NaNoWriMo-izing Imminent

You may notice some changes in Airworld’s writing style now that NaNoWriMo is starting up. Until now, I have made some small efforts to write grammatically correct sentences, avoid too much repetition within a paragraph, find the right words to describe things, put events in the right sequence, etc.

With the start of NaNoWriMo, all of that is going out the window. I will need to roughly double my daily output, so I will have to go into a more stream-of-consciousness sort of a writing mode and discard all filters. I will at least try to keep the story in order, although I can’t guarantee I won’t put in a “flashback” chapter to events in Rorco, if I find myself stuck. And I will try to avoid writing parts that have nothing to do with anything, like a unicorn charging in from nowhere and stabbing people, or a squad of WWII bombers flying overhead, or a hole dropping the characters into an alternate universe.

What the heck are these things called?

Consider this contemporary engraving of a woman by Wenceslaus Hollar,  from around the mid-1700s:

From here, btw.

Sadly, I am a complete moron when it comes to clothing. If I look at that picture, I see a woman wearing an old-timey dress thingy, with a hat thingy on her head. But for some reason, that description wouldn’t go over very well in a published work of fiction. So, what the heck are these things called?


1. I’m calling this a bonnet, whether it is or not.

2. Is this a corsage? Is this a prom? I guess it’s a bow (cloth, not composite), but shouldn’t it have a better name?

3. I’d be tempted to call this a shawl, but it appears to be attached.

4. It sort of looks like a cuff, but there’s probably a more frilly name for this, probably made from the same material as part 3.

5. This is the “dress.” I guess. I would presume this is the basic color of the dress. (Probably black in this Puritan-ish example.)

6. What is this? It’s like a really long bib.

Oh, and I see I forgot to mark the white part between 1 and 2 covering the neck, which is yet another piece. I’ll call that 1.5.

These are the sorts of challenges that prevent people from becoming full-time authors.

Going Rebel for NaNoWriMo

Drumroll, please! I have decided to go Rebel for NaNoWriMo this year and continue my current WiP, instead of starting a new one. Possibly as many as 2 people could like this news.

I finally decided to drop my previous story idea (which I had sort of dubbed Mixtime – for mixing up people from different times.. get it?). I just couldn’t think of a goal for these disparate characters from different times to work toward once they were together. Every plot idea I wrote down sounded ridiculous, so I would have been writing 50k of pointless nonsense.

Amazingly, I’ll be close to 40k on Airworld by the time Nov 1 rolls around, which means if I complete another 50k that will give me a decent-sized 90k novel.

Lute of the Sparrow Available Again

I have re-published my first novel Lute of the Sparrow on Amazon and CreateSpace.

I have re-published my first novel Lute of the Sparrow on Amazon and CreateSpace. I disabled it a while back because … well, I don’t actually remember why. Possibly because I thought it might hurt my “career” as an author (such as it is). Perhaps I thought that if I ever did submit that novel to a publisher, they might Google it, find it on Amazon, see that only four people have read it, and drop my manuscript in the trash. However the odds of me submitting that manuscript to a publisher without significant alterations is pretty slim.

Lute of the Sparrow for Kindle – 3.49

Lute of the Sparrow for Nook – 3.49

Lute of the Sparrow Paperback from CreateSpace – 9.95

In case you are wondering, no I don’t make any money from those, and no I would not recommend self-publishing unless you 1) hire someone to paint a cover for you and 2) super-dedicate yourself to obnoxious self-promotion 24/7. So don’t quit your day job. :)

Second Thoughts About My Story Seed

NaNoWriMo is flying closer with every second, and I’m terribly unprepared. Last year, I spent months worldbuilding beforehand (and then used almost none of it). This year, I have a story seed that’s been in my head for quite some time, but I’m starting to have second thoughts about it.

Mainly because this “seed” is not much of a story. It’s just a collection of ill-defined characters and the barest thread of an excuse for them to come together. It doesn’t feel “ready.”

So as I see it, I have three options. Well, four: 1) Work on Kubak Outpost, The Sequel (which I do actually have a clear storyline idea for). 2) Work on Curses again and actually complete it no matter what (I do occasionally think – hrm, that nuclear option I did was actually pretty cool – how might it continue after that?) 3) Continue on Airworld and only “count” the words I write starting on Nov 1, which would make it into a nice-sized novel. And 4) Think of something entirely new to write.

