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Eyes of Infistar

The Donald Maass Literary Agency has a page “This month we are looking for….”, and the latest is Quirky detectives we would like to meet. It just so happens that I have this story I'm supposedly revising, which features quirky detectives. Of course, they seem to be expecting detectives to be found in mystery genre queries, not science fiction, but this way I can give them (almost) what they ask for and surprise them at the same time. Sounds perfect, right?

Okay, maybe not perfect. But it was a tempting enough situation that I have written and snail-mailed a query letter, hoping it would arrive while “this month's” request was still in effect and maybe, therefore, get a smidgen of extra attention. Which means I really can't afford to delay working on Eyes anymore, because you never know, they might ask to see it. (It seems a pity to abandon the characters of Dicing With Flames in the situation they are in, but the mountain can't collapse on them if I'm not there to tell it to, so they can wait.)

So, if you have read Eyes, and sent me comments, and I did not respond saying, 'yes I got them, thank you very much', then I didn't get them. Could you please try sending them again? I would love a chance to thank you for the effort you have gone to on my behalf.

And if you haven't sent me any comments, well, anything you can get to me in the next three weeks or so, will be greatly appreciated. ๐Ÿ™‚

Maybe not quite the right approach?

I have been trying to devise a hook for Eyes of Infistar.
And I'm having trouble. (No surprise, I guess, this hook writing business is hard).

My first temptation is to say something on the order of…

From the hackneyed tradition of Lin Carter, E. E. Doc Smith, James H. Schmitz, and Edgar Rice Burroughs comes…

THE EYES OF INFISTAR (Space operatic adventure/mystery.)

It's got a stolen alien artifact (because all space operas need mysterious artifacts left carelessly lying about by progenitor aliens). It's got a galactic empire (because no space opera is complete without a galactic empire no matter how politically implausible that might be). It's got a gorgeous kick-ass heroine whose sister is an eight foot tall empath and whose brother is a blue ape. (I am credibly informed that space operas don't require that one's heroine have hairy blue relatives, but I figure even a devoted tribute like this one can use a few original elements.)

The swinging planetary romance plot predictably has our heroine (and stud-muffin admirer) chasing cunning villains across an alien landscape. And the climax is a high octane shoot out with space pirates taking place in — you guessed it — a primitive temple. With every cliche in the lexicon, how could it possibly fail to be fun?

…Okay, not quite every cliche. Gotta save some for the sequel.

I somehow suspect this doesn't qualify as a hook. It certainly doesn't follow the recommended format. ๐Ÿ™
And the 'how could it possibly fail to be fun' line is just asking to be slapped, (but it fits perfectly with the tone of the rest of it.) ::sigh::

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. ๐Ÿ™‚


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…)

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.

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