28 December 2012

Book Revisions, etc.

This morning, a strange thing happened when I was opening my file.  Something unexpectedly quit working in the program I use: "auto-save copy the next time I used the program.  Note to self: remember to make backups.  I don't have the good folks at NaNoWriMo to remind me of this important to-do.  Luckily, I had printed out a copy, I have the copy at Smashwords for another copy.  I will be backing up files once a week from now on.  To continue...

WC Goal 750 Seekers are coming to take Tallulah (POV) to the Temple where she will learn how to use her power to see the future.  A horse from her dreams for two weeks shows up at her door. She thinks the horse is sent to change her destiny, so she rides the horse.  She stops for the night at a Temple.  (Subplot)

Chapter 1

Tallulah stood at the edge of the cave looking out over the canyon.  The air was filled with the scent of sage burning.  She hadn't wanted to go to the school and now...she was being forced to go.  The best of the clan's elders were sitting in a circle behind her.  Now, The scent of tobacco filled the air as she straightened out her bag.  She had shoved things in them when running from the building.  It was then she saw the little horse.

It was standing on the trail leading to the house where she was born.  She shook her head astounded at the sight.  That horse had appeared in her dreams.  She didn't want to acknowledge that horse.  There was a sense of finality about this appearance.  She took a deep breath, let it out slowly.  She looked back at the elders, studying their movements.  She looked to the horse and sighed.

She had taken a tentative step out when the faint movement caught her eye.  There, over the ridge, was a cloud of dust.  That was the Seekers come to get her.  She stiffened.  Gathering her courage, she ran to the horse.  Yes, it was real.  The horse of her dreams was real.  She reached out to touch its nose, to let him smell her scent.  The very second that she got on its back, it raised its head and looked to the sky.

She hung onto its long flowing mane as they moved away from the edge of the canyon.  She Sensed the Seekers thoughts and Felt the energy as it changed direction around her.  How had they known?  Or was it something they always did?  The horse's muscles tensing was all the warning she got; she closed her eyes when it jumped.  Mere moments later, she opened one eye to discover that she was far from home, even further from the Seekers. She laughed at her new found freedom.

The horse was tireless.  He galloped for half the day. She began to feel aches and strain in muscles she didn't know were there.  Her hands had gone past numb, her legs were little logs that kept the fire going all night, her neck and shoulders were frozen blocks of ice when the horse stopped.  He walked to the edge of a lake and it was here that she discovered the true extent of her misery.

The horse drank gallons of water.   He turned his head and winked at her.  Her eyes goggled.  He nudged her leg.  She cried out, clapped her hand over her mouth and moaned at the pain that throbbed from every part of her body, especially her head and legs.  She managed to slide down and lay on the ground next to the horse.

She wondered if her grandparents were getting into trouble.  Guilt had begun to edge its way into her thoughts.  She pushed them away.  She felt the horse breathing on her face and looked up to see his great nose.  Oh no, more riding.

This ride wasn’t as fun and she started to cry.  She wondered where she thought she was going and what was going to happen.  She’d had dreams of this horse taking her somewhere and she didn’t know where because she’d never dreamed the ending.  She’d thought anywhere was better than being where she was.

The horse was slowing to a walk.  She had been trying so hard to stop crying that she hadn’t paid attention to where she was.

A great hill rose before her.  Trees and flowers, lots of them, leaned over in the wind that was blowing much harder.  The sun had gone behind the clouds. The moment they stopped, she got cold.  Goose bumps prickled her skin.  There weren’t any people.  The silence was unnerving.  Tears threatened once again.

“Why have you come?”  A woman in a hooded coat waited for her answer.

“I wanted to ride the horse.”  She clearly didn’t believe her.  Fine time for worrying about it or the Horse.  She was glad to have someone to talk to, even if she was in trouble.

“Now, what will you do?"

“I don’t know.  I’m, I don’t know.”

“First thing you’ve said that makes sense.”

