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Messages - Tyche

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Writers' Corner / Re: A fantasy question, and a plotting question.
« on: December 15, 2014, 02:32:02 AM »
Wen I set out to write my novels, I really didn't expect them to go as large as they did. I didn't expect it to go beyond a short-story -- IF I could even finish it. I ended up with nearly 140,000 words in nearly 300 pages.

How? I had a question that bugged me. Friends were constantly telling me that there could be no afterlife without a deity. So, the answer to the title of the first book, "What Hath God Wrought", was . . . nothing. The trouble was that all the sub-problems introduced along the way turned it into three trilogies. Again, how? Because to meet the first question, I had to create a universe that matched up with our contemporary universe -- therefore two parallel universes. And I had to populate that universe, Home, with beings that were right out of legend and myth -- Envoys, messengers, that were the messenger and the message.

The message was the skills that the Envoys had, and that humans were capable of attaining. Telepathy (mental sending), creating objects seemingly out of nothing, teleportation (translating from one place to another, instantly), telekinesis (moving objects without touching them, physically), and a few others. Arthur C. Clarke had said that "Any sufficiently complex technology is indistinguishable from magic". I turned magic into something that was simply a set of skills that just about anyone could master.

The basic question was answered in the first book. But it took eight more to tell the story of the girl that had managed it, and what she went through as a result of gaining those skills. So . . . Muriel, a twelve year old girl, gains the skills, and uses it to defeat some of the bullies in modern society -- problems lifted right out of the news. And you watch her grow and develop over a forty day period in those three books. Then the same girl at sixteen, and you can see more confidence, more planning, more surety in herself, and even that grows to the point where there is a potential love interest at the end of the second trilogy -- again about forty days long (give or take). And finally, she's twenty-one, and becomes consort to the boy that she'd ended up with in the previous trilogy, and has a whole new set of problems to deal with, including a new country to live in.

I didn't plot it. I had a goal that became a bunch of goals very quickly. I let the characters, and they number over one hundred, tell their own stories through dialogue as much as possible. And it all had to hang together, right from the beginning. You see what the characters see in the way of development. It all had to be consistent forward and backward. If I came up with a use for a skill in book six, it had to be a direct development of that same skill in book one. Logical consistency beyond what some fantasy books have, simply because they could get away with it, and I couldn't -- not and keep the story believable.

So, no, you don't have to plot. But you do have to have a goal or goals with a broad enough sweep to sustain a whole book or more. By the way, it took me a year to write the first draft of nine books, sitting at a computer for ten to sixteen hours a day. Mostly writing, but sometimes researching something necessary to the story that existed in the 'real' world, like a Coast Guard medium endurance cutter. Or clothing, and it's history -- she created her own uniform to be able to stand out as distinct from 'normal' people. Or citizenship, and how can a person be a citizen of America, yet be an Ambassador for a totally different universe. Passports were another one. Lots of little details, but always speaking in the voice of the current character -- it isn't quite multiple personality disorder. But the shifts between character thinking come fast when you're typing forty mistakes a minute, with words.

So, start with a goal. Whether you plot or not. Whether you outline ahead of time, or after the fact to check consistency and continuity. Whether you take notes or not. Start with a goal. Where are you (your character) and where do you want to be in the end. The rest is a path that may diverge from something plotted. But it might make more sense to the characters, and therefore more believable.

Writers' Corner / Re: Draft Blues?
« on: August 10, 2014, 09:44:06 AM »
I don't understand it.  I did 9 books (three trilogies) in a year.  Of course, that year included editing the first three books.  I started in March, and in October of that year sent the first three in to the copyright office for copyright.

It isn't the writing that's hard.  It's the editing.  Spelling is no problem since I have a spell checker and can always check against a Google search.  It's the fact that at that speed (40 mistakes a minute with words) I often leave off punctuation.  But going back through them and catching all the punctuation goofs, and occasional mistakes in word use, is what takes the time.  I've finally got them to the point where I did clean-up work on how sentences scan, and additional material to fill out ideas that I'd put in but didn't really complete.

I started the first book in March of 2013, and have done about 50 edits, so far.  I think they're in pretty good shape, but I may take another crack at them to see if there's any scenes I can cut, since my word count is pretty high.  The first book, alone, is 40 chapters, and almost 300 pages.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Any good Arthurian Fantasy?
« on: August 09, 2014, 08:48:54 PM »
The movie/musical Camelot gives another point of view, too.  I've read some others and can't remember the names or even the author any more.  I also just searched 14 bookcases for them, and couldn't find them.  However, Le Morte d'Arthur would be a good starting point, if you haven't already read it.  Possible recommendation is that you do an Internet search for Arthur, Science Fiction (or Fantasy) and see what pops up.  Arthur has been covered a lot, and in a lot of different ways (including from Merlin's point of view).  That you would tackle something like this tells me that you think you have a fresh approach, and I wish you luck with it.

Writers' Corner / Re: Word Count: Stress Inducer or General Barometer?
« on: March 07, 2014, 02:45:04 PM »
I wrote nine books in about a year.  OK, so I'm not what you would call a 'published author', and my initial purpose was to keep busy in my old age and retirement.  I set a 'target' number of chapters for a book, and a 'target' number of pages for a chapter.  I also set a number of chapters to produce a day.  None of those targets were hard and fast.  When I started, it was a chapter a day - 3000 words in six pages.  That changed as I went along.  And sometimes there would be three chapters and sometimes none, as I dove into doing research on one topic or another.  Nine books.  Three trilogies.  And each of the trilogies was actually one book.  Worried about word count?  Not me.  Not until now, when publishers don't want more than 100,000 to 120,000 words - the one I'm working on editing right now is over 140,000 words, and I'm not half-way through editing it.  It may never be published.  But I write, and I edit, because to not do so is unthinkable.

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