Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Starting a novel is always the hardest. I've about decided that I'll skip the whole first chapter that I just finished posting
else move it to later, as a backflash, and start with what is now Chapter 2. It's a bigger change, a bit bigger action than
the quiet stalking and possibly sappy emotions of Chapter 1.
29 jun 10 @ 6:23 pm
I expect that the same may apply to the book that has yet again been all-too-quickly rejected by an agent. I have read many
books that I loved that started with something less wild than the big action sequence for the first quarter of the book, even
slow character introductions with no more than a walk down the street, but apparently I'm not good a pulling that off because
I can't get beyond a generic rejection without even a request for a bigger chunk of the book. (I also have no idea how to
write a proper synopsis, much less a 'short one' or a 'full' one, which I'm sure doesn't help).
I know you can't start with the real start of the story, at least not what I would ever call the start, more like the middle,
but where that middleish should be, how much to back flash in how big of a chunk... It's always put luck as I see it. If
anyone knows of a good approach, suggestions welcome. If I ever get a request for more than the first few pages, I'll know
it worked and share whatever I can figure out.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
a review of communication modes
I'm posting a bit early because I'll be busy this weekend. I added a scene to the Fantasy Explorer page but just appended
to the bottom of what was already there for anyone that might have expected to have some more time to get to it.
24 jun 10 @ 8:22 pm
Since I've started a new tale, I thought I would do just a little looking back on my blog and the issues around blogging in
general. We have gone a long ways with social software. I havenít felt the need to give advice to bloggers, commenters,
or other sort of poster the way I sometimes did when e-mail was new and no one realized how to convey sarcasm and other complex
modes of discourse electronically. (Many people didn't realize how much those modes of talk depended on tone of voice, and
that trying to do it just as if the reader could hear that tone was almost guaranteed to inadvertently insult the reader.)
Perhaps as a result, sarcasm has become more rare, more selective, both in conversation and in written communication. Electronic
discourse has become more free flowing, but mostly very literal, and with its own style points that donít always convey back
There is also much more than e-mail now, and some of the modes of communication follow the pattern and some less so and I
am not yet comfortable with the new modes, if I've even encountered them at all. Those E've dealt with in some capacity or
another seem to me to be missing something, a certain richness of vocabularly, and what I can only think of as responsiveness.
Obviously, not everyone comments on every blog they read, so there is far less expectation that anyone will respond even
to confirm that they read the post, than with an e-mail. I can only guess at the stats but Iíd bet the scale or reader to
responder/commenter nears exponential.
In talk, a total lack of response is considered positively rude, even at a lecture where at least a token few people in the
audience or a host are likely expected to ask questions or say thank you afterwards. E-mail is somewhat mixed but if you
asked a question or make a suggestion, it has a specific known audience. That audience is expected to recognize if they should
respond and generally do so. An e-mail list might be 5 or 10 or 50 or occasionally in the 1000ís and no more than one or
two might respond if they know something that pertained. Still, the vast majority of e-mails are part of a dialog. Blogs...
well the average audience might not be much more, but that audience if fluid, invisible, often unknown and always variable.
That makes the blogs somehow subtlely different in tone or feel or emphasis, though I can't quite pinpoint the difference
in style, can't imagine how the writing might be different for an e-mail to one person or a face-to-face. I sometimes suspect
that some of the popular blogs are those who manage the transition best, or more rare, manage to pretend there isn't a difference
at all, despite the change in mode. My own, I'm sure, often comes off as a lecture, as if I were speaking at the front of
a room to a group that might or might not be there willingly (I've taught both sorts of audience). Maybe I should try tweeting
just to relearn the art of 'chat'.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Welcome to the land Beyond the Wall
Onaline has returned to my blog and her first scene is posted. This book is intended to be fully independent of the first
book so those who weren't around to read that one shouldn't be lost. It's the ending that I'm not sure is as independent
of the next two as I would like. On the other hand, one of the books that has come out fairly recently didn't even try to
tie off the end into a book and i gather the author successfully sold the trilogy as a package, so maybe its not QUITE important
as all the advice to writers has been saying. (The first book is more a prequil to the trilogy than part of the trilogy,
being borderline fantasy at all. This one falls much more into the traditional fantasy genre, though it's magic remains very
subtle, under the surface, hinted at but largely unseen save in impact).
22 jun 10 @ 9:32 pm
It's been long in the writing and revising (so long I suspect it's older than many of the readers), was set aside repeatedly,
and revised and polished again. The intended audience has changed more out of my understanding of the audience than in its
nature but I fear some of the language may be more archaic even than intended. Does it add to the flavor or detract from
the story? As always, I appreciate your feedback.
A note from one of my readers:
Hi Emmalyn! Waiting for my email to come up, and and realized I could spend the time checking you out again. Glad your
trip went well, and looking forward to seeing you on the next one shortly.
