Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Productivity Update

Here's how things in my personal writing are going these days:

Yesterday morning, I revised "Old Daniels' Mine" according to some suggestions from my friend Nick.  I reduced the dialect a bit, standardized the usage of "Serpent Men" for the antagonists instead of "Serpent People," inserted some legal concerns about the gunfighters' plans to arm the Chinese miners (there was a lot of racism against the Chinese in the American West), increased the number of Chinese miners who had died before the mine owner took action (again, due to the racism), put some different dialect in (referring to the Serpent Men's priest and wizard as a "brujo," which I got from Dictionary of the American West), and did some general housekeeping.  Then I sent it off to my editor at Daverana.

I'd hoped to have the collection ready for DragonCon (so I could have an author's table), but that's not possible, due to time issues (my editor is very busy these days) and the fact that the company's policy now seems to be that one must sell 100 eBooks before a print run is considered.  Prior to me finding this on their web-site, however, I was told a print run would be considered if it was above 40,000 words, which it is.  We shall see.  There are always more conventions to go to besides DragonCon, although a lot of them will involve taking time off from work and traveling.

I've also been working a lot on Escape from the Wastelands, although not as much as I ought to have.  I plotted out a lot of the final battle and wrote up some text for it (and some other parts of the story, I cannot recall which) Thursday night.  The second version of Chapter Six has been sent out to both the Kennesaw and Lawrenceville groups and I've made some revisions to it based on comments from members of the Kennesaw group who have critiqued it already.

Sunday, I spent much of the day working on a later chapter in which the antagonist Grendel begins planning an expedition across the Iron Desert dividing the Northlands (the feudal empire Grendel rules which is beginning to disintegrate without more enemies for his lieutenants to fight) from the Southlands (a more developed area).  He's in the sack with one of his concubines, but his mind is dwelling on this issue, despite the efforts of said concubine to get his attention and figure out what's going on (and three guesses as to how she does this).  He goes along with this, to a degree, to make it seem like she's able to manipulate him sexually when he really knows what she's trying to do and isn't falling for it.

(I'm trying to make Grendel, to put it in TVTropes terms, Dangerously Genre Savvy and someone who has clearly read the Evil Overlord List.  For instance, in another chapter, his interior monologue makes it clear he does not believe in "killing the messenger.")

He then goes and discusses the matter with one of his advisors over a couple of glasses of mead.  More character development--Grendel is from a Viking-like culture originally and mead is a major form of drink from that mileu.

I've put so much thought into developing Grendel into something other than a generic evil overlord that I need to put more thinking into making Andrew a complex character.  Thus far, the plan is to make him a bit racist (toward some desert mercantile folk who have Jewish or Arab antecedents) and sexist (he discounts the ability of women to fight and is pleasantly surprised to learn his twin sister had killed a Flesh-Eater cavalryman), promiscuous, and with raging Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (not that this is a character flaw, but the goal is to make it so that a man who appearly outwardly to be a killing machine is really terrified that if he hesitates to kill again, more people he cares about will die).

This will have to come into play later--he hasn't had the opportunity to meet the desert trading folk and the total ruin of his life hasn't taken place yet (his best friend Sam, his mother, sister, and girlfriend are still alive).

I've even managed to get a bit of work done on my Transformers fan-fiction The Revenge of the Fallen Reboot.  Not a whole lot--I've written basically two paragraphs--but since it's fan-fiction, it's easier to write.  I shouldn't keep my readers waiting so long between updates, though, especially since I'm using the story to channel people here.

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