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L. Shelby - Cultivator Universe - News Category Ice Wolf Investigations

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Peluge's Preposterous Adventures

See what Ice Wolf's blue furry investigator is up to today.

Ice Wolf Investigations News

Not procrastination… really truly

I spent today's editing session tracking down a bunch of the loose ends in Eyes of Infistar and tucking them neatly in place.
Yesterday I had gotten right up through the climax, and had decided that I probably needed to expand the rest out a bit rather than simply tidy it up. I have a tendency to end my rough drafts very abruptly.

But I needed to clean up all the other loose ends so I would know which ones would be tied up in the denouement, right?

And since I'm hoping to do a sequel, maybe I shouldn't be too eager to clean up the ones that remain. I can always wait until I have reader feedback, and only fix the ones they complain about… >;)

Flag in Flames is up to 5.5 pages.

Surprise in the mail

I got my copy of the Polaris Anthology today!
Yay! A real book, by a real publisher.

I also finished the tricky bit in Eyes where I had to make the story go from where it originally went, to where I decided three chapters later I should have made it to go. I had to rewrite that bit three times before I actually managed to get the story headed in the right direction.


… I completed Page 3 of Flag in Flames

It took me longer than I expected: It was a six panel page. the renders take a long time, and I ended up re-rendering every single one of them in full size at least twice. :sigh:

I've started setting up my renders and getting them going *before* doing my writing, so that I have a hope of finishing two on the same day.

A week to catch up on

The kids had three days off school and a two hour delay this week too, so they didn't miss much of my sister's visit at all. She left Thursday, after making me birthday cake (with dragons on it!). Yesterday Boyd took me out to dinner, and then we attended the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society and played games all evening.

I'm over halfway done with the Eyes of Infistar first revision pass. Today I found a couple small continuity problems I hadn't noticed in my read through, but they were pretty easy to fix. I also got Harp & Gyre ready to go to WotC, but it's still sitting on a shelf in my bedroom because no one wants to chip the family van out of the ice — or drive it in this weather. And naturally Boyd's work van is never available when the post office is open. (It's snowing again too.)

So I'm off to work on Black Flag. I'm maybe a third of the way through page 3, but the next bit is somewhat scary. Four characters in the same scene is going to be an enormous strain on my system, and slower than molasses to work with. Wish I had bigger, faster, more ubercool hardware. And more memory. And more storage. And more…

Hmm… Didn't I already write a song about that?

Since my last posting, I…

Have written my summary of Eyes — in double columns, so I can easily both scan each plot thread separately and compare/contrast them.
Discovered that the continuity error at the climax could be solved by rewriting one sentence, and rewrote the sentence.
Did more language stuff.
Worked on Tortuga station, which is slowly taking shape. I need to figure out how detailed it has to be.

Also, a friend heard me singing “Silver's Theme” and, not knowing it was written by me, remarked “that's a pretty song”. :glow: (When my husband and son heard “Silver's Theme” their reaction was more on the order of: “Er… :shudder: you know that Silver guy isn't exactly… um…” Of course, my friend didn't hear much of the words, so she was really just referring to the tune, but I'm happy to have gotten the compliment anyway.)

I like word counts.

There is something very nice about being able to demonstrate solid forward progress, but I'm in edit mode right now and haven't even subtracted any words to my manuscript, let alone added any. That doesn't mean I haven't been working.

I have written a ~1600 word summary of everything that happened previous to the book that Serena needs to deductively reconstruct. (Well she probably doesn't need *all* of it, maybe I'll be able save a couple bits for background trivia for the website or something.) I've also spent some time playing with imaginary languages in the theory that it's forward motion on the missing names thingy. (Nobody seems to believe this theory other than me, however.)

Next I guess I need to do a summary of the two plot threads and how they interact so that I know how the bits of deduction need to be redistributed in order to match with Bambi's half of the story. No more today, though. Black Flag has been neglected for too long and it's nagging at me. I gotta get some work done on Tortuga Station or I'll have a mutiny on my hands.

