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Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

I failed to post on Wednesday, I know. Something came up that has had me too stressed out to write this week. I think I’ve formulated a plan, now, and maybe I’ll be able to get back to writing. Generally, once I have a plan and can get started on it, I can relax. And start writing again.

Meantime, I’ve been thinking about genre, some. Well, several things kind of came together to make me realize something. It has to do, among other things, with what genre to put MAGE STORM into.

Mage Storm

I’ve always framed MAGE STORM, to myself, as an epic fantasy, because it does have an epic problem, epic stakes. But . . . in other ways it doesn’t fit the typical epic fantasy mold.

The more I think about it, I’m not sure that’s how readers will see it. It seems to me, that readers of epic fantasy have come to expect the great climax that saves the world and then everyone can go home and get on with their lives. After all, that’s the model Tolkien set up with THE LORD OF THE RINGS, arguably the archetype of epic fantasy.

But . . . well, here’s how I see it. Tolkien fought in World War I. That’s how he saw war. The men–it is all males in LotR–put their lives on hold, go off and save the world, or their corner of it, and then go back home. Only, well, in my lifetime, that hasn’t been how war–or military conflicts, since we haven’t had a declared war–works. It goes on and on, sometimes into the next generation. And, sometimes, no one wins; they just agree to stop fighting. And, at the same time, many of the other kinds of problems we try to tackle are not the kind that can be solved in one blow.

It’s entirely natural and right that authors today should write stories that reflect our reality–even into fantasy realms we make up out of whole cloth. It’s part of what speculative fiction does–reframe realities in a different, more distant setting so, sometimes, we can take a clearer look at the issues. See the forest without being blinded by the trees.

But, there’s still that expectation of what epic fantasy will be like. And MAGE STORM isn’t going to fit that mold. There isn’t going to be one great climax where everything is solved. More like incremental steps and strategies for improvement.

So . . . I’m still left with the question. When I finally finish MAGE STORM and prepare to publish it, what genre do I call it? It’s certainly not sword and sorcery (no swords at all, for one thing). What kind of a bird is it?

 

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Of course this week we had hot, humid weather. In previous years, school would not have started until the Thursday of last week (Thursday after Labor Day), but, in their “wisdom”, they moved the start of school up ten days–just in time to hit what is usually the most humid part of the year, here. Naturally without making any adjustments to make that easier to deal with.

So, basically, there wasn’t enough left of me to do any writing during the week. It is cooling off–and much less humid–now. Hopefully this weather will hold for a little while.

I have gotten some writing/revising done on MAGE STORM this weekend, at least.

Mage Storm

And hope to get more done during the week, because the week after that will be busy with other things and the one after that I may be on jury duty.

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Whew!

I know I didn’t post at all last week. All I can say is that the first week back at school kicked my . . . . Well, you know.

However, I did still make some progress on the rewrite of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

I even finished another chapter. So it wasn’t a total waste. And what little energy I had to spare was better used for that, so I don’t lose momentum entirely. I even finished another chapter.

Here’s hoping next week will be a bit easier. At the very least, it’ll be a day shorter.

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I’m a couple of days late posting this. There are a number of reasons for that, but . . . who needs excuses.

The main thing is that I continue to make progress on MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Not quite as fast as last week, but that’s to be expected.

In other news:

-In gardening, the Heart of Darkness (otherwise known as the turk’s cap plant at the side of the house) has been tamed (as much as it can be at the moment).

Before:

Heart of Darkness

Half-way through:

Heart of Darkness Today

It was like that green wall at the back pretty much from end to end.

Finished:

Heart of Darkness Part 2

Well, that photo isn’t completely finished. There’s another section beyond that wall with the weird little window. (That window is actually in a closet. Old houses are weird.) It’s mostly ivy, not turk’s cap, beyond that point. And narrower. And I did cut back most of that stuff that was higher up and out of reach without a ladder. (Some of it was still out of reach, at least for me.) Also, I finished up this morning by raking up all the dead leaves, etc. on the ground.

-I’ve also nearly finished the whole house cleaning–as long as you don’t count the back bedroom/storage room. I’ll have to get to that, too. Preferably before I have to get the Christmas stuff (much of which is stored in there) out.

-Summer is almost over. School starts on Monday. Sadie isn’t going to like that. She likes having me home all the time.

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-I finished another course through The Great Courses Plus, Heroes and Legends. It was clear fairly early on that the lecturer meant something different by heroes and legends than I do, although some would have fit my definition. Still, there were some interesting insights.

I’ve started another, How to Write Best-Selling Fiction, taught by James Scott Bell. It’s always nice when a writing class is taught by someone who is actually a writer.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that part of my problem with making more progress on MAGE STORM is balance.

Mage Storm

See, in addition to getting back into the habit of writing every day, I’ve also set myself a couple of other goals for this summer–which, for this purpose, ends in two weeks when school starts again.

I also wanted to get a fair amount of work done in the yard. It had gotten out of control and I’m gradually trying to bring it back–in a hopefully low-maintenance kind of way. Naturally, I try to accomplish whatever task I’ve set myself done in the morning, before it has a chance to get too hot. Usually, I get hot anyway. Gradually–one moderate goal at a time–I’m making progress with that.

Then, too, I want to get a whole-house cleaning done. And naturally, since I’m already wearing my grubby work clothes, I tend to do that shortly after I come in from working in the yard, allowing a little time to rest in between. That also is coming along, although I don’t expect to be completely done before school starts.

And then, I sit down at the computer. I’ve been sitting here–and then getting up only to wander somewhat aimlessly around the house and come back again since lunch. Trying to work up the concentration to finish this chapter

And all I really want to do is take a nap. Especially today, between mowing, laundry, and starting in on cleaning the dining room, I’m tired. Might be that I just can’t do as much in a day anymore as I could ten or twenty years ago–though I don’t like to admit it.

Balance won’t be any less of an issue once school starts, especially the first couple of weeks. The challenges will just change. Though, at least, I’ll likely only be working on they yard on the weekends. House cleaning never ends, though once the hard cleaning is done it will hopefully be the lighter kind of maintenance cleaning–at least for a while.

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Well, the plumbing fiasco–and my feelings about it–have derailed the small amount of momentum I’d started to build.

But I am not going to let that defeat me. No way. So the thing to do is to get back to that rewrite of MAGE STORM–painful as it is at the moment.

Mage Storm

Because that won’t last. Once I get some real momentum–or, at the latest, when I get past these first few chapters into the part that will diverge from the original–it’ll start really flowing. It will. All my other stories have. And just about every one of them has been hard to get really rolling. Why should this one be any different?

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All I can say is this week so far has been abysmal. Horrible. I want this week to be over. The last two days have been mostly interrupted by plumbers.

I’ve gotten the chance to work on maybe three or four sentences of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

This too shall pass–eventually.

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