wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

Yes and no.  In The Traveler's Daughter, Bria's character is very much informed by her looks. She basically should have been given to another people to raise, a people who resembles her more closely, but her goddess had other ideas for her.  Hence she has a childhood and adolescence along The Ugly Duckling lines.

In To Be Undone, characters have different physiques according to their castes, but apart from a minor thing, appearance doesn't play a major role.

Apart from having a physical type clear in my mind, I couldn't tell you what most of my characters in Witherwilds look like. Shocking, I know.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
18. Favorite antagonist and why!

I don't particularly like writing antagonists. I guess because of that, they don't often figure among my favorite characters. That my stories don't often have the "recommended" protag/antagonist dynamic* makes it a doubly hard-to-answer question. 
I guess I would say Behrouz of To Be Undone. He is willing to do pretty reprehensible things in order to bring about a change that is for the ultimate good of all. I think a lot of people in life go wrong in this way. They have good intentions, but they become monsters in trying to bring about the change they desire. It makes him comprehensible to me in ways that other antagonists are not (frex, Valsidire in The Traveler's Daughter, who acts out of hunger for power).


________________
* I'm referring to the writing advice that states that the antagonist stands directly in the protag's way and the antagonist deliberately and step-by-step thwarts the protag's advance or achievement. 
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
13. What's your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

I would have to say the cultures--yes, plural--from To Be Undone. Each culture is very different and very connected to its place in the world. It is interesting to play with the rigidity and beliefs of each society that Phayn, the heroine, encounters.

14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

The overall form of the world is dictated by the story, ie what I need to happen for the story to develop as I see it.  Frex, in The Traveler's Daughter, I wanted two continents connected by an isthmus to show the relation between the lands and inhabitants. Twin goddesses are the respective creators and patrons of these lands, yet they are still different. In To Be Undone, I took the idea of story informing world even further and there are geological differences that reflect a caste system. In Witherwilds, I had to plan two geographical features to incorporate for the plot to make sense.

So, yeah, plot is a big deal for me when designing a world. I plan on mapping out some floor plans, cities, etc. (something I don't normally do), but haven't done it yet. 


To see the maps that I have, you can check out the links in my Day 12 post.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? Any side-notes on it you'd like to share?

Hmmm. I’ve loved all the universes I’ve worked with because I love places, love going to new ones, discovering things about old ones. Maybe because I seem to have a wayfaring gene. But where did I do the best job in building my own world???

Setting has always been important to me, the creation of it more so. Each of my creations have a soft-spot in my heart.

With the planet of Trillix, in The Traveler’s Daughter, I was less adventurous with what I invented. I had a lot of fun with my map of the storyworld, but I just scratched the surface of what "place" entails. I also chose the route of being influenced by actual cultures and worlds. But because it was my first novel, I am still fond of that place and it seems very real to me.

With Shamindor, of To Be Undone, I let the world inform the story and really created some unusual things and concepts. Here and here are two different views of it. However, I haven't spent enough time there, and the things that make the storyworld different also make it challenging to write. Very challenging. I do look forward to going back to it, though, and getting to know it better.

Witherwilds is the world that I have tried to make 100% my own, even down to creating languages and writing systems (though I am still working on Soqoli) for the two principle cultures. Funnily enough, I didn’t start with a map as I did in my other worlds. I have the rough geography in mind because climate informs culture, but I feel that the places are more well-rounded because I’ve had to think them through from the ground up without modeling them on those existing in our world. I still have lots of things to figure out and that excites me. I love the discovery and planning processes, and because I'm doing them so intensely on this project, I believe I'm probably doing the best job with it.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
9. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? That's the way I feel about how characters occur to me.  I cannot think of an instance where a character idea came to me that was devoid of any kind of situation or context. I often have what I think of as a "flash," in which a person plus action/setting stamps itself on my brain in vivid detail.

Sometimes, I have only to turn my attention to the person and their personality and past and possible future come pouring out.  Other times, I have to ask the questions: "who are you?" "what are you doing here?" "what do you want?" to help form the character in my mind. A third type of creation comes after an idea.  Meaning, a what-if or an event occurs to me, and I have to ask what kind of characters belong with those circumstances. So process really depends on how fully formed the characters and their needs are at the beginning. Perhaps unsurprisingly, characters and their more-or-less complete story arcs occur to me a LOT more easily now that I've been writing for a while.

