Posts Tagged ‘ryarna’

Some of my brilliant writer-friends keep talking or blogging about their writing. Not just wordcount updates, but how the process hits them, where they are in their personal arcs, what they’ve figured out and what’s left to learn about their stories.

I love those posts/conversations. I love hearing about writing progress and ideas and excitement and flailing. I am just as interested in commiserating about the stuck moments as I am in exulting about the lightbulb epiphanies.

Then I realized that I could write those kinds of posts, too! And perhaps someone would be interested, in the same way I am interested in others’ posts!


So I’m going to ramble today. And perhaps more than just today. Perhaps you will see regular posts that are not comprised solely of fiction snippets and awesomesauce collections from around the ‘net. Wouldn’t that be somethin’?

What I’m Working On

I’m fidgeting with three WIPs at the moment and trying to pick one to focus on. The focusing thing may or may not happen, because I’ve been trying to choose among them for weeks now and haven’t been able to yet.

First off, we have Enmity, the prequel to the Jubagh series. It’s the shortest WIP of the three in wordcount, and its outline is done and solid but for one lingering, missing plot twist at the climax. Right now, the main plotline is a little too straight-and-dry for my tastes. I need to tangle it a bit.

Secondly, we have Gudgeon, last year’s NaNoWriMo novel. (That’s one of the main characters right there, Berin of Ghura. He’s a rarra.) It has a good 50,000+ words on it, but the vast majority of those need to be rewritten. The first draft created in November served only to show me glimpses of its potential; I have a solid and detailed outline for it now, the first really thorough outline I’ve ever done, and I want to rewrite it entirely. It’s a little more severe and darker than most of my plots, but I think it’s a story worth telling.

Lastly, we have Ghosts, 2009’s NaNo novel. It was the first story I actually completed within the month’s deadline and 50k wordcount, and it didn’t suck! I recently reread it, realized how simplistic and undeveloped the plot was, and remembered how much I loved the characters and the concept. I’m about 80% done with the new outline, which is much more intense, believable, complicated, and tighter than the original. I even wrote a short story to help flesh out some of the characters’ backstory, which happens well before the novel begins; you can also take a peek at the first chapter in its revised (but not finalized) glory.

All three novels are set in the Gurhai universe, a place of space galleons, tiny orbiting suns, disc-shaped worlds, and special gravitic ore that produces both gravity and magical energy. Gudgeon and Ghosts – both of which are working titles, so no snickering, you – are set on the same planet in Gurhai: Ryarna, industry-dessicated desert world of the magic-talented, carnivorous, rabbit-eared rarra and their ghost-powered mechanical beasts, animetals. Enmity takes place on a handful of different worlds, including the homeworld of the main characters of Ghosts (who are not rarra, but are corata from Oakh).

I’m really excited about all three novels, especially Enmity: once I finish that, it catapults me back into the rough drafts of the 4.5 books I’ve written in the Jubagh series, and I can rewrite and revise and update and play with all of my favorite people again. However, since Ghosts and Gudgeon are much farther along than Enmity in many ways, I may choose one of those to push through the finishing-and-polishing process first, just to gobble up experience that I can learn from and use on Enmity afterwards. I have written many a story, and some a novel, but never gotten one truly done to the point where I was comfortable asking for beta readers.

And that’s my goal. Taking a novel to a place where I have done all I possibly can by myself, then passing it along to people who can help me improve it even more.

So, fellow writers – what are you working on right now? I want to know!

I have a veritable history with NaNoWriMo. I began participating in 2003 and, with one exception, have won every year since.

In 2003, I had written only one novel before; it was The Dark Wars, an unfinished Young Adult story about the most memorable and violent time in Lavana‘s history. It spanned five spiral-bound notebooks – yes, I had written the entire thing by hand. But, in 2003, I was a fast typist, and my NaNovel was done on computer. It was entitled Seeker, a story about two gay boys in college trying to find themselves and finding each other instead. (Shh. It wasn’t a real romance, I swear.) While I got 50,000 words on the story, the plot arc was far from complete. This would set the norm for all NaNovels to come.

In 2004, I wrote Outcast, my first Korat-only novel. I got 80% finished with the story arc by the time I crossed the 50k finish line, which was the closest I’d come to completing an entire novel in my life. I even skipped ahead and wrote the ending scene (which, sadly, I later lost). Outcast followed the story of a lone striped female as she never stopped running for her life, even when she encountered three people who actually didn’t want to kill her.

In 2005, I wrote The Panthera Walkers: Peace as part of a Panthera Walkers trilogy (the second book, might I add – the first and third unwritten). Set in Ykinde, TPW:P chronicled the story of the growing Walker tribe and their aid in trying to establish peace between Lupos and Avans – trying to end the Elderwar – and how nothing is ever as black-and-white as it seems. I had a lot of trouble that year and took a major plot detour, then had to write feverishly to catch up and cross the finish line – at something like seven minutes ’til midnight on the last day. It was nuts.

In 2006, I failed. I did participate, and scanning back over my personal journal for November, I wrote that I’d gotten 21k on something. For the life of me, I can’t remember what it was, so I’m inclined to think it was a bunch of false starts and half-baked stories. My only excuse was that two great friends of mine were visiting for two weeks from Britain, and I was out and about with them almost every day they were here. (Sure, I was working full-time, too, but I’d been working every November except for 2003 – and in 2004, I was taking a few college classes as well as holding a job!)

In 2007, the miracle that was The Demon-God of Jubagh came to pass. By the time November rolled around, I’d already finished Book One; that year’s NaNoWriMo saw Book Two and half of Book Three completed before the 30th, and the rest of Book Three finished before the December holidays. I’ve already discussed TDGoJ previously on here (see the above link), but let me tell you – this was the first (and so far only) time I’d truly, totally, 100% finished a novel. I was gleeful.

In 2008, last year, I struggled to pick a direction for the first week or so. I first veered towards an anthology of myths and stories of Redwood, sidifir oerri, ageless mother of the Koratian race. I thought I could do two novels in one month, since I was on part-time at work and would never have that much free time ever again, so I tried to do a story about animetals on Ryarna in that world’s equivalent of the Wild West. Both petered out within days, and then – thanks in large part to some brainfodder and a great friend being a sounding board – I got inspired to do Into Fang Wood. I flew past the finish line, half-crazed and gibbering from the chaos of trying to wrangle that story in a month. (Later, of course, I found out how big it wanted to be, and I quailed, and then I began outlining…)

In 2009, this year, I have something very fun planned. The incredibly tentative working title is The Ghost In The Machine. (Asimov, I salute you, sir.) Set in the Gurhai universe, it will feature three corata, shapeshifting mammalian predators, who find themselves on Ryarna by chance or by fate. They encounter an impossible thing: a feral, instinct-smart herd of motorcycle-like wheeled vehicles that are, apparently, bound to and powered by animal ghosts. It’s illegal to fuse a ghost to anything but an animetal shell, however, and these wheelers are meant for personal transportation alone – not animation. Not only do the corata have to survive the largely-without-fleshy-animals desert, they have to figure out how to survive increasingly restless, doggedly stubborn aniwheelers.

It’s going to be so much fun.

Fellow WriMos, what are you planning for this lovely November?