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Newsletter's not out, but the critique has been posted. I'm going to have to read it a few more times, but I was a little flattered by the first paragraph where John Klima says he's been close to choosing one one my chapters for some time, and that "there's something irrisistable about the world she's created and the people who populate it." Before he happily picks it apart. But the important things; I was surprised he didn't say much about the ceremony other than commenting on a lack of clarity. And it's a chapter with a lot of character development and it sounds like he liked that. Most of the improvements he suggested were fairly simple things, and relatively cosmetic. And I had to laugh at one of his last lines, summing up the whole thing, "Morgan is defining and building her relationship with Justin, which will undoubtedly become a great source of potential conflict and tragedy." He obviously sees what everybody else does; it's too good to last.
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OWW is my online critiquing workshop, for those on my FL that aren't familiar with it. Anyway, they have the editors choice thing going on. From the newsletter: "The Editors' Choices are chosen from the submissions from the previous month that show the most potential or otherwise earn the admiration of our Resident Editors. Submissions in four categories--science fiction chapters, fantasy chapters, horror, and short stories -- receive a detailed review, meant to be educational for others as well as the author."

Anyway, I always thought, someday I'll be good enough to get picked. That would be really cool. That was like, 8 years ago. And now I finally got picked.

Oddly enough, the chapter that got picked was not one of the ones I'm most proud of. It's one of those in the middle of laying down a new setting, when nothing really unbelievably suspenseful is happening. But that's just as well, since I could really use some good advice on how to make that section of the story work. I'm really excited about getting a review from an actual author/editor who will be able to tell me what I'm doing wrong and not just, "this doesn't work for me."

But the review doesn't come out till the next newsletter, on june 20th! I feel like I'm gonna explode.

This comes on the heels of the annoying realization that in order to introduce Justin's brother Nick earlier in the story like I want to and have it come off smoothly and not like I added him into all those scenes later, I'm going to have to rewrite practically all of chapters 2 through 10 from scratch. And I don't feel like doing it right now. I have chapter 21 to type out and 22 to finish (I've amalgamated two chapters and renamed the chapters after them.) And things are going on paper decently fast at the moment, so I think I'll just wait till things slow down again before I go back and do any rewrites.
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Got the next chapter typed and sent. Got one freakout already. It's interesting; anyone who knows me, has been expecting this for some time, but people who don't, don't seem to see this coming. (I'm beating around the bush because there's at least 1 person on my friends list who doesn't know...or maybe she does and I'm fooling myself, I couldn't say.)

But the part I was most worried about was the action, and whether it did a decent job of building up to the climax, and that seems to have gone over well. I've never felt like I was good at action, but I haven't written that much of it over the last few years. I've worked so hard on character development and dialogue, all of a sudden I have to write action and I look at it clueless. And even though I seem to be doing ok, I'm not sure what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong, and critiques tend to focus so much on character development and plot. Ah well, I'll get the hang of it. reread my favourite authors and chack how they do it.
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I'm pretty much done chapter 20, but it slowly turned into chapter 20 and 21 when I went to add in the character development bit. The problem is as I was writing that, they decided they needed to go ahead and get married, and I thought, well, that should happen earlier, so they get to have some time together and all. I mean, glossed over "and two years passed blessedly uneventfully" time together, but it needs to be there. I never wanted this to happen as a last moment before we rush off to battle when anything could happen sort of thing.

I suppose I'll just send it out without that scene, and add it in... ugh, no, it needs to go in now.
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Working on chapter 20. I think; the chapter numbers have gotten a little mixed up, so I'm not sure.

I've just filled up the last page in my notebook. Ironic that this happens at such a pivotal point in the story. I have a new notebook now, made of recycled paper.:)

Critiques on my writing workshop have gotten consistently better over the last year. The only time they seem to be overly negative now is when it's someone jumping in halfway through, and demanding I give detailed descriptions of all these characters and objects that I've already described. Not that I dont' need more description; that's definitely one thing I'll be doing a major pass over the whole thing for when I'm done the first draft. I'm most pleased that the characters are coming across exactly the way I wanted them to; I've worked very hard on that.

Chapter 16

Apr. 7th, 2007 04:31 pm
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I got to sitting down to write chapter 17, and I realized I hadn't ended chapter 16 the way I'd planned. Not really sure how that happened. In any case, the last two and a half pages are being rewritten.
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In chapter 15 I introduced the Keepers totem form (changed from battle form, I didn't like it, but I wanted to get it down and couldn't think of anything good at the time), and I need a bunch of combinations of animals that would look cool. Think pegasus, griffin, hippogriff, dragon, gargoyle, etc. It's just, there's only so many classics and the only get you so far. A couple of general principles:

-Should be something that could conceivably engage in hand to hand combat (or claw to fang to hoof to....)

-Wings are good. filmy insect/fairy sort of wings are ok - fragile perhaps, but that just means they'll be the first to go down when they get hit with dragon to be them.

-wierd colours are a go.

-water creatures would be cool, except they need to be capable of at least land combat.

-must look COOL. In your imagination, anyway.

