Let's Get Kraken

Boarders Writing a Novel Part 15

47 posts in this topic

14 hours ago, Ebenstone said:

Hey folks....

I've challenged myself to finish a novelette I'd been toying with for years before the end of this year. Between firing my agent and this election, I've been completely jammed up. I've started and stopped four separate projects since June. So I've dedicated myself to doing two things in the remaining 15 days of 2016:

  1. Finish the PENSIONER'S BROOCH, the novelette I just mentioned, in 15 days. 
  2. Research and start planning a Roaring 20s wizard novel I'm describing as Harry Potter meets The Great Gatsby. 

Natch, I looked back at my BROOCH notes and rewrote the outline I had for it and now it's more of a novella and I'm giving myself until the end of 2016 to finish it. 

So, wish me luck!

Good luck!

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Since publishing my sci-fi novella Boldhammer in the last week of November on Amazon Kindle, I've sold 16 copes (albeit a lot were to friends/family). The equivelent of 7 copies have been read via Prime Unlimited/Lending library.  I've had 3 reviews (2 5 star and 1 4 star) albeit confined to Amazon.co.uk.  Not too bad going.  Whe I clear my feet after the new year, I hope to start the follow-up novella (Hammerfall).  I had intended to do the story as 6 novellas, but as I want the stories to be fairly self-contained, I'll do 2 novellas and 1 novel, and take it from there.  The novel actually opens it into a series of novels.

I've tried to make the characters diverse, i.e a trans-gender character, a gender-neutral character etc, and used mostly made up gender-neutral terms for people of unknown/neutral gender rather than 'it/they'.  The protagonist, while following in the tradition of Han Solo/Mal Reynolds, is black.  His 1st officer (and former General from their military days) is female.  Due to living in differnt environments, I've tried to make it clear the human race has diverged a lot since leaving Earth.  I quite like my hyperspace concept too - hyperspace is essentially all of space/time condensed into the same instant: People won't (or shouldn't) emerge in different times, but they'll see stars and galaxies that are dead or still to form.  Whether time travel is possible through mishap is something I'll explore down the line.

 

Still waiting to hear from Gollancz re my Victorian supernatural mystery novel, submitted through their open submission window early in the year.  If it's a NO, or I never hear back, it'll be time to start agent-hunting.

 

The first draft of my novella written for Tor's open submission window in January is almost done; will be a rush to redraft and edit.  It's set in a fantasy equivelent of northern Africa, in an area inspired by Morocco, Egypt, and Stygia from the Conan stories/mmorpg.  The protagonists are a 13 year old street thief called Tamira, and a mage from the south of the continent called Shukara.  It starts in an ancient city called Mask, inspired by Marrakesh and Conan's Khemi, and I've also put my visit to Ait Benhaddou to good use (an old village used in Game of Thrones, Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and a lot more).  After an adventure in Mask, mutual vengeance leads them down a river (think the Nile) to a region on the edge of the desert (Ait Benhaddou), and across part of the desert to their destination to get revenge.  

 

It's a prequel of sorts to my in-progress fantasy novel, The Blood Hour, but features only 'African' characters.  The two protagonists are female, one black, the other from a nation inspired by Egypt/Morocco.  I've researched the trans-saharan caravan route, and the types of trade that occurred in Africa before European colonisation.  Still to think of a name for the novella

 

Edited by Derfel Cadarn

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Any tips on writing a revenge plot?

Edited by SpaceChampion

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I have written a fantasy novel (677 pages) and I will aim to publish it this year. If anyone wants to read, I would be happy to oblige. It needs some polishing.

From the prologue. It's probably not that very good from your standards. :)

................................................

Prologue

Under the Polar Lights

 

*

Mushroom clouds of fresh snow cascaded behind his feet, particles of dark water thrown into the sky and freezing to shards of ice before landing on the cold, white blanket. He ran on all fours now, crinkle-crankling his way forward, never looking back, never looking up. His nostrils breathed vapour, the tongue tasting cold from blood. Maybe, just maybe, it had been a mistake?

 

Looking forth over the frozen lake’s horizon, they were still distant – the firs garbed in their thick snow-coats, glowing blue in the reflection of the brighter Moon. And the frozen sky sang the hymn of the Polar Lights, the creaking, slowly rolling green waves shielding a star-pocked black endlessness.

