Writing Your Book-A Journey Barefooted and Treading on Glass under a Hot Sun- facing challenges you’d prefer to avoid

Whereas this post will be about the problem…ok MY problem… with writing sex episodes, this can also be considered as a parallel journey with other passages which are challenging or uncomfortable for the writer.

So once more, notebooks out for entries in your personal Guides to Writing, under sub-sections  (1) Oh man and I thought I made problems for myself (2). Note: Do not do this. (3) Ah, not just me then.

You don’t have to include sex episodes in a novel, personally I feel they look quite weird in some books, but since there is a great deal of sex going on around the world you cannot say the topic is irrelevant or to say in books suitable for adults there are some it cannot fit (fit?) into. When writing in the fantasy genre a portion of your readership are likely to be muttering…’Aww c’mon. Get on with it. It’s gotta happen!’. My own personal response is ‘Will you guys be patient!’

Now if you have been following this blog on and off you may remember my own surprise in ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’ at Karlyn and Arketre falling for each other in a big way. It took a few re-reads to realise this had been bubbling in the background, and well after being through danger, destruction and facing death more than once, when they’d finally found a patch of peace and quiet, feelings were bound to be made known.

‘Oh great’, said I. ‘Here I am yet again 67 year old male writer in Problem City…This time lesbian love’….’Oh sure’ says some readers ‘Of course it’s all to do with the plot and sub-text…Yeah, right!’

{Perversely I am so glad I self-publish and am terrible at marketing thus limiting my potential readership and having to explain myself to hundreds}.

Whereas part of me was saying, just lead up to a tentative kiss, close the door on them, then just step away for a day or so, another part of me was saying. ‘An’t gonna work old son; these are a pair of intense folk with their whole pack of contradictions and currently unexplained back-issues. You need to see the detail through as part of their journey. Anyway some readers will say…’Ah-cop out!’ if you don’t’

I complained a lot to myself but by now the book itself and the characters were weighing in. They used that sneaky argument. ‘Challenge yourself!’ all I could reply with was ‘But…but…but,’. They laughed and resorted to, I thought, a rather unnecessary and vulgar analogy with the American use of the word.

Fine! I mean you can research stuff for crime novels, or SF, or military, or…But…Oh my!

At this stage panic set in. What if this part of the narrative ended up contrived and forced? Suppose there were incorrect assumption made? Suppose I got into Cliché Central?

Making sure no one was looking over my shoulder I tentatively perused the ‘Erotica’ section of Amazon, somewhat uneasily selecting sub-genres and so forth. Sampled a few ‘see what’s inside’,s and thought….’Huh! And I was worried about Cliché Central?’ So I checked the reviews (yeh I know not the most reliable source, but what’s a guy to do?). It was then the ‘OK kiddo, we’ve gone this far. It’s download time!’. So checking up on reputation of authors and taking a few more reviews a few 0.99p’s were invested in downloads. I concluded that there was a flourishing market for women writers writing erotica for other women involving women with women. Wow what a relief! Not just adolescent boys and drooling sad men! I’d been overthinking the problem. (Well, be fair it was a reasonable overthink, I mean I’d spent years readings, Heroic Fantasy, history and politics, some things passed me by!)

That sorted. The next issue was, to use the old adage ‘There is a time and place for everything’. Let’s keep this rationed (to the reader I mean, what characters get up to off the page is their business), not prurient because this is a Fantasy-genre novel and let’s give context.

In the first volume, their first intense interlude happened at towards the end of the volume and seemed to introduce a certain element of closure or new horizons. Since this was not ‘just physical’ (OK, so I did listen to Tegan and Sara sometimes when writing, anyway I happen to like Tegan and Sara’s music) there could be sensitivity and romance included. This also allowed me to introduce the slightly roguish element of Arketre’s character as she, in a nice way, seduced Karlyn, who in turn showed another facet of her vulnerable side and in turn there was Arketre’s tender caring side.

Somewhat concerned I released Vol 1 with flag warnings all over the place. Although not flooded with purchases (so what?), not one came back tearing at me for some contrived, male-slavering soft-porn…. Whew!

Vol II. Obviously, this relationship was now set into the narrative. The question was now should the sex episodes continue to be written in? The first answer, well since there had been one in Vol I it followed ignoring them in Vol II might look ‘odd’ as if I’d tip-toed away. I did have some advantages here.

