Thursday, December 16, 2010

Update and Musing

Despite your best intentions, I have learned that intent cannot compare to emotion.  Both excitement and disturbance upset the emotional balance necessary for writing.  Writing must be like growing for a plant.  If your pH is out of whack, you produce, but at greater expense of effort and the result will not be as it should. Writing comes from emotion, focused emotion.

What is throwing me out of whack?  Well, I'll share the positive.  I had a job interview on the ninth.  Then I had another scheduled on Monday, and it sounds like a sure thing.  I'd say I'm about 90% hired.  Perhaps would have been 100% today if everyone wasn't snowed--or iced--in.  It is a part-time job relating to writing. 

Even good changes upset your balance.  But, finally, this week I had time to think on the Walker Universe, and I believe I have shortened the number of books in the series to five.  This is quite a change from my once-upon-a-time, fanciful ten.  Today, I hope to resume work on it.

In the meantime, I am also brushing up on grammar from basic to advanced in preparation of my job's start date.  I have good working knowledge, but it has been a while since I thought in terms of subjects and objects and all that.  It is time to start; it'll be good practice.  You may see a few posts on this, dissecting some of my own writing into its grammatical components.  If they are of help, great.  If not, I hope after this week to start truly writing again.

Thanks for your patience, but if I do not see you again, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Walker Novel 2: Key Plot Point One, Two, Three: Index.

Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

(c) Jodi Ralston

Key Plot Points One, Two, and Three: Edit One

Important Caveat:  This novel is being written experimentally--that is, out of order.  Below is the correct reading order.  You can also find the same on the Works in Progress Page.  

    Walker Novel 2: Key Plot Point Three: Edit One.

    Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

    (c) Jodi Ralston

    Key Plot Point Three: Edit One

    Important Caveat:  This novel is being written experimentally--that is, out of order.  I will post the correct reading order as I go on the Works in Progress Page.  

    For those interested in reading what came before this point, I will post an Index shortly.

    By suppertime, I was finishing up work on what I termed the Final Project. Horse hated the entire idea. Over the last while of our time together, he did everything he could to jar the thought from my mind. He almost succeeded. A small band of survivors almost succeeded. Hope of escape almost succeeded. Any desire to fail at the Final Project died with them. Everything came to an end. Not everyone was so fortunate as to choose that end.

    Besides, the horse would survive. He survived before my coming, survived the mist, and would survive me taking leave. He was a survivor. I was not. I didn't have the heart for it. I didn't particularly want to die, but I was resolved to escape Paradise. Permanently. Leaving nothing behind for it take. Over the year, I had come to see that this was the only way left me.

    Walker Novel 2: Place Holder Two, Version One

    The following summary covers the more important bits that lie between the posted KPP2 and soon-to-be posted KPP3. For those interested in this novel for the story's sake instead of the writing method, I hope this summary will help catch you up and not spoil your reading pleasure.

    Summary of Main Events between KPP2 and KPP3.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    No progress

    No progress this weekend, due to happy and not-at-all events.

    Happy events included a Christmas walk where my mom, aunt, and I got to ride on a horse-drawn wagon.

    The unhappy events involved falling prey to a sneaky virus-like program. I assumed it was part of Windows Vista and telling the truth that my computer was about to go kaput. It took me about 12 hours to backup my data and remove 40 GBs of pictures from the harddrive. Then I scan disked. Then I let the program run. It did a few things. Claimed other things were still unfixed. The minute it asked for money, my spidey-sense began to stir. I went back into safe-mode, eventually stumbled across my Temp folder. Inside it, were several exe/applications that went into the trashcan. Why? Because it is extremely unlikely for any legit program to run from Temp. Once I did that, I was ok. Well, except a harddrive free space discrepancy--in safe-mode, I have about 82 GBs free. In regular mode? 70 something. Can't quite recall but I believe it is about 78 or 79. Where did they go?

    Anyway, lesson learned. Any program that claims critical problems? Check out where it is running from. At least something else was gained from this. First, I cleaned up my harddrive some, because these newer computers hate for you to dip under half-way mark on free harddrive space. Second, I have several backup copies of important files. Third, I had to pull out my older computer. It is slower but more reliable--love Acers--and is now my writing computer. My other one, which seems to get a couple viruses a year is now my Internet/Movie watching computer. Even so, internal harddrives are about the most reliable form of backup media. So my writing files and like are going to be backed up from Old Reliable to Panic-Attack Computer from time to time.