Under the cut, I've detailed what came first character or plot for each of my WIPs and planned future novels.

Read more... )
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

Sometimes. There are days I don't think of putting on music, and usually when I do, it is by accident, as it were.  When I do set out to listen to music while writing, it must be very mellow, what [livejournal.com profile] frigg  likes to call pot-smoking music.  She's a strange one, that [livejournal.com profile] frigg . :P  For The Traveler's Daughter, I listened to Damien Rice's O album on loop with Beck's "Lost Cause," and a few instrumental soundtrack pieces thrown in.

For Witherwilds, I had soundtracks worked out for 3 of the 5 POVs, but <insert screams of rage> they were "lost" with the "stolen/lost/thrown'out" hard drive back on Mayotte.

So, now it's Damien Rice again, but also AaRON (this one especially..."it's not the wings that make the angel." You said it)  and Alela Diane and...well, I could go on.  In contrast to my usual "mellow" choices, songs from Default (such as Deny and Wasting My Time) and Audioslave (frex Like a Stone) also feature. Writers like [livejournal.com profile] navicat  and the aforementioned [livejournal.com profile] frigg  who like metal probably scoff at those songs being classified as anything but easy-listening. *g*

And of course,  I must mention Johnny Cash's "Hurt" for one character in particular. 
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?

Lelo, of Witherwilds, is my youngest character. She's 11, going on 12. My oldest is High Priestess Valsidire, from The Traveler's Daughter, and she's a couple hundred years old. She is descended from gods and knows a secret to staying young and, just as important, alive.

In terms of creation (again, I'm confining my answers to my novels), Bria (The Traveler's Daughter) is the oldest.  The germ of her story came to me in 1999, and she made it onto paper in 2001.*  

Funnily, the entire cast of Witherwilds is the youngest. The youngest of the young is probably Qeoe, but actually, the five POVS in book one occurred to me almost simultaneously, on February 7th, 2008, to be precise. It has always been a story with many players, not one character's story where the others clamored to have their say. 

______________

* I've been writing for nine years!  Where does the time go??? I've seen in many places, and most recently in [livejournal.com profile] rosefox 's Publishers Weekly article for Genreville "Advice for Young Writers and Editors," that it can take ten years from the date you start to write seriously to when you write something worth reading. 
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

I’m going to assume this question is asking how many POVs because, really, I do not feel like counting the entire cast that occupies the space between my ears in that thing that passes for my brain.

So, POVs:

The Traveler’s Daughter - four: three females, one male.
To Be Undone - three: one female, two males
The Bitter River - This one is a bit different. Male narrator, but letters, diary entries, and a manuscript-in-process make up a large part of the tale. The bulk of these are told from the perspective of two other males and one female.
Witherwilds - In book one, there are five: three females, two males.

Let’s say, then, that I have sixteen, split evenly between females and males. I don’t have a preference, and apparently my stories back that up. However, in most cases, I’ve found male characters easier to write. Whether I do them believably is another matter. For some reason, I feel less pressure when writing men. My immediate response when I wonder why is that I *know* I don’t know what it is like to be a son, a father, a bachelor, a poor man or rich. I feel freer to get in a guy’s head and just start making stuff up. 
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
I was tagged by [livejournal.com profile] mindseas to write about writing for thirty days.  I have a list of questions to answer for each of those days. Welcome to my world of processes:

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you've worked with and why.

A favorite!? I must choose between my babies?  Ahem, I guess I better get used to it. Having read [livejournal.com profile] mindsea 's responses to the questions, I know I'll be asked about favorite characters and such, too.

Because it was my first, The Traveler's Daughter will always be a favorite.  I learned and put so much into it, it burned in me with all the power of a first love, that I'll never be able to capture that again. At least I don't think I will.

I love all my projects, but TTD really obsessed me. It still does...because I didn't end up with what I think to be a marketable story.

