Archive for the ‘Tears of the Mountain’ Category

Well, sort of.

I went to bed last night mulling over a few ideas and thoughts about the story. When I woke this morning there was the gleaming of a scene taking form and by the time I got up it was fully realised. Not sure where it came from, perhaps the subconscious piecing together bits of ideas that were swirling around.

It wasn’t anything major, just a single paragraph scene, but it fitted in nicely and spurred a few other ideas into existence for other parts of the story.

While it is no Kubla Khan, it was certainly unusual for it to arise this way.

As the month slowly winds towards an end, the rough draft of Tears of the Mountain is starting to take shape at last, with the last week being especially productive. The word count has now passed 30,000. Of that, apart from three hundred odd words, it is all of the main plot. The secondary plot hasn’t been started yet, nor a couple of other scenes that need writing up.

The aim is to finish up the main plot line and then go back and write the secondary plot. Once that is done, it will be time to work out how best to weave them together and then write up the ending which ties it all together. While the main plot is drawing to an end, I’m not sure how much more the secondary plot will add to the rough draft – my guess is it will come out to between 40 and 50 K in length.

And then the real work commences.

This first draft is very minimalist – almost more a synopsis. For the most part descriptions are very limited, conversations basic and some characters not fully fleshed out. In fact two characters have had their relationship completely changed halfway through. The two, as I previously mentioned in How To Stop Them killing Each Other, where threatening to derail the whole plot and so changes had to be made.

There are eight characters in the main group – unfortunately some are little more than names at the moment. I need to work out some more details and work that into the story. The main concern is the only woman in the group, Abhiala. I don’t want to cut her out – that would leave no women in the story. The original part of the plot she was going to be involved in seems to have been axed, leaving her with little to do. I’m not turning her into a amazon action-girl – it doesn’t fit – but I need to figure out something for her to do.

So much work to be done still – almost makes you want to start another story instead.

Progress, for whatever reason, has been a little slow this month. The last 2 days have seen around 25% of the work done and the 75% over the last week. At least it is picking up a bit.

I’ve managed to get 20K done so far on the rough, rough draft of Tears of the Mountain, and am about halfway through the plot points. Oddly the story isn’t halfway through though. The group has been travelling for just a week with three more to go to reach their destination and have just started their first minor fight. There was a brief scuffle at one stage earlier on, but that doesn’t classify as a fight. And I still have et to do three more minor fights, a naval battle and a major land battle. Or start working on the subplot. I had hoped to complete the rough draft by the end of the month, but that may not happen.

In other news, somehow I’ve managed almost nine hundred downloads on Smashwords, and have somehow snuck up to #11 on the most viewed author over the last 3 months there. Of course, many of those others are trying to sell their books and I’m just giving it out for free, so that is certain to skew numbers in my favour.

I’ve reached an interesting, and unexpected, development in the rough draft of Tears of the Mountain – two characters who actively want to kill each other. I knew they were antagonistic towards each other when plotting out the story, but I didn’t realise just how much until I started writing. The difficulty lies now in keeping them apart. I could just let them off each other, but that would demolish the plot, but on the other hand I need a way to stop them which seems plausible and not heavy-handed.

An explanation of the background may be in order here.

The Amari city of Adranatti Vesa lies across the northern sea, and grew rich on gold and gemstones until the mines dried up, but by which stage it had become an important trading centre. Adranatti, like most Amari cities, is a princedom, under the nominal rule of the Amari King, but in reality most are semi-independent city-states. When the Prince of Adranatti, Tol Venatro, went to war with his western neighbours, his younger and more popular brother, Cantarossi, took the opportunity to usurp him and exile him, leaving him and his army trapped between hostile forces.

Both princes desire to find the fabled lost city that the Amari call Illiatoriun, said to lie in the deep deserts and to house a vast wealth of treasure. When the professor, historian and explorer Halir visit Adranatti, they both try to get him to find the city for them. His curiosity getting the better of him, Halir sets out to find it, and in his party are two men, Tol Marassi and Logawa, who work for the rival brothers.

They don’t like each other. In part because they work for rival brothers, doing the dirty work for them. Also in part because they both come for cultures that have a long history of feuds – think how the French and English perceived each other for centuries and were seemingly always at war. Both men are killers and are determined that their prince should come out on top.

The problem is I still need both of them alive for future events but both seem determined to derail the whole plot with their feuding.

It is certainly making the writing of the draft interesting to sat the least.

I have in the past had a tendency to want to write the whole story in one go no plotting, no rough drafts, just the finished story. It is kind of a bad way of going about things and can explain why so little in the past ever got finished.

Even today when I am actively writing rough drafts, I still tend to try and put too much detail in, rather than just getting the gist of the story down, though it is improving.