    So, those are my excuses. Should have time to write today and snippet tomorrow.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    Belated Snippet of Walker Novel Two

    Normally I wouldn't post a snippet on Saturday, but yesterday got away from me.  So here it is.   A little setup and a little spoiler.  Walker has been rescued (that is KPP3, under revision now thanks to a nifty new idea that is gonna effect the rest of the novel from this point onward).  He is currently back in the border-guard/mehnsettir barracks.


    Walker Universe Novel 2: Working Title: Paradise

    (c) Jodi Ralston

    Snippet #1

    Maha gestured me to a chair and bid me to sit.

    I declined.  And pulled out another special blend cigarette to replace the dying one.  Lit it from it.  After a deep puff, I asked, "How long have the Regulators been deceased?"

    That put her out of sorts.  After a moment of a recalculation on her part, she answered, "Six months after you were exiled."  She eyed the cig.  "Put that out.  You know regulations."

    I ignored her and stubbed the dead on out on my hip and flicked it into her gold-plated trash basket.  Even it bore her name.  "Six months.  Exactly how long ago was that?"

    She gave me a look.  Then gave my cig a new one.  Considering the damage smokes have done to my mind, eh?  I tapped it on a paper-free edge of her almost entirely-paper-free desk.  Her face alternately colored than paled.  Then firming her look, she ponied up, "Six months ago."

    A year.  A year.  A year.  One godsdammned year.  That was how they counted the time they robbed me of.  One year.  [1] My fingers crushed the cig better than my heel ever could.  I pocketed it.  Waste not, want not.

    "You seem surprised, Walker."

    And she had gone blind in the interim.  Surprise was the least my emotions.  Then again, she always found it easy to read what she wanted to in me. 

    After a moment, I managed plainly enough, "Time flows differently when you are the other side of the equation, Colonel."

    Her title was like a slap.  And she returned to the true business at hand, moving to slide behind her desk.  Keeping her desk and duty between us.  She was always good at that.  "You are the current sole heir as Regulator to both Lands, Walker." [2]


    Footnotes, spoiler-heavy.  Some sections have been whited out, so that if you want know, highlight the area with your mouse.

    [1]  It will be explained later on that due to a device on Paradise, his place of exile, he has been gone far longer than one year.  It was in fact, 50 years by his reckoning.  How did he survive that, without aging?  Well, I have a few excuses in place, but he won't learn the real reason until probably Novel No. 3. Back to story.

    [2]  In novel number one, in Romeo and Juliet fashion, the heiress of the Regulator's from the Land he calls home married the heir of the other Land.  In the first novel, couriers are introduced.  They can carry objects, magically miniaturized inside themselves.  They can even carry souls, memory, personality.  Walker is a former courier (no one know this, it is illegal for mehnsettirs to be one), and due to circumstances, he ended up carrying the heiress inside himself and having to marry the heir in her name.  His too--for, in this world, there are such things as name-marriages, or in name only marriages.  This is the type of marriage he has to both heirs.  The main purpose of this kind of marriage is usually to marry an heir to his or her sibling.  This makes it so that all children of either person can be potentially heirs, along with the sibling, without the siblings having to actually have children together.  Sorry, I found the whole sibling-marriage thing of pharaohs in Ancient Egypt icky.  This is how I used that penchant but got around it too for my higher-ups.

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Snippet or Post

    I only have a few more edits left on my Key Plot Point Three.  It is a huge, troublesome part.  8,500 words.  Would have probably been 9,500 if I hadn't removed a section from it for use later.  Even then I am not comfortable with it.  Maybe because I'm not sure if all of it is really Key Plot Point Three material or not.  Also, there is a section of it that is slow.  I envisioned that scene, but what you see in your head doesn't always translate to the page so well.  Maybe that is also part of the problem.  It is not quite what I saw in my head.  Another problem is that it is harder to cut a scene when you know there is some good bits in it.
    Alright, I talked myself out of it.  I will post a snippet today and work this weekend on that plot point.  Monday will be good for posting the actual bit.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    On Beginnings

    Interesting question about beginnings in first person novels at the Absolute Write forums here:

    Beginnings are hard enough when you write in third person, but when you can't even say the name in line one or hint at gender because you are using "I" instead of "he", it sucks that much more.  It is even harder when you can't just skip the beginning and write it later when you know what your novel is really about.  With my new method of writing, whether I write beginning and ending first or just all key plot points, I can't skip the beginning.  It must be written.  And it must work, because around it and other plot points, I flesh in the novel.  Then let's not forget the problems that occur if this is not the first novel in your series. 

    It's tough, writing beginnings. 

    How do you do it?  By not trying to stuff a ton of stuff in a paragraph one.  Besides giving a picture of where my characters are, the key thing I seek to explain is gender.  My main characters/pov characters are male.  I'm not.  And I sometimes put them in situations where the default expected gender is not male.