Just realized…

My “Cultivator Universe” userpic is currently my least favorite, and I will hopefully be using it fairly frequently now. I'll have to think about creating a replacement.

Which reminds me in a sort of round the corner way about the icon love meme going around, and that I have not yet asked anyone to tell me their favorite of my userpics. I would love to have people tell me they like one (or all) of my userpics, but it just seems to be cheating somehow, when I only have six: one of which is a photo of me, and the other five of which are my own artwork. It feels a bit like going around saying “So, which of my books did you like best?”

Getting back to the reason to use the “Cultivator Universe” userpic, I read Eyes of Infistar today, and added a couple things to the revision notes I had scribbled down at the end way back when. It was actually a pretty fun way to spend the day. I'm looking forward to this. I enjoy fixing problems when I know what the problems are. When I don't know what I'm supposed to be fixing I can get very frustrated, but this book has some very clearly defined problems for me to take care of:

1) Bambi and Serena's plot threads do not progress at the same pace.
2) Twice I changed my mind about what I wanted to have happen, and just kept on writing as if the changes had already been made — now I need to go back and make the changes.
3) There's this little continuity error at the climax, (precisely where you least want a continuity error and yet are most likely to make one.)
4) I'd like to see the kids' situation made more of, some great potential for humor was overlooked there.
5) Only six of the characters have been named. Everyone else is called ????.

Hopefully fixing all that will keep me busy for a good long while before I have to start worrying about hunting up some beta readers to pester. 🙂


Thank you very much for all the congrats and woohoos everyone.

I am always very happy to get to the end of a book, firstly for the joy of completion (yes, I know there are still revisions to be done, that's beside the point, there are always revisions to be done), and secondly because it means I'm allowed to switch to a different project. >:)

So long, elegant-and-witty-court-intrigue! Hello again action-oriented-space-opera-pastiche starring Bambi Wysorickovitz the barbie-doll-blonde investigator with purple eyes.

Kind of cool that I'll be back to working on this one just when the anthology with the related short story comes out. (So that no one coming in late will get confused, I am referring to “Frozen Witness” which will appear in stores as part of the POLARIS anthology shortly. The story is published as hard science fiction, and is not intended to be humorous, but nonetheless makes reference to a Dr. Wysorickovitz…)


Eyes of Infistar word count: 107977

I'm done.
I don't really believe it, but I'm done.

I wrote all morning, over four thousand words, and now I'm finished.

I haven't started celebrating yet, because I'm still too astonished.

One first draft of Eyes of Infistar, completed. Whee!

It took me almost exactly a year, which was twice as long as it was supposed to, but there was all that stuff with me trying to get school going on in there as an excuse.

Yay! Yay! Yay!
Okay, I'll be calm now. Really.

You know, I ought to go have lunch. I think I forgot to have breakfast, and I seem to have gotten lightheaded.

Sliding Home

Eyes of Infistar word count: 103840

I'm definitely almost done, I hope to have it wrapped up in the next 6000 or so words, and I doubt it will take me 6 days, because it's hard for me to make myself stop writing this close to the end (besides, my schedule says that I was supposed to be done on the first. Two weeks over isn't too bad, I don't think.)

Author's Note on the Cultivator Universe

I had created two fantasy worlds, and wanted to do a science fictional one. But I kept having problems. I could build a science fictional universe around a story (see Black Flag for an example of a universe built around a specific story) but to just build one that stood on it's own was for some reason giving me trouble. I finally realized that it was because I was tripping over the fact that science fiction universes are often seen as a continuation of ours: a possible future. My imagination was choking over my conviction that I was incapable of guessing what the future would be.

So instead of creating a possible future, I created an impossible one.

As soon as I had detached the universe I was building from the real world and real life, by centering it on a concept that was scientificly impossible, I was free to be as scientificly rigorous as I wanted to be in everything else. At the same time I remained free to ignore scientific realities when I thought they were getting in the way of a good yarn. The best aspects of both worlds were mine to play with.

Hexblurb for Frozen Witness
Can a dead girl leave footprints?
Copyright © Michelle Bottorff

Email mbottorff at lshelby period com