The new method I am trying seems to be helping, plotting the story out first and then doing rough drafts from that. They really are rough when looking at them, with scant details. One scene as an exampled has a couple of people entering a room to meet a man. Pretty much all that is written is that they enter and the man is sitting behind a table. No descriptions of the room or the man, nothing about what is on the table or what is is made of, of light sources or anything like that. All that can be worried about later, once the rough draft is completed.

It doesn’t mean though that nothing much is happening. Yesterday I took one of the plot points off the board and started working on it.

The plot point comprised of just 16 words;

-Leave Adranatti.
-Head north through farms and jungles.
-Marassi and Logawa argue.
-Reach pass through mountains.

Somehow from that I wrote 1500 words of very rough draft. Large parts of a two day trip were glossed over, descriptions were exceedingly minimal, conversations were curtailed, yet it came out to 1500 words and included new plot details I hadn’t considered earlier. When it comes around time for a rewrite of it I’ve got no idea how long it will turn out to be. Not bad for a 16 word plot point.

Not sure if it is because of the new way of plotting the story, but I’ve found I’m starting to jump around the plot writing a bit. A scene plays through my mind so I grab the note for it off the plotting board and write it up then stick the note back on.

May require a bit of modifying later on when I catch back up to that scene, but this way at least I don’t forget the ideas as I have them.

I spent a large chunk of yesterday in finishing up the plotting of Tears of the Mountain and now have a cork-board covered with notes, mostly in order. There are still a couple of scenes that need to be slotted in somewhere, but all the plot details are now written up in note form.

First time I have done anything like it; hopefully it will help when it comes to working on the rough draft, which is the next step that needs completing.

Now that the latest two stories have been finished and added to the site, time to catalogue what is next on the To Do list.

On the website side of things, I need to keep slowly adding to the Worlds of Mist and Shadows page, expanding on it, and to also finish off writing the background notes on all of the short stories. So far about half of them are done.

The older stories need another minor re-edit and a slight modification to their layout, but that isn’t a priority as of now.

Story wise, the main aim is for the moment to finish the rewrite of The Gift and to make it ready to post. So far I have done almost 4750 words of the rewrite and that from just 1900 words of the rough draft. Given the rough draft was 7300 words long, I should easily reach between the 15,000 and 20,000 word mark I was aiming for for this story. It is probably going to take a few days to do that much output – unless I get lucky and manage to string together a couple of those 5K word days.

Beyond that I need to return to the plotting of Tears of the Moon and get working on the proper draft of that, as well as working on some more short stories. There are five more of them partially mapped out or started, including part three of Cara’s Choice and follow up stories for the android Ray, the Minotaur Nhaqosa and the Braega/Tudhala setting.

Lots to do, which is good.

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.

I didn’t get a whole lot of writing writing done over the weekend, but I’m not too concerned because i did get a bit of background writing done, working out details that should have been done some time ago.

One of my main flaws is keeping all the details floating around in my head without really committing them down. The other one is lack of any real planning – I just write going on what is in my head.

Not exactly the best method. So when I actually did a plot synopsis for Winter Wolves it resulted in an actually finished story. One that is likely to be put aside and forgotten, but a finished one none the less.

Which just goes to prove I need to change my methods.

So over the weekend I sat down and wrote out all the plot points I had in my head and now have an outline, if only so far in point form. It is still basic, and needs expanding on and the order worked on, but it is there. One of the points simply reads ‘Party crosses desert following journal’. Nothing about what is written in the journal and how it helps them yet, just a simple note.

I’ve got an old cork board kicking around, and I’m thinking of getting some notepaper and using it for a plotting board, to really nail this plot down.

Ah, but that was not all that happened. I also worked on mapping. Maps seem an integral part of fantasy now – its rather rare to find fantasy books without a map in them.

I must admit to drawing maps myself all the time, and many times I have started one for the part of the world I’m writing in, but always keep doing major renovations on it. It never quite worked.

Oh, in the stories, I knew roughly where things lay in relation to each other and a vague sense of locations, but I could never nail it down properly. Part of that has to do with knowing too much about tectonics, the ways climate and winds work, rain shadows and deserts and the like – I always kept seeing something that just didn’t make sense.

But finally I got down something over the weekend that looks decent, everything fits in roughly where it should (though I may need to make a few minor modifications to stories here and there) and doesn’t offend too many rules of nature. It still will require a bit more tweaking, but it is close now, and has even clarified a few things for me.

But that wasn’t the end of things.

I also have a rough working timeline, for the first time ever it seems. Still finalising matters, but it spans four thousand years, from the time spoken of in The Cahuac Cycle, when the stone age began to give way to the bronze age, through to the events of The Tomb of the Tagosa Kings.

More to add to it, but the various stories written, and planned, and various other events are pinned down roughly.

There are also events that predate this history, the Age of Myth, but they predate the humans and other new races and the exact dates for them are rather vague, so they are remaining separate for now.

All in all though, I’m rather happy how things turned out. With that done I’m on a bit of a high and can eagerly return to the actual writing for the rest of the week.