I'm still looking to get obsessed like that with my other stories.  I think I will with Witherwilds, but I need a little more meat to chew, I need the characters and story to start gelling just a little bit more, and then I think it will be mad love. At least I hope.  I thrive on obsession. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (scrabble - novel)
I suppose I should thank [livejournal.com profile] navicat (aka [livejournal.com profile] joanneanderton) and [livejournal.com profile] frigg for collectively plunging me into a world of despair. While "thanking" may seem an odd response, it's perfectly valid because the nasty dip has allowed me to see a problem I have in TTD and will hopefully keep me from repeating the same in WW. That is IF it's a problem.[1]

I don't know if my head is clear and my heart disengaged enough to judge.

The other day, [livejournal.com profile] navicat was pushing me to cobble together a query letter for TTD so she could kindly take those cobbles and pelt me mercilessly with them. Being a masochist, I naturally obeyed; and while flailing around on the threshold of despair, I pleaded with [livejournal.com profile] frigg to give me a hand, some insight, a swift kick in the rear, anything to unblock the block. Together we decided I needed to get off the pc, take up pen and paper, and map out the conflict, so I could play those things off one another in the query.

Which led to the revelation in all its horrid glory...
Two small diagrams and one ramble lurk here )
____________________________________
[1] These two articles, Crisis vs Conflict by Dennis G. Jerz and How to Write Conflict by Elizabeth Richards, which address conflict vs crisis, seem to say that maybe I'm doing ok. I did say "maybe."
(articles in a nutshell: crisis = circumstancial event/action; conflict = decisions/struggles that a character makes, often based on the crisis. Richards reiterates that conflict happens inside a character, while Jerz stresses that conflict encompasses introspection, exploration of values, examination of choices...)

[2] However, if you critted TTD and feel up to commenting, I'd be interested to know if, while reading, you kept asking yourself, "Where's the conflict?" See? Still not the same thing as asking for reassurance.

ETA: Sorry if the formatting is still wonky; tried to fix it to no avail. I give up.
wayfaringwordhack: (scrabble - novel)
Remember when I felt the power of my genius in regards to TTD? Well, it didn't take me long to plunge from those giddy heights, or, to pick up the analogy I used in that other post, for the world to rotate out from under me. In fact, it took all of a day after completing the editing pass. For, lo, I turned my attention to the query, and much gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair was heard on the fair isle of Mayotte, dampened not a whit by the humid air.

I know I can write a blasted query; I did it for Witherwilds and think I was pretty successful at it.

if you want to judge for yourselves )

 

The trick? Write it before the book. Just a teensy tiny bit too late to do that with TTD. *sigh* But I will soldier on. I must...
_______________
The new icon comes from an actual game of Scrabble I played with [livejournal.com profile] mana_trini ; he formed "novel." I just had to add "rewrote."

Btw, we play in franglais (French+English) hence the "le." :P


wayfaringwordhack: (book)
And on these days, it's hard to believe that 99% of the time I feel like one of the world's biggest hacks in regards to my writing.

Some very nice compliments--[livejournal.com profile] footlingagain , I'm looking at you--helped validate the chuffed feeling I had while starting on the last third of my book. Too bad the world is a rotating thing and I can't always be on the top of it. I rather like the view.

wayfaringwordhack: (book)
Yesterday, while making yogurt, a wonderful line occurred to me for the book I'm revising. I knew that I should have set my spoon aside immediately, fetched pen and paper, and jotted the idea down. 

Did I do that? No. Instead, I repeated it to myself five times and then went about my business.  

Do I remember the line now that I'm ready to add it? No.

Yeah, I'm a right idiot.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
When we arrived in Mayotte last August, we used fans all the time so hot and muggy did we find it. This year, being more acclimated to the weather, we've turned them on only twice or thrice in the past few weeks. But ever since we've gotten back from Madagascar, I've noticed the increase in humidity. No longer can I get out of the shower and expect to feel fresh for a couple of hours. These days, as I stand before the bathroom mirror, towel still wrapped around me, my whole body is covered in a sheen of sweat and I want nothing more than to jump back in the shower for another pointless rinsing off. Same thing when I sit at the computer, or just sit period. You don't have to be doing something to break into a sweat. Breathing is enough.

As further proof of the change I feel, the sky has been overcast of late, and I awoke at 5 this morning to rain pattering on the tin terrace roof. It was still raining, harder, even, an hour later when J got home from work. Looking out the office window, I see a solid layer of gray still pads the sky. At least the winds have dropped and the lagoon has regained its lake-like qualities. There is an upside to every thing.