Mater, I hope you like the revisions to the story. Sit back and enjoy. E-mail is too much work, anyway. -- Emmalyn
Friday, June 18, 2010
The end; beginning coming soon
The last section of Qiri's story has been posted. I hope you enjoyed the book. A sequel is in work but will be awhile in
coming. Meanwhile, the next book in Onaline's life has been waiting patiently in the wings and will start here soon, as Space
Explorations again becomes Fantasy Explorations. If you really prefer space tales, check out Cerelian Gold on http://enexplorations.blogspot.com/
That book is about two thirds of the way through but unlike Qiri, the previous posts stay on line under the Cerelian Gold
category. In reverse order of course. if you prefer a sequential version, e-mail me and let me know. It's a very different
style, and more drama, less fluff than Qiri's story, but it is space fiction.
18 jun 10 @ 9:57 pm
About endings. In some ways, they are harder even than beginnings. In general, writers know the endings long before they
get there, otherwise the story would be all over the place and never get to an ending at all, but that's more a plot ending
than a verbal one. it's the fine tuning of the words that is hard and I have rewritten this one several times, trying to
set the right tone, to give it a stand-alone quality (always recommended these days) yet offer an opening for the next book,
enough questions raised in the reader's mind to make them want to pick up the next one when it comes out.
Qiri is free of the pirates, and of the Gamenth, but she is still a fugitive, and a claustrophobic going to a planet of caves.
i think that works fairly well as a book, but not series, ending, but the reader might see it otherwise. Let me know what
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
thoughts like hail
work has pulled me in a dozen directions daily and my thoughts at home are about as scattered. I started a financial advice
category on my other blog and posted an essay on Science Fiction classics at http://enexplorations.blogspot.com/2010/06/what-defines-science-fiction-classic.html
15 jun 10 @ 9:42 pm
besides posting more of Qiri (there are only one or two scenes left).
More from my trip journal:
Our trip ended Memorial Day weekend. I ended up selling poppies at the mall and in the local parade on a spur of the moment
invite. It was great fun and very enlightening. The poppy selling, especially.
It turns out that they were such a rare item for awhile that it's almost like they are a new thing to the young, including
parents of young children. (In case any of my readers don't know, every cent goes to helping wounded veterans: the poppies
are donated, the collection all volunteer, so no "overhead" expences taken out. A donation of any size will get
you a poppy or more if you ask.) Some who didn't know contributed anyway. I think one charmer thought they were for the
poor, as if I were selling day-old flowers from a basket, but we tried to tell the ones who looked at us sideways like questionable
beggars. (I've looked at enough people that way myself, so I knew the look: Unfortunately for those other charities, however
valuable, they didn't advertise their cause well, and when I asked, the answers were long-winded recitations that i walked
away from with not an answer to what the charity was, still). "For wounded vets" was clear enough for most so we
said it often as the poeple trickled through and sold all that we had. There's a growing awareness that we have a bunch of
wounded vets now, again. So, next time you see poppies, you know what they are for, too.
Friday, June 11, 2010
sometimes it's harder than others
For some reason it took much more effort to get this section of Qiri's story ready. I think I have it edited, spell-checked,
formatted, and find a dozen fixes in every category still needed. Our eyes function correctly, but the message doesn't always
pass through our minds without distortion, don't you think? (It would make a great science fiction theme, I'm sure, though
I can't think of an appropriate story line to go with it just now).
11 jun 10 @ 9:05 pm
More on our journey:
our vacation trips tend to send up with a theme (or several), some recurring element that sticks in our minds as the focus
of our memories, and once noticed, probably stand out for he restof the journey even if the are less prevelant later in the
journey. In our last NW trip to Olympia, it was mushrooms and slugs becausewe had gone a little too late in the year and
very else offered variety or color as it dribbled and chilled our bones. We saw some fat game birds and massive trees and
other interesting sites, but most of the time the trees were less than impressive and hard to capture in our cameras, and
we saw lots of kinds of mushrooms, so we took pictures of every kind we saw, unique clusters, prime examples, cute little
cocked hats, and other things and several different kinds of or at least patters of slugs --spotted, striped, and long and
Travel journaling can ballance the focus a bit, by jotting down the other things and using it as a memory jog later, or add
focus on that theme as I write essays on that theme. This time it was more the photos that focused the theme, less in the
writing, for now.
This time it was purple and yellow flowers. Spring had finally come to some of the NW and every kind of purple or yellow
flower seemed to be in bloom so we have numerous pictures of them on every camera. We saw pocket chipmunks, lots of vultures,
maybe hawks, and plenty of other birds as well as mule deer and seals, but the purple and yellow flowers and the effort to
decide whether the next one was a new one or one we had many pictures of is very vivid and will probably linger strongest,
even into other trips (we still watch for mushrooms and slugs from that trip long ago and have pictures of both for this trip,
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
This is a very brief version of a few of my travel notes. Eventually it might be a proper poem or essay, but now its just
a rambling taste of our journey.
