I admit I was hoping to break 60K by the end of today, but to do that I’d have to be self-abusive and willing to write what–even by my lax first-draft standards–would be unsalvagable drivel. Pages upon pages of “And then McReporterpants did the thingie with the watchamacallit. Theodolite? Look this up later.”
So – today, words that are better than the above:
July 27 2,308 for a grand total of 58,378 words. Here’s what they looked like before I typed them:
I had a look at the outline and I’m not as far from the end of the plot as I would have guessed. Maybe another 15,000 words until the thing’s Frankensteined together? I’ve never been good at making these kind of guesstimates.
What I did today to celebrate the end of the Write-A-Thon was go to the Urban Tea Merchant and spend two and a half hours imbibing Royal Darjeerling tea, little sandwiches and luxurious baked goodies while scribbling the above words. It was a very enjoyable wrap-up to the whole Write-A-Thon ritual; I commend it to you all.
I plan to keep up the current pace, of course, until I finish the draft. And then go back and rewrite, and rewrite some more, and then some more.
My UCLA Extension Writers’ Program course, Novel Writing II, is in full swing and I haven’t yet found a book that goes well with fourteen student novels-in-progress.
I am continuing to write about 1200-1500 words a day on my current novel, as part of my Clarion West Write-A-Thon commitment. The naming contest is still on the go for sponsors. Right now, a donation of any size will get you into the draw for a chance to name a landmark, person or animal species. It’ll take at least $35 to be the biggest donor and thereby get the right to name an island nation. Here’s a snippet about another island, Tiladene:
“Perhaps, too, since you’re an outlander . . . ”
What else had she done? “Yes?”
“Lais Dariach . . . he’s from Tiladene.”
Tiladene. That word was on one of Gale’s coins. “You said that. So?”
“They’re somewhat . . . promiscuous.”
The significant look on Dracy’s face made her want to giggle. “You mean sexually promiscuous?”
“They don’t believe in marriage–in faithfulness.”
“Okay, got it. Your other passenger–”
Lais is from Friends with Benefits Island.”
Planet of the Polyamorous Sluts, she thought, lightheaded. Didn’t the Star Trek guys used to go somewhere like that for shore leave?
And then: A little shore leave wouldn’t be the worst idea I ever had. And he is cute.
July 9th 1,092 words, for a total of 36,155
July 8th 1,017 words
July 7th 1,415 words
July 6th 1,400 words
July 5th 1,147 words
Here’s a snapshot of an island nation you can’t name on Stormwrack, a little place by the name of Tallon:
Home. Royl could make out the drydocks, the riggers, the sailmaker’s quarter. Standing well back from the water was an ugly brick plug of a building where the spellscribes worked, enchanting unbreakable masts, wheels that could hold a course, for a time, without a navigator and figureheads that called out in the fog or the dark, whenever a vessel came within sight of their carved, painted eyes.
The Yards were the one great sight of his birth island, a long stretch of busy industry as far as the eye could see, men and women assembling the bones of cutters like the one he’d been sailing these past thirty years. The ships of the Tall were famous. Many a great ship of the Fleet–Constitution, the seat of the government, came from the Yards, and so did the fastest ship on the Nine Seas, Courser. The poor doomed frigate Gulietta was a Tall’s ship, as was the craft that sank her, the stolen pirateer Bleedlove.
This comes from one of The Gales, a wip currently called “Losing Heart among the Tall.”
As I mentioned in this post, I’m trying to get back into the habit of telling you all a little something, now and then, about my actual life. Part of what makes this tricky, for me, is that this presupposes that there’s a nice clean boundary between my work and some ephemeral rest.
Frex: I’m buoyantly happy with the writing I’ve been doing lately. Happy! Personal thing. Joy of creation. Bubbling thoughts of protagonist angst. Intriguing plot challenges. Delighted . . . with the fiction writing. Which is kind of my main job. And yet it’s a job I perform in a lovely cafe environment, with twelve ounces of latte within easy reach, in the company of people who aren’t quite my friends though I’m awfully fond of many of them.