In the first case the two had fallen in love with each other, secondly because they were in the first flush of this relationship, ‘they couldn’t keep their hands off each other’, as the saying goes; this however was not a problem as the fact could be mentioned in asides, reflections and general banter.

Graphic and open description would be restricted to intense situations. I used two episodes both to highlight Arketre’s anxiety  when dealing with The Ethereal / Stommigheid as well as to underline the commitment they had to each other. First: when in a haunted wood just when they were getting snuggly in a tent they were attacked by ‘ghostly creatures’ Karlyn performs a powerful, emotive, exorcism (and sets fire to one), Arketre wants to get out of the wood, ‘like now’. In the dawn’s light Karlyn draws Arketre into back love-making which I tried to illustrate as two people deep in a tenderness of love; erotica with flowers if you like and showing Karlyn as not simply Arketre’s goofy side-kick. Second: the other instance followed an episode where the two had been apart for a very intense ten or so days and at the first chance Arketre positively pounces on Karlyn which is briefly described and to make way for a bit of mischief along the lines ‘Oh we were just exercising’ feeble excuse when Trelli walks in just as they have got decent. She turns this around gently teasing them later on; this also demonstrated Trelli was no longer in awe of the pair and was not the shy retiring prissy flower some may have assumed she was.

And Trelli?

I have to blame Arketre here. Being a soldier with a series of encounters to her name she was quite insistent that Trelli have her own ‘fun’ time too, after all she’d earned, it yeh? (Characters can be so pushy not just with their own parts either).

Wigran, the cause of her abilities, was out of the mix. Trelli was still angry with him, by now he was involved with another and also still a bit scared of Trelli. The poor girl was not getting much chance to hang around with men for long term relationship. What did develop was when Trelli was re-united with Arketre and Karlyn in a new place; she encountered Lord Osavus the son of a Grand Duke. Now I admit to writing in a sudden mutual attraction and ‘sparks’. There again this was taking place in a land close to war, folks emotions were heightened; Trelli was becoming more her own girl, to this young fellow she not only appeared exotic, but much than a ‘silly young thing’. He was being ‘gah-lant and respectful to her and she did like this sort of attention. The dynamic was I admit old fashioned; she in his strong manly arms, welcoming his embrace, her first experience of men, he being a measure reverential and considerate to her entranced by this mysterious woman with ‘powers’. But after all she has been through Trelli deserved a ‘nice’ time (Arketre insisted)

This interlude allowed more character development and insights. Arketre encouraging Trelli (Arketre does carry a contraceptive mix around with her for others and as a dark reminder of one consequence which can happen out rape); Karlyn being quite hostile to Osavus in her protective side of Trelli and suspicion of men’s motives with women. Interludes between any combination any combination of the four providing more depth while taking care to ensure these weaved into the ongoing main narrative.

On reflection when working the re-write and re-reading this post I have realised in taking on this challenge and settling it into the narrative allowed for more opportunities to explore the characters and their relationships to each other. These having ramifications upon other episodes within the tale.

Here therefore is something to bear in mind when quivering on the edge of a challenge or for an uncomfortable part of the narrative. Keep calm. Keep mature. You never know what else will open up.

Keep on writing folks.

Writing Your Book – The Environmental Issue.

Writing Your Book- The Plot Thing

Writing Your Book – Main Characters (You can’t avoid them)

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Times which try writers’ souls*

Ah me….

Interludes with “Skirmishers of Fire, Steel and Lace”Unit2_Lesson2(not again)

As you may (or not) be aware I have been writing Volume II of my Fantasy Epic. For those who have been following earlier post being either (A) Morbidly fascinated (B) Wanting to find out how not to do things (C) Are finding this narrative more entertaining that Vol I, you will have surmised there have been problems with the re-write. (If there’s anyone out there who is now saying ‘Saw it coming’…..I don’t wanna know!…Leave me alone, I am artistically suffering here!).

Gefühle-Die-Leiden-des-jungen-Werthers-676x884

Anyhows, there I was having reached a certain point where I decided to shift the whole emphasis under the firm (at the time) belief that the narrative could stand the strain. Thus didst I forge out.      puritan-christmas-color

To reach the point when it seemed judicious to go back to earlier chapters and squeeze in just a few words…..no paragraphs….now whole chapters to make the newish turn in the plot fit and…..

