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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

The rewrite of MAGE STORM is flowing better now.

Mage Storm

What I need to work on is regaining the habit of spending enough butt-in-chair time on it. In fairness, I do have several other projects I have to work on this summer, both in the yard and cleaning the house. But I used to have this habit and I’ve lost it during the protracted writer’s block. (Ever notice it’s a lot easier to break good habits than bad ones?) I need to get that back.

Meanwhile, I’m finding more sources of inspiration, which will certainly bear fruit down the line. I mentioned, I think, that during the writer’s block I decided to subscribe to The Great Courses Plus.

I started with a series of lectures about the Celtic World, which was very good–and some of that is a portion of the new inspiration into my secret history.

Then I tried one on King Arthur. That one started out well, but turned into a sort of literary survey of who wrote what about the legend and when certain elements got added. (Hint: Lancelot is a French addition that was never part of the original Romano-Celtic tale. Though Guinevere is part of the original cast.) The stories themselves tended to get lost.

I very briefly stuck my toe into one on the great mythologies of the world, but I’m interested in them as stories, not comparative religion.  So, that didn’t last long.

Of course, it’s all a question of what interests me, in particular. For both Arthur and mythology, I’m all about the stories, because that’s what’s likely to spark something that I can work with. (Like taking off from the Hercules legend with my BECOME series.)

BecomeSeriesBoxSet

But, see, that’s the beauty of this subscription service. If a lecture series isn’t for you, you can just move on. Now I’ve started one on Heroes and Legends, which I’m really enjoying so far. The first lecture was . . . wait for it . . . about Tolkien’s Bilbo and Frodo, with an argument for why they are the unexpected, but needed heroes for the time following the World Wars. Then Odysseus (the ultimate trickster hero, perfect for his time) and Aeneas (Rome’s answer to Odysseus . . . and a bit of a prick, really.) Today I watched the one on Guinevere. I’m not sure I entirely agree with his analysis of her. But the summation of how depictions of her changed over time along with the expectations of the societies who were retelling her tale was very interesting.

This one may definitely inspire some new stories. Or new ways of looking at heroes. Or . . . well, who knows?

 

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A little bit forward, some sideways. Hey, it’s still progress.

I have gotten a little more done on the first draft/rewrite of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Not much yet, but sometimes it’s starting that counts.

Then a bug bit me (not literally) and I wrote seven pages of notes for my potential secret history story–uh, saga. I’m not sure it’ll actually be a secret history. I may ditch the history and write it as a second world fantasy, using the actual history as inspiration. Among other things, that would allow me to compress the time frame, which would be nearly unworkable if I had to stick more closely to history. Either way, it’s nowhere near ready to write yet.

But the thing about inspiration is that it hits you with what it wants to before it gives you what you want, so . . . this may be a sign of more progress on the horizon. Maybe things are really about to break loose.

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Inspiration is where you find it–and it can come from anything.

A couple of months back, I posted that one of the things I was doing during this bout of writer’s block to prime the pump was to subscribe to The Great Courses Plus, which has lecture series by experts on all sorts of topics. I probably should mention here that I’ve always been a little bit of a history geek, though of an eclectic selection of eras and locations.

The first one I watched was “The Celtic World”, which was very interesting. It didn’t spark any immediate inspiration, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if something I heard there cropped up in some later story.

After finishing that, I decided to start one on King Arthur (though it was a close thing between that and one on the great mythologies of the world). King Arthur edged the other out mostly because there’ve been a couple of stories simmering on the back burners. One is based on an ancient Welsh story of the greater Arthurian cycle, but not near the core of what we, now, consider to be the central story (much of which probably wasn’t part of the original tale). The other would probably start off of part of the Arthur legend as a springboard, but move on from there.

So far, this is also a very interesting course. But the big inspirational moment so far . . . well, it has more to do with world building than story, per se. Still, it’s something I don’t ever remember hearing anywhere else. And, so far, I haven’t been able to turn up anything on line.

Nevertheless, I like it very much. This was a little rule about travel time in medieval–or medievalesque–settings. And it could apply to others as well, I think. Anyway, it went like this:

If it would take you 23 days to walk to a particular destination, it would take only 6 days if you rode a horse, or only 1 day, if you were able to go by ship.

Now that is a cool little world-building detail. It’ll never be a story in itself, but it doesn’t have to be. And . . . it’s just possible that this might find a place in the new and (hopefully) improved version of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

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Despite several distractions, I’ve started working on MEADOWSWEET.