Or, hey: I want to go to Vancouver Aquarium with Barb sometime soon as a birthday outing. And OMG, they’re charging $27 to let you in the door now, plus I think they get rights to your genetic code. We’ve both agreed it’s worth it, especially as they have penguins, holy crap, peeeeenguins!! now. (If any of you has a 2 for 1 coupon you won’t be using this summer, let’s talk).
So, you know, outing with one’s mother, to a nice tourist attraction, to celebrate her getting older. Personal, definitely. Except you all know I’m going to do the same thing with the experience that I do with things like the California Academy of Sciences trip and the Burke Museum trip, which is to say Learn Science Fakts! Mutate the Life Forms! Write more stories like The Gales! and add funky Stormwrack details to the trilogy-in-progress and write the museum ticket off my taxes!
Plus, also, prettifying my blog with pictures from the exhibits. Is that work? Is that play? Who cares, because look! Fossil!
I could go on. Perhaps I even should go on, because I’ve tried before, quite a few times, to blog about the blur between all the various allegedly separate areas of my life. All of those previous posts have ended up in the bin. Whereas this one seems to be going pretty well.
Want to help? Is there anything you all would actually like to know?
My trip last weekend involved more research than actual words-on-paper but once I’d been home a couple days I was back to the 1K words daily pace. Will that get a draft done by July 27th? I’m not entirely sure I shouldn’t step it up to a daily goal of 1300 or so. What matters is I’m making my way through the plot and I’m happy with how it’s coming together.
I invited the people who came to my readings to pledge support and enter the contest, and I did get some takers. (Folks, I’ll be e-mailing you soon if I haven’t already.) The deal, if you haven’t already heard it, is this: whoever gives the most money gets to name one of the island nations of Stormwrack. Anyone who gives money gets a chance to name a ship, person, city, landmark or plant/animal species… whichever floats your boat.
Parrish’s voice carried across the plains. “On the island where I grew up, Bendi, we take in those slain by magic. Such murders are doubly tragic, because nothing lasts forever. It is a given that the scrip will be destroyed in time; that the spell will revert and the murdered person will live again. So the victims must be kept safe.”
The pulver was staring at Parrish’s lips.
“There was a young monk once, whose job was to bear corpses from the sea to the monastery of the sleeping dead. But he loved a woman whose farm lay on the route from the port. He’d stopped at her cottage, once, and a grass fire caught near his wagon. The coffin and the woman lying within were burned.”
Here’s a little snippet from one of The Gales, about the island nation of Erinth, a place inspired, more than a little, by Catania:
Sindria, capital of Erinth, was a city of black marble and volcanic glass, a dark architectural foundation layered in color and light. The carved urns and stone window boxes built into the structures all burst with bougainvillea and daisies. Fruit trees nodded along the avenues, laden with oranges, lemon trees and sun-burnished golden plums.
The title of the story this comes from is “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.”
As mentioned, I am posting these island snapshots because I’m giving away naming rights to one nation on the world of Stormwrack to the person who contributes the most to Clarion Westin my name this summer. I will also have a draw for naming rights to a landmark, animal species, sailing vessel or city on Stormwrack. It’s your choice. Anyone who wants to qualify for that one need only donate something, even if it’s the minimum.
And you can do it in person! Just show up either at my reading at Borderlands Bookstore on Saturday June 23rd at 3:00 p.m. or at the University Bookstore in Seattle on Monday the 25th at 7:00 p.m. Give me cash and a way to contact you, and you’re in the running.
To win, you need to 1) give money; 2) tell me so and 3) give me some contact info.
Finally, links: there’s a Buffy essay up now, called “Real Vampy Love Bitches of Sunnydale“. (This is the “Lovers Walk” essay and, yes, it’s out of order. My fault, I’m pretty sure. I wrote it, but then I was travelling and sick, and Something Ate It.)
I am going to Victoria tomorrow to do some research for the series of books and stories I’m currently writing–in point of fact, I’m going on a short day sail on a tall ship called the Pacific Grace, which is owned and sailed by S.A.L.T.S. It should be a neat experience. If I’m not clinging to a rope every minute, there will, of course, be pictures.
