One of my favorite things about being a “discovery writer” (that’s someone who doesn’t plot a story out, though I am thinking that some planning would help, but that’s a blog for another day) is finding little bits of story that are gems waiting to be uncovered.
There’s one “gem” though that I’ve been waiting for years to find out what the story behind the story is.
In Quest for the Three Books, I “knew” that the Shant’olin (nasty ghosts who eat souls) were tied to the ruins of Lilinar. I always figured Rivic had had something to do with this. But as I prepare the ending of Walk the Path, sequel to Tangled Magic, I haven’t discovered the answer to how the Shant’olin were contained to the ruins, or even how they got there.
It remains a mystery.
Also, when I was working on all the stories in the Sacred Knight series, I know there is something special about the gates of Lilinar, perhaps that there is something buried beneath them, maybe right inside. The observant reader will notice that the Shant’olin never approach near the gate in Quest for the Three Books. In later books, Steigan often has a strange sensation as he’s walking into Lilinar. Again, I thought I would find out what was going on when I wrote Rivic’s books, since he was the one who built Lilinar. But Walk the Path ends with him just starting the building of Lilinar after he leaves Gohaldinest.
That leaves me with the question of what is going on?
There is another story here. Is there a character I’m missing? A bigger picture? Another story between stories?
Do you want to know the best part?
That means there is more to this story for me to start to discover. And that is my happy spot.
I’ve been preparing Tangled Magic for publication and I started thinking that I should add a map and a character list like I’ve done for my Sacred Knight series.
Now, keep in mind that I had this thought while I was actually working on a scene for Walk the Path, sequel to Tangled Magic, because this is where one of those odd synchronicities take place.
These two things made me start thinking about the character list in Sacred Knight. Did you know that there is actually a character missing from the cast in To Birth a Destiny (book 3) as well as Prince of the Ruined Land (book4)? I have mentioned it a few times and no one has ever come back to me saying that they have found the character.
Okay, yes, it is one character in a lineup of nearly 100. I admit that it’s probably not very obvious.
But here comes Tangled Magic and I have an opportunity to either list this very character (sort of – I’ll explain below) in the cast or not. The situation repeats for Walk the Path. If I really wanted to push it, I get another “chance” to hide this character in the character list for Palladium.
Now the reason I say that it’s the “very character” is because it’s not necessarily the same person. It is the same person in To Birth a Destiny and Prince of the Ruined Land, but in the other books, there’s a possibility that it’s more of a position, like a title.
And I am the one left laughing because I never did give this character an actual name in the Sacred Knight series.
As for the synchronicity, I was writing about this character in Walk the Path when I actually realized what was going on with this character.
Yep, now I’m really launched into my maniacal laughter.
I’m having fun wondering just how long I can “hide” this character. Maybe if I make it all the way to the release of Palladium without someone pointing it out, I’ll set up some kind of prize for finding the missing person.
Until then, I already consider the game afoot. (grin)
Been trying to post this since Tuesday, but the time never felt quite right until now.
Now, if you were been reading between the lines on my Monday blog, you noticed
that I’ve also been working on other stories too. Lately, I’ve been doing this
massive brainstorming on Cirvel’s plans. This has led me to working on the
entire story from Palladium on through to the Sacred Knight series
where I’m currently struggling on book 5.
I remember when I was working on Quest for the Three Books and was getting overwhelmed because it was such a large story. I mean, there were three timelines involved! When I consider Cirvel’s story and how his plans literally run through three series (which right now are a total of nine books – more on this in a moment) and a span of about 5,000 years, I know that I could easily face that same overwhelm. This is an important story. When I add to it that between Cirvel and Moonhunter’s stories, I am building the backbone for a plethora of stories in a connected universe and I know it must be solid. Who wouldn’t hurl under these conditions? But I feel extremely lucky that I worked through those issues of overwhelm when I was at the smaller level, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time.
That’s not to say I haven’t had a few anxious moments. There are some things
that when I’m having to make a decision, I feel as if I’m standing on a ledge
looking out into the vast expanse of space.
Then I remind myself that no one’s life is on the line and I mellow out
about it. It’s just a story.
It’s my own desire to get it right, as close to perfectionism as I come,
that drives me. And I know I’m much better if I stay loose and trust the
process. Again, not life or death.