 

He felt that calm again – when he fully, truly became his body. How his breathing relaxed to give a regular feed to the pulsing heart, how the tendons rhythmically stretched out and retracted, how the veins expanded, how he was one with his body and reacted with it, all the thoughts, worries and estimates disappearing behind the need of immediate survival. Knowing every breath to be his last, he lived for the moment, sliding down a dune of powder-like white which promptly blew up behind him, burying him under the white. Turning around, he started to run west, alongside the dune, while the hunters – too fast, too inflexible for their own good – flew south before making a wide turn, finally allowing him to put some space between them and himself. On the razor’s edge, he breathed out while running – the first thought he’d allowed himself since the chase had begun.

 

Others might find his lack of desperation or despair perplexing. After all, wasn’t he one hundred and fifty leagues away from his homeland, running away over a snow-covered ice lake in the middle of a cold winter’s night?  Hadn’t he just seen his best friend, his closest comrade, being struck down and scattered in patterns red over the fields of white? Yet, the predominant feeling inside him was an impassionate confidence, a faith in the strength, stamina and sheer survival will of his body.

 

An observer witnessing the chase would have seen two winged shadows hounding a rabbit. A rabbit garbed in a white uniform-like jacket, a pair of white gloves and a white scarf tightly wrapped round the neck. Appearances did deceive, and this particular creature – the one chased by the two mirages – had spent years refining his skills of appearing like a regular lagomorph. Of course, he wasn’t really a rabbit – for rabbits could not speak, adorn themselves by clothes or handle tools and weapons.

 

Normally he walked upright, like most individuals of his race. When he did so, he stood above two feet tall – excluding his ears – and that was considered to be on the tall side of the spectrum amongst his peers. While rabbits had beautifully arched spines, his Race had straight and sturdy spines which nevertheless were flexible. Instead of front legs, he had arms ending with hands displaying five slender digits – four regular fingers and a thumb. They were not large hands, but they were much useful for him. The arms were of the same length, however, as rabbits’ front legs, and could easily be used for running. His skull was somewhat less elongated and with a larger lobe than that of a rabbit, and his eyes were placed looking forward rather than mounted on the sides of the head. These differences, however, were not markedly noticeable, at least not enough for untrained eyes to not judge that what they saw running on the frozen was indeed a light-brown rabbit with silver markings over his brows, dressed in a white jacket.

 

So, what was it that he was?

 

His kind was known as Leporians. For centuries, they had been known under that moniker throughout the Northlands. Like rabbits, they formed closely-knit communities and nourished themselves on the green growing from nature. Unlike their four-legged cousins, however, they were farmers, growing various species of wheat and vegetables. Planning ahead, they salvaged for the harsh winters, though sometimes even that wasn’t enough. Rats, wet seasons, gruesome snaps of cold and parasites could cause famines. Knowing this, most of their religion and culture had been designed around the brief harvest season, and their entire society – developed under countless generations – was centred around the notion that every Leporian was responsible to see to it that everybody went to their beds with content bellies.

 

By rituals and sacrifices, they tried to acquire the mercy of a higher power. By laws, they tried to protect their communities and individual rights. By collective effort, they struggled to live and bring up their young in a world which could feed them. They had sung hymns to agriculture, created art to celebrate rural, pastoral work and they had written guide-books on how to successfully cultivate crops. And they were proud that they had adapted so well to the unforgiving northern climate. In many ways, Non-leporians would find them familiar, for really – they were a nation of farmers, desiring nothing more than a good life and a space in the world to live and thrive. Just like farmers from other Races had done since times past.

 

He did not reflect on all of this, for he did not have the luxury of time right now. He knew however that he needed to return home, to his people, to tell what he had seen, to warn them of the danger approaching – this time for the first time from the North, from where all that had previously bothered them had been the boreal winter breaths and occasional sulphuric summer rains. Of course bothersome, they had not consisted actual threats. This time it was different – what he had seen unfold could very well spell the end of his entire Race. He should have felt crushed by this responsibility. After all, he was alone in the Wilderness, a hundred leagues of icy lakes, frozen moors, stilled streams and forests sleeping under thick sheets of snow between him and his homeland, and he was the only Leporian alive who knew of the impeding darkness. For him, however, all that was just objective facts. He even found it a bit strange that he preferred situations with few possible solutions – for when one had eliminated the unfeasible and the unrealistic, the reachable roads would manifest itself beyond the haze, and one just had to follow them to their conclusion.

 

For this particular Leporian, running for his life through the nightly winter wonderland, was not an ordinary Leporian.

