Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Between the editing for Scylla and Charybdis, editing / revision for stories that have gone into submission in the past while, and of course, the synopses and query letter I mentioned in my last post (which are now being looked over by two brave volunteers and will, of course, result in even more revision), I haven't done any new writing in a while, and it's beginning to drive me a bit batty.  Well, more batty than usual, before anyone points out my normal state ...

It's high time to start something new - a short story, of course, as I still have Who Wants To Be A Hero? waiting for its own turn at edits. Or perhaps the zombie novella ...

However, starts up their monthly challenge at the beginning of the month, and I want to be able to tackle it for the first time in several months - which means, short of bribing someone, I need to wait a few more days.  Idle in the meantime?  Not me.

I think I've mentioned before my favorite exercise book - and the only one I've found almost universally adaptable to fantasy writers - is The 3AM Epiphany, by Brian Kiteley.  I went through the entire book in order once, doing an exercise (roughly) a day; over the next few days, I'll be making some random selections to warm up my author muscles.

Are there any warm-ups, idea sparkers, etc, that people particularly enjoy using, have found especially inspirational ... or especially challenging?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

My main writing project over the past short while has been the dreaded synopsis, or rather, in plural - I have a long version and a short version, which was intended to be five paragraphs, but is currently sitting defiantly at six.  The way the action breaks up, however, it seems better suited in its current form ... and it should be a one-page synopsis when formatted in normal-person font etc - which is to say, not in the 8-9 pt font in which I habitually write.  (I don't like how little of the screen the text fills on Word at 100%, so I write at 150% ... but that would make the text huge, so I use smaller font.  Previous editions of Word allowed you to word wrap, but then it's hard to know where you are on the page ...

(There is a method to my madness, suffice to say.)

I've been pleasantly surprised by how easy this synopsis was to write in a compact format, though I'm sure I still have extraneous details.  For my longest novel in a while, I was dreading it ... but I found that it was fairly easy to move through the action points, and that I didn't need to go back and fill in as much as I usually do when I reached the latter parts of the synopsis.  (That's usually my problem:  I'll think, "Oh, I can omit ABC" and then when I get about two-thirds of the way through, I realize that S and T depend more than tangentially on B, which ... etc.)  It may be because the whole book was written with a circular arc, returning to its starting point geographically and perhaps thematically.

Now as I'm tidying up what I have, I'm wondering - does anyone have any tips for tightening a synopsis?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

First of all, if anyone hasn't seen this, here's Abyss and Apex's review of my novel:

Abyss and Apex 3Q Book Reviews

I'm quite pleased, and grateful they took the time to review it.

On to my thoughts for the week, I've recently discovered (or rediscovered) another tendency of mine in character creations:  I like to explore issues of identity, what defines it, and what happens when you learn that part of your identity wasn't what you thought it was.  (This does, in fact, tie very strongly into Flow.)  I write a lot of characters who are outsiders in their own societies; to a certain extent, I suppose you could argue that most heroes need to be, but it's often used more as an excuse / impetus to adventure than a driving part of the plot.

But I've always been fascinated with circumstances that alter identity and that moment of self-realization, whether it be coming-of-age (Flow again) or something else.  Ioweyn in Who Wants To Be A Hero? is a goddess of change itself, which means that the faces she presents throughout are varied both physically and in the way she acts - but is that real change, or is it pretense over a static identity?  Isn't there a paradox in here somewhere?  And this in what is intended to be a lighthearted comedy ... Vri from Bird Out Of Water (available in Trespass) is half merman, half harpy, and focused on becoming something better ... or is it?

When something forcibly alters your consciousness, how do you deal with it?  Are there circumstances in which you aren't "you" any more?  If your origins are revealed to be something different - your parents, your early childhood circumstances - does that change anything?  And what if you have a terrible past, but you no longer remember it ...

This last is an idea I started to work on a very long time ago in a fandom setting, but I never got to implement more than fleetingly, because the community was on its way out.  Now I'm taking another stab at it in another shared-world environment, and hoping to do it right.  We'll see.