So above I counted nine novels in the full scope of Cirvel’s tale. This
includes Palladium (which hopefully you are reading along with on my
blog right now), Tangled Magic and Walk the Path (the 2 stories
which make up Rivic’s part of the tale), and then the six novels of the Sacred
Knight series (even though only four of them are released right now). I haven’t
included two other stories. One of those is where Martias and Steigan go off to
the Palin Wars when they aren’t supposed to. I’ve been working on that story in
this time too. In fact, I discovered the answer to the story that I thought I
needed, but when I went back to it, I discovered that at some point I had
“finished” the story. Now I’m left wondering if I want to do what came to me in
the last few weeks, if I want to leave it as it is even though the new idea is
so much better, or to figure out how to merge the two ideas which might
overload the story. There is also the possibility that I break off the aspect
of the story which “finished” it and make that another story. It would be so
easy to do. It has left me wondering if Martias has an even bigger part than I
Not bad for a character I initially murdered off in an early draft.
Yes, Martias was supposed to die in Quest for the Three Books.
I am very glad my critique partners screamed at me killing him and told me
to completely lose that draft. Sherri even made me feel very guilty about it. I
remember her telling me that she was going to get “Team Martias” shirts made –
I sometimes wonder if her comment spurred the turn in Martias’ character. He
was never meant to become so evil. He was always supposed to be a helper for
Steigan. The moment he became the Shapeshifter character and dropped the metal
trap door on Steigan down in the catacombs, it surprised the heck out of me.
Trust the process! I even know the exact moment he takes the journal from
Steigan. There are things that only I know about Martias. Most of it has come
out, but there is more. Even as I’m writing these words, I realize that I do
have more locked away in my head, things that I’ve hinted at to myself. I have
chills crawling over my arms. See, I might even have to write more stories with
As a side note, the world lost Sherri earlier this year to cancer. She was
an amazing storyteller and I wish I had craft she did. She always spurred me to
write better. And especially to pay attention to my grammar – I’m trying I swear!
I have often thought about what Sherri would think about Martias now since I
don’t know if she ever read books 2 through 4. Now that she’s gone, I invite
her to my side often to help me through plotting all this. Maybe that’s why I
don’t feel the overwhelm I did. I have promised another reader that Steigan will
get a happy ending (though if you paid attention when Onesong was running on my
blog, you know it didn’t last), but I hope that I can give Martias a happy
ending too in memory of Sherri.
There is one more book that I didn’t include in my list of Cirvel’s stories and it might be an important one. It’s the story where Elliot is the main character. Now Elliot is a different breed. If you read For a Good Time, Call Loki, then you saw Elliot as a (pre)teen. Yeah, I’m being vague on that. His novel starts many years later and involves characters that I believe are Cirvel’s children. What I am missing is the little spark which really pulls this into being a book in the chain of Cirvel’s long-term plans. I feel like I am so close to finding the tie, but I have yet to put the bow on it. You’ll probably hear me screaming with joy the very moment I discover it. (grin)
So yes, if you were paying attention in that last paragraph, you see that in
my “connected universe” I even pull Loki’s and Steigan’s stories together.
Elliot is not the only connection I have either, it’s the only one that has
been published (and I guess doesn’t fully count until I publish Elliot’s book too).
I love these mind games I get to play with myself! Best job in the world. To
me, this is what makes writing so exciting.
And now I’m going to get back to it. So many books to write. So little time.
I can’t believe we’re almost halfway through November now. When did that happen?
I’ve been reviewing where I’m at and all I accomplished (or didn’t) this year. It feels strange to not have my next publication date at least in mind — the calendar right now is barren, at least in that aspect. I do know what’s coming, I just don’t know how long it will take to get there; more on that in a moment. Right now, I’m about 10,000 words away from hitting my yearly word goal that I’d wanted to accomplish. I figure I’ll be there by the end of November. There is a part of me that’s tempted to take a month off. Don’t worry, I won’t — I fully plan on breaking the tape and continuing beyond, mostly because I’m curious how far I can go. Last year was too much of a push, so I had backed off some this year and still wanted to make it a challenge. I think that challenge has pretty much become norm for me, but I might want to shift my goals a little next year, so I need to take good stock of what I can do.