And speaking of beginnings, I've retaken up TTD for a pass with an eye to tweaking the first chater, cutting weasel prose in the beginning and the last quarter, and reworking the last two pages or so. After that, query letter and synopsis writing shall begin, segueing into the beginning of my agent hunt. Lots of beginnings. There always are when one is alive.
wayfaringwordhack: (moi)

September first. The day my writing hiatus ends and did end. I didn't write, but I did pull out a hardcopy of one of my shorts (one that is almost 8K). I marked it up and, after some thinking and brainstorming, came up with a more coherent throughline to replece the shaky nonexistent one I had before. Focus is a lovely thing, let me tell ya. I haven't keyed in the changes yet, for I'm not 100% sure how I want to end it. Still, not bad for my first day back. I did open TTD at one point but failed to read one word of it. I knew I didn't have time to read a good chunk, so I was loath to start. I would like to treat it as I do my friend's mss and read it in one or two sittings, though given the length, three probably wouldn't be unreasonable.

This afternoon, I went to Cavani on Grande Terre for my art lesson. I'm *almost* finished with the painting that I started several weeks back. Marcel said I should have finished it the last class, and the one before that, but he did tell me he is happy with my work. And he paid me a lovely compliment saying that if I am as obstinate, observant, and conscientious with my writing as I am with my painting, then I must be a fine writer indeed. Those qualities may not translate into what it takes to make a great storyteller, but I'll accept his praise with pleasure.  

wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
Well, I've received another two crits on TTD, so another round of remerciments is in order. 

My heartfelt thanks to [personal profile] friggand [profile] navicatfor their time and effort. I appreciate it greatly. I'm a lucky gal to have such generous friends. ::biiiiiiig hug::
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
I wanted to thank everyone at once for critting The Traveler's Daughter, but I realize the crits are probably  going to be pretty staggered. So rounds of thanks it will be, and the first round goes out to [info]mindseas and [profile] magicnoire

Thank you, ladies! Try though I do to concentrate solely on my next project right now, you have both given me things to consider for what I hope will be the last pass.
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)

I have two things to say, and normally one of them would be on my update filter, but because I don't feel like making two posts, those of not on that filter will just have to suffer through. Or you can scroll past the entry of course.

The first thing is that I've had a bad week.  Most of the badness came from computers being on the blink, which led to a week of no writing, so no progress, no adherring to the schedule.  Yes, I could have written longhand, but I was more worried about saving my books.  I hadn't backed things up in a good while and stood to lose months of work on two separate projects. EVERYONE STOP READING AND BACKUP YOUR FILES IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY!!!!!  That's an order.

The second thing relates to updates.  I'm now ready to attack TTD again, and because I'm already behind schedule and the mil is due in just a few weeks, I'm going to be very scarce around LJ-land as I try to make serious headway on this ms.  If you have something you want to share with me, please don't count on me seeing it on my flist.  If you don't have my email and want it, don't hesitate to ask.

Now for some scary stats.  

TTD:
 235,111 words - ouch. I don't even want to know what it is in SMF.

990 pages in Courier - ouch.  However, I did reduce the spaces after punctuation from 2 to 1 and whittled it down 6 pgs.  Yay me. In TNR, howevr, it was 731.  That is looking mighty tempting for printing and subbing, especially when it comes time to do SMF.

Those on my update filter, if the page and word count numbers don't go down in the course of the edits, please feel free to pelt me with smelly eggs and clotted milk.

wayfaringwordhack: (Talion)
At last. This draft is COMPLETE! I still want to read over my last three chapters to check for flow before I send it into hibernation, but YAY.  Finished draft. At last. :D

Do not ask me for a total word count because I don't know. And don't really want to. :P I'll work on trimming it down though during the edit, so I will most likely post "words cut" on the update filter. I pray I don't have to post a whole lot of "words added" updates, even though I do already have a whole chapter in mind that needs rewriting.

Anyhow, the plan is this:

Tonight: read last three chapters, make tweaks.
Tomorrow: Set ms aside for 2 wks, and work on another project.
April 7-25: Revise TDD

and then...My mother-in-law arrives for a visit. She'll be here from the 26 April to 15 May.  I do still hope to get this draft edited and sent to interested parties *evil grin* by May 1st, but we'll see.

In the meantime, anyone want to share their full-manuscript editing techniques?

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