8 jun 10 @ 9:45 pm
Sunrises and sunsets, hoping to find a clear view with just enough clouds for color. Cloud formations and ocean waves and
long unseen family and friends, catching up and reminiscing or looking ahead with rough times easier forgotten. Nature walks
on paths a hundred unique textures, paved, demarked, stone or wood chips, or ribbons and paint to make the way through little
more than deer tracks, captured in pictures or words or a little of both but never enough.
Long steep hikes to waterfalls, the base or peak or a midway curious turning, there, no, a little further, ah ther's the sight
of longstanding, quiet, fame, raoring ribbons of white foam and spray, or is that rain, the thing worth seeing , the thing
worth saving (is nothing ever saved on level land, easily accessed for viewing by all?"
The flavor of the city, each city, each unique, if tawdry, a character if old and faded: Portland's bridges, none accessible
through sanity's route. It takes a madman's turns and luck's delight. San Francisco's pale tones and short homes, one way
this and that and up and down and more of the same save Pier 39's mini Coney Island delights. hear the seals, see the seals,
laughing at the birds.
Lessons in geography and history and biology through sights and markers along the way. It was quite by accident we visited
Mt St Helnes on the 30 year anniversary, and learned much along the way. What is that mountain range? Oh, it's merely the
little peaks of the rim. We've been driving up this one mountain the whole time. We have no concept,no concept at all of
nature's power. we wish for just a little rumble, a little puff of steam that day...
The scope of the trees is harder to see, in perfect proportion, pictures without people (or tiny little cars, like toys at
the base) can hardly hint at the size. That cliff? No, that's another tree you're driving around as the road endlessly twists
and turns with night fall or tree's dense shadow.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Settling into the pattern
Another scene has been posted to the Space Explorations page. It has a bit of narrative that really should be a full blown
bakcflash (else an earlier scene) but I decided that a brief narrative served the purpose for now, if not quite capturing
the mood effectively. As I edited this scene, I realized that I was probably saying emotion words a bit too often (fear,
afraid, nervously, etc). It is always recommended to present the symptoms of the emotion, instead, though I will occasionally
specify after presenting, just to ensure clarity. The revised version will probably go more toward the mis, but how much to
describe during a fight scene is always touchy anyway, that it didn't seem proper to put in too much about facial expresssions
and other small, personsl details. if you spot a place where more details seem appropriate, let me know.
5 jun 10 @ 7:09 pm
It's one of the things I think Williamson's In Darkness Hid did pretty well--avoid using the emotion words and instead expressing
them through action. However, there were places that seemed a little flat to me, the emotions either not expressed or felt
or not clearly enough presented: either one can be a problem if done too much, but for the most part, I think it worked well
enough and certainly didn't prevent the book being highly entertaining.
The title is about my life. It was a long trip and the weather and other conditions have changed in my absence and it always
makes it hard to get back into desirable and other necessary habits, like the evening routines that get both laundry and blogging
and other things done in a timely fashion. I intended to post this one yesterday but didn't quite get there. Somehow, the
bad habits seem to linger a bit more and come back quicker.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I'm back and I've posted another scene to Space Explorations: I left the last scene in place but added the next to it since
I posted the last one later than my usual schedule. It's undergone quite a few changes since the draft I took with me on
my journey: almost all additions to add clarity and hopefully a little depth to the fight scene and the build up toward what
is intended to be a climax, coming soon to a blog site near you.
1 jun 10 @ 9:36 pm
A few comments on By Darkness Hid:
A start to one of the better books I've read lately. (It's not so much a book as volume 1) The primary character (there are
really two, in alternating sections of the book but Achen beats out Vrell on several levels) is very interesting, understandable
yet not a traditional/typical hero, a young adult coming into his own with more than the usual naivite about himself, discontertingly
(but fittingly) ambition-less. Vrell makes an interesting contrast, being his opposite in many ways, though she, too, lacks
ambition, less understandably. She is born to wealth and power but seems oddly unaware as well as disinterested in anything
but a few minor comforts that she has lost in her efforts to avoid an unwanted marriage.
One has the feeling that marriages will be an important element in the ultimate story, as there are several marriages, mostly
unwanted and arranged going on in the setting of the story, or failing to go on, but what role they will ultimately play,
or what opinion about arranged marriages the author might be suggestion are questions not yet answered here in volume 1.
A bit sporatic, I'm afraid, but its late and I'm still catching up after weeks away. Required bit: I got a free copy for
the purposes of reviewing through CSFF. On the other hand, that hasn't kept me from being critical of other books. My only
complaint about this one is that it caught my interest and didn't finish. I believe book 2 is out, however...