Next up on what I plan to publish is Tangled Magic. I’ve been working that over this week and am finally getting to a place where I’m satisfied with it. If you read the whole thing here on my blog, you are in for some wonderful changes. I hope you will be as delighted by the arrangement of scenes (it was getting a bit fragmented there at the end) and new scenes that have been added as I am. I do still have a lot of work to do on Walk the Path, but I hope it comes together just as quickly. Obviously there is also Dragons of Wellsdeep which is getting close to… well, I feel as if I should be three quarters of the way through, but I don’t think I am. But I know the direction I’m heading. I don’t know if I’ve ripped out a scene that will be coming up in the next couple of weeks or not — in trying to structure as I go, I can clearly see that this scene doesn’t fit, at least now where it’s at. I really liked the scene too. But maybe another book. Maybe it’ll be a book where I write the story around the scene just so I can have it (then I’d probably end up tearing the scene out of there too because it wouldn’t fit –writers are weird creatures).
That’s three books I plan on having out next year.
I know, I know. I hear you! There’s no Loki or Sacred Knight in that list. I know already!
This week, I started the cuts on Tangled Magic and Walk the Path. It was frustratingly hard to make that first surgical incision, yet it had to be done.
The little voice in my head kept telling me that I should be working on designing some covers. “You’re not finding this fun because you don’t have covers designed for the next few books, like Cirvel’s story. Yeah,go design a cover for that. Just a quick little jaunt to see what you can find for cover material, it won’t hurt. You’re just sitting here with you head in your hands anyway.”
Fortunately, I recognized the liar for what she was: a distraction! I often shot back with, “Well, I don’t even know the title yet, so it’s kind of hard to build a cover without knowing the title. How about you go and work on that?”
I want to personally apologize if anyone heard my near continuous, mental screams of anguish this weekend.
It has been very difficult.
I finished the plot outline for Tangled Magic and Walk the Path, which meant it was time to sharpen the focus. That’s kind of hard to do when you don’t even have focus. On Saturday, I obsessed over the dang thing so much that I nearly didn’t get my words done for the day. I did, but I totally had to shove the story out of my head and not let in any distraction. I did write about Cirvel, but he took me on a wild ride and showed me a piece of his world from before the time of Tangled Magic and so I was on a thrilling adventure. If Cirvel had turned to me, as character often do, and asked if I now really, really, really wanted Rivic to win, I probably would have sank to my knees, giggled, and said, “No, Cirvel, you are forever the Lord of Gohaldinest. Only a monster would want that wimpy kid to beat you.” **giggle**
Four hours of yard work on Saturday has left me sore and achy. I didn’t even get up Sunday morning to record audio as I usually do. I was hard to get my words in Saturday night, but I did. I should have listened to the little voice that said I should have gotten my words done in the morning before tackling the pine needles in the back yard. Whoever thought to put a Ponderosa pine in a residential neighborhood was an idiot. The tree was planted years before I moved in. Now it’s a behemoth.
Other than that, I’ve been trying to get back into routine this week from Adrian’s play last week. My maniac drive to get audio done seems to have subsided for the moment, giving way to my need for sleep.
The only thing I can really claim that I’ve accomplished this last week, other than my daily word count and my daily Inktober posts on Instagram, is that I’m nearly done with the full plot outline for Tangled Magic and Walk the Path. I’m so glad that I’m building this because I’ve found some spots where I can move things around if necessary as well as a few holes from the mess of writing I was doing posting it as Onesong here on my blog. These two books are so going through two readers — one for continuity and the other for proofreading — before they see the light of day. I hope the two readers I have for this are ready.
Here we are, halfway through the first month of the last quarter of 2018. I can’t believe this year is rapidly coming to an end.
I was looking at my projects this weekend. I don’t think I’ll have any more publications this year, but there will be several novels released in 2019. I currently am actively working on 6 novels and one story which I’m not sure if it will be novella length or a full novel. Several of these stories I hope will be released next year.
My son was in a play this last week and so it was a week with an odd schedule. My youngest came to watch Adrian’s play, which allowed me to see him for a bit. I kept myself flexible in order to keep myself working and getting things done.