I’ll probably continue working on MAGE STORM some, too,

Mage Storm

switching back and forth as inspiration moves me until one or the other gains momentum. At least it will keep me actually writing, which, experience tells me, is the only way I’m going to generate the ideas I need.

I’ll have to also start working out cover art for MEADOWSWEET. So far, that’s proved elusive.

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I had my plans all made. After the next book in line would be MAGE STORM, kicking off a new series.

Mage Storm

Then about a week ago, a new, bright, shiny story idea bounced across my path. It’s not really a new story, exactly. The idea has been around for a while, but it wasn’t ready. There were pieces missing. Especially the world building. And then, one night, there they were, all shiny and new.

The conventional wisdom at this point, is to right down all that inspiration, so I won’t forget. (That’s a lesson most writers have to learn the hard way–including me. No matter how much you think you’ll remember because it’s so wonderful–you won’t. Write it down.) And then go ahead with the original plan.

That’s . . . sometimes easier said than done.  I’ve written down the inspiration, but I still really, really want to write MEADOWSWEET, too. (Just like stray puppies and kittens, it’s a really bad sign when the get named.) My heart may already have gone over that fence.

MEADOWSWEET would be a fairytale retelling–a subgenre I’ve never done before. In another post I may go into which fairytale and why I chose that title instead of one more closely tied to the original fairytale.

So, what’s likely to happen next is me trying to write two stories at once. I’ve been that crazy before and it’s worked out. (Though I do have to be really careful to keep the characters and character names in the right stories.) It can work out. When one story hits a place that needs more thought or inspiration to break through, I can just switch to the other for a while. Given the trouble MAGE STORM was giving me a month or so ago, that might actually be a good thing.

Meantime, while I try to force myself to do that research on launch strategies, I’ve started the polishing edit on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

StormCover2

Maybe that’ll give me a little more distance from that bright, shiny story temptation.

 

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Originally, the plan was to work on MAGE STORM through August and then switch back to the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM in September.

StormCover2

But, I haven’t been getting any traction on MAGE STORM. Beyond the initial issues I had–deciding on a ground-up rewrite–I’ve discovered some other things that need to be considered.

See, the original version was conceived as a sort of open-ended series, with each book being a separate story–building on events in the previous books but not creating a greater world-saving arc. That’d work fine if I decided to make this sword and sorcery. But I don’t think that’s what I want. The idea of the rewrite was to make it epic fantasy.

Now, as I said before, this story has an epic problem. But the sort of open-ended series–that doesn’t have an arc building to the epic climax just doesn’t work very well for epic fantasy. That world-saving or world-changing conclusion is as expected in epic fantasy as a happily-ever-after is in romance. Favorite characters can get killed along the way. The quest can even fail. But there has to be that big bang at the end.

So, I’m going to have to rethink, not just the first story, but how all the others fit into a larger, more epic arc. I think I can see a glimmer of how that might work. Or, at least a little of it. But I need to have a better feel for that before I start the rewrite.

Therefore, I’m going to go ahead and start the revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM. It’s been three weeks. And, as distracted as I’ve been lately, revision–using the critical side of my brain–is probably a better fit than trying to write from scratch–or nearly–anyway.

And, in the meantime, maybe I can figure out how all the pieces of MAGE STORM and it’s sequels fit together into an epic arc. Or what has to change to make them fit. Or, of course, whether it’s just better suited to being an episodic sword and sorcery after all. There’s actually nothing wrong with that. It’d just mean a change of perspective and expectations for this story.

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I’ve been trying to figure out how to share a sample from the audiobook of The Shaman’s Curse.

TSC Audio

Of course, you can listen to the sample right there on Amazon, but I wanted to share it more broadly.

Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me share the audio, here. (Well, they would, if I was willing to pay for the privilege.) And Facebook doesn’t let you share audio, even though you can share video–which makes little sense to me. But anyway. Then today I was watching a podcast from ACX University where it was suggested to make a video by just using the audiobook cover and the sample.

Well, that diverted me into getting the software (free) to do that and create said video. Of course, I still can’t upload that here. But I can upload the video to Facebook–it just takes a really long time, for some reason.

I’ve been waiting for Facebook to finish, which is in part why this post is so late. But it’s still thinking. Eventually, you may be able to listen to the video on my Facebook author page. I hope.

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