The hooded lady beckoned, Tallulah followed.  Having to wonder about what was going to happen now had begun to bring up some fear along with the guilt.  They walked to a small lean-to where the lady’s finger pointed at the feed bags hanging on a hook near the stall.  She got the food ready and waited for further directions on legs gone numb from sitting.  The lady cleaned him.  She looked for signs of how to address her.  No markings, no decorations on her person.  She should have stayed home.
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Stats Scene 1196 words.   This is about a third of the scene.  The total word count includes the subplot.  Future posts will be broken down for shorter posts.

Questions:   I want to change "Seekers" to something else.  What exactly, I haven't determined.  This word is a placeholder.

Same thing with the placeholder "Temple."

Comments:  I've highlighted parts I think should be changed.  This was originally going to be written in first person.  Changed to third person.

(Subplot) is a note to remind me where I have subplots in the scene or chapters.

27 December 2012

Back to Basics

The recommended away time for story revisions is close enough.  The synopsis is posted on the page appropriately titled "Synopsis - Storm Clouds" for quick reference.  I've allowed comments on this page: the usual reminders to keep it constructive.

Prologue
ZUKALEE (POV) has a vision while she is trying to collect a rare plant for one of the spells she needs.  When she is prevented from doing so, she is furious when she realizes that she had been tricked with this vision.
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The dawn star was crystal bright in the purple of the morning sky.  Another star blazed in a bright white light as it streaked for the western horizon.  On the plateau, night shadows were still in the slight wind.  The moonlight shone on a bush near the center of a meadow.  Silver flowers released a sweet scent as their petals waved in the dance they had danced since the beginning of time.

One shadow waited at the edge of the meadow near the path to the lake.  The Windigo held her bag for the proper moment to pick the night blooming flower.  She came a long ways since the night her brother died.  She tracked the edge of the star’s flight.  Silence, perfect silence, reigned in these last moments.  The culmination of her long, long life researching the Book of the Dead was in reach at this very moment.

She glided over to the bush, circled it, stood facing the west.  There! The Grandmother’s Flower.  She reached out. A flicker in the trees.  Her hand trembled just the tiniest. The Flower closed its’ petals. Her lips tightened. Her shoulders tensed.  She turned.

A woman was coming toward her in the early morning light. When she was a few yards away, she stopped, looked around the ground and searched the treeline. She raised her hands for a moment.  Zukale’s heart beat in an unfamiliar fear. She raised her own hands and prepared for battle. Then a child walked into view.  She looked directly at Zukale.  Her eyes widened and she spoke to the woman who turned in Zukale’s direction.  Their eyes met.

Zukale was disconcerted at the intensity of the hatred she saw.  She started the chant for Spirit Walking.  The other woman was equally amazing with her reaction.  They started fading before she could finish the chant. All that remained behind was the woman’s eyes.

Zukale stood for a minute, let the power drain into her amulet.  She was cold inside with the knowledge that she’d have to wait another hundred years for this particular flower to bloom in this particular moon.

She took a deep breath, let it out very slowly.  She took another. Finally, she turned her eyes to the moon.  A slight shimmering.  She tightened her lips.  The leaves rustling in the wind that had come up was the only sound for long moments.  The wind tugging at her dress became an insistent reminder of why she was still standing here, empty.  Empty hands, empty mind.

Slowly, oh so slowly, the rage built until she vibrated with its intensity.  Once, once only, had she felt rage this intense.  She needed to calm herself.  Daylight was mere seconds away.  She turned to the path where she had seen the woman and followed that line of sight.  

Her rage intensified when she could find no tracks.  No use to check for the child’s  tracks.  It had been a vision.  A test of her concentration, her commitment to the path she had chosen so long ago.  She would find this woman, this child.  How had this happened?

Zukale rode the wind back to the Vale of Comfort.  Once there, she sat in her library and contemplated the books sitting neatly on the many shelves.  She had a long day’s rest to consider her moves.  She had a long night ahead.  A long night of preparing her mind to face that hatred that still lingered in her mind’s eye.