I’ve made October an interesting month so far. Now not only do I have the “get the words done” goal each day, but I also have a picture to draw and ink for Inktober. Hopefully you saw my post last Thursday showing all the one’s I’d completed up to that point. Yes, there will be more this Thursday. But, as I said, now I have two goals to reach per day instead of only one.
See, my life is the same as everyone else’s. I wish I could make a plan to accomplish my daily goals, every day, without fail. My achiever personality really would like it that way. But reality is reality and can’t always be anticipated. So I fear the day where I miss my goals.
I’ve been trying to record, when I’m home, a chapter on Saturday and another on Sunday. For the most part, it works really well. I haven’t even been setting an alarm to get up extra early to do it. I’ve just let it happen.
This weekend, I hadn’t expected on a dog puking in the middle of the night. On my bed.
It’s bad enough to wake up to the sound, but to realize that she is on my bed is even worse.
I had to get up and clean the mess. Not fun. I should have known that since Kreeli had come in to sleep with me when Adrian was home that she wasn’t feeling well. She loves Adrian and sticks with him nearly all the time. She’s a pure breed Shih Tzu and his companion; living true to her breeding. The only time she really stays with me is when Adrian is gone, she wants some quiet time in my writing office away from everything else, or she’s sick. She hadn’t come in to stay with me after I went to bed and Adrian hadn’t come home from work yet, so I should have been suspicious when she came in after he got home. I just felt her move up on the bed and didn’t give it much more thought.
Until that moment I was cleaning up my blankets in the middle of the night.
Needless to say, it disrupted my sleep cycle and I certainly didn’t wake up earlier than usual.
But the morning still worked out so I could jump in the booth and record a chapter while Adrian took Merlin for a walk. Strangely (not really), Kreeli didn’t want to go; she stayed home and slept. I had nearly finished the chapter when Adrian came home, and I did finish while he started getting breakfast together. Worked out perfectly.
So often when I’m writing a blog post meant to inspire, I talk about it being a choice. You can’t help it when life happens to you (a puking dog in the middle of the night), but you can’t let it stop you from choosing your dreams (figuring out how to record a chapter even when everyone in the house is now awake). I even thought about recording the chapter after I’d finished cleaning up and was getting ready to settle back into bed. I didn’t because I knew I was so tired and I wanted to give a good performance, not a mediocre, irritated, tired one.
And so that is how this week had gone. I made the choice to do Inktober, so I need to figure out how to work it into a schedule that already seems too full. I’m hoping that Inktober serves the same purpose that Nanowrimo did nearly 3 years ago when I participated in that; forces me to learn to use my time wisely to achieve my goals. I know a lot of writers who don’t like Nanowrimo for one reason or another. I think it works well for overcoming the mental block of “I don’t have time to write.” Even if the writer tries and fails, they tried and learned what they are capable of doing. I really want to know how to fit drawing into my schedule, even though I have done it long enough to finish Eggs at Play, I also want to find time to practice/learn/experiment, draw my comic, paint, and work on my next children’s book. The only way I will do that is if I make the choice to do something that will push and challenge me so I can prove to myself that I can do it.
It’s not like i write 50,000 words every month as in Nanowrimo. Most months, I only average around 30,000. That’s a comfortable amount for me. Yes, I have proven I can do 50,000, but I now know where a good level is for me. It’s like weight-lifting where you see how much you can lift, then you adjust down to a lower weight in order to do the reps. I want Inktober to show me that I can draw every day, how that flow feels, and helps me get back to a schedule where I have drawing incorporated into my week.
I’ll tell you, it has already proven enlightening. I have discovered something about myself that I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been pushing myself to get Inktober drawings done. I learned that I can’t see lines. I am finally understanding what artists mean by figuring out the shapes, and I understand the concept of negative space, but I haven’t figured out how to simplify something like a photograph down to its simplest lines. This shouldn’t really surprise me. When I listen to music, I hear everything at once, merges, blended. It takes a lot of concentration that I can’t maintain for long if I want to pull one part out, like bass, drums, or a trumpet. I certainly can’t tell what notes they are playing or even attempt to recreate it. When I learned that people could actually follow each individual part and play it, I was astounded.
