clarentine: (Mastiff)
Note to self from the middle of this novel's climax:

Chasing two armed men, you definitely go armed yourself, and while these may be lower-rank Orators they won’t be idiots--this is not a MUNCLE episode, and they are not stupid Thrushes. Give them credit for native intelligence and survival instincts!
clarentine: (Default)
Anyone else feel obligated by a particular story to craft maps?

So much of what I work with is on the visual level, and for Break I'm working in a setting that has hills and mountains and canyons and rivers that are all pertinent to the story. I started developing topo maps as a defense against failed blocking. Below is a basic topo map for the city of Avendon, including the Nye River and the rough locations of city walls.

Avendon topo

What level of mapping do you use? Do you draw your own, or do you have a program do it for you? Or do you just steal a real place's topography and use that, as I did with Cavalier Attitude?
clarentine: (Mastiff)
Canum is rarely snarky; he's serious and so full of his sense of urgency that funny doesn't occur to him. And yet, he's capable of comments that stop me in my tracks for pure situational hilarity. Given what other people think of my own sense of humor, I doubt the following will really be funny to anyone else - especially out of (much) context, but I had to share this one he dropped on me today:

[he's just been insinuated to have been so dangerous as a youth that his family/brother locked him allegation that is, like the best rumors, at least partly true]

[A's] smile was pinched at the edges. “You deny these accusations of instability?”

“My brother’s paranoia is not at issue."

If Kale had heard that exchange, he'd have frothed at the mouth. *g*


Once upon a time, back when I'd just started seriously considering the rewrite of this third Canum novel (Break), I despaired. The book topped out at about 275 pages, whereas the first and second books were each right around 375. Today, while continuing my slow-motion push through the (all but white paper) rewrite, I hit page 218 and am firmly in the middle of the book. In other words, Break has grown about 100 pages since I started this process.



There's been some research, more desultory than serious; there are times at the day job when I really lack the brain to do any serious work but I can't really just close my eyes and recharge. Knowing what is in store at the end of this book, I've been googling PTSD. I need some more serious research reading on this subject, however, because what I'm finding addresses the recovery and I'm more interested in the wreckage that precedes said recovery. If anyone reading this has a favorite source for those sorts of anecdotes/info, relating preferably to physical torture, I'd love to hear about them.

Not that I'm mean to my characters or anything.

::grins with teeth::
clarentine: (Canum)
Whew. Fell off the reporting bandwagon this weekend, didn't I? I'm happy to report, however, that despite a severely bloodied forehead (from banging my head against that damned brick wall) I've managed to rewrite the scene to conform to the new vision of this particular story. Furthermore, I worked my way through the transition between that scene and the next, and the next scene, and am contemplating the one after that, so I count myself accomplished.

I am finding that the transitions in this particular rewrite are really dragging at me. Transitions have never been something I've had to struggle with. I hope I don't have to fight them all the way through this damned book. Keeping my focus on the plot is helping.

I'm now approaching the 100-page point and, not entirely coincidentally, the end of the first act and the first big turning point. That scene is the next one. Hopefully I'll be back later today to report it successfully rewritten!


During one of the evenings when I couldn't get even one word onto the page, I spent some time instead working on worldbuilding. I now have a base map of the area of the peninsula surrounding the city where this novel is taking place and another of the outline of the city. I no longer have Canum riding unnecessarily from his lodgings to the Orators Guildhall, not given the short distance involved.

I will need to be doing research on karst and caves soon, I think.

I also now have coin(s) of the realm, and a better feel for how the economics of the nation work.

This all counts as production, doesn't it? >;-)


And, as if I was not doing enough, I've also signed up for a two-month online course on ships in the Golden Age of Sail. I've already done a lot of research on various aspects of life in those times for Satisfaction, the pirate novel, but it never hurts to do more. Who knows when something I've been assuming will turn out to be one of those stupid things that trips up those in the know when they read the story? If I do have any of those sorts of overlooked assumptions, I want to know about it now. Josh and his compatriots will thank me.
clarentine: (Canum)
One more chapter revised - at least this one didn't need to be rewritten from scratch. Now I'm bogged down in the transition at its end. Bah.

Went out to dinner with the kid after he brought his little dog over for a play date with Kay. I'm not sure that Beenie understood that Kay was playing. *g* It probably would have been better if it hadn't been raining...but I'm not about to wish it would stop. We've got right at an inch since it started yesterday morning. We should be getting more overnight and into tomorrow. Color me thrilled! The lawn may survive after all.
clarentine: (Canum)
Well, I didn't get the scene completed yesterday, but it's an extremely complex knot to try and weave together and I did get 650 new words on the page. Good progress, then.

The weather is promising rain for the first time in a very, very long while. Cross your fingers we get at least a little of it, okay?



