My Cup (of Ideas) Overfloweth!

Rosalind AllenAnother month has begun, and I haven’t finished my Novella yet!  Eeek!  Not far off finishing though, just need to get them through the next part and then it is the end.  I have one beta reader / critiquer lined up already – if anyone else is interested in a 1920’s based Romance, please let me know.

NaNoWriMoAnd while it is October, planning is starting on my NaNoWriMo story.  NaNoWriMo?  National Novel Writing Month – it is the original 50k in 30 days challenge.  It is the northern hemisphere version of SoCNoC, and it is what conceived the original concept of SoCNoC.  So, I am writing another story, this time I have to crack the 50k word limit… Hmmm, could be interesting, as I haven’t been able to write 50k since 2011!  But I like a challenge.

And the ideas are just coming thick and fast!  I started writing a story year ago – I think it was not long after I originally finished the Chrystias story, about a Huntress.  She was kidnapped while out hunting one night.  While I liked the idea of her hunting, I wasn’t keen on the kidnapping thing, so another idea sprung up – which lead to another idea and another idea.  And now she is a half breed, rejected because of her deformity, which is actually what makes her really cool.  I would like to make this story a trilogy, so have to have plenty of action, but also finish the story with enough for a second one, but they are all stand alone.

Editing-wise I haven’t really got anything on the go, although I have Cursed Love going through the Critique group at the moment, and had some awesome feedback.  I love getting feedback, positive and negative.  Fortunately it has all been positive lately, which is great.

Its currently the school holidays, and I have this week to myself.  I am hoping to make productive use of my time and finish Whose That Girl this week so I can get editing on that in December, because then I have a couple of months to fix any problems and get my beta readers / critiquers to actually get their comments back to me.

So I guess I should be writing, and not mucking around on my blog…

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Writing Goals – March Update

I am posting this early because I have another interview of another MoH Anthology writer coming up tomorrow.

March has been another busy month with editing, whether it is short or long stories.  Here is a roundup of the goals for the month

# Get Chrystias finished off and start looking around for a publisher / agent for it. – have finished editing The Quest and now a quarter of the way through The Rise of the Chrystias – I suspect I am missing some of the information, not sure how that has happened, but hopefully will find out soon.

# Get Kings Queens and Noblemen edited to the second edit – with a view to getting it finished by the end of the year – Haven’t started this one.

# Create more short stories and really start to focus on developing this skill further – I have been working on a short story which became 7,500 words in the end.  Will leave this one to sit for a bit before I go back to it because I struggled with it. But I am happy with the way it turned out once I restarted it.

# Get one short story published (in a magazine / e-zine) (something other than my own blog site!) – On some encouragement from one of my friends, I pulled out a short story I wrote last year, a retelling of Red Riding Hood and have been polishing it up for submission to Sonar Publications Fairytales Anthology.

# Finish off some story ideas and start writing the next novel – the first draft to be completed before the end of the year (2010) – I haven’t carried out anymore work on this story, saving it up for June – SoCNoC!

# Encourage some of my writing friends – I have been critiquing work for friends again, and also through Critters.  There was one I read through Critters which was really good, and I offered to read the story, but didn’t hear anything back.  Oh well!

So April is another month, I was hoping to have Chrystias finished by the end of March, but I am happy with where I am at. But I have to get the story finished by the end of the month, along with the Synopsis I am working on.

Calling all Fantasy readers…!

Its official!  I am two thirds of the way through editing my soon-to-be-ex-trilogy! 

I looked at it last night after I had formatted it and saw that there were 205 pages to go, I was daunted by that.  Until I realised this morning that I have already edited close to 400 pages of the story. Which means I am 2/3 of the way through the final edit!  Now that is exciting.

I am much happier with the story now, I have taken out excessive uses of words, double explanations and really worked on making sure there are no gaps in the story.  What I have noticed though, is that my memory of the story and the interactions between the characters has not diminished, even though I wrote the story nearly two years ago.  When I make an edit, I tend t find I put words in there to describe something, only to read a couple of sentences on and realise that I used exactly the same words.  Not necessarily in a better way, but at least my memory of that part of the story hasn’t changed!

Once I get this finished, I will be looking for readers to make sure I have dotted all my i’s and crossed all the t’s, and that the story has a good flow.  Must I must caution you, it is about 150k long, nearly 600 pages.  A big job, but hopefully you will enjoy the story, so if you like Fantasy, read on:

Tycelon, leader of the Godena Tribe loves Delonia, the tribal Herbal, but Delonia wants to find her family before committing to a life long commitment.  When she is taken by the Warlock, Sephron, Tycelon, Zorek the giant and the tribe must head to Amasedon to find the Queen, whom Delonia has said will help.