Of those options, I think only option 4 actually fits with the “spirit” of NaNoWriMo, which is to get out of your comfort zone and write a new novel with reckless abandon. Option 1 would work, but not optimally because I wouldn’t have to invent any new characters. Options 2 and 3 would definitely put me into the “rebel” camp (I checked).

Of course, there’s also option 5: Stick with my existing story seed and make it work. With reckless abandon.

Perusing the NaNoWriMo forums, there are tons of people who already seem to have their whole novel planned out. What’s up with that?

That or Which: The Bane of My Existence

Is it:

She thought it must be stuck, a problem that was not uncommon in her own Orderhouse.


She thought it must be stuck, a problem which was not uncommon in her own Orderhouse.

Grammar Girl is not helping me.

I think it is “that” instead of “which.”

UPDATE: Looking at this post on 7/25/2013, I now think it should be “which” instead of “that.”

The Blade Itself, Part 3

I’m sure you’ve been wondering what I’m reading. After The Cavern of Black Ice I wanted to read something a little less heavy, so I went back to Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself. Previously I wrote such scintillating endorsements as “it’s not growing on me” and “I got bored.”

Well, the book *did* eventually grow on me. In the second half, I was glad to be reading it. The author did some very interesting things with the narrative voice. Normally, books tend to have a single voice throughout, but Abercrombie was able to change the narrative voice depending on the POV character. For example, the chapters from The Dogman used very down-home, earthy style, like you might hear from a southerner. Whereas the chapters from Jezel, a cultured city-dweller, used more grammatically-correct language. Only the chapters from Glokta had self-dialog, the italicized talking-to-oneself kind of text. I found those things interesting, at least from a behind-the-scenes perspective.

I thought the characters were very well-defined, and they each had amusing personalities, although I found them just a bit comic bookish. That is, sort of larger-than-life or over-the-top, like comic book heroes. I probably should not admit this, but Sand dan Glokta reminded me quite a lot of Soltan Gris from L. Ron Hubbard’s Mission Earth books (yeah, I read it, you wanna fight about it?) – he’s basically a really bad guy with a hilarious sense of humor. Actually, I found myself chuckling quite a lot through the entire book.

It’s a good thing that the characters were interesting, because the plot was *not* compelling. In fact, I’m not sure I can even describe the plot. A Magi inexplicably returns, the north inexplicably declares war on the south, and in the middle of it all there is a fencing tournament. It’s one of those character-driven books where everyone seems to be doing their own thing and “getting ready” to do something epic, like the whole book is one big long prologue.

Readers beware: There is no resolution at the end of the book. You will have to read the next one (I think it’s a trilogy).

Prologue to NaNoWriMo

I just totally cheated and wrote the first paragraph of my NaNoWriMo novel.

I just totally cheated and wrote the first paragraph of my NaNoWriMo novel. I couldn’t take the chance that I would forget it before November 1st!

First there were sounds. Indistinct, without description. From far away. Then there were shapes, shadows on shadow, fluid. But something familiar about the shapes. Some took on forms that were recognizable. A tree. A house. A home? My home? A face, lips moving, speaking words just out of reach. Mother? Sister? All so strange, so far away. Who am I? What is that feeling? Coldness in the air, clutching his skin, shivering his bones. I am dreaming. I am a he. I have a name, and I am waking. Why should that seem so strange?

Well, I can’t wait to see what happens next, at least. I’ll have to add an additional 100 words to my target goal to make up for the cheating.

Upcoming Schedule

Looking at my schedule, which is really a virtual schedule, in that there is nothing to physically look at, I see that October has just begun, and I’m currently a little over 15k into Airworld, and writing at what I estimate to be a slothful rate of 500 words a day. NaNoWriMo begins on November 1 and runs through November 30.

Naobi still has to have an adventure in Sarin Morn, some kind of discovery or adventure in Leavon, and, assuming nothing else happens, she still needs to deal with the Council. Which does not even consider events going on back in Motiva. Basically what I’m saying is that there is very little chance I’m going to be done with Airworld by the end of October, unless I miraculously begin writing closer to 2000 words a day.

So don’t be surprised if I have to set it aside during November. I’ll try to get to a somewhat logical stopping point, at least.