She gazed into the water clock, then readied herself for her rest.  A movement in the corner of her library.  Already the sunlight was creating long shadows.  Her eyes fell on the reflection in the silver plaque hanging by the desk.  It had been placed there to capture and reflect the sun’s light while she read and studied.  It had been a gift, a wedding gift, from her brother.  She hadn’t thought of him in so long that she was amazed that she remembered him at all.

Aaiiee.  His eyes.  Her eyes.  They were the same.  And the child’s eyes were familiar.  She moved to study her reflection in the plaque.  Oval face framed by long black hair with black eyes under eyebrows plucked after the fashion from the old days.  A long nose over full lips.  A long slender neck held her head with a grace that covered great strength.  She compared the child’s face with her own.  Her eyes narrowed.  She would find these two who carried her father’s eyes.
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Stats: 750 words for the prologue.

Edits: Highlighted areas changed.  Corrected spelling.
Questions:  Does the plot match what I've written?   Is this a good beginning?


19 December 2012

Social networking?

I've been reading comments about social networking sites and how one prefers one over the other.  I use both Google+ and Facebook.  How I use them is very different.

Facebook is, in my opinion, a social site.  My family and friends are the ones I want to interact with on that site.  Our idea of socializing is a bit different from that of the owner(s) in that our social set does number in the hundreds, and in the case of a few, thousands.  One thing that algorithms don't take into consideration is cultural norms.

We've settled into our traditional ways of visiting, socializing.  Family does include "third, fourth, and fifth" cousins.  And it does include clans, though those won't always be mentioned, and is intertribal.  In one way or another, our villages are connected on that particular site.

On Google+, I have pinpointed those who share my interest in writing and reading.  I follow a great many more than follow me, because those circles include people, bloggers, which is what I was looking for when I started my blog.  I wanted to read what other people had to say, I wanted to learn more about my chosen craft of writing.

When I first looked at both sites, I liked the idea that I could keep personal and professional separated.  I spent a great many years learning to do that and didn't care to change my outlook at this late date.  Thus, I've settled into a particular way of doing things.

I have a Twitter account.  I don't use this account because Twitter is linked to a phone.  I'm not spending my life tied to a phone.  Bad enough, I'm on the computer a great many hours of the day.  I invested many hours, as some of you are aware, in learning to use that machine.

Some of those hours were spent in learning to code as my blog, and soon, my website, will be the meeting ground between my Facebook and Google+ circles.  I needed a way for both sets to communicate with me, if they so chose to do so.  I don't particularly want my email posted in too many places.  I figure if someone really wants to get in touch with me, they will take the time to look at my profile and go from there.  Not trying to be difficult, I just want it to be a bit more difficult for spammers.

11 December 2012

Writerly Activites-Encouragement

I take my encouragement where I can find it.  Like a couple weeks ago, I was in a Chinese restaurant.  You know, the little piece of paper that comes tucked inside the Fortune Cookie?  Yes, the ones printed on thousands of other papers just like it.  I've kept a few cause they seemed to fit my frame of mind.

"Your curiosity may mean success." and "A goal is a dream achieved."  The latest "Laughter shall fuel your spirit's engine."

Hmmm.  Hmmm.  taptaptap.  Hmmm.  Lightbulb clicks on at last.

Those are generic words of wisdom.  And they can mean so many different things.  Like, I could use them for character traits, I could use them as words to live by, or topics for discussion somewhere.  I could write a few of my many words for each and every one and have a short story in there.  Or write even more of my many words for a full length novel.  I could even write a poem or song.

What I chose to do was fit them into my way of thinking in regards to my writing life.  Curiosity, dream, goal and humor.  All from enjoying a bit of fried rice at the buffet table with my friend in the middle of errand days.  Now, I shall be able to revise my novels using the same bits of wisdom that someone somewhere decided to write on a bitty piece of paper and tuck inside a Fortune Cookie, casting it out among the billions of people on this earth.  That same someone probably was just fulfilling their days quota of wisdom and getting their few dollars worth for the day.

Well, I, for one, appreciate these words of wisdom and salute those who have earned their living from writing, printing and making sure that Fortune Cookie was out there for me to find.