Yep! The whole thing shuddered! And bits started to fly off in all sorts of direction. “Crash and burn” should have been the phrase but somehow by a miraculous effort of character and stubbornness the craft was landed, and although not in one piece, at least all the bits were quite close together and as bits intact.

The only damage being to my writer’s sensibilities.Me

Naturally it was time for a mature action.sturm_drang3

After the obligatory sulk, lapse in self-belief in my ability to write and of course a few   8d8f41c1217d3007621ceda397c48ef6 s at the covers of the books of very successful writers (Yes I indulge in that too!) I squared my shoulders, set my chin firmly forward but on realising the whole pose looked ridiculous returned to writing.

Annndddd back to the very beginning of the book. Never mind about the time going down wrong trails, never mind about those promising characters who were now cluttering up the narrative (Sorry folks, but there will be other volumes or more, so hang on in there, your time will come).  Chapters are being re-written, placed in a different order (I can get away with that since there is not just one location, or time), whole sub-plots put aside for another day.

Anyone who has faced this circumstances will tell you it is a ‘Load’ (in several senses of the word.)

But out of the blue my very good friend Sha’ Tara of  Burning Woman’ https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/20902694

when replying to one of my replies to one of her posts added this comment:

“By the way, I am re-reading “The Patchwork Warriors” and finding it much more interesting and relevant this time around. I would recommend to anyone who’s already read it to go over it again, and if anyone’s not read it, to do so. Yes, you can copy and paste this into your blog or book review if you wish, and I’ll have more to say about Patchwork when I finish this re-read, I’m sure.”

And boy did my spirits soar and endeavour solidified, so a very heartfelt THANK YOU to SHA’TARA, ‘Skirmishers’ is revitalised!

The downside to this is the writing eats into my WP time, so I’ll not be around as much as I could like to be; many of you will understand the statement……. ‘The Book Is Calling’Boating

You are, none of you, forgotten.

After all without your calming influences, interesting posts, insights into Life I would still be grubbing about on FB wasting time picking fights with other hapless folk.

Thank you one and all.

Trial_by_Jury_-_Chaos_in_the_Courtroom(He didn’t try and pull a cheap advertising ploy on the 1st  book….Oh darling I am so happy!)

Of Protagonists, The Unexpected and The Go-Figure (Adventures in the World of “Our Skirmishers of Silk, Steel and Fire”

 

*thomas-paine-9431951-1-402‘Pon my soul…. Plagiarised!’

Re-rewrites, Highlights and Reality-Bites (A journey through writing of The Skirmishes of Lace, Steel and Fire-Part II of a Fantasy )

WARNING: Some images you may find disturbing 245px-1271754717_william-e.-gladstone

(No, not that one!)

Some writers understandably hate doing the rewrite. I can see their point. They’ve put all their effort into forging this narrative together, worked hard and heavy through all manner of issues and had to squeeze out the time to write amongst all the other demands made by Life. Victorian writingThen, what to they get as a reward? Typos, syntax problems, holes in the plot, main characters not coming alive and that’s before we even start to think of listing all the problems.Me

Me? I enjoy a rewrite. Taking the journey with the characters, knowing where they are going, how they are getting there and all the fun which goes with it.WIN_20180727_19_28_15_Pro

Hold on! What did I say?WIN_20180727_19_28_44_Pro

Look again sunshine!

Oh Frib! I’ve done it again. Gone and literally lost the plot.WIN_20180727_19_28_27_Pro

Y’ see this can be a bit of a problem when you are having so much ‘fun’ with describing all the adventures, banter, relationship interactions, personal hopes, fear and so forth, which you decided would be vital to brining the characters alive (Or in my case, help them travel from their world to ours).Handel_GF
The book now reads like a series of unconnected sketches and vignettes, as if it were some sort of comedy skit show with moral message.Illustration from 'Le Theatre' magazine, 1900s (litho)

Dearie me. All these lovely folk wandering from one circumstance to another and surmounting all manner of problems. And there’s no plot to indicate as to why they are doing all these things! Melodrama -idiot manOK a few minor characters turn up and make ominous statements of heavy portent then vanish again and someone leaps up with a seriously dangerous weapon, be it physical or ‘magical’ (crude word, it’ll have to do) only to be cleverly defeated, but sadly this does not make for a plot.

