Archive for February, 2009

Medieval Stasis

Posted: February 19, 2009 in writing update
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Some of you may have stumbled upon a site called TV Tropes before. If you haven’t, it is well worth the look – but be warned, it is a trap. You venture in to look at just one thing and two hours later you still haven’t got around to reading it.

Tropes are devices and conventions that writers use that generally aren’t cliched but are commonly employed.  Despite the title, it is not just about TV, but covers a wide gamut of media – TV, movies, literature, comics, anime etc.

One of the tropes lists is Medieval Stasis, something I have mentioned before, but by different names.  My references to it have been the apparent stagnation of technology and history often plagues fantasy.

The opening paragraph of the entry reads;

So, you have a Heroic Fantasy with a long history, in order to account for the fact that the Sealed Evil In A Can has been forgotten. So, you fast forward about five thousand years (or merely place the Sealed Evil’s Back Story that far back), and reveal a world… exactly like the one you started in! Same technological level, same form of government, same culture — you wouldn’t even need to dress differently to fit in.

If one thing irks me more than most it is this.  History and cultures change.  it is something I try and work hard on in my stories and my world.  Nations rise and fall, as do people and cultures.  Technology advances.

Hopefully as I get more written this becomes apparent.  I have stories that span from the stone age right through to the age of sail and gunpowder.  The Maedari are the main culture of I write around and even they change.  There first appearance is as stone age hunter-gathers who migrate into lands occupied by early non-human bronze age cultures.  From there they become a kingdom during the bronze age before it is destroyed by a newly arrived culture, the Chelosians, towards the start of the iron age.  The survivors are either subsummed by the Chelosians or migrate to harsher lands where they fragment into many tribes or nations.  From there they languish as a minor, scarcely important people until, in time, they form a new union and the Maedari Commonwealth is formed.  The various tribes of the Maedari evolved in their own directions though between the fall of the Kingdom and the rise of the Commonwealth and have their own differences – in a way like Australians and New Zealanders share a common heritage but are different, or the Irish, Scots and Welsh – all Celtic but all different.

Anyhow, that is in a large part what my writing is about and I hope that my skills can in someway match the vision and dreams I have for my world.

Week seven kicked off in high gear with a 6000 word day, and while that pace couldn’t be sustained by the end of the week I had managed almost 18700 words, the best weeks output by a substantial margin.

All of that was done on Winter Wolves, rewriting the first three chapters and expending on the synopsis to commence chapter four. The first draft of Winter Wolves is now at around 18,600 words.

The plan now is to keep up that effort and to complete the rough draft as soon as possible so as to commence the polishing and spruiking and what not.

Thus far the first three chapters have introduced the major characters and most of the minor ones, and hopefully given them all personalities (though this will need to be worked on more when polishing). They have introduced a mystery – well more than one really. And it has also had a minor battle – little more than a skirmish, but enough to whet the appetite.

And now onwards with the story and the writing.

Bubbling Along

Posted: February 18, 2009 in winter wolves
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Been quiet on here for a few days, but that is mainly as things have been bubbling along quite nicely with Winter Wolves. Over the last six days I totally rewrote the first three chapters, cranking out over 16,500 words. The old draft of the first three chapters had only been around 12,100 words long and now is almost 16,900 words so there is a lot of new work in there.

From now however there is only the synopsis to work off and not anything more elaborate, so output may slow a little. Still, if I can keep at it for four or five weeks at this pace I may actually have the first draft of the manuscript complete ready for polishing.

The Internet – in 1969

Posted: February 14, 2009 in General
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This is an interesting clip I came across which is apparently from 1969 looking forward to how they saw computers functioning in the future – as well as what was to become the internet.

It didn’t quite turn out the way they foresaw, but it showed remarkable guesswork. All works by futurists naturally will not always turn out exactly the way they imagine, as there will be advanced they could never imagine in their wildest dreams, but they can certainly inspire and often entertain at the same time.

For myself I often ponder how things may turn out in the future. For example, the current global economic mess. What would happen if everything goes pear shaped and ends up in a new Great Depression? How would the world look, how would people survive? It did give me an idea for story to explore that, but that needs to wait until I’ve finished other projects first.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

It may come, gentle readers, as somewhat of a surprise to discover that Jane Austen’s classic novel has, until this day, been an abridged version and that the novel in its totality was not released unto the public to spare the timid and those that dwelt in blissful ignorance, nay, in naivety of the true horrors that did stalk the English countryside that fateful day. It is only know that we can reveal what truly took place and thus in all its goresome entirety we present Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

This is not a joke people. Pride and Prejudice is being rewritten – with zombies. This news article explains it a bit more.

And the following excerpt is to whet your appetite.

“Come, Darcy,” said Mr. Bingley, “I hate to see you standing by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”

“I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it.”

“I would not be as fastidious as you are for a kingdom! I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and several of them are uncommonly pretty.”

Before Mr. Darcy could respond, a chorus of screams filled the assembly hall, immediately joined by the shattering of window panes. Unmentionables scrambled in, their movements clumsy yet swift; their burial clothing in a range of untidiness.

Guests who had the misfortune of standing near the windows were seized and feasted on at once. Elizabeth watched Mrs. Long struggle to free herself as two female dreadfuls bit into her head, cracking her skull like a walnut, and sending a shower of dark blood spouting as high as the chandeliers.

It is currently up on Amazon for those who may be interested.


Posted: February 13, 2009 in writing update
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After doing a little calculation I have realised that since commencing this website I have written some one hundred thousand words. In other words the length of a full novel.

Of course, given how scattered a lot of that writing has been, a full novel has yet to be completed.

Hopefully the next 100K of words are both written faster and more focused so that by the time they are done that novel may at least be finished, or at least the first unpolished draft of it is.

A Great Day

Posted: February 12, 2009 in winter wolves, writing update
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Day is not quite done yet, but so far I have done around seven hours of work and passed 6K words written, a new record for a day for me.

Admittedly I did cheat a little as I was doing a rewrite of the first chapter of Winter Wolves so many of those words had been written before.

Even so, the old first chapter was around 4300 words in length and the new one now stands at almost 6500.

It certainly feels good to get so much done though, even if it was just a rewrite. I may even be able to squeeze in a couple more hours later to start the rewrite of the old chapter two.

I only had chapters one to three fleshed out previously, so in a couple of days when I’ve given them a rewrite it will be back to fleshing out the subsequent chapters from the long synopsis, which will undoubtedly slow matters down.

Still, if I can keep this pace up I may be able to finish the novel ready for polishing sooner than expected.