I am really excited about this, except in the moments when I wonder if it will involve barfing or hard labour.
But back to the current project, I have firmed up my decision to give away naming rights to one island nation on the world of Stormwrack to the person who contributes the most to Clarion Westin my name this summer. I will also have a draw for naming rights to a landmark, animal species, sailing vessel or city on Stormwrack. It’s your choice. Anyone who wants to qualify for that one need only donate something, even if it’s the minimum.
To win, you need to 1) give money; 2) tell me so and 3) give me some contact info. The Clarion site’s supposed to let me know about contributions, but this didn’t work out so well last year–I’m doing something wrong when I log in, is all I can conclude, because I have immense troubles with the site, and I’m the only one. (It’s me, lovely wonderful Clarion folks, it’s not you. You’ve tried, Chaos knows you’ve tried…)
The reason I’m clattering for donations should be blindingly clear, but if it isn’t: Clarion is a great program. It does terrific work. It made a difference in my life. I wrote six stories in the weeks before I went to Seattle (see, I had a pre-season last time too!) and 220 pages of new fiction while I was there. It helped me improve at my chosen art, it got my nascent writing career on track and introduced me to some of my best friends in the world.
But wait, there’s more, and it’s not frickin’ steak knives!
You need to know what kind of a place Stormwrack is if you’re gonna name an island, right? So as I continue to Thon, there will be posts from all the interconnected works set in this world, and they will be about the island nations I’ve established so far. For example, in the first of a series of stories called The Gales, I have this, about Redcap Island:
“It’s a kingdom,” he said promptly. “Government is stable, king’s rule is absolute. The crown passes to the eldest son upon the death of the king or his sixtieth birthday, whichever comes first. Elder kings go into a kind of ceremonial exile, along with any other sons…”
“There’s usually just one other son. They must use magic to affect the succession.”
Gale nodded. “Once there’s a healthy heir and a second son, the king’s consorts bear only daughters. The Blossoms Majestic—the princesses—run the government.”
I am reading through the Blue Magic page proofs this week (196 days until it’s released!) which means I am going through printed pages that are laid out as the book will be, looking for any small errors. I’ve already gone through the copy-edited manuscript, where all the big errors and inconsistencies have been found and vanquished.
After that, my current plan is to have a hard look at a short story that’s all but done. It’s provisionally titled “Losing Heart among the Tall.” As titles go, I’m not convinced that’s perfect. This polish is half about actually finishing the story, and partly to reacquaint myself with the details of the setting, a place called Stormwrack, which also appears in a number of other things I’ve been working on this year. This includes a story called “Among the Silvering Herd” that I’ve sold to Tor.com. (I’ll let you know when it’s gonna be up, as soon as I know myself!)
This weekend, I’ll be hopping off to VCon to rub elbows with fabulous people like the latest denizen of the Twitterverse, DD Barant, Mary Choo, and Julie McGalliardon. On Saturday evening, at our 9:00 p.m. group reading, I’ll read from my story “Wild Things,” which takes place in the Indigo Springs universe, between the events of the two novels.
Once “Losing Heart among the Tall”‘s events and details are fresh in my mind, I’ll dig into the other stuff set in Stormwrack, for all of October.
Finally, if that goes well and I can wrap up by Halloween, I’m thinking of joining a number of my Nanowrimo buddies-in-crime in November by setting myself a goal of 50,000 words of new short fiction. Since I mostly write novelettes in the 7500-8500 word range, that’d make for six stories. I thought another squid story about Ruthless, perhaps, to go with “The Town on Blighted Sea,” another Stormwrack story for sure, and I have a few other ideas. But I don’t as yet have six ideas, and I thought I might throw the floor open for prompts, requests, challenges, a contest… somesuch thing.
Have any of you done this, either opened the floor to challenges in this way or contributed to a call for prompts? How did it work? Was there a prize? Were you happy with the result?