Pantser, Plotter, Plantser

September 15, 2021

I’m not a pantser anymore. I have a poster up on my corkboard that has “My Contract With My Reader”. The first thing is: “I will not waste your time.” Ergo, “I will not waste my time.”

As a pantser, that’s what I did. I would write myself into boxes, toss half of it away, and start over. Frustrating as all hell. So I tried plotting, and you know how that goes (read some past posts).

I plot with a lot of wiggle room. I have a point where I start, and usually a point where I finish, and how I get there is…open. Most of the time. There are a few times that I there are certain things that need to happen, and I make room for that.

However, with this newest WIP, I’m creating a “bible” that has all the background information. The story is told in the main character’s POV, and she hasn’t got a clue really what’s going on. In an attempt not to infodump (which is what my first draft was) I’m trying to spread the information out a little bit at a time. But I have to put the background somewhere.

I have a 3 subject notebook. The first subject is characters. The second subject is scenes behind the scenes, that the main character doesn’t know about but that I have to clarify for the other characters to move on. The third subject is for the live plots in the story.

I’m still working on the character page. Right now I have:
Age:
Relationship to MC:
Titles:
Family:
Personality and Skills (Thank you GURPS and Vampire: The Masquerade)
Physical Description (Which is the name of an actor/actress from IMDB)
What chapters they are in and what they do.

So yes, Jason Momoa and a “Raiders” Harrison Ford are in this book. I’ll let you figure out who they are.

I haven’t written down any background scenes and I’m still organizing the plots.

Oh, and what is the WIP about, you ask?

Imagine that the northern part of Maine, north of Route 95, are all feudal societies. Some live with technology and no magic; the rest live with magic and little technology. What if a person is able to use magic in the technological world, and technology in the magic world? That’s the Taurin. Among other things.

I’ll give you a few more snippets of the story another time. My editing is going slow now because I’m doing podcasts for Small Publishing in a Big Universe and my own Dark Mystic Quill. SPBU is a showcase for my publisher’s wares. DMQ is the same thing it’s always been: Writing, Witchcraft and Woe. Maybe not so much woe anymore.

So I am off to get my hand looked at. Carpal Tunnel, here we are!

CBD, medical issues, and Afghanistan

August 22, 2021

Three top things in my life right now. I have arthritis in my left thumb. It hurts when I move the thumb toward the palm, or I extend it to pick up something wide (oh, like Tarot cards????). A friend of mine suggested I try CBD. She’s an Earth Mother type of person, totally organic, wears Crocs, and recycles EVERYTHING. So yeah, marijuana is good for you! It’s natural.

I went with her to the local CBD store. No, I don’t smoke or vape it. I bought a balm to rub on my thumb and the muscles of the thumb. Nothing. Nada.

At the same time, I ordered a CBD cream for joint pain. Tried that. Nothing. Nada.

Then I used both at the same time. That works, for a short time. I think I’ll go back to Tylenol.

My dry weight (that is, my weight when I leave dialysis) has increased because I’m back to eating 3 relatively small meals a day. After a year of the shakes, it was just too much. I couldn’t stand them. I have a case of them left. Maybe after a few months of eating food, I’ll go back to them.

Afghanistan. I wrote about Afghanistan in my first published book, and in my hopefully eventually to be released Director’s Cut of War Mage. I knew the Taliban were going to take over. They have a culture that wants them to die. It’s a holy thing if they die. Like the Norse and Greeks, warriors go right to heaven. The Afghan National Army didn’t have that culture. That’s why they gave up and ran.

Presently, it’s an odd way to think, to have such deep faith. The ANA (aka, the West) forgot faith. The West needs a faith, something that will bring us together and make us fight. We had a reason to fight until we got our revenge for 9/11, and then we tried “Nation Building” with a culture that’s full of tribes and ancient tradition. Soldiers are not social workers. They’re warriors. Whole different skill set.

In War Mage, Brent is turned into a social worker, and the book is about how he spectacularly….fails? Succeeds? You decide.

Dark Mystic Quill Returns (again)

July 30, 2021

My podcast has returned! Take a listen to it on iTunes (er, Apple Podcasts).

Whatever you do, don’t go to the website darkmysticquill.com. It’s a mess. We’ll get to fixing it soon.

Oh, to the Shredder with it (for now).

July 20, 2021

I picked up A Rook Given and decided to establish the POV as Rook’s only. This meant I had to change Edwin as “Master Edwin” or “his master”, and Mebahel didn’t exist any more. The scene that sparked the story had to be taken out (Mebahel heals a little crippled girl and the parents are upset because they can’t get insurance or money from her disability anymore). After rewriting the few chapters I did, the story got cut in half from 22K to 11K, six chapters to four.

This morning I sat down with my outline and plan, and went right off the rails when writing. This means that the Muse is just as sick of being forced into the square peg of this story, that She wants something else. I pulled out my trusty box of StoryMatic, and pulled something random. I sat with a blank page for about ten minutes, then wrote ideas. None worth anything.

But there’s two ideas that are noodling around in my head. One is from The Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy world, where an archeologist who is on the station for SCIENCE! hits a wrong button and…oops. The other is Mike (Grimaulkin) goes to a local Comicon. Both would be fun, for my own…edification, not meant for public consumption. Maybe I need to write those before the Muse will either go back to A Rook Given, the Werewolf story, or something else new. Time to clear things out for new stuff.

“A Rook Given” continues…

July 11, 2021

I’m on Chapter 6 of A Rook Given and have finally introduced one of the catalysts for the story. Maybe it’s kind of late by now.

In a way, I don’t like switching the third-person-limited between three main characters: Rook, Edwin, and Mebahel. What one does, the other doesn’t know the reasons for. Example: Rook’s friend saw everything that happened to Rook and feels the need to tell Edwin. But the reader doesn’t know why. Or how she feels afterward. How do I tie up that loose end?

I’m up to 19K words, a quarter of the way through. Seventy-five K is my goal, but because my writing style is sparse, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get that far. I meant for Chapter 2 to introduce the “call to adventure” but maybe it’s now Chapter 6, and everything else before it is going to get tossed out. I hope not.

The werewolf story… this is where it gets weird. Or magical.

In my writing group, there’s a woman who writes fantasy, and somehow the conversation got on werewolves. “I’d want to write a story where each phase of the moon, the wolf changes.” Well, the funny thing is a couple of weeks ago, the publisher and I started talking about that. I didn’t go with it because it’s been done by White Wolf Games and their Werewolf: The Apocalypse series and didn’t want it to be fan fiction. Coincidence?

In Big Magic, by Elisabeth Gilbert, she goes into a section where writers will suddenly have the same idea. It’s not that she stole the idea from the publisher and me, but it’s that the Universe has this idea, and someone is going to write it, by God. If not me, then maybe this other woman.

It hurts my heart to feel that the Universe doesn’t bless me with the story idea, Even though I rejected it. It’s like not being invited to a party so you could tell them “Oh, sorry, I can’t.” Doesn’t that hurt?