I may have been wrong about love scenes being the hardest for me to write. I’m getting (dear God spare us all) somewhat better at writing them (or at least I don’t require as much brain power to do them). I had to write two more for Twilight of Lanar’ya (one near the very end of the book) and they were, all told, fairly painless.
It’s the last paragraph of a book that’s a bitch to write, I think. I knew what the last sentence would be. As a matter of fact, I wrote the last sentence before I wrote the first sentence (this makes sense, I promise!). But that last paragraph…packing all the reactions into one paragraph…and then rounding out the action but leaving enough of a teaser to make a good segue into the next book?
That’s difficult. I don’t usually have this issue with Alayne’s Story because each part there is kind of a discrete thing. Part I will stand on its own. Part II doesn’t require Part III to complete it (but you’d best read Part I first or you’ll be hopelessly lost). Part III doesn’t require you to delve into Part IV and Part IV isn’t going to be dependent on there being a Part V.
So, why is the progress bar not at 100% if I’m finished with the last scene? Because I’m currently doing the first editorial pass where I go back, fix inconsistencies (I had a couple of “oops” name-spelling-changes to correct), make sure that my foreshadowing devices show up when I want them to, correct a few back-dates and references, and add in some descriptive text in places where I wasn’t quite certain exactly how a setting would be laid out when I wrote the scene (again, this makes sense, I promise!). I estimate that I have another 10k words to add to the novel before it’s done and ready for an agent to read.
Once I get it sent out, I’ll start working on Book 2 of this series (it’ll be a trilogy of three books versus to current fad of trilogies of indeterminate numbers of books). Book 2, I’m hoping, will take me only two months to write but Book 3 is going to be a bitch to do well. I’m hoping that I’ll have laid my trails well enough by the time I get to book 3 that it won’t be as difficult as I fear but the fact that there’s going to be about a twenty-year time lapse between the end of 2 and beginning of 3 is going to mean I’ll have to re-map events almost as if I’m doing a stand-alone book.
Well, enough of my moaning. Time to go get cracking on the editorial pass so I can get this damned thing done already!
I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW RP forum. This week takes us into Deepholm which is, quite easily, one of my favorite new zones. I really enjoyed writing this arc as there was so much more to it than meets the eye. I’m currently mid-way through the Twilight Highlands arc and am waiting for the next patch to come out so I can do a return to Hyjal arc. Uldum’s arc has been pushed back until later.
And now, back to work!
Seriously, I do. I had to write one this weekend and, even though it is about a page and a half long, I think I spent more time working on it than I did on the other twenty pages I wrote this weekend.
Every writer has something that is tricky for them to pull off. Some writers struggle over the beginning of a story. Others struggle at the end. Still others lose their way halfway through. Some can write an awesome love scene that doesn’t make you feel like you just read something out of Hustler and some write a scene that makes you wonder if you’re reading the screen play for a porno.
I, generally avoid writing them at all. I’ll hint. I’ll make references. I’ll use euphemisms. In the end, you’ll know that two characters had sex. You just didn’t get a play-by-play of the encounter.
This weekend, I found myself being forced to write the play-by-play. It was absolutely necessary to the story that things happen as they did. It was absolutely vital or else I’d have done my usual “spell it out but don’t give the details.” And yet, for all that I knew what was going down and for all that I’m usually good at describing action scenes, I can’t, for the life of me, figure out if I said too much or not enough.
Seriously, I had about eight different books open up and I was reading similar scenes from various authors trying to figure out just how in the hell they managed to pull it off without sounding like a Harlequin writer. I consulted Wizard’s First Rule (the scene in the Mud People’s Spirit House between Richard and Kalhan). I had Shalador’s Lady and Queen of the Darkness open. I browsed through Valley of Horses looking for the first scene between Ayla and Jondalar before I realized it was going to be way too extreme for what I needed. I even went through Game of Thrones before I finally said “fuck it all. Just write what happens.”
The scene works out to 600 words. I added a grand total of 20k words. This scene is like…what…3% of that? And it gave me more trouble than the other 97% put together.
