Worth a look, I reckon
Finally purchased the new laptop! The old one sits lurking in a spare room, chained and subject to secret runes, written with a fountain pen and upon thirty-year-old best writing paper; I have yet to decide the fate of this corrupted machine.
So gifted with a sense of freedom and goodwill, it would seem time to turn to the subject; this book currently transferred by memory stick, store on a Cloud. For after all if one is claiming to be a writer then one should demonstrate that one is writing!… Right? (or should that be ‘Write!’…right?).
So to recap. Once there were three volumes put together under The Nearly Not Quite Paladins (aka NNQP). The stories were comic and set sometime in our future. There was a mysterious event which left a legacy of The Ethereal; a power which enabled gifted folk to work what you could call magics, either by empathy with The Ethereal or by construction of devices. This was misused in profligate ways resulting in an age termed The First Wars, resulting in disasters. Civilisation survived, just about. In addition to this world there were a variety of satellite realms inhabited by populations warped by The Ethereal, Elven (pretentiously artistic) Gorthorn (think orcs with intelligence and a set of values) and the ‘doomed’ Shadow Lords (once rulers and careless with The Ethereal); there were also demonic creatures which seemed to have come along with The Ethereal. I never did clarify everything on account of having too much fun recounting the adventures of three folk foiling a very talented princess from taking over the whole world, while also stopping various rebellions. Volume four was on its way when it appeared there were far too many plots and groups vying for power and it all became unworkable.
After some heart-searching and cold-light-of-daying it became apparent that everything was a bit ramshackled (which was ironic as most of the action took place in a similarly run empire).It was too hard a read, the comedy was lost in too much wordage and there were far too many asides and commentaries. And that’s before we get onto the spelling mistakes, punctuation howlers, syntax disasters and continuity upsets. All of which proves one should not write in a bubble and reckon that one is one’s best editor.
At this stage I must offer up a big thanks and acknowledgment to Racheal Ritchley of The Twelve Realms fame for offering to read Volume One of the NNQP. Rachael’s generosity of spirit and work ethic is inspiring and humbling.
So after one false start last winter…. The new venture is set in the same world a few centuries later. It seems that somewhere between the end of third volume of the NNQP and this first volume, something once more went horribly wrong with The Ethereal and yet again the world was nearly destroyed. As a result the work with The Ethereal has been, supressed, banned and most devices destroyed. This stricture of course is ignored. Powerful groups, bold adventurers and inquiring minds are set upon pushing back the boundaries. This has dangers, whereas in the first trilogy the Shadow Lords, Elven and Gorthorn were prominent, little is known of them now, but the demonic realms are closer and far too many people are willing to take risks in literally pushing the boundaries.
The first volume will be an introduction while charting the struggle between forces of caution (the establishment), progress (the secret studies of The Ethereal), opportunity (commercial ventures seeing a business opportunity of The Ethereal) and crime & destruction (those who would use the demonic beings). Currently this is along the lines of three disparate folk ending up as unwilling or unwitting elements in stopping the demonic incursion while trying to stay alive in the four-way fight. The principals are three young women (one with an Ethereal empathy; one who gets ‘infected’ by the Ethereal and one who tries to cope with the ‘mechanical’ side of it- gets stuck with a machine she doesn’t care for). This is a deliberate parallel with the original books only then the dynamic was two men and one young woman. There is much resourcing from the first three books but no one reads to read those; it’s only me re-cycling.
Although trying not to a comic outing it is difficult for me to keep my humour in check, but there is less slapstick, burlesque, satire, and rom-com; hopefully more drama; at least tension.
So there is the outline, at present. Currently 25,000+ words and after a couple of re-reads a buzz that this might work. Working title The Patchwork Warriors. (Story Arc: working title…. err still working on that bit)
Lessons learnt thus far
Keep your characters in check.
At some stage ask for Beta Readers
Seek out an editor
Seek out cover designs.
Keep note of the wise advice on WordPress.
Also, don’t falter, or listen to doubt…… just keep on keeping on.(Y’know the proto-types of this current book a’fore some of you were born and not no-how I am giving up on anything)
You know, I can’t believe it. I cannot believe that I was able to complete a book from start to finish without paying hundreds of dollars to someone else. I now understand and can edit a book, format a book, build a cover, wrap a cover for paperback, and upload it to Kindle, Createspace, and Smashwords. I got advice from some authors and customer service when I needed help, but all in all, I did it. I didn’t need to hire anyone. The most I have in this project is $182. $60 of that was for nothing, but the last time I did this, I spent a whole lot more than $182.