ETA: scene's finished, with only two lines remaining to be worked out once my brain gets clever enough to come up with the proper insult, with a total new word count of 1410.
clarentine: (Canum)
Time to get the nose back to the grindstone, I think, and holding myself accountable for production will go better if the accountability is public, yes?

Revisions on the third Canum novel (working title What Does Not Break Us, or Break for short) are at that stage where I have a nice, neat, clean synopsis to use as a blueprint for what must happen by which time on the story timeline and now I have to rewrite old scenes or write new ones to match the blueprint. I am not the write-to-outline kind of writer, so this is not my favorite part of writing, needless to say. It is, however, necessary to bring coherence (not to mention actual plot) to this novel.

I'm a little under the weather at the moment, so I'm not going to hold myself responsible for pages and pages per day. I'm aiming for a scene each day.

Now let's see if I can catch one. *g*

ETA: And what's the last line I left myself when I was previously working on this revision? "I'm not sure what I was expecting." Um, yeah. I hear you, subconscious. *g*


Jul. 23rd, 2008 07:39 pm
clarentine: (Mastiff)
I wanted a new icon for when I'm working on the Canum stuff. Look what I found!
clarentine: (Default)
I need a title for a person whose job it is to guard a royal personage with the intent of scaring away anyone who might want to do harm to said royal personage. Guardian is not scary enough. Protector has other specific meanings with regard to royal personages that I am not interested in invoking. Paladin, suggested by, is associated in my mind with people of shiny good character (thanks so much, Gary Gygax), which need not apply here.

So: what might you suggest for this person encouraged to be a bully, a Doberman (reputation, smarts, capability), a dispenser of warning glares?

(Gosh, it would be nice to be able to just call him a Doberman, but I think he might object.)

Words of foreign derivation are fine if I can make the connotation work. The society in question is not-French, if that helps jog anything loose.


Jun. 14th, 2008 11:23 am
clarentine: (Default)
From the department of Really Good News comes this announcement: as of Friday, I have an official literary agent. Shana Cohen of the Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency has agreed to represent my work, and I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled! (See, I do know how to be excited. *g*)

It's so wonderful to find someone who appreciates Canum and Irie as much as I do. And now to find some people who'll pay me to share that appreciation!

Thanks, Shana.
clarentine: (Canum) terribly ironic. I'm sitting here trying to think of something to put on the screen, some way to summarize my reaction to the loss--far too soon--of Heath Ledger, and what music is playing in the background? REM's "Everybody Hurts."


I don't pattern my characters after people I've seen, most especially not after movie or TV actors; I simply don't watch enough video to have an idea who is who. I'm also not the sort of person to play the casting couch game. Nevertheless, the face and expression of that fellow up there in the icon struck a chord with me. He became my mental image of Canum Faraday Connersha.

And now the man whose face gave me that image is dead.

I'm sure there will be lots of speculation as to the cause of his death. I'm not going to take part in that. Instead, I'm going to quietly mourn a talented young man who is no longer in the world and who I'll never get to see grow older.
clarentine: (Canum)
I’ve been wrestling with a rewrite I want to start on a novel I wrote several years ago, working title Break, third in the Canum series in which I’ve also recently rewritten books one (Shape) and two (Kith). I’m working out (again) who the antag is and how his goals clash with Canum's and what theme(s) I’m exploring and how those things all fit in with the plot.

Ah, yes, the plot.

The thing about plot is that I’m tired of Protag Saves the World fantasy plots. I want my stories to be about the small sacrifices, the little disasters that are the protag’s whole world but don’t risk the collapse of nations. I want a more personal level of conflict.

So [ profile] corrinalaw says to me, offhand, in discussing the antag, that X is the antag because the external plot is that X wants to take the throne. I balked - though, of course, she was right, both about who the antag currently is set to be and what his goal is. There had to be a way to get the smaller external plot I wanted, to make it more personal. I knew it had been done before – that *I* had done it before. Bells of Leon y Cantara has a protagonist with a very personal goal on which no nation's fate hangs and, in a lot of respects, I think is the one novel I've written in which I came close to writing a coherent external plot on my first attempt.

And then, in thinking about Bells and how I had gotten that smaller, more personal level of conflict right, I realized where I’d gone wrong in Break. It wasn’t that I lacked an antag (I have a veritable crop of potential antags, all with their own goals that intersect at right angles with the protag). It was that my protag lacked an external goal.

Bingo! To bring the external plot down to the personal level, what I needed was a personal-level external goal. I still need to figure out what that goal is, and then match it up with the appropriate antag, but I’m one step closer to making this rewrite work.

Thus endeth the lesson. *g* Hopefully, it will prove helpful to someone other than me.


clarentine: (Default)

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