I had a sneak of bad feeling, WIN_20180727_19_28_23_Prowhen at towards the end of this volume the central characters were left stalwartly together basically affirming their friendship, loyalty and love to each other then effectively saying to the whole world ‘Bring It On’ to go riding off into, literally, sunrises.

Yeh that’ll work……If it was a Musical.
300px-Witchcraft_at_Salem_Village

So it is time for some serious crafting. Time for a serious discussion with myself….WIN_20180727_19_28_18_Pro

Here is the work. There, over there are bits of the plot. Now, go through the whole thing and weave those bits into one long thread which should run through the book.

But I might lose some of my favourite little vignettes.

Well that’s too bad.

This is not as much fun as it used to be.

It’s because you are taking things seriously.

Oh My! This means hard work!

Do you want folk to read the fribbin’ book or not?Lavery_Maiss_Auras

If you put it like that….Confrontation

And there we are everyone. Remember never lose sight of your plot. InventionsIt may change a bit, could even do a complete lurch in a way you did not expect.

9780393956238_p0_v1_s260x420cartoon-guy-laughing-pointing-bent-over-31869170

Whatever, but at least keep it on the horizonrunning training

 

All the best with whatever you are currently working on.

 

Launches, Re-launches. No time to sit back on my haunches (OK. You try and find a better rhyme)

‘Guess y’all kin call me a Patchwork Girl’ LifeGuard Arketre Beritt reflects.

I told the writer, he of an excess o’ names, that I was gonna have mah say ‘cause ‘Kitlin’ (that’s Karlyn to you) was fussin’ me to do so, an’ he starts to get agitated ‘bout the way I speak an’ sayin’ I should tone down mah accent.

‘Why’s tha?’ I say

‘Because people will say no one talks like that,’ he says in a nervous manner

‘An these people,’ I say in a polite but firm way ‘They’d be from Sudd-Hengestatia?’

At this juncture he gets all flustered an’ starts going on about the way some folk speak or are portrayed as speakin’ in his world and I point out I am NOT from his world, thus what the frib’ is he worryin’ fer?

He exits ‘bout then

(Though I did promise to speak a measure more refined when the occasion did require)

So, anyhows I am Arketre Beritt. I am actually serving in the LifeGuard, tha’ an’t made up. In point o’ fact I was posted into this narrative on account of the original girl styled as military was too cute, an’ always cheery. Y’all try an’ be cute and cheery when up to tryin’ to save a life yer up to y’ arms in innards an’ all that resides in them. Damn foolish idea! Anyways I get called over by my Major an’ he tells me I’m gonna be takin’ part in one of your world’s books an’ jus’ be myself, what he meant by that I am not rightly certain.

‘My Major,’ I say ‘I’m not expected to exhibit tactical genius nor be orderin’ whole armies ‘bout the place am I? Because that stuff is not in a medician’s purview,’

An’ he just says with a sliver of a sly smile.

‘Jus’ be yourself Medician,’

Bein’ typical military they don’t go giving me full details, so I turn up into this narrative and do my best getting’ into the flow of it, an’ Thank The Good Lord God they do put me in a typical LifeGuard setting to start with, even fittin’ bits of mah own life in, which was kina helpful, with all the midden what’s goin’ on around me. This Stommigheid, or as we in the LifeGuard call it The Astatheia being the main pain in my backside, because next thing I’m knownin’ is the whole damn thing is Reality, leastways as far as Reality as any of us kan be expected to perceive.

This would have been some cause for compliant save for me meetin’ with Karlyn. Now I’ve had mah fair share o’ conquests and interestin’ interludes, like any good LifeGuard trooper, but she is somethin’ special. An’ folks that’s all y’gonna know. I told his writerness ‘Course y’all should damn well write ‘bout us getting’ together. S’obvious an’ it? Y’all pay attention to the fribbin’ narrative willa? But don’t y’all go puttin’ unnecessary details in. T’aint dignified’

He did not argue over that.