Along the way, they meet Ubek, a mysterious man who is extremely interested in the taking of the girl.  Tycelon and Ubek immediately clash, but Tycelon is relieved when they leave the following morning, leaving Ubek behind.

In Amasedon, Tycelon discovers that the Queen, Gallandra, and Delonia’s sister are one and the same, and discovers there is more to the abduction than he first thought.  It appears that Delonia is a Chrystias holder, a stone which is part of a crystal called the Balance of Power.  Sephron, the Warlock, is after the stone.

Ubek, a spy for the Queen and her family, insinuates himself into the group that is being set up to recover Delonia, much to Tycelon’s disgust.  He hates the man and when suspicious things start to happen, wonders whether the man might not be in league with the Warlock.

But that is the furtherest from the truth.  Ubek is in fact the Last Wiseman’s Aide, an elite group of scholars that Sephron disbanded when he discovered, and lost, the third prophesy, the prophesy that brings together twins, a sword, a dagger and the keystone to create the Balance of Power.

Sephron discovers Ubek’s identity and with great satisfaction imprisons him, Tycelon, Gallandra and Zorek in the Prison City of Bleknon where they are assisted in their escape.  They have to travel through the Dragonlands back to the other travellers and regroup before assaulting the castle and releasing Delonia, all without letting Sephron get his hands on the Balance of Power, but no one seems to know how the stones will all come together.  Their entire journey seems to have been orchestrated from beginning to end by Sephron.  What is he up to and can they eventually break the hold he has over them?

I won’t give away the ending, but it has been left open for another story, and I have had some very interesting ideas.  So if you are keen to critique it, let me know, and I will  make up a list – I will probably also go through Critters (not sure if I am prepared for the savaging, but willing to try!) as well. Hoping to get the finished product out mid April.

Cheers

Genre – Hot Topic

My friend Cassie recently did a post on Genre, and how she was feeling trapped into writing the same genre every time she wrote a story.  Which made me think about my own writing.

While I don’t like writing chick lit, or murder mystery or anything more mainstream, I can’t say that I am stuck in any particular genre either.  The first two (four if you count each separate story in the soon to be non existent trilogy) stories I wrote were fantasy, because that was what the characters insisted on.  But the next one I want to write is more historical – it is still fantasy, but it is also based on mythical fact from ancient Greece, so a bit of research had to go into the story.  The one after that, well who knows, it all depends on who will pop up next I suppose.

What I suppose I am trying to say is that I am not driven to write any particular genre, I am driven by my characters.  Tycelon and Delonia were definitely Fantasy, as are Fabyan and Danya – although their story is more of a romance than action as in Chrystias.  My characters invade my life for the duration of writing.  I lived with Tycelon for close to 6 months, and now while I am editing the story, I can hear him in the background, not as forceful as he used to be (Boy was he forceful!). 

Currently, I have Medusa fussing around in my brain, trying to make me see her as a real person, which she no doubt was at one stage in history, all myths started with a base in reality!  While I haven’t concentrated on bringing her into the light of day yet, I can hear her giving me little snippets of information about her character, her mannerisms, her personality that will be reflected in the story, and hopefully I will be able to do her justice.

So I don’t feel trapped by any particular genre, I suppose it depends on the setting the characters give me, and if one should turn up who wants to be chick lit, then I guess I will have to write it – it had better be a good story though!

A funny thing happened while I was editing…

I am currently editing the first book of my soon – to – be – ex – trilogy.  It has been a long time in the writing and although I had a problem with the editing phase originally, I feel I am at a stage with the book where I am happy with the editing and it is just now tinkering with it.

I wrote the trilogy in 2008, starting out with SoCNoC in June and continued on to finish the last book in December of the same year.  Last year was spent editing, cutting, asking people for advice, ARGUING with them about that advice before I have finally reached a point where I see their point of view and appreciate what they have told me.  And my writing has improved.

I have cut out rather a crucial scene in the first book, only because it didn’t really fit.  I debated with several people over what is considered evil, and I didn’t believe I could write evil enough.  Turns out I can’t!  Not that that is a bad thing, in fact, when I do write evil now, I know that there is a sense of sinisterism with it.  A sense of impending doom and hatred, which is what I wanted in the first place!  Having some silly scene that totally went against that opened my eyes and so the scene, and all references to it have been deleted.  Imagine my surprise when I realised that this opened up other possibilities, an entirely new scenario, a new entrance for the bad guy… Mmmm, delicious!

