Archive for July, 2009

WELCOME TO MY WORLD

This website is part writing journal, part blog and part repository of stories both of adventure and fantastical in nature.

As a writing journal it tracks projects I am working on, their progress, ideas, updates and all other things writing related.

As a blog it features things of interest to me; sometimes they will tie in with my writing, other times not.

As a repository of my stories, it provides links to my stories of a variety of types, ranging from flash fiction to novels, though mostly short stories and novelettes for now. It also contains a wide variety of genres within the sf/f field – sci fi, steampunk, gunpowder fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy and more.  They can be found in the Pure Escapism part of the website.

What is in the name you ask? It ties in with the main setting of my writings and, while hints and references may have cropped up in some of the stories, the true meaning behind it is a mystery for another day.

Enjoy your visit and please feel free to browse and comment.

A second short story has had its editing complete today and been posted on the site.

Future Portents is a stand along story, set in the core world of the Mist and Shadows setting, Sharael. It is a bit of a different story, set at the dawn of the bronze age, when stone was beginning to give way to copper and then to bronze. It fits, chronologically, in between the time of the stories The Cahuac Cycle and those of The Maedari Book of Deeds.

The origins of it took place many years ago, but that initial story no longer worked for this setting, at least the second half of it, which required a total rewrite.

That second half may not make a lot of sense in parts;yet. It is in a way foreshadowing events yet to come and which will be revealed in other stories as I go along.

I have finished off the editing for the latest short story in the Pure Escapism collection; The Merchant’s Legacy.

This is a follow up to the short story The Pit, though picks up the action some time afterwards and follows Nhaqosa, the giant white Minotaur and escaped gladiator, as he seeks the long roads to his home. The lands that he and his followers tread though are in the grip of drought and lawlessness, beset by bandits and monsters and seldom does he find a welcome. A chance encounter with the merchant Kythias may change all that…

It is the longest of the stories to date, coming in at around 11,000 words in length. I’m quite happy with the way it turned out, and the character of Nhaqosa. He is a fierce warrior when he needs to be, yet has a gentle side to him and at times can be a touch philosophical. I look forward to writing more stories with him in it in the future.

Just finished the rewrite of The Merchant’s Legacy. Turned a 7400 word rough draft into 10700 words. Quite happy with the way it turned out.

Next trick is the extensive editing needed for it, and the other recently completed short story, Future Portents, and then I can make the available to read, hopefully in a few days.

And then comes a long list of other things that need doing. But one thing at a time

As I have mentioned before I’m something of a procrastinator when it comes to writing, and I don’t really set goals or plot out things properly, which adds to that problem.

When it comes to writing I’ve always been a bit of a seat-of-pantser, just having a vague idea and going with it. Oddly, this stands in stark contrast with how I go about world building, in which I do a lot of planning.

I think I’ve realised that though I may write as a pantser, I am in reality a plotter and that is why I don’t get as much done as I should. I’m changing that, and as a result am making some progress – I’ve known the plots of most of the short stories I’ve written in the last few months and have been able to churn out quite a few and, while I haven’t done much written work on Tears of the Mountain yet I am confident given how much of the plot I have already figured out.

I have also read a post by Merrilee Faber on her blog recently, talking about the techniques of writing and the setting of goals. It certainly did nail the problem I’ve had for most of the year – my goals have been far too long term and made of vague generalities; ie write a novel.

What I should have been doing was setting smaller, more concrete goals, but more of them. And so I shall.

The post itself is here and is worth a read, whether you are a panster or a plotter.

Upcoming Changes

Posted: July 19, 2009 in General

I’m hoping to make a few adjustments to the site int he next day or two – in reality I’d like to do a complete overhaul, but the tools on the free hosted wordpress site are a bit limited for that, and as a poor starving writer moving to a hosted site is a bit much at the moment, not to mention not really knowing where to start.

But for the changes. A new tab has appeared on the page, as may have been noticed – The Worlds of Mist and Shadows. Nothing in there yet, but I will be adding pages in there over time, exploring the worlds of my writing, their origins, histories, peoples and cultures, to give some background to the various stories that crop up.

I’m also going to give the whole Pure Escapism page and contents an overhaul. I’m going to stop doing them as volumes and post them all as single story releases with their own pages – and give them another thorough editing. Compendiums of stories will return later on, but only after I’ve built up a catalogue of stories to choose from.

Over the past three days I have had a rather productive spurt, clocking up almost 10,000 words. 5000 of those were yesterday. Haven’t managed to be so productive in, well, quite some time.

All of yesterday and art of the day before were spent on doing the rewrite of Future Portents and in the process I turned a 3700 word rough draft into 5700 words.

It will require editing (and more editing still – no matter how many times I seem to go over things with a fine tooth comb spelling and grammar errors always seen to get by me) and will require some rewording in spots. The end will need a bit more of a go over as well; I like how it is, but feel I could word it better.

Not sure when it will be going up yet to read. Hopefully not too long. Parts, particularly the end, may not immediately make much sense yet, as it is a bit of foreshadowing of things to come in later stories/events.

Next on the list to rewrite is The Merchant’s Legacy. The rough draft of that is 7400 words, so it may take a few days to do the rewrite.

As I have mentioned before, I’ve been putting the Pure Escapism short stories up on Smashwords as well as being able to download them directly from here.

Recently Smashwords have added a top 100 category, showing the 100 most downloaded stories on the site. Of those 100, 84 are free – hardly surprising really. Nothing of mine is in there yet, but with time perhaps..

There was also another category – top 25 most viewed authors. I was more than a little surprised to spot that, at the time of this posting, I had made the list at #21 for the last 30 days. It was a bizarre feeling to see it there. Admittedly it may be because I split the volumes up into their individual stories and so to read them all you need to download them four times instead of one.

Nevertheless, it does mean that people are downloading them. And hopefully enjoying them as well.

So there I was working away on The Merchant’s Legacy short story, and right at the end I added to a conversation between Nhaqosa and Kythias, a character who is destined to appear in In Fire, the novel plotted for that world.

And then a curious thing happened. The comments, meant simply as a couple of throw away lines to help explain Nhaqosa’s character, tied in perfectly to help explain why Kythias does what he does in In Fire. I’m not actually going to say what that is, because it is meant to be a mystery and a surprise.

When i saw how perfectly the ideas dovetailed together when I hadn’t even planned it, I sat back and just went ‘wow – this works.’ It was a good feeling.

Time for bed, and a decent days work done. All up hit around 3700 words done, though I could have done better.

In addition to finishing the rough draft for The Merchant’s Legacy as mentioned earlier, I finished the equally rough draft for The Gift, the prequel/pilot story to The Tears of the Mountain.

So far it totals around 7300 words of very rough, basic writing. The rewrite will take some effort, but it should easily double in length, if not more.

Looking forward to starting the rewrite of it, and the other two short stories for Pure Escapism and making them available before too long.