Then there’s Trelli, an’ she is the sweetest most trustworthy friend y’ could hope to ever have. She’s of a kindly nature too, which is good since us other two tend to get a bit rough an’ prone to physical retribution upon anyone who gets in our way, so she calms us down, at times. Except when she gets fierce, then folks ‘Everyone duck!’

On the whole it’s not bein’ so bad, as a trooper’s life goes, an’ getting’ to make decisions of a minor tactical nature was bound to happen I suppose. Makes a change from curin’ Particular Boils, checkin’ back-ends for worms along with all the other woes that befall bodies. Though I’m guessin’ there’s gonna be a whole more of a sewer’s worth dropped on mah poor blonde head at some stage, wouldn’t be army life otherwise.

Some of the others had been agitating about this marketing hoo-hah, which I was none too excited about, I mean how would you like to have lots of strangers knowin’ all about your personal details an’ activities an’ those doubts and fears we’re all plagued with. Point ‘o fact since it’s become apparent that Dozy Fingers  the Writer messed up with his publishin’ process, there’s a whole stop on that side o’things. Kan’t say, I’m surprised at a foul-up having been in the army for a few years, jus’ fribbin’ glad he an’t mah officer. An’ kan’t say I’m too bothered ’bout the business either, someone will sort it out; someone always will. In the meantime, I’ll keep on keepin’ my and my folks delicates intact.

Come to think o’ it. The whole thing is like The LifeGuard.

Anyways, take mah advice an’ steer clear of the book until someone tells y’ it’s all sorted out.

Be seein’ y’.

 

An Author’s Concerns

‘Ullo Everyone! It’s proper ‘Patchwork Warriors’ time!!

Mr Silc wants to have a few words about ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’

‘Of Patchwork Warriors’ Wigran Hendrechan explains something of the forces at work

You, The Writer. Let Your Universe Come into Existence

It’s all very well you going on about letting words flow Let The Words Flow….; suppose they don’t?

A very good question actually. To be sitting there staring at blankness and the longer the staring goes on the less chance there are of any words turning up there, mental log-jam. Panic comes a’knocking- ‘you are never going to write anything’ it intones with grim glee, ‘why are you bothering?’

Let us stop there with the sly whisperings and the toxicity which is the fall out from the media obsession with this week’s latest writing success (poor soul, you know there are folks waiting in the wings to pull them down). Let us concentrate on You

Just turn back a stage or two, or three.

So you want to write. You have these ideas, notions or themes bubbling away in your head or heart. Now there is the starting place. Your very own Big-Bang circumstance.

I’ll just clarify, a smidge. The current general scientific perception informs, everything we know as Time, Space and Matter was all compacted into an infinitesimally small situation, which erupted and the whole Universe began.

Move this analogy to your own writing situation. Your idea and your creativity compacted into one small space within you. Naturally, you ask ‘So where is the spark? I can’t see, nor feel it’

I would suggest to you the spark starts with the first word you write. Exactly what that word will be in relationship to your final narrative is not something which you should trouble yourself with. Embrace the concept that one word will give rise to another. Do not think about the consequences of the breaking of the barrier. Creation has begun, once the words begin the ideas are let loose and thus more words. Words and ideas give rise to other words and ideas.

Now in the early stages of the Universe (we are talking very small slices of time fractions of fractions of seconds), there were changes in states of matter and laws of Physics. Now shift this idea back to your writing. At this early stage you are in a Stream of Consciousness, ideas and words ate tumbling out, again worry not, just keep them coming.

Of course, there is the Stream of Consciousness mode of writing, which is not quite the same as your state you are in. You are in a burst of creativity; heady and free all the melding and the moulding is to come later. Right now, pour out the words, do not be afraid, no one is looking over your shoulder, no one is guiding you, you are The Creator of your own universe. All is yours to create.

Forge on, one word, one idea after another, do not stop to think. Write until the blaze has died down to embers, to which you add the fuel of success at starting, fan the flames with the realisation that the blaze will rise again.

The time for the re-write, the editing, and the polishing will come later, for now, you are in the Epoch of Groundwork, the rest is to follow.

And therein lies another post…

A True History of These Isles Vol.I- relaunch

There is a somewhat confused picture of the history of ‘These Isles’, no more so than amongst the inhabitants. The intention of this and subsequent volumes is to put the business straight….

