add to flesh it out I think are in; I think I like where the narrative string is at, for the first thirty some pages. I believe I am adding an entire chapter in after that, that doesn't presently exist, but that's ok, too. I'm still trying to get a figure on a ballpark average length for a science fiction novel (in word count). Mostly out of curiosity.

In other news, my kittens are very feisty. They wrestle and fight and maul one another most of the time, when they're not trying to climb things. The also appear to view my feet as one (two?) of their own. I think the solid grey one is going to get pretty big. I still haven't named them.

The Sibyl.

May. 11th, 2009 12:01 pm
crows: (Default)
And the Sibyl, with raving lips uttering things mirthless, unadorned, and unperfumed, reaches over a thousand years with her voice, thanks to the god in her.

The last night we spent inside the city of Munich, I did not sleep, but lay stiller than death among the blankets in Isolde's second bedroom. The deafening silence of the walled room around me grew thinner as I listened, the darkness of the shuttered windows fading to grey in front of my eyes. Very faintly, I could hear them breathing in the other room; I could hear the very beating of their hearts, impossibly, through their blankets, through the air and the walls.

The ceiling above me sharpened in the pale light that filled my field of vision, cast by nothing and coming from no direction; not so much light as a simple absence of darkness. Remotely, fear tugged at my consciousness, but I could not grasp it for more than a few seconds at a time. In the stillness, the tiny sounds of the two doctors sleeping in the adjacent room slowed like a clock that has come unwound. The change was almost imperceptibly subtle; a matter merely of fractions of seconds nosing their way into the space between their heartbeats. I must have lay there, motionless and wide-eyed, for a year before, finally, no more heartbeats came.

Such a feeling of empty loneliness overtook me in that utter void of sound that I could not even categorize the feeling as despair. Despair, to me, denotes a loss of hope that once existed in the mind; this thing that hung over me vigilantly was the annihilation of hope's history, as though all up-turned glances had been erased from my very memory.

Finally, I closed my eyes. They grey space in the room around me drew the breath from my body.
crows: (Default)
So, I've finished the meticulous initial read-through of my manuscript.

...

Yea. What now? There's so very much... left. I need to flesh out these characters, make them come alive with detail and backstory without wandering off on boring tangents from the main line of the story. I need to fill in the blanks of the plot, write in things I forgot to write in when I was composing it, clean up the inconsistencies, all before even thinking about starting to polish the prose. Not that I won't be doing that on the way anyway, I hope, but... but...

I think this is the part where I have to start carefully outlining the novel, chapter by chapter, and coming up with things like 'what is the point of this part?', mapping out what information leads where. Also, this is the part where I need to research all of the shit I didn't know about when I started writing this. Like, helicopters, and epidemiology, and how medical care is administered when there isn't technology available.

Oh god. Oh god.

Shelter

Mar. 7th, 2009 12:44 pm
crows: (Default)
A great rush of wind swept through the broken roof of the once-temple, raising a mournful sussurus that Isolde's ears – so absent from the sound of singing for so many years – harkened to as if it were a phantom choir. The solemn hymn chilled her, but she stood still to listen, holding her breath fast in her chest as she swept her eyes across the front of the church. There, the pulpit where countless priests had conducted sacred masses before the third world war. There, the pews laying evenly alongside one another, backed with risers that awaited the genuflection of obedient faith.
Read more... )

Interims

Mar. 7th, 2009 09:20 am
crows: (Default)
Not much to say for myself; unkindly busy with work and the other work and the novel. The latter part is my favourite. I'm stubbornly making myself take at least a half hour here or there even when I have other things I really, really need to be getting done to go scribble on a few more pages. I still feel very good about it but it is extremely sparse. Realizing all of the things I've forgotten to address, all of those details that make the thing add up to the sum I'm shooting for, makes me laugh. I'm filling pages in the back of my red binder with notes; otherwise reading through and sketching changes and more notes in the margins, apportioning what's read so far into chapters as I go with divider tabs. Need to learn to use Liquid Storybinder.
crows: (black raven)
I don't really have the first idea how to go about the next segment of work that needs to go into this thing. There are a lot of additions, like I said before, on top of the massive amounts of revision, editing, proofreading... I know this process is far more than one go-through, and I could be deeply entrenched in it for another few years, easily, before I 'm ready to send this manuscript off (which I intend to; I do intend to seek publication). And then it will get rejected and I'll do MORE work and on and on!