06 December 2012

More thoughts reference Life after NaNoWriMo

The past week has seen a few changes to my novel, scene additions, names for a couple more characters, plot taking off in directions not considered in my mission of 50,000.  I have discovered that I have trained my brain during the past 30 days.  Yep, thirty days of writing to CCR has become a habit.

I've tried listening to Celtic Thunder and my plot goes wandering off in unforeseen directions, or "Galway Girl" has me dancing in my chair with no writing done at all.  One or two of the other songs ("Seven Drunken Nights" in particular) change the character of my characters and adds dimensions that I hadn't considered at all.  You'd think I might have been prepared for such shenanigans considering the amount of such goings on over at the forums.  Nooo.  I wanted to have the bare bones of my draft finished, leaving about 25000 words to play around with.  Celtic Thunder has changed that.  Ahh well, back to CCR.

And one or two of my characters got into a fight scene with descriptions of, well, creatures of some sort that defy naming so far.  I am discovering there is much more to this world that I created in 2003.  How that affects the rest of the books still in revision, I have yet to contemplate.

I joined a critique group yesterday.  I had joined this so long ago, that my user profile has been sent off to that Black Hole somewhere in the center of CritiqueLand, that galaxy many of us dread to board our manuscripts for.  What did I discover whilst scouting out the current Landscape called SF, Fantasy and Horror?  Short stories only.

Well, I could have visited that Landscape a few months ago.  Unfortunately, my radar detector thingamabobby has been on the blink for several...ah years.  Moving from world to world, galaxy to galaxy, can be daunting at times.  I confess that I may have been one of the few who were dragged, kicking and screaming, off to Self Publishing one or two of my books.  Now, on second, fourth and thirtieth rethink, I may drag one or two to this world.

Well, the day-to-day reality intrudes once again, so I'm off to seek shelter from the messiness of my landing in CritiqueLand yesterday.  Have to consider some other angles.

01 December 2012

Post NaNoWriMo thoughts

When I started the month, there was a lot that I didn't plan on.  The synopsis helped a lot.  I wrote one that ended up being about 4 pages long.  Transferred those, worked out a plot line of sorts and commenced writing.

Working from that helped me to concentrate on the story line.  I did get a bit distracted with a couple of the characters.  And having the subplot cards helped.  I made notes whenever I had an idea, and went back to typing the main story.  I was able to just pick up some quick names using the SSA's popular names list for 1890.  Tried to pick some that sounded more like our names are pronounced.  May go back and just use our nicknames.  Most likely.

A lot of the writing didn't make it into the final count because I have to work the MC's story into it.  It's not back story, more a side story.  Well, life doesn't go in a straight line, is all I can say.

The best thing is revision isn't going to be as nerve racking as past ones.  Taking some of those apart and putting them back shows me how much back story was there.  Man, the more I write, the more I appreciate the work that went into the novels I read.  Would you say I'm not an "armchair novelist" anymore?

I've posted, geh, uploaded the rough draft at Smashwords.  I have a coupon code posted at my Facebook profile.  Not sure if I posted it on my Goggle+ page.  If you download a copy, you can get the ebook without paying.  Course, if you want to buy the final copy as well, I won't object.  The code is good until 27 December 2012.  Storm Clouds.

I've been doing a bit of catching up with friends, got a phone call from the newspaper editor.  Seems I didn't write an article for December and she wanted to make sure I wrote one for January.  ;D.  {Like doing that, those little expressions learned on the NaNoWriMo forums.}  Anyways, people like reading them and I'm sorry I didn't get one to her, though it is sitting on my computer in the lonely file marked 'newspaper articles'.  Mayhap I'll have to add that to my Goggle sync file.  Keep forgetting that handy dandy little program.  And had to look up the pics for my dad's interview that's going to be on TV in a couple months.

Enough for now, though I would like some critiques from a few later.  I'm not posting the whole book for about another week.  It'll be around 75,000 words.  And I've got to talk to someone about doing a cover for me.  Going back to "not rambling" is going to take some concentration.  Bear with me.  I have lots on my to-do that now need to get-done.