51vnj7ZqupL__SY346_

As all authoratative works must have good presentation to maintain the veneer of credibility there has been a revision in terms of typing errors, one possibly misleading statement, and an overall tiding up in presentation of Volume I of ‘A True History of These Isles’.

The work covers the history of the Isles currently encompassing in alphabetical order England, Ireland, Mann, Scotland and Wales. This volume leads from the original colonisation up to 1216 AD/BCE (ish)

To make up to the folk buying a faulty copy, the revised edition is being put out on Kindle for free up to and including Thursday 18th January.

Although I am somewhat pleased with the content, as opposed to the quality of presentation I do admit to a certain disappointment that no historian has felt the need to launch a scathing criticism. For it is an acknowledged circumstance of works of history that to have true value someone must call into question their authenticity.

Still, it has only been in ‘Kindle’ since March of 2017 so there is still time

Links to extracts follow:

A True History of The Isles Part 4- The Romans (Part I) time.

A True History of The Isles Part 18- The Rule of William The Conqueror (and also The I)

Advice on Publishing, Markets etc- Look Somewhere Else

There is nothing of value I, personally, have to offer on the practicalities. There are probably intelligent, dedicated and astute writers and bloggers out there in WP who despair of, who are irritated by or have given up on my approach, or lack of when it comes to:

Firstly- The very art and determination in ensuring that their work is as polished as they could humanly manage.

Secondly- The associated effort in spreading news of the forthcoming conclusion to a work they have embarked on; particularly in the correct and effective use of the opportunities afforded by Social Media

Thirdly – The professionalism required either to market by oneself or by contacting professional folk who can assist in this way.

I can evoke, lyrically I might add, the reasons why someone should write. I pride myself on being able to ignite a spark or breath life back in the fading embers of a lonely and uncertain soul wishing to write. I can, allegorically, stand on a podium and thunder with all the passion of a wrathful preacher; railing against badly strung critical reviews; professional critics; the snobbish sorts who look down their noses at self-publishing and anyone else who tries to stifle a new writer. I would sit on the edge of the nest of the nervous person about to start upon those excruciatingly difficult first words and gently ease them into spreading their wings to take flight amongst the breezes and breaths of Creativity. All those come rushing into my mind and my spirit, they are clarion summonings to bear aloft the banner emblazoned with those inviolable words ‘You Can Write’.

But I cannot give practical advice. I know not why, and sometimes do confess wretched sluggard that I am, not to caring to either. For me, the thrill is the creating, the crafting and the completion and then as some person caught up in the joy of a festival or event, once those final words, as chords in a musical event are done, away go I with fond memories. Ah, dear harmless fool; jester for the more focused, sensible and ultimately successful. You have your day amongst the words, the posts and the comments to posts, but the rest will always be vague stumblings……………………..

Errrrr, not too sure where all that introspection came from, but since I spent a good few minutes of my time crafting it, here it is and here it stays. Take it or leave it folks. Be warned. It could happen to you.

Anyway……

To the most important part of the post.

There are many energetic, inventive and determined folk in the WP Community who are kind enough to share their thoughts and suggestions on the matters of actually getting your words out there to the public. These come in all shapes and sizes, differing approaches, particular details, varying personalities; in fact across the myriad of the positive sort of Human Effort. They all have one thing in common though. They are taking very, very, seriously the business of getting their work known to the public. At times, it seems as if once the book is completed then their Hard Work begins. I salute them, I marvel at their adroitness in navigating all the pathways.

Thus, for all the new and uncertain writers there is a treasury of guidance and advice here in WP, without you buying a suspiciously self-aggrandising book by some ‘name’.

I cite you a few examples from posts on this subject which just had to be reblogged

So You Want To Be A Writer

3 Rejection Letters Indie Authors Receive

The Thing About Writer’s Block

When Your Writing Issue Is…

Newsletter BlitzNew Feature: Writer Rants (with host Dan Alatorre)

Useful Tips for Self-Editing a Manuscript

Let’s Talk: Grit as a Writer

Now some of these links might not actually cover a point in your journey as a writer, but they will guide you to folk who have a wealth of experience, talent and drive and are some of the people you should be reading. I apologise to those who I have left out, ragged that I am.

There we are folks, as the old saying goes

‘Get Weaving’

All the very best in your endeavours, now go and read someone else’s blog for pity’s sake.smile