 

He was a warrior, tasked with defending his homeland and his people, bucks, does and little-ones. For weeks and sometimes months in row, he had reconnoitred the northern wastelands, and had years of training and experience in self-defence, combat and ambush techniques, survival skills and camouflage behind him. His designation was ‘Veteran Rim Scout’, given as a badge of honour to those bucks (and very rarely does) who had ventured over the Rim fifty times. In a dozen or so encounters, he and his comrades had emerged victorious – sometimes against pretty nasty odds. He had endured wounds, especially during his early days. He had suffered fatigue several times. Once, he had even been taken captive. He had seen and gone through much, and never had he complained – for it was not in his nature, and for he knew his sacrifices were made so his family, his children and their mother, could sleep safely at night.

 

A part of him couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty, for there was elation in the blood which he tasted. Never before had he, or maybe any other Leporian since Rusk himself, stood before a threat of this magnitude. And never before had he found himself in such a mortal peril, hounded over a frozen lake, several days’ journey from his comrades, maybe already surrounded by the Enemy. A certain form of twisted happiness rushed through his veins, that he would live to experience this – to see the limits of his own body!

 

He continued to run, snow-dust swirling behind his feet as he focused all his energies. Just a few jumps away from the lakeshore...

 

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36 minutes ago, Lux said:

 

................................................

Prologue

Under the Polar Lights

 

*

Mushroom clouds of fresh snow cascaded behind his feet, particles of dark water thrown into the sky and freezing to shards of ice before landing on the cold, white blanket. He ran on all fours now, crinkle-crankling his way forward, never looking back, never looking up. HeHis nostrils breathed vapour, the tongue tasteding cold from blood. Maybe, just maybe, it had been a mistake?

Looking forth over the frozen lake’s horizon, tThey were still distant. the firs gGarbed in their thick snow-coats, the firs gloweding blue in the reflection of the brighter Moonlight. And tThe frozen sky sang the hymn of the Polar Lights, the creaking, slowly rolling green waves rolling inshielding a star-pocked black endlessness.

He felt that calm againwhen he fully, truly became his body. How hHis breathing relaxed to give a regular feed to the pulsing heart, how the his tendons rhythmically stretched out and retracted, how the his veins expanded, how he was one with his body and reacted with it, all the tThoughts, worries and estimates disappeareding behind the need forof immediate survival. Knowing every breath to be his last, he lived for the moment, He sliding down a snow dune of powder-like white which promptly blew up behind him, burying him under the white. Turning around, he started to run ran west, alongside the dune, while the hunters – too fast, too inflexible for their own good – flew south before making a wide turn, finally allowing him to put some space between them and himself. On the razor’s edge, he breathed out while running – the first thought he’d allowed himself since the chase had begun.

Here's some editing for the first few paragraphs.

  • You have a tendency to overwrite. A fair bit of this comes across as trying too hard to impress the reader - which is a shame, since there are some nice pieces of imagery here (I love "crinkle-crankled" as a verb).
  • Related to the above, delete unnecessary words. Especially adverbs and adjectives.
  • The concealing "He" feels like you're playing a trick. Give the character a name.
  • More seriously, after these paragraphs you seem to be blending an omniscient narrator with the character's own POV. Which is it? The former won't have access to the character's internal monologue and the latter won't be thinking about what he looks like to an external observer.

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Okay, I hate doing this, but DM that stuff please or make arrangements to crit off board. This isn't the spot for this!

Edited by Ebenstone

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Yeah, I think you have to be able to describe how you like a work before you can critique it. And not just in a spoon full of suger to help the medicine go down way, but liking it first, then as a secondary priority, helping with structure.

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On 1/12/2017 at 7:55 PM, Ebenstone said:

Okay, I hate doing this, but DM that stuff please or make arrangements to crit off board. This isn't the spot for this!

Here's the place where the crits should go. I's hiding on page 8 or so. ;)

 

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On 12/20/2016 at 5:57 PM, Derfel Cadarn said:

Still waiting to hear from Gollancz re my Victorian supernatural mystery novel, submitted through their open submission window early in the year.  If it's a NO, or I never hear back, it'll be time to start agent-hunting.

I'm in that boat as well. I actually managed to talk to them at a con last year but they didn't have anything more concrete than 'soon', which is not particularly helpful. I should probably start agent hunting regardless of their eventual response but I'm out of spoons atm so I'll just have to play the waiting game a little longer. 

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51 minutes ago, Selysin said:

I'm in that boat as well. I actually managed to talk to them at a con last year but they didn't have anything more concrete than 'soon', which is not particularly helpful. I should probably start agent hunting regardless of their eventual response but I'm out of spoons atm so I'll just have to play the waiting game a little longer. 