I’m sure not everything is perfect in the book. I’m sure there are typos, and I actually warn readers about that. No one’s perfect. Still, this a huge milestone not only for me but for Ozwind. This means…
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Thanks folks, one and all!! Thirty + years of obscurity and within a few months suddenly people are reading my words.
Well, it’s all down to the WordPress Community. A place everyone is willing everyone else on, to do their best and never give up.
Since I’ve been here, it’s been moving, inspiring, humbling and at times just downright funny to read blogs displaying such a wide variety of aspects of Humanity, but all sharing the love to write. All with the determination to put those words onto paper or into The Cyber. Heroes every single one of you! Follow that dream….Keep on Keeping on!
So, starting out again, spring in the step (no, spring in the fingers! Despite what you feel about your current laptop, you must not tread on it, it’s not much… but currently it is all you have) a positive expression (no not that grin, it unsettles folk and they move sharp objects out of your reach) and a cherry ‘Up-hoi-Yokka-Huckle-Buck!’ (I stole that from a 1950s MAD feature) I was on my way.
Fourth Book, take two!!
But then came the problems,
Yep! The villians!!
I’d been putting it off, I’d managed to get through 20,000 words without them turning up, but you just can’t go on much longer with various characters alluding to, or being frightened of villains, I mean readers will start to ask ‘What’s the fuss about then?’
And whether I like it or not, within the realms of fantasy fiction you have to have villains. I suppose you could get away with a group of folk battling against some natural event, or unnatural event using raw courage, determination and a few powers of their own….hmmm….yes I could…no-no, not yet, problems have to be faced, shoulders squared and villains produced.
At this stage you might be asking ‘Why so down on villains?’ After all simply, everyone says that The Villain is more interesting than The Hero and you have to have a villain to move the plot along, otherwise where is the tension? Well I’ll grant you this much the late wonderful Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham saved the film Robin Hood and if you have read Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country, then Nicomo Cosca the world-weary ever inventive mercenary captain is a stellar creation.
The trouble is, to my mind too many villains have too easy a ride in order to put the hero in a fix, or show how evil they are by disposing of innocents careless enough to cross their path. I recall one very successful thriller writer coming up with a serial killer (I hate serial killers-another time another rant) who managed to get out of jail early because he’d convinced everyone he was now cured of his insanity (sure); in his first confrontation with the hero at a restaurant he mesmerises her with a load of cod-philosophy wrapped up cliché central leaving her unable to respond, all the while I’m thinking ‘C’mon girl, empty the coffee down his trousers or kick his shins under the table. Anything to shut up this dreary chat’.
Then you have the villains who grin, they grin because they are strong or have powers and they wander about picking up heroes and throwing about the place; why do they do that for pity’s sake? They do it in films too. If they are that ruthless and evil surely a quick snap of the neck is in order? And they never stop grinning- until in the last paragraph or scene when the hero manages to do something constructive.
Now in Fantasy as in Action Thrillers you also have to contend with The Armed Servants of the villain. They often grin, well in Fantasy they’d have to have a sense of humour in some of the garish outfits they wear. In Fantasy although they are well versed in various ways of killing people, it would seem they are only good at doing this to peasants, small religious communities or when the odds are at least thirty-five to one; unless of course they also have special powers or the odd spectral being about the place (who may not be able to grin, but would if they could). We are supposed to think these are fearful and formidable folk, but I cannot rid myself of the idea that ‘One line of bowmen, muskets, crossbows, or belligerent peasants with pitchforks and a lot of stones would see them off’.
‘You’re ranting. You’ve not quoted one work as an example’
‘I am not! This is a valid piece of literary general observation…and since when did you get use the italics?’
‘Because you took up 650+ words in normal type that’s why. Now get on with it and tell the good people just what you have done about it.’
‘You spolit the essayic flow of my discourse, I don’t know if I am any longer in touch with my-‘
‘Essayic? What the frib’ sort of word is ‘Essayic’?’
