Monday, October 21, 2013

Decimate the Lightning Bugs

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Mark Twain

Let's talk about the word decimate. It's a lightning word when used correctly, but more often than not it's used as a lightning bug.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Goodreads and the "Community"

Here is an interesting perspective on Goodreads and the "community" that it has created.

First, I have to say that I really like Goodreads for all of the reasons stated in the article. It gives a place where authors can engage readers and vice versa. It gives a good "landing place" for your novel. It also connects to your blog, so that what I'm typing here will show up there eventually. Goodreads is a great site for authors and readers.

Dealing with negative reviews is tough, however. As authors, we spend so much time with our work that it is easy to be sensitive about it. The books we write are like our children, and nobody wants to have their little snowflakes criticized. That being said, though, once we bring our work to the table and release it, it's up to the public to judge it, even if we might think that judgment is unfair, incorrect, or even spiteful in origin.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Risan Bracelet Design


This is a preliminary design of the "entwined, opposed serpents" that appears in my upcoming novel, Fallen Rise. The symbol is used in several places, such as the design of a pledge bracelet, the cross-guard of a sword, and a banner. It figured heavily enough that I wanted to see it visually, so I built it using a CAD program called Campaign Cartographer 2, followed by a pass in Photoshop. The snake heads are stylized and do not represent a specific serpent,though they are closer in design to the heads of venomous vipers. I'm also considering making a more iconographic version for a chapter header flourish.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fallen Rise: Book I statistics


Fallen Rise is the first novel in the the gritty, epic fantasy series that I have been writing. It is the story of a noble woman who has fallen into disrepute, and her search for redemption in the eyes of her people. Here is Chapter Two, the introduction of one of the main protagonists.

The novel is broken into two books, and the first draft of Book I is pretty much complete. I've said that before, however I wasn't entirely satisfied with the notes on which it ended, so I added another chapter, which serves to both ratchet up the tension and clarify the stakes. With a little bit more work, it could potentially be published independently, if it weren't for the fact that there are no resolutions to any of the problems, as Book I ends with all the protagonists in crisis.


I've yet to decide how I'm going to proceed when it is all finished, whether I'll try to shop it traditionally or whether I'll try to self-publish again. Offering the first half of the novel for free might be a way to sell the series.

Here are the first draft statistics for Book I:

Chapters: 24
Words: 63,133
Cut Words: 24,528
Average Words Per Chapter: 2630.5
Book I Estimated Words: 60,000
Total Estimated Words: 120,000
Project Status: 52.6% complete

Characters: 345,979
Average Word Length:  5.48
POVs: 7

Deceased/Named Characters: 10/42

I'm 2.6% over budget in regards to my word count, but I'm not terribly concerned by that. I hit close enough to the mid-point that I'm satisfied, and there is yet some editing to do, besides. Everything seems on track to end at about the 120k word mark, and overall I think I'm in a pretty good position in regards to the story arc and overall pace.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Preview of Fallen Rise

Here is Chapter Two from Fallen Rise, the low-fantasy novel on which I'm presently working.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Quietude

I've been quiet as of late, it would seem. However, my pen has yet been flowing, as I've been working on a full-length, gritty, low fantasy novel called Fallen Rise. Plot-wise, it's about a young woman of high birth who has fallen into disrepute, and she must redeem herself in order to claim what is rightfully hers. There's romance, high adventure, murder, magic, plague, demonic infestation, addiction, betrayal and brotherhood, just to name a few thematic elements. I'm about halfway finished with it, having hit the 55k word mark this week. Ultimately, it'll be about 100k-120k words. I've had a few alpha readers along the way, and feedback has been very positive. I've been flitting back and forth between writing, editing, and world-building, and on the days the proverbial pen hits the paper, I've been knocking out about 1000-1500 words per session. It's the largest project I've ever worked on, encompassing thousands of hours of work (world-building has gone on for 7 years). All the preparation has allowed the words to flow with relative ease, and I'm hoping it will evolve into a series of books. It should be ready come summer. That's when the agent shopping-fun begins.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review of Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
My rating: 4 of 5 riots

Though I took a few extended breaks while reading it, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It accurately paints a portrait of a town as insular and isolated as Savannah, and while much criticism has been thrown its way regarding the "grotesque" characters, I did not find them objectionable or out of the realm of possibility. I usually regard first-person narrative as indicative of writers that have not found a voice of their own, however Berendt pulls off this perspective with aplomb; it is the very model of how first-person narratives should be constructed. The narrator is relegated almost solely to the role of observer. He is in a unique position among his subjects, that of Savannah outsider but defense counsel insider, and this generates much-needed tension in what would otherwise be a flat plot. Berendt expertly draws us along the events like the drawl from the loveliest of Savannah's Southern Belles. If you like the genre of true crime, then you will assuredly be as entertained as I was.

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