Theyve replied to queries on their August blog update - they're on the 3rd sift, and by mid Feb eeryone should have heard.  They did say they missed sendibg a few letters to some rejected earlier last year, so of not heard by late feb email them

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I do not generally appear in any versions of these threads, but it seems like the right place to ask: What sites are people using? I've recently dipped my toes into Scribophile on the recommendation of my erstwhile writing partner.  I've not gone too far down the rabbit hole there as, for the same reasons I don't generally participate here, I am my own worst critic and very hesitant to share. But I'm working on that!  

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Can anyone offer help?

 

I'm tweaking my novel set in 1890's Glasgow, having realised my characters are often too infomal for the era.  So I'm having people use first names less often, particularly between opposite genders.

 

my question is, how would a friend refer to a father and son present at the same time?  If he calls them both Hunt, it'll get confusing.  Formally they'd be introduced as Mr Hunt and Mr Wilton Hunt, and the son could be formaly called Mr Wilton, but what about less formally?

I believe in public schools, brothrs would be labelled Major and Minor, would that also be for father/son?  Or Maximus/Minimus?

Thanks!

 

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On 2/12/2017 at 4:45 AM, Derfel Cadarn said:

Can anyone offer help?

 

I'm tweaking my novel set in 1890's Glasgow, having realised my characters are often too infomal for the era.  So I'm having people use first names less often, particularly between opposite genders.

 

my question is, how would a friend refer to a father and son present at the same time?  If he calls them both Hunt, it'll get confusing.  Formally they'd be introduced as Mr Hunt and Mr Wilton Hunt, and the son could be formaly called Mr Wilton, but what about less formally?

I believe in public schools, brothrs would be labelled Major and Minor, would that also be for father/son?  Or Maximus/Minimus?

Thanks!

 

Is the friend closer in age to the father or the son?  Was he friends with one before he met the other?

If the friend is closer to the father's age, the father might be "Hunt" and the son might be "Wilton, my boy", or "young master Wilton"

If the friend  is closer to the son's age, the father might always be "Mr. Hunt" and the son be "Wilton" or "Hunt"

 

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Sounds like it could become a plot point in itself - people trying to navigate their ridiculously designed social status rules when the rules don't actually cover every situation.

Sounds like playing D&D, actually...

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Here's the weird week that should show you how weird the publishing industry is:

-Last week I got a requested rewrite from a small publisher for one project. Not super heavy lifting either. Puts the 90s ski epic I was trying (and struggling) to write on the backburner. I'm cautiously optimistic.

-Monday I got a request for a whole from a project that I'd sort of abandoned. The query was 76 days old, so that's a good thing.

-Yesterday I for a request for another whole from another project that I'd sent out on a lark. That query was less than 3 weeks old. 

-Yesterday I also got a rejection on a query from the Monday project, query was about the same age too, where it appeared like the agent ripped into my book. Rereading the letter, it was just his rejection letter stating "common mistakes" then listing a bunch of suggested HOW TO books. 

So, the message here is never give up. 

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Not really a big deal compared to what some of you are doing but I thought I'd share that as of last night I have finally finished rewriting my sixth short story. No idea about the quality though because I am a terrible judge of my own writing so I'm going to see what a few trusted friends of mine have to say. Anyway, I wish all of you the best of luck with your own writing and hope that you are all getting by well too.

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Getting published is by no means the end of your troubles as I'm currently going through what we might call a "messy divorce" with one of my publishers. This sort of thing can and often does make you grateful for contracts but also means you often find yourself having to drag out things you'd otherwise just like to end.

I'm in my 3rd year as a published author now with my Supervillainy Saga series having done extremely well (3 times 1st bestselling audible audiobook in humor) but more modest sales with my other series and a couple of actual duds. Some of my fans crossover with my other works while other times they don't.

It happens.

I'm moderating my publishing so series I was originally going to leave open ended I'm going to now leave as stand-alones or trilogies. The exceptions are my Supervillainy Saga and my Agent G books. The latter is a series I've written three novels for already and intend to keep writing even if they don't sell (which I hope they will) because it's just so FUN to write.

It started its pre-order today.

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Posted (edited)

I am currently writing the concluding (4th novel) in my series and experiencing a tremendous sense of nostalgia and symmetry. To explain, for those of you who have been on here long enough, I began writing my first novel when my first child was born and my wife was very ill. I was awake doing the night feeds and the idea of the novel popped into my head. This idea led to my first novel and the launch of my series.

Fast forward eight years and we have just given birth to our third child 3.5 weeks ago. This will be a final child and it feels like I have come full cycle as I write the final novel in my series. Soppy I knew, but I feel a great sense of pride  as I write the novel.

Edited by Snikt5
Formatting

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