I need a really good one for Justin. His should be red/orange in colour; Catalyst totem forms are always the colours of fire. Extra XP for whoever comes up with a good one for him.

So Bored

Mar. 6th, 2007 12:35 am
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I have another 25 minutes at work, and everybody's gone home, because the work till midnight, and I work till one, because I have class till three thirty and can't get to work until four thirty.I'm too tired to write now.

I have been asked about the final battle of timekeeper book one. There will indeed be a final battle, hopefully spectacular, and I hope to possibly spend more than one chapter on it to do it proper justice. The premise for the final battle should be fairly clear within a page of the next chapter.

So many ideas for book two, though. Making one change to book one: Justin plays the guitar. Ok, not a change, more of an addition, but it'll be added eventually. It has no significance in book one, but will in book two.

I've been thinking of the ending of book one though, mainly about what I need to happen, and just how many people I have to kill to accomplish that, and I realized, you know, that's such a limiting attitude! I shouldn't be thinking about how many people I have to kill. I should be figuring how many people can I kill? As long as I have a main character to carry on to book two, all's fair game. It's a pity only that I can't think of a good reason to stage the final battle in a populated area.

I should come up with a teaser sort of thing you might read off the back cover of book two to throw to all my Beta Readers once Book one is finished and I expect a wait of a month between that and chapter one of book two...
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only 10 000 words before it's officially long enough to be called a novel. And it will certainly make that. I figure in about two or three months, I should be done the first draft of book one.

I was thinking the other day, about melodrama, and how much i fear it, and it creeping into my story. I'm always afraid my characters are going start yelling passionately and it get cheezy. i think that's why my characters bicker so much. Instead of yelling, they bicker. It's fun to write, and it's probably the part that makes Nathan say Morgan reminds him of me. She is after all, a bit of a snarky bitch, and it's almost a freeing feeling, writing the character. Character flaws are wonderful pivot points for plot. Because it's one thing to torture my characters, and a whole other thing to have them torture themselves.
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Nathan figures I'm not sneaky enough to throw red herrings into the story. But they're there, oh yes, they're there. And it's terribly amusing to watch my beta readers catch them and hold onto them for dear life. And then be completely convinced that they're correct when I can't stop giggling about it. It's all, ha, I got it, you thought you were so clever...oh.

For example, Matthew and the Skip were just enough of a mystery to draw attention away from another secret that comes out later. Not so obvious that the readers saw it and moved on, ambiguous enough that they wondered, and figured, and then ha, I was right! But by then the heat was off what else I was hiding.

I have one who's going to be mad at about chapter 16 or 17. When they realise that for six chapters they've been gloating about figuring it out and they're wrong. :)

I think it's part of the fact that one idea doesn't make a novel. It might make a short story, but even a short story, I usually combine at least two ideas. You have to take a bunch of ideas and mix them together, or you just end up beating a dead horse trying to find something to write about that one idea that's not repetitive. And plus, if it's done well enough to keep their interest at all, the reader will be so focussed on that idea, that there's no way you can get them to miss the things that give stuff away. If you keep the story coming fast, keep it interesting, and have several possibilities for the readers to wonder about, you can drop hints here and there, right under the readers' noses, and they don't notice. Some do, but they'll be happy when they're proved right, and that's good. As long as it's not something painfully obvious, readers get great satisfaction out of figuring out a complicated plot.

Chapter 12

Dec. 7th, 2006 04:52 pm
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Well, chapter 12 is typed out. It doesn't really have any action, it's mostly a transition chapter, but it does have one major thing reavealed. the next few chapters will be kind of low key, compared to previous ones. So much information to get across to the reader.... I hope it doesn't get too dense.

Chapter 11

Dec. 4th, 2006 05:33 pm
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I'm getting addicted to livejournal. I'm checking it like all the time.

Anyway, I got chapter eleven typed out, and by the next day there were two posts from friends that mention it. Now, I tend to have trouble telling how other people feel, being autistic, but things in writing get the point across to me better, and I'm forever watching for signs, so I figure if it was good enough to be mentioned that quickly, it must have been good.

So different from the lukewarm responses I'd get about my old story, that I worked on so long and scrapped about 7 months ago to start Timekeeper. Responses to that were like "yeah, that was pretty good, I enjoyed it." Compared to "You have to write more of that story, I read it all in one sitting!" And I was getting that when it was over 30 000 words long.

Chapter 12 should be along pretty soon, I might start working on typing it out at work tonight. It's the start of the chapters I wrote for Nano, so it will probably sound rushed, and I'll probably do a lot of editing, and adding stuff I forgot in. But it's a slow point in the story, and it's possibly just as well that Nano forced me to plow through those three chapters or I might have been working on them for months.
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Last day of NaNo. I kind of made a pseudo goal for myself of 20 000 words. I'm currently at 16 750 words. I think most likely I won't make it, it means I need to write nine pages by the end of my shift today. I've never written that much before. But hey, I can try. Shift ends at midnight, and that's the cutoff time.

I can't wait to get chapter 11 typed out though. I've missed the feedback from my beta readers. And i know a bunch of you have been impatiently waiting for the next installment - those of you who are not busy with your own stories. And at least one who is.... Will be soon I promise. I figure I'll probably get it typed out by monday. The last three pages of it I typed right onto the computer, and I don't think it will need much editing. The subsequent chapters very much will, though.

