More help for Clarion West (of a different sort)

Just found out yesterday that someone broke into the Clarion West sorority house and stole 4 laptops, some clothing, and other stuff. Apparently they broke a window and grabbed everything they could. There are many times I wish I had the power to send down lightning on someone, and this is one of them. If this had happened to me at my Clarion I would have been just devastated. I also could not have afforded to replace the laptop. This is the situation 4 students find themselves in now.

They have temporary computers, I hear, but will definitely need some replacements. Clarion West is collecting donations toward that end. I know many of you have pledged or donated for the write-a-thon and may not be able to spare anything. But if you can, please do. Having a laptop stolen, no matter who you are, is heartbreaking. But when you’re a writer and your laptop is your livelihood, it’s indescribably horrid.

If you can, please donate here (be sure to put in the notes that this is for laptop replacement and not the general fund) and contact the workshop admins at info -at- clarionwest.org if you can help by donating/selling at low cost a spare laptop. Thanks.

This Week @ Fantasy

This Week @ Fantasy

This week we had a lot of interesting stuff go up at Fantasy, so you should all check it out!

First, this week’s story, Marrying the Sun, by the writer to watch out for, Rachel Swirsky.  Rachel has also agreed to do a Puppet Strings Author Spotlight for us, so go over there and ask her questions about her story and such.

And if you’re still in need of a fiction fix, there’s an excerpt from Seaborn by Chris Howard available.

On the non-fiction side, I did an interview with Gregory Banks about disability in SF/F fiction and there’s a review of Empress by my homeslice Naamen.

And, of course, today is Fantasy Friday.  Time to Blog For A Beer!  We’re talking about superheroes and property damage today, inspired by my marathon watching of Justice League Unlimited.  Almost every show in the Bruce Timm DC Animated Universe is like crack to me, so I’m happy to get a chance to talk about it (even if this particular aspect is annoying).

Write-a-thon Week 2 Update

Write-a-thon Week 2 Update

The reason for the lack of updates this week is that I hadn’t been writing much (due mainly to work and such) but I knew that this week’s chapter wasn’t going to be very long so I felt okay about waiting.  Last night, when I was very tired and wanted to sleep, I had a revelation about the chapter, switched my protagonist from female to male, and wrote it all in one sitting.  It’s only around 1000 words and isn’t likely to get much longer in revision, so I guess I have room for a longer chapter somewhere else.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,335 / 53,000
(10.1%)

Since I’m done early this week, I’m going to pause for more research. I just got a book on Egypt by Margaret Murray, one of the few early female Egyptologists, and I’m looking forward to seeing her take on different aspects of the culture and history.

Cosmology

Cosmology

I’m hitting a strange wall in writing this novel now in that I have not nailed down the cosmology of the culture, therefore I can’t write the interstitial bits between the chapters explaining what the purpose of the different neighborhoods are, which all depend on the cosmology.  This does not completely stop me from writing the chapters because I can work around it, come back and change, etc.  But having that nailed down would really help me figure out what needs to happen in some of the pivotal parts.

When I first conceived of the city, I put it in an alternate universe of dynastic Egypt where certain stupidities did not happen.  But now I’m waffling — I’m not sure if I want the timeframe to be dynastic Egypt or pre-dynastic.  And I don’t know if I want my gods and goddesses to be actual deities or closer to the indigenous concept of NTRs (the word some Egyptologists translate as gods) as senses or aspects of consciousness.  The reason for all this waffling is that I’m reading some books by alternative Egyptologists, some of which I’ve read before (but it’s becoming obvious to me that I’ve forgotten a fair bit of the info), and they keep presenting theories that make me want to rework the cosmology and some parts of the culture to fit them.  At the same time, I feel like if I tried to incorporate all of this stuff, I’ll end up with a culture so alien and strange no one will be able to relate.  And then there’s the stuff that would also totally mess up my overall plot, which I cannot have.  But… it’s all so interesting!

Right now I’m resolved to finish the books, then try to sort out all the ideas and such in my head.  I obviously need a cosmology and culture that feels real nd thought-out, but I am afraid of too much complexity overwhelming the story.

And the final thing I am trying to keep in mind is that I’m writing a novel and not a historical essay.  I’m not even writing a historical novel, but a fantasy novel set in a fantasy world that is based on an actual historical period.  And therefore I am allowed to make stuff up.  I actually do need to remind myself of this when I go into Writing Egypt mode because I’ve done so much research on this stuff and I love the real history and culture and want to be true to those things I love.  Still, it’s my novel, I am allowed to make shit up.

Right?

Keeping Count

Keeping Count

A little while ago I calculated how long the novel would be based on the number of chapters averaging about 4K each.  I also have a prologue and suspect an epilogue, neither of them longer than 2K.  That comes out to about 55K total.  It’s low, but when I go through and edit i’ll probably add at least a thousand words to each chapter filling in sensory detail and what stuff looks like, since I tend to leave that out the first time through.  Other people take out words, I have to shove them in!

So right now my goal is 55K, and thus I got one of these cute little progress things:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,388 / 55,000
(8.0%)

I’m not counting the prologue I wrote since it needs to be rewritten… a lot.  Still, it’s a good start.

Shall I take a day off or get started on the next chapter?  Decisions, decisions…

Week 1/Chapter 1 Progress

Week 1/Chapter 1 Progress

Wrote 1,029 words today.  My goal has been to write at least 1K every day since I’m aiming for the chapters to be between 3 and 5,000 or so.  So far, I’m meeting that goal and I have a little over 4,000 total.  I have probably one or two scenes to go and then I need to write the interstitial/intro thingy, which will be 500-1,000 words.  In other words I’m still on track to finish by Sunday.  Yeah!

I spent a lot of time today pondering if I want to tackle the story that inspired this novel and get it in shape for an urban fantasy anthology I want to submit to.  I don’t know if I can write it in such a way that it will work as a chapter for the novel… we’ll see.

Moving Right Along

Moving Right Along

Over 1,000 words today on chapter 1.  I completed a difficult exposition-heavy scene and am satisfied with the expositionyness of it.  Tomorrow I take my girls to the temple of Nebt-hut and they get to talk to a goddess and possibly throw down!

I’ll probably finish by Saturday.  Friday if I shirk work, which I should not do…

I’m amazed at the ease of writing this chapter now that I know exactly what happens.  Let’s hope this trend continues for the next six weeks.  That, of course, depends on me knowing what happens in 5 other chapters, which could prove an issue.

In other news, one of my stories was rejected the other day and I’ve completely run out of markets for it.  It’s a difficult match because it’s around 11,000 words and not many markets take stuff that long.  It’s one of my older stories and there’s not much hope of making it shorter, so I suppose I’ll just have to trunk it or put it up on the blog or something.  It makes me sad, as I absolutely love this story… sigh.