I had this same problem with The Unexiled before I said “screw it. You know they fuck. I don’t need to go into it.” That was probably my biggest failure with The Unexiled and it came down to I hate writing love scenes but sometimes, they’re necessary. I just wish there were a way to improve at it that didn’t involve writing more love scenes. >< I've got at least one more to write in Twilight of Lanar'ya before it's finished. There may be one in the next book as well. I know there will be several in the third book and, lemme tell you, I've had to order myself not to think about it so I won't start stressing out over things that are two damned books in the future!
Ah well. Maybe I’ll get better at them. I just wish I knew how authors like George R. R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, or Terry Goodkind pulled them off without it sounding so damned foolish.
I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW RP forum. This week finishes up the Vashj’ir arc entirely.
I hated that arc. If I hadn’t had to include it in the meta-narrative, I’d have skipped it entirely. However, the Earthen Ring is so heavily involved in later parts of the story and I had to move the action towards the Maelstrom so…
Work on other projects continues apace. And speaking of that, it’s time to get back to work.
…I know. Be still my beating heart.
You may have noticed a few updates on the sidebar over there. Well, yeah, I finally got around to adding my Twitter feed here since I’ve actually started updating it a bit more than once-per-year. I decided that if a US Congressman can tweet pictures of his package without consequence, certainly I could Tweet about things I’m working on without getting into too much trouble.
Also, this is going to upset all five of you who were following it, but The Unexiled is shelved again. Sadly, as much as I want to work on it and finish it, I find myself having to force it too much. The concept itself is good — solid, in fact. The characters are complex and well-thought-out. However, I just don’t think I have the skills or discipline as a novelist to pull off all that I’m trying to do in that series. So, I’m putting it on hold for now (but I will not be restarting it entirely. Just setting it aside until my skills can match my ambition) and have instead started cranking out a new novel that is ridiculously easy to write.
Twilight of Lanar’ya is based extremely loosely off a campaign setting I designed and ran for my D&D group in college. By “loosely” I mean there are two organizations that are named the same thing but work in completely different manners and there’s one character from the campaign who has the same name and appearance but does different things for completely different reasons than he did in the campaign. The four other people who ran through it with me will not recognize it. I’m only naming it the same thing because the arcs are somewhat similar (while being entirely different…other writers will know what I mean) and because I like the name. I invented the name so I figure I get to use it if I want to.
I just started writing it about two and a half weeks ago and the thing has flowed like silk. I don’t have to force anything with it. I barely had to outline it at all. Just a few simple notes, a couple of references to keep my setting consistent, a map of South America since I absolutely suck at maps, and it was off to the races.
I’m hoping that once I finish this three-parter, I’ll have developed the skills and discipline I’d need as a novelist to pull off The Unexiled. I finally realized that Robert Jordan did not sit down to write The Wheel of Time as his first series. Sure, he’d had the idea for a while, but he held off committing to it until he knew he could give it the skill it needed. I have to admit that while I am an okay writer, I’m nowhere near good enough to accomplish my goals with The Unexiled just yet so I’m setting it aside until I can give it the skill it deserves.
Well, with that said, back to work! Oh — and I’m still looking for a job. If anyone knows a place that is looking for a highly-skilled web designer with extensive familiarity with web scripting, programming, and CMSes ranging from vB Publishing Suite to WordPress, Blogger, Joomla!, and phpWebSite who is also decent to adept at graphic design and content editing and they’re willing to pay at least $45k per year, feel free to point me to them!
I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW RP forum. This week’s update takes the group through Throne of the Tides and closer to the end of the Vashj’ir arc.
In other news, I’ve been spending a hell of a lot of time working on freelance projects in hopes of landing a job I’m after. I’m not going to say much about it since I don’t want to jinx it but I’m really hoping I can convince the organization to see the need of what I can do and to select me for the spot.
And now, back to work!
I’ve just posted the latest update to Alayne’s Story over on the WoW RP forum. This week kicks off the pre-Throne of the Tides arc which will finish up Vashj’ir.
Have I mentioned that it’s my least favorite zone yet?
And the job hunt continues. I’m debating whether I want to try to remain in Europe and draw unemployment or just go straight back to the US while I search for a new job. I’ve put a few more feelers out to try to find something and I’m hoping that one of the thirty lines I’ve got in the water will land me a fish.
Anyhow, back to work.