Anyway, back to writing. Perhaps I can get this done.

update, 8 pages left.

7 pages. and only 3 hours left of my shift.

6 pages, 2 hours left. Stupid customers keep interrupting me.

4 pages, and only a half an hour. Not gonna make it, but oh well. I still got a crap load of writing done, and lots to type out, and I'll do better next year.
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I've done bugger all for writing the last couple of days, but I sat down today and got 1000 words done.

It was inspired writing though. I think it should count for double word count. I can't wait till I've got that whole chapter typed out so people can read it. Little bit wierd and twisted, but since I was basing it on something I've researched; the shamanic death and rebirth, it had definite direction.

Well, I think it was good anyway. I'm not good at writing gore; some of my readers who are better at it might have some advice.

Current total: about 15 000 words.
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I've got a number of people reading Timekeeper now, and someone just asked me if they could read it, who I hadn't even offered it to. It seems people are talking about it around work. All good signs. I mean, people don't start telling other people "you should read this" unless they enjoyed it themselves, right?
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I'm getting these ideas for expanding what I originally planned as the epilogue of Timekeeper. It might be enough for another book. And there's certainly potential for some grander climax than what I had planned for the original book. Very little has to change, and nothing I have planned will change up to a bit past the currently planned climax.

Damn, I was looking forward to having finished an entire story fairly soon. There will be a clear climax in Timekeeper, of course, but the ending would be clearly not the end. Hmm. The more I think about it, the more I realise these ideas are too good, to pass up. They also require too much setup to incorporate them into another story, even in the same world.

Yeah, I think that's it. Timekeeper's going to be a trilogy.
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Yeah, so like, fricking everybody's doing it, so ok.

My biggest excuse was that I write on paper and have no convenient way of figuring out how many words I'd written, cause not only that, I tend to add up to half a page worth in the margins at times, but I'll let go of that excuse and work around it. I have two chapters - about 25 pages worth in the same book I'll be writing in, typed out, so I've figured out how many words per page figured out on average, and I'll go with that (about 350 words per page.)

Of course, I'll be working on Timekeeper, and see if I can't finish it or at least get really close. I realise there's no way I'll make 50 000 words, because I'm in university and will have a whole three physics lab reports that take three hours due this month, among other things, but I figure this will teach me to manage my time better. At worse, I will learn how hard I can push myself, and whether or not I can force myself to write successfully.

Wish me luck.

PS: as of now, 5250 words
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Was writing yesterday and a character showed up kind of out of nowhere. Don't know where they came from, but I had to think for a while; is this going to mess up the plot?

No, I finally concluded. And upon further reflection, I realised why that character was there. It was perfect, hehe.

In other news, I went dancing with Daria and Dan last night. (And I feel bad for not being up to it on friday, for Lee, But I got enough sleep on friday night to be up to it on saturday.) I had a good time. Probably the best time I've had at a club. There was no country music and no rap. And no smoking. All the things that spoil my night clubbing were not there. Just loud music and people in crazy costumes (three dressed as Cloud, Aeris, and Tifa from FFVII; they were awsome.) After exams, it was nice to just sink into the music. It's kind of purifying in a way. Will definitely go again.

Anyway, getting back to writing now.
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Exams were nuts stressful - calculus and physics says it all. Passed physics, not sure yet how I did in calculus.

Anyway, back to writing again. Working on chapter 11. I sent it to one more person last week, and a few days ago I saw him again and he ranted that I had to write more, and that he read it all in one sitting. I advised him that he's the third person to tell me that they'd read it all in one sitting. But then, now it's getting quite long, over 130 pages, now I think. When he got it anyway. In any case I'm obviously doing something right here.

It's been a long road, getting where I am now, writing wise. I've taken a lot of critiques, and learned to observe how my favourite authors accomplish things. So many aspects to storytelling. Setting, characters, pace, scene structure, shifting between scenes, character motivation, dynamic vs. static characters. Each of these things, I've focussed on in turn, with successive rewrites of my long standing project last titled "the blind seal."

Finally I just had to put that one aside. It's been hashed over to death, is all. It needs a rest, and besides, what that story needs is more than I can give it right now. Reading the Kushiel trilogy, that's the kind of thing that story will become one day, when I have the resources to put into it. It's just too ambitious a project for a first novel.

So I started "Timekeeper" and it's flying practically before it's even got feathers. It's exciting. I think this will definitely be my first published novel. It's worthy. And it's only at second draft, still plenty needs to be smoothed out.

Who knows, maybe I can make enough money on it to quit my job. Would give me more time to write more, anyway. You never know. Don't hurt to be optomistic. (Not quitting yet though. Not stupid...)
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Finally got chapter nine typed out. I don't know if some of my beta readers will be mad at me. Or if it will just suck, cause it's my first attempt at any real, involved action, combined with the Keeper Magic. It's so hard to guage when it's your own writing, but that's what beta readers are for.

I'm getting deeper and deeper into the plot now...


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