‘I wish you hadn’t interrupted just then, ‘ in touch with my-‘ is open to all sorts of mis-interpretations! Anyhows ‘Essayic’ is perfectly valid, the word is an extension of the word ‘Essay’ by adding ‘ic’ I am simply expanding upon the original noun to the status of an adjective.’
‘Well there may be in the hint of a syntactic role, in the term, I will grant you that, but on checking the word Essayic I am directed to the word Essay each and every time, ergo you’ve made it up. Just like you used to do in the UK Civil Service, it worked there because your guess as to what exactly the legislation meant was as good as anyone’s but now you are dealing with people of discernment who will wonder at the validity of words you create.
‘I think your just being pedantic!…And see-see-see!! That’s my point! You are being a monumental pedant and obviously pedantic! It is exactly the same. So I can use Essayic if I want to! I shall consider devoting the whole blog to matters Essayic and will write just about anything I choose to, in an Essayic manner and will be lauded in my daring use and expansion of the English language!’
‘You will do no such thing! Look at the time you introduced Osselmass as a derogatory term and got into no end of trouble with that German commercial company. It has to be said and you’ve admitted it yourself you have a distressing talent for making up words which are already out there with quite different meaning!’
‘Huh! There you go being pedan-TIC! Words change all the time, if you were to say to a 17th century person a politician was being interrupted by a heckler, they’d want to know what a dresser of hemp fibres was so upset about!’
‘You googled that just this minute to try and give the false impression-
‘Ladies and gentlemen. I must apologise for the two other aspects of my creative character, who now appear to have become quite tangential. Allow me to extend some brevity to this. Basically in the Work in Progress (The Patchwork Warriors) there is a realm outside of our own where dire and fel daemonic things dwell. We have principal villains who intend to harness these dangerous powers. We have placed villains the into four broad categories (A) Dynamic intent on gaining power by any means and cares not how (B) Shallow who use the veneer of familiarity with this realm for their own lascivious appetites (C) Unstable who actually worship the beings as gods (D) Slightly loveable rouges who see this as another string to their bow for making a quick profit. Thus (A) and (D) can be written in a broadly sympathetic roles while (B) and (C) are basically going to be set up for a messy fall at some stage. The tensions and dynamic can therefore be stretched over more than one volume. Thus we address the sensibilities of the spokesman of our team. I hope I have clarified that for you- thank you for your patience.’
‘….And furthermore, there can be no justification in the use of ‘ Extremitations’ even if you are trying to illustrate the complexities of the relationship between this world and the Fourth Realm, it denotes nothing!’
‘ AH..emm!! Emanuel Swedenborg scientist and mystic in his 1744 work on…’
I would suggest dear reader you conclude your current visit to this blog; there is no more to be gained. I hope that by next week there will be less volatility and more structure and we will be able to give you and balanced up-date on the work in progress.
‘It is no use you citing Dr Johnson…’
OK, there’s this saying, used by folk who believe themselves to astute and witty when it comes to literature:
“Everyone has a book inside of them, and in most cases that’s where it should stay”
Like which muse transcended unto a higher plane of Creation and set upon your pointed head the mantle of Custodian of the literary muse of all Space & Time????
And then we have that type who being a self-anointed sophisticate and incisive literary giant pollutes Amazon Reviews who seeks out Kindle Books which are free and languidly or sharply informs us all that it has been put as free in the ‘desperate’ hope that someone will read it
Ok then Captain Judgemental! Let’s see your effort then! C’mon, enter the link on your review so we can all bask in the glow of your magnificent efforts and read in silent awe while we whisper ‘Can mere mortals achieve such heights?’ Where is it then? Huh? C’mon now, don’t be shy, we’re all here on tender hooks!!!
Yeh, I’know. I’m getting down now before I fall off.
The idea of folk denigrating other folks’ efforts for the cheap reason that they which to seem superior is generally infuriating. I’m restricting myself (luckily) just to the world of writing as anything else would be wildly going of topic. Now there are publications I would rather not be out there. The ones which encourage hate of another group of people on grounds of race, religion, creed etc are the type I am thinking about, but it would seem to be the price we pay for Freedom. There are others, but these are my own personal tastes (prejudices?), and are best kept to me muttering to myself when I’ve run out of profanities or excuses when I can’t find a fuse, screwdriver or any other vital household items, which has hidden itself.