I do know, however, that I'm really excited about it. My writing has improved a lot in the year since I started the early parts of the novel... I kicked myself into high gear with that initial endeavor and have explored my abilities a lot. So, bringing the first 30k words or so into compliance with the rest of it will be fun. I like feeling as though I'm definitely improving something, which won't be hard to reach in terms of that stuff ;) I also need to start compiling some kind of an organized list or outline to account for what is written and to illustrate what is not, because there are things I need to add. Parts of it are skeletal because of lack of time, lack of focus, lack of knowledge... I need to do some concrete research into epidemiology, into the plagues of history (evolution and climate change for the sequel! Aren't you excited?!)

One person has read through the majority of the text (and will likely finish soon; he's a fiend!), and I'm extremely relieved to have a second pair of eyes taking in the story this early in the process. That means it's out of my head a little more and someone who hasn't been thinking about it nearly as much as I have can tell me how clear or unclear things are.

I'm printing the manuscript right now (hoping it finishes in time for me to make it to work in a timely manner). Yesterday, I bought a ream of paper and a dark red binder (and two brand new red pens). I'll find some dividers and a folder; I have a little hole-punch in there, too, so that I can keep track of scraps and notes that don't go onto the pre-punched paper. It's hard to describe how unbelievably gratifying it is to have this thing to work on. I have deeply and passionately wanted to accomplish this since I can remember. Even if it was just my primordial consciousness striving to emulate one of my parents (my father was about finishing his novel when I was a tadpole), it's lead to a lifelong pursuit that I've come to love very, very much.
crows: (red)
Today, this morning, I sat down and finished the last scene of my novel. No, I was not skipping ahead. The story is assembled. The manuscript is complete. That is, of course, not the same as finished... this is draft zero. There will be revisions and additions to fill out some areas where it's sparse before the real editing begins on draft one. And after that, of course, pruning and more editing... and more revision and more editing, on and on ad infinitum.

However, the fact remains that I have completed my first novel.
crows: (caw)
Yesterday, I started writing about the war. I only have a page or so... but it's a start. At least I've committed myself to dealing with it and now it feels a little less daunting than it did before; I've gotten to the area of myself that part of the narrative is living in. The other major hole is the fact that I've barely addressed Adrian's cult. Though that's not so much a large portion of narrative missing in a contiguous way, as small pieces I will need to intersperse throughout the manuscript as a whole. The novel is some eighty three thousand words right now... I imagine it might approach one hundred by completion (yes, there's a chunk of other stuff I plan to add, plus I still haven't really finished the story yet though I'm definitely past the main point of climax). That being, of course, before I undertake any editing and rewriting which will no doubt include some pruning.

Then, onto writing True Life.

I gave a girl Unbroken Thread to read (and she actually did, and in a timely fashion, god be praised). She said she really liked it, and that she understood what was going on. I'm going to talk to her more about it tonight; I didn't want to get into too many specifics so as not to give away the story to the other young lady in company. Not because I think it will ruin it but I want an honest metric of whether or not the story is intelligible without prior knowledge/explanation from me.
crows: (Default)
So last night before I crashed I cobbled together, to the best of my understanding from several different files written during November last year, and November this year, all of the Chant of the Sibyl text. Now, this year I was writing on two stories - Chant, and its sequel True Life, so about 10k of my 50 is True Life. Of the Chant text, some of it is from where I left off last year, and some of it is from the big hole in the middle of what I wrote last year (which I filled in some, but not all of). So far, the thing I unsteadily hazard to call the manuscript for the cohesive novel, is 117 pages in Word (well, OOWriter) and 75k words long. I'm closing on the end of it, and I know generally -how- it ends, but I need to actually get it written, the fine details ironed out, and that hazy chunk in the middle that regards the war taken care of.