So what lead me to the realization about the lines? Well, when I was working on Inktober drawings, I would find something simple as a reference drawing. I should have taken a picture of the under-drawing for the “chicken” prompt — I had the cutest little chicken under the cow suit. All but his face was closed off by the time I finished, and the eyes on the face weren’t cute, little, round buttons any more, but sharp eagle eyes. Now mind you, the chicken reference picture was that of a plush. The cow outfit on the chicken I modified from a couple different cartoon references. The “exhausted” prompt where I drew a dead horse, I found a cartoon of a horse with its legs up in the air. It had a saddle on, which I removed in drawing. Then I added all the scenery around it. Yes, it seemed like I was taking simple drawings for reference, then adding my own details to it.
Then, on Sunday, I sat down at Barnes & Noble with some magazines and found a picture I wanted to sketch. It was of a simple cottage with a thatched roof. I’d really like to be able to paint cottages like this. It’s one of my goals. So, I thought sketching this one would help improve my skills. I realized I was seeing everything, at once. I could pull out the lines of perspective because I’ve had enough practice doing that now, but the chimney, the lines of the bricks on the roof, the bricks around the doorway and on the landscaping, the thatching, the forest, the car, it all overwhelmed me. I got frustrated with the sketch. I gave up.
Once I had that failure, I analyzed why I’d had it when I’d been doing so well with Inktober. The answer was clear. Then I was to start taking a marker and going over the picture to simplify it. That’s what I need to do.
Leave it to me to jump in and start learning, then once I reach a certain level I have to go back and figure out all the beginning material. I’ve always been like that. (grin) Blame it on my astrological sign.
For me, learning this makes Inktober already a success. It probably explains where I have plateaued and why. If I can get beyond my frustration and get back to art, it’ll be worth it.
Also this week, I finished and uploaded the audio on For Sale, Call Loki. It’ll probably be released in about two weeks. That means that next week I get to start to work on editing the audio on For a Good Time, Call Loki. I’ve got 4 chapters recorded so far.
I started working on a new logo for my newsletter, but I think that was just a distraction on which I shouldn’t have wasted my time. I need to send my welcome email for readers who have recently joined my list; instead, I delayed it and I should have. I should have sent it, then gone to working on the logo for the next newsletter. Now I need to go send it anyway after delaying it several more days. And I still have no logo. Bad me!
I also started a chapter outline of Tangled Magic. I was working on Walk the Path, but so much had changed and I couldn’t remember the order of scenes that I was frustrating myself. That’s the sign for me to stop and line out the scenes.
It seems like a lot, but to me it doesn’t feel like a productive week. Just a time of trying to keep my head above water. On the other hand, I did a lot of personal projects that needed to get done. I also made applesauce with a bunch of apples that I received. Oh, and I tried to make hamburgers in my Instant Pot — I had to cook them longer than the recipe said, but I was happy with the taste. Have I mentioned that I love my Instant Pot?
Daily word goal reached for 58 days. Weekly word goal reached for 11 weeks.
Writing month to date total: 7,487 words
Writing year to date total: 255,292 words
Drawing/painting last week: No painting this week, but I drew a lot for Inktober. I did take the time to get ahead on my pencil sketches, but I will ink them on the appropriate day. I don’t want pressure that will make me not do this.
Audio: I spent 4 hours recording and editing audio. I uploaded 1 hour 31 minutes of audio for distribution.
This, I feel, has been a good writing week. It’s had an excellent pace to it.
Earlier this week, I gave an introduction into Stonecharmer.
Since then, I have finished the story! Or at least the first book of the story. I still have my ‘rabbit hole’ editing to do on it, but I want to get a ways into the next book before I do that. I’ve know since about halfway through that there would be another book, Stonebreaker. I have now started that book. I’m less than a 1,000 words in so far, but it won’t be long since the story is rolling along.
Plus, the night before I knew I was going to finish Stonecharmer, I felt that there was to be a third book. I know the title, but I don’t yet know if it’s an official title or just a working title, so I’m not going to post it now. Maybe as I get further along. Maybe as soon as I know I have enough material for a third book. I’m really not sure. At this point, I have only minimal story in front of me that I know about. I had really liked the idea of this duo of stories, something along the lines of Tangled Magic and Walk the Path where there are only two parts.