All that said and off the chest, it is time to say, therefore all of you have the right to put into words the thoughts and images you have in your mind, heart, spirit, whatever. Sure we will all fail from time to time, we will struggle and strive to put our work ‘out there’ and will find little or no recognition. It happens, we have are or will be there.
It does not matter.
Keep on writing, creating, never give up. Never listen to the naysayers.
There are those who will be willing to offer constructive advice, there are those who will be happy to point you in the right direction. These are the ones who are glad to see you and striving and share the joy of your creation.
So you have your say. You post those words on a blog, craft those words into a book; in fact look back at your blog posts there may be a book there; just needs a bit of tying together.
And when your work has been launched into the public arena remember by your own efforts, your own muse, you made the event possible; no one can take that away from you.
I meant to have written this sometime ago, but there were so many good blogs to read; I’m about 20,000 words behind in my book; same reason. This seems to some it all up
All of you and your words
Source: Reordering Plot During Editing
Hello folks, today I’m very pleased to be welcoming Rachael Ritchey onto this blog as part of the blog tour for the second volume in her captivating The Chronicles of the Twelve Realms series.
Rachael has her entertaining and very informative blog right here on http://rachaelritchey.com/ which is well worth a visit. Somehow she also manages to find the time to run a weekly BlogBattle and exude so much infectious enthusiasm that folks like me do things like this with computer like mine.
Rachael’s novels are set in a Fantasy Realm; and as with all good YA are nothing that adults should be sniffy about; characters battle with fears and doubts as well as evil. Dialogue balances with action, plot and sub-plots meld together, and there are hints and clues left to have the reader wondering just what is over the horizon in future works.
Just to give you a flavour of The Captive Hope here’s Rachael’s very own mesmerising YouTube video:
Now we’ve got the right atmosphere, let Rachael explain some more in her own words, when she kindly replied to a few questions I put to her by e-mail:
First off, I just want to say thank you so much for hosting me on your blog! This will be a fun interview.
1.Two volumes published and a third in progress. So I must ask this question. How big are your plans for the Chronicles of the Twelve Realms?
How big? Twelve books big! It’s totally doable, too, because each story will stand alone but be linked by land, previous characters, an overarching subplot (oxymoron? 🙂 ), and a continuity of magical realism spread throughout. I’m all about adventure, romance, and action so these themes will be all throughout the series.
2.Getting the balance in YA must be quite challenging. How difficult have you found that?
The struggle is real! Haha The most difficult part I find with writing YA is keeping the characters in their mid to late teens. In fact, I have kinda sucked at it. The characters range in age from fifteen to twenty-five. Most fall right in the middle. It helps that even though I keep getting older I know I’m still that insecure teenager deep down inside.
I prefer YA, though, because I want to keep my writing clean and accessible to people from all walks of life. There is action, violence, and some death in the stories, so I don’t recommend these for very young readers (under about ten to twelve), but you’ll find no sex and very little swearing amounting to things like a rare ‘damn’ or ‘hell’ here or there. I seriously want to make my kids proud and be able to write books their friends can read, too.
- When writing Captive Hope did you find any different experiences when from writing The Beauty Thief?
The biggest difference between writing the two books was the fact that when I wrote The Beauty Thief I had no other serious writing distractions, but during Captive Hope I was working on editing for The Beauty Thief, book cover design, formatting, then a ton of marketing, and learning the trade of marketing. This was a new experience because I had to learn how to balance the two. Both writing the next book and publicizing the first are necessary and worthy tasks. Kudos to those who do it with style!
- Given that The Beauty Thief and Captive Hope have many of the same characters do you find you now have favourites (names aren’t necessary-characters’ egos can be fragile) or ones which are easier to write?
Ah, fragile character egos. So true! 🙂 Is it bad that I like the new minor villian? She just slips off the tongue (fingers, since we’re writing) and lets me use my evil grin. I do have some favorites, but the plot doesn’t always let me keep writing them. It’s a sad business when that happens!
- Although sequential to The Beauty Thief, Captive Hope is its own book. What methods did you use to ensure continuity?
It may be mostly a subconscious effort on my part, but there is the overarching subplot driving the flow that keeps a mild connection. It’s really the characters’ lives, interactions, choices, and consequences which ensure the continuity between books. As I’m writing the current book I’m always looking forward to the next book. The choices of a character must align not only with their personality and history, which affect motivation and choice, but it must also make a connection to upcoming plots. I guess if I had to say it in one sentence I’d put it this way: Always stay one step ahead of the characters!