Then, the rest of my life editing. I've never written anything even close to this long before. The longest completed story is what... 15 pages or so? The longest chunk of a novel-length piece is like... 27. Chant is very careless in execution so far, but I really like it... I didn't expect to come out of NaNoWriMo with something that I would feel like I could actually sit down and turn into something meaningful, but I honestly do believe this has potential and I intend to pursue it.

Also, next week I'm ordering parts for my computer. On Monday. I know specifically what I'm ordering and how much it will cost, and it will be on its way to me soon. Who wants to play WoW? I'm committed to transferring my main two characters (or at least one) to Dawnbringer off of Lightbringer; we play Horde. I also play sometimes (Horde) on Black Dragonflight, but it's low level.
crows: (red)
I hit my 10k before I went to bed Monday; that was my goal at outset, to hit ten thousand words by Monday night. Technically it was during the small hours Tuesday morning but that's good enough for me since I'm still up ass early and writing. Or, I would be writing if I were not writing this LJ post. /slacker.

Having just pasted together last year's Chant of the Sibyl text, and this year's Chant of the Sibyl text (not including, of course, what I've written of the sequel), I come up with a document that's 65 pages long. AND that I don't totally loathe although it is a terrible, terrible mess. Out of the material that I drum up this month... I think I will be able to cobble together one complete novel (True Life will NOT be finished this year though I hope to have a solid start on it). I'm sure that in the coming months, or however long I need to sit on it before I continue, I will have to fill in a lot of holes before I even start looking at fixing continuity errors and other wonky places in the plot and structure. And all of that before the word 'edit' so much as crosses my mind...

But for god's sake, I've been doing this my entire life. Do you have any idea how exciting to me it is to actually have a concept of a novel-length piece of work? To have story completion within my reach?

(Also: How's my initial energy burst lasting for ya, HUH?! Oh ye of little faith! (Ye of little faith knows who they are). BANG BANG!)
crows: (Default)
“Ho there! What's that!” a voice nearer to him cried out in curious alarm, drawing the snap of his attention out of his swirling thoughts. He stopped and looked down the hill, watching the collective of his brethren bewilderedly drop their their skids and turn, raising their hands to mitigate the indistinct glare of the sky.
His senses honed to a sharp enough focus a few moments later to perceive the sound, and the black mass in the sky, at the same time. An ungainly flying shape angled its way through the petticoats of the cloudcover, which was low over the ground but so featureless that it offered little depth-perception to the eye. The staccato of its blades slicing the air to keep it aloft struck Caleb's ears unfettered by the haze that made its shape inconstant in the sky.
Caleb narrowed his eyes for a few moments at the helicopter as it moved inland and then burst into a run back down the slope away from the base. He paused on his way down, skidding to a stop that almost sent him tumbling to grab a bewildered compatriot's shoulder.
“You. Find a pair of binoculars,” he gasped, gulping the air, his tired lungs unprepared for the sudden sprint. “Watch that thing as far as you can see it, keep an eye on its direction.”  )
[True Life] )
crows: (Default)
[And so it begins again. For NaNo this year, I'm writing more chunks of last year's story, and chunks of its sequel, called True Life. This is from the kickoff last night, between midnight and 3 AM; picking up where I left off before. Fragments. It is not spellchecked.]


Jadany sat on her knees, feeling her feet go numb against the cold concrete floor of the compound. The stone, the air, all felt warmer than Witch's gaze curiously down at her from where he sat across her, their knees only a hand's bredth apart in the half-darkened room. She breathed in once, laboured, and breathed out again.

“You don't have to,” his voice came, as if from beyond a great distance, the low rumble of thunder that might call one's attention to a stormy horizon.

“No,” Jadany breathed slowly out, letting her eyes fall finally shut to the heaviness that pressed them. “I do.”

...like the thunder that might call one's eyes to a stormy horizon... )

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