Editing used to be something I really hated, but my writing has reached a point where I still don’t like it, but it isn’t a tedium that it used to be, in fact, it is what I consider, polishing off the already good stuff that is there, and removing the dirt and grime that is really muddying up the story in the first place.

Where has this Year gone?

It is December, Christmas is a matter of a week or two away.  A week later a new year begins. Where did this one go?

I started editing the Chrystias Trilogy at the beginning of the year, in truth, I actually started well before the beginning of this year.  My intention was to have the story finished and out to editors by the middle of the year. So what happened?

Well, it wasn’t really any major outside influences, but I still had some interruptions throughout the year (including a son who is currently in the same room as me, singing silly songs and refusing to go into the lounge and leave me alone!!!), that have really thrown a spanner into the works.

The first one was probably my illness, I got quite sick in February and spent a lot of time with little or no energy. It wasn’t a life threatening illness but it slowed me down.  I still have to be careful what I eat and tiredness is really dogging me, a hangover from my earlier sickness.

I also had work to contend with also.  Not that it was busy, but I have reports to write that take up some of my time.

On top of that, we moved house in October, which we are still trying to settle into.

While none of these are really big things that would upset the apple cart, I am not a person for change, and I have found that I have had to spend some time adapting to the new environments / conditions.  As a result, my writing has taken a back seat, though in saying that, I did successfully write a story for SoCNoC this year, and that is the next one to be edited.

But for now, my goal is to get as much done on this round of editing on Chrystias, condense it down to one story early next year, and get it highly polished and shiny enough to attract national (international?) attention to get published. Then I will write another story (probably during SoCNoC 2010) and start editing on the 2009 SoCNoC effort. That should get me through to this time next year.

Hopefully I accomplished this, and working on my fourth novel!

Speculative Fiction – Excerpt from Chrystias

This has been a real blast, blogging each day this week.  I won’t be keeping up the frenetic blogging, but will endeavour to one or two a week, depending on how things go. 

So after much discussion and soul searching, I have decided to put an excerpt from the Trilogy I am working on – Chrystias of Amasedon, this is from The Journey Home.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

Zini and Delonia left the room and for the first time Delonia was able to see what some of the castle looked like.  Her first time out of the room she had not seen much, she was more interested in getting out.  She walked past the mirror and was shocked by just how much was visible in her room from this side.  Even with the solid wall between the two mirrors, it was a window into her room through which anyone could spy on her.  Zini, seeing her shock, patted her hand, but kept walking, leading her along a cold stone corridor.  They progressed through a large wooden door and down a flight of echoing steps to a lower floor. 

Here, the stairs opened up into a small intimate room.  There was a large fire place which dominated the room.  There were no windows, or wall coverings, just bare rock walls.  A small, battered, square wooden table was set with plates, goblets and cutlery, all glistening brightly in the firelight, a highly polished gold.  Delonia had never seen anything so beautiful, but she kept the thought to herself.  She turned to Zini and patted her hand this time.

“Thank you Zini,” Delonia said, patting Zini’s hand and smiling kindly at her.

“You are welcome m’lady,” Zini said formally before curtseying and leaving the room.  Delonia watched the young girl leave and turned, just in time to see Sephron turn from the fire.  She now understood why the girl had suddenly gone so formal with her but she did not fault her for it.  You did not cross this man.  He held out his pale hand to her, indicating her to move closer to the fire.

“Is it warm enough in here for you?” He enquired.  Her eyebrows drew closer together, but she did not answer, just nodded as she came towards the fire.

“Oh, I am disappointed, I was looking forward to seeing you in one of your dresses,” he said, sarcastically.

“I’m just not a dress person,” Delonia said. She looked down into the fire, still fighting off the evading cold that she felt whenever she was in his presence.

“Would you like a drink of wine?”

“No thank you,” she replied. ”

Are you hungry now, or would you like to wait a while.  I can have some food brought in for you,” he asked.

 “I am hungry,” she replied.  One thing she had learned from the Scorazaan, it was that you will get what you ask for.  She was hungry, she wanted to eat.

 “Very well,” Sephron pulled on a rope with a large tassel that hung beside the fireplace.  There was a distant clanging that she suspected was to let the kitchen know that lunch was to be served. He picked up a flask from the mantle above the fire with one hand, while using his other to point to the table.

“Please take a seat,” he said cordially. She sat down and watched him as he poured some pale pink liquid from the flask into two of the golden goblets.

“It is not poison. It is zepa berry wine. Please try some,” he said as he placed the goblet in front of her. Delonia kept her hands folded in her lap.

“Oh for pity’s sake, you are worth more to me alive than dead,” he said, his eyes burning with barely contained anger. She kept her hands in her lap, the knuckles turning white from clutching them so hard.