- Did you ever find characters starting to take over from you, the writer?
Sure, plenty of times! But there’s a reason for this, so I’ll explain. Characters have a history, and maybe we don’t flesh them out in as much detail as we should. Some characters were just never originally planned to play a large role in the story, but somehow they end up way more important than at first we realized. I find that when characters start taking over a story from me it’s more because I’ve subconsciously developed a backstory for them as I’ve written the rest of the book. As I see more of a character develop like this, seemingly outside my author-will, I realize it’s because from the black void in my head this guy has a whole life, and the decisions he makes are based off of the part of his life that I didn’t consider before writing him in the present moment of the novel. Does that make any sense? Sorry, I got excited by the question and rambled a bit.
One thing I will say as I think about it here is that while we write, drive, eat, clean, watch, and even space out our subconscious mind is always working. Don’t neglect to let that part of your brain do its thing. Don’t stress about getting stuck in your writing, either. Do something else away from the writing and let the story ruminate for at least a short while, even if only a few hours. So that way your mind can mull over the problem while you’re busy doing something else. 🙂
7.About the cover of Captive Hope. How did that evolve as a concept, and how difficult was it to turn from idea into cover?
The cover for Captive Hope was a little easier to conceptualize and execute because I wanted to give it a similar feel and vibe to The Beauty Thief. This gave me certain parameters to work within. I started with a photo I’d taken on the Washington coast: the beach at sunset. I wanted more for the picture and at certain points I attempted to add in other features like silhouettes on the beach or pirate ships far out to sea, but most things didn’t work. And there’s this girl I know, Rachel, who looks exactly like I pictured Lady Idra. It was totally by accident and not intended to happen that way at all, but once I realized the connection I jumped out on a limb and asked her to be a cover model for the book. I had this idea of adding in that human element this time, which makes it a little different from the first book. Rachel agreed and was actually excited to do it, which in turn made me totally excited to have her on my cover. It turned out great. Captive Hope has a similar feel and style to The Beauty Thief, but is also stands out on its own.
Wow! That was fun, Roger. Thanks for having me on your blog today!
Thank you Rachael for taking the time to reply.
Well Rachael has not only written very thought provoking and entertaining books but as you can see has gifted us here with a great deal of insight and I would say encouragement for us all.
I would like to add more but am nursing this laptop into a landing. So just to say you can find the books on Amazon in paper & kindle format, at Barnes & Noble amongst others. Check Rachael’s website too!…………………Best wishes to all and all the best Rachael
Well, naturally, one has these ideas which take a little work to eventually put down on paper, to hone, edit, re-edit and finally produce the work as one always knew it should be.
Now I have relatively little problems there, (pause to sit back in large comfy chair and adopt a casual yet majestic pose), but when it comes to the matter of placing the work into the public realm and making it appealing…….
Well things tends to go a bit like this….
Firstly I confess to indulging with the title. I made up that phrase some twenty years ago and have been looking for a good reason to use it, AND have not Googled it ‘cas it’s bound to be there and right now I don’t want to know! S’mine…all mine!!
Anyway, so the other day I received this message. 100 likes and I have 35 people following. Now to put this in perspective I regularly read posts which JUSTIFIABLY attract a 100+ likes and dozens of comments on account of them being, informative, or funny, or evocative to name but three qualifying factors. So those stats of mine are, let’s just say in terms of numbers, modest.
But that is not actually the point; those numbers to me are a celebration not of my efforts but of the environment which is this WordPress writing community. The environment being down to the efforts of you, fellow bloggers who encourage directly and by example of your own blogs.
I admit to starting off goofing around, which is something of a fall-back position for me, but the more I explored and read, the more it became apparent there was a whole positive world out there of people producing the most creative and innovative work, putting into words their own thoughts, feelings, ideas, being willing to share, encourage and help. So it was no more living in the bubble, but get out there and get into the community.
Thus those 100+ likes and those 35 followers and the 38(?-memory overload-time for a cuppa tea) followings are the ones that I feel the message celebrates; me I’m just the messenger ‘picking up on the vibe’
Good luck and best wishes to you all. Long may you thrive! (that’s the translation of the title, and honest I was not thinking of Spock when I fashioned it)