Tag: Cold Iron (page 2 of 7)

Writer Report: Brief Respite

Bard by BlueInkAlchemist, on Flickr

This is my week between travel in August. Otakon is behind me, and PAX Prime is ahead. The trip to Seattle will be much longer than the one to Baltimore, and I’ll have a bit more Internet access while I’m there. Reluctant as I am to check a bag, I think it’s going to be necessary. I can’t travel as light as I did for a long weekend, since I’ll be in Seattle for entire week and change. Thankfully, most of the people I’m staying with will have laundry they’re willing to let me use. I love having an adventure on the horizon.

Cold Streets is inching towards the first draft finish line. I wrote a scene on the train last week, and I’m closing the gap towards it. I’m excited. It’s the last big confrontation, and while I’m pretty much done with action for the novella, there will still be tension and drama, and hopefully a few more character revelations. I hope I’m doing this one better than I did Cold Iron. Proud as I am of my first published literary child, I know it’s got some flaws and rough spots. This is a good way to iron them out, I feel, and get feedback and even a little cash flow going.

I’m going to keep at it, keep carving out writing time in raw, bloody chunks, keep looking to a future that has more and more good aspects to it the closer I get.

Writer Report: Back On Track

Train

I’m still not writing as much as I would like in a sitting, but I’m writing more and it’s consistent in that it’s happening every day, now. Cold Streets is back on the front burner and bubbling away nicely. I know I will have to go back and do a bunch of editing and rewriting. But I need to at least get the concepts, scenes, and beats out of my head and on to paper before I can properly mess around with them. And there’s only one way to do that!

In the hopes of keeping people interested in my work and with an eye towards better promotion, I’m happy to announce the following: for the rest of 2012, until January 2 2013, Cold Iron is on sale at Amazon for $0.99. If you haven’t already, you can get it for your Kindle right here. If you have already downloaded and read Cold Iron, tell a friend, leave a review, send me a comment, something along those lines.

I’ve gone back and forth about how to approach the former fantasy novel, and whether or not it will be a trilogy. Looking over the story, the complexities, and the things I want to discuss through and with the characters, I think that yes, breaking it up is probably the way to go. It is my hope that, as winter goes on, I can put together more notes, form more thoughts coherently, and finally take the red pen, scalpel, darling-slaying shotgun, and all-important flamethrower to my original manuscript to craft the first novel of the Godslayer trilogy.

Last but not least, I still believe that science fiction stories do not need to be constrained to a single type within their own narratives. There’s no reason a good character-driven story can’t begin life as one thing and slowly become another. The Fellowship of the Ring has a whimsical, homey start in the Shire, but by the end, darkness and peril are all around and it’s hard to imagine how things can get worse. It is that grounding in whimsy that makes the end, and the next two books, so powerful and resonant. It has been done in fantasy many times; why not in science fiction?

I’m not comparing myself to Tolkien by any means, I just think that it might be an experiment worth trying.

Writer Report: The Inevitable Grind

Gears

As we recover from the recent stress of moving, the dayjob workload ramps up, and everything else competes for what attention I have left, it can be difficult to keep in mind that writing can and should be the foremost area of my interests. I don’t attend university for 4 years to design advertisements, after all. I did it, at first, to teach others about stories, and then decided I’d be happier telling stories myself. And some of the stories I’ve told since then have gone over pretty well.

Sales of Cold Iron have been very slow. I feel I need to do more promotional work, as nobody else is going to do it for me, and that means getting more people to review it, sending out more tweets, talking it up in person to people, and so on. I guess my reluctance to do so comes from the fact that I hate annoying people. I know how it feels to me when I get annoyed by someone talking at length about something of interest to them to the exclusion of all other subjects, and the last thing I want to do is inflict that on others. But I guess I need to suck it up and deal with it if I want to move copies of the book.

Progress on Cold Streets is, unfortunately, also slow. I’ve tried to unstick myself a couple of times in the last few weeks with moderate success. I’m not writing in the huge chunks I need to meet my end-of-year deadline, at least not yet. Time is running out for me and I really want to get another novella out there. I can’t get this thing to pick up if I don’t write, dammit!

Between some historical insights and inspiration from the likes of Martin and Kay, ideas keep rolling around in the back of my mind for attention regarding Godslayer. As much as good chunks of the plot are unlikely to change in their basic structure, so much of Acradea will be different in this new story that these ideas (which tend to crop up after I go to bed and the lights are out) will need to be laid out and sorted so I don’t get tripped up when I start writing the damn thing in earnest next year. Maybe it’s time to buy Scrivener and start cork-boarding things? The jury is out on that one.

More on this as things develop. And if you get annoyed when I start tweeting every day about Cold Iron and its sequels, I apologize.

Writer Report: Back in the Saddle

Deadline Clock, courtesy monkeyc

The last couple weeks have been brutal.

Burning midnight oil. Working on the weekends. Generally busting my ass. And none of it while working on Cold Streets. It’s been all about the dayjob.

On one level, I don’t mind so much. I’ve been there a year, and it remains a vital and worthwhile place to work. I have fantastic co-workers, a good and supportive boss, great pay and benefits, and work that’s up my alley as a developer. I’m problem-solving every bit as much as I’m tweaking and doing back-and-forth with a project manager or a client. It’s a pretty solid gig.

On the other hand, I know I’m behind in meeting my writing goals. I wanted to finish Cold Streets by the end of this year, and to do that I now have to really kick into a higher gear. I think part of the reason I’ve been held up is a touch of reluctance towards approaching it, knowing that as the world within the story expands, the more supernatural elements will come into play, and I don’t want them to overwhelm the tight pacing and balanced character dynamics I strove to maintain in Cold Iron.

I just need to write through it, I think. Time is running out, and there’s still a story to tell. The increase in supernatural aspects comes with a raising of the stakes. Our heroes need to meet and interact with the new villain, and peripheral players from the first story need to be fleshed out. None of it is going to write itself, and the only way to write is to write.

So tonight & Sunday, writing is most assuredly happening. Saturday is a day off for Magic. Because Return to Ravnica is stupid amounts of fun.

Writer Report: Bring On The Bad Guy

Courtesy DEG

I’m a sucker for a good villain.

By ‘good’ I don’t just mean extravagant malevolence. Ming the Merciless is a fun character, but he doesn’t have a lot of depth to him. Remember, villains are people too. They have backgrounds, motivations, allegiances, and secrets just like anybody else does. Leave that out of your story and you risk losing audience members to disbelief.

It’s one of the things I didn’t get quite right in Cold Iron. The ultimate villain did not get a great deal of time. His motivations are somewhat shallow and his villainy is, for the most part, superficial. Being a mystery on one level, I did try to keep the identity of the villain somewhat ambiguous, but the trade-off meant I couldn’t spend too much time expanding upon him. I don’t think the story necessarily suffers because of this, but it is a criticism I agree with.

Approaching Cold Streets, I knew a new villain would be appearing, and I am taking the time to draw him out as a character before he engages in truly villainous behavior. I think people need to understand his mindset and motivation in order for me to illustrate why he, and others like him, are dangerous. But I also want to ensure he’s fleshed out as a person. He has specific reasons for doing what he does, and his own way of approaching his challenges, things he will and will not do to get what he wants, and so on. He’s not solely motivated “for the evulz”… he’s a person, and I need to convey that.

I hope to get a bit further with the draft over the weekend, but I will have dayjob work to do so we’ll have to see how things shake out.

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