“Are you trying to anger me woman?” He exploded. Delonia was startled by his strong reaction, but closed her eyes and cleared her mind. She opened her eyes, feeling calmer, and looked at him. In exasperation he reached for her goblet and took a sip.

“Happy now?” He spat at her.

“I don’t drink wine,” Delonia said quietly.  Sephron raised his eyes.

“You could have said so in the first place,” Sephron said, his temper still flaring.

“I told you I did not want wine when I first came in, when you offered me some,” she told him.

A door opened to the side of the fire place.  It was not one Delonia had noticed before. She wondered if the room was enchanted.  There were lots of things she didn’t notice until they moved or opened. She waited quietly as a shy serving girl came in with a large green tureen, followed by a man with a large platter of different types of bread.  They placed them on the table, bowed towards Sephron, then left.  Sephron stood and removed the lid of the tureen.  Inside was a thick orange liquid, a soup made from Hala fruit and Pesta vegetables. 

Sephron, carefully ladled the soup into two bowls, replacing the lid of the tureen.  He sat down and pointed at the bread.  Delonia reached across and picked up a crusty bun, which was still warm from the oven.  The smell of the soup and the bread made her mouth water and she realised just how hungry she really was.  She started to drink her soup, taking a mouthful at a time, before biting off a piece of bread and chewing it with the soup in her mouth.  It was a refreshing hot, fruity tasting soup, which would have been equally pleasant cold.  She watched him from under her eyelashes as she ate her meal.  He was dark and brooding and would have been handsome if not for the twisted sneer that was permanently on his face.  When he smiled, his face almost lit up, but most of his smiles had been nasty and instead they distorted his features even more.  She flushed lightly when she became aware of Sephron watching her, his own soup untouched.

“Were you hungry? Do I not feed you enough?” He asked.  Delonia blushed at her own rudeness.  She had enjoyed the taste of the soup so much she had not waited for him to start, as was the custom, to allow the host to start first.

“No, not at all, I just liked this, it’s unique, I was enjoying it,” she replied honestly.  Sephron nodded at her, again she was struck by his handsomeness, which was coming through more now.  Why had she not noticed it before?

“Would you like some more?” He asked.  She looked up at him and nodded hungrily.  He smiled gently at her and stood up, removed the lid and ladled another spoonful into her bowl.  She selected another piece of bread and ate it, ravenously.  He silently observed her while she ate.  This time she was more aware of him, and kept her mind clear of any thoughts.  When she had finished the second bowlful, he raised his eyebrows at her.  She shook her head, knowing instinctively what he was asking.

“Perhaps you would like some wine now?” He picked up his own goblet, waved it at her before taking a sip himself.  She was unnerved.  He was up to something and she was determined not to drink the wine.  His bowl of soup had stopped steaming and a film had developed across the top of it.  She shook her head again but then she felt strangely light headed.

“You see, the serum was in the soup Delonia, it was not in the wine, that was too obvious,” he looked over his goblet at her and laughed.

She felt hot, cold, hot, cold, she watched him and he appeared to be moving away from her.  She felt like he was talking to her down a long tube. She felt panicky and inhaled sharply.

“You are not going to die,” he said. She turned her head, trying to hear him better.

“You are just going to tell me some truths about yourself,” Sephron continued.  Delonia tried to focus on him, but felt like she was going to faint.  She rested her head against her hands on the table.  She felt strong hands her under her arms and lifted her up, half carrying her across the small room to a large overstuffed sofa.  She felt herself being put down on it and opened her eyes.  He was sitting next to her, but for the first time, she did not feel cold sitting next to him.  The flames in the fire appeared to be leaping out at her, she knew she was hallucinating, but she could not stop it.  Her throat felt constricted and tightening with each passing minute.

“What do you know about the Prophesies?” He asked. She shook her head, her mouth felt like it was full of cotton wool.  Sephron gave her his glass and she took a sip.  The sickly sweet taste mixed more with the potion residue that was clouding her mind, but it cleared her mouth enough for her to hoarsely whisper her answers.

“I don’t know anything about the Prophesies.” She said.

“Yes you do. You have just read them.”

“It did not make any sense to me. Lots of rather strange sentences that don’t flow on to each other,” she said.

“What did you get from them?” He persisted.

“Nothing. They talked about sisters, a sword, a craftsman, a weapons… That it will bring the downfall of evil…” She took another sip of wine.  She had moments of startling clarity, but the effect of the drug still made her feel sluggish.

“Do you know about any other Prophesies?” He asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Have you ever heard of any other Prophesies?”

“There are only the two aren’t there?” “There is another one, have you ever read it?” Sephron pressed, leaning closer to her.

“No,” she sank back into the sofa, feeling the back of the sofa support her head as it lolled back.

“Have you ever heard of it?”

“No,” she said. He paused.

“You have never heard of the third prophesy?” He asked again.

“No.” She replied.  Her mind was getting clearer with each sip of wine she took. She felt so vulnerable sitting there.  She was aware that he was so close to her, she could imagine his hand, just hovering over her skin, she pulled her head up and looked at him. The temptation was written on his face, but there was nothing she could do.  She watched his image swim around and the harshness of his face softened.  He raised a hand to her face, but lowered it before it touched her.  He stood up and paced about the room, the action making her feel giddy.

“What do you know of your sister?” He asked.

“I don’t know anything about my sister. Please tell me about her,” she implored, trying to find something to focus on, the world seeming to spin around her.

“Where does she live?”

“I… I don’t know, Amasedon I guess,” she replied, why was he asking her these questions?

“What do you know of the sword?”

“What sword?”

“The sword in the Prophesies?”

“I don’t know anything about it other than what was written,” He paused and looked at her.  She looked back at him, his image swimming and coming back into focus several times.

“How did you learn to do that healing?” He asked.

“I learnt from Dortha, she taught me everything I needed to know to be a Herbal.” She slurred.  She could feel her speech starting to change, like it was becoming an effort to open and close her mouth.

“Not that, you healed the leader. How did you do that?” He asked angrily.

“I don’t know, he was hurt, I went to him, I put my hand over him. I don’t know how it happened,” she said, her tongue feeling thick. Words were struggling to come out. 

He stopped pacing in front of her and placing his hands underneath her arms, he lifted her to her feet and hurriedly walked her back to her room.  He opened the door, pulled aside the curtain with his free hand.  Delonia suddenly felt a lack of strength and slumped in Sephron’s arms, making him grunt as he caught her weight as the paralysis phase of the drug finally took effect.  He lifted her up and carried her to her bed and laid her gently on it. She felt helpless, unable to move.  The serum had completely immobilised her.  He sat with her on the bed and leaned his face right up close to hers. She could see into his eyes, the swirling, swarming mass of the souls and she felt a growing trepidation.

“You see, there are many interpretations of the Prophesies, I can only vaguely remember parts of the third one, but this is my interpretation…” His look was menacing and for the first time Delonia was afraid for herself.  She could not move, and this mad man with a crazed look in his eye was stretching himself out to lie on top of her, it was like something from a nightmare.  His weight was crushing the air out of her lungs, her arms lay uselessly by her side, unable to push him off.

“The Chrystias were created to bring about the defeat of a large evil mass, as I am the largest evil presence; I have to assume, currently, that it means me. In order to do this, there is a sword, the two Chrystias, and a dagger, which were created from the same piece of stone, the Sunset Stone, which is the Balance of Power. The Sunset Stone once contained the evil that is now within me. These objects all need to come together in order for the Stone to reform. I shall take the reformed Stone and shatter it and burn it, to make sure that it can never be used again.

“But you see, and this is the best bit, I already have your Chrystias. I have it here, I will destroy it before the others get here, because I cannot have them defeating me,” he was hissing at her, spitting the words out.  Small globs of spittle hitting her face, but she was unable to flinch from them.

“I know where all of the other parts are and I have all the power in the world and I plan to make the most of it. I will crush this little uprising of good and evil will reign, all that is good will be gone. Unfortunately the Balance of Power cannot allow evil to totally rule, just like good cannot totally rule, there has to be an element to balance the other.  And you, Delonia, will be the element, the one who will maintain that fine balance between good and evil. If that balance were to fail, the world as we know it would end, there has to be balance, but I can keep you, you will be the good to offset my world,” he said.  His gloved hand came up and touched her face, moved down her neck and stopped just above her breast bone.  His breathing became shortened by expectation; the weight of his body became heavier on hers as he shifted himself. In her paralysed state she felt panic rising within her. He sighed and looked down at her breasts, his hand hovering over them, before returning his tortured eyes to hers.

“But, you need to remain pure, I can not touch you, I can not create evil in you, so that is why you are safe, for now,” the souls in his eyes were screaming out to her, she heard not just his voice, but the souls echoing his words.

“You are not going to die.”  He said.   She knew then, that whatever happened, it was not going to be a happy ending. He abruptly got up off her and left her room.   She closed her eyes as tears ran from the corner of her eyes onto the satin pillows.

And that is all from me, this week.  Thank you for joining us on our Blogging Journey, we will certainly be making it an annual event!