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Racciman's World News

Another One Done

…It doesn’t seem real yet, but maybe if I post about it, that will help.

Song of Asolde, Book 3: Dancing With Stones (~90 000 words)
First draft: COMPLETED.

It’s going to feel really strange, but my kids are on their spring break, so I think I’m going to officially declare myself “on vacation” for the rest of the week.

Halfway, More or Less

Yesterday I passed the 50% mark on my current WIP.

Of course, that 50% is based on a guesstimated length of 100K words, because I don’t know how many words it will be until I get there. So I may have actually not have gotten to halfway yet, or I might have passed it a while back.

But fifty thousand words is worth celebrating in any case. So, Yay!

The progress bar… it MOVES!

My writing progress bar finally advanced today, after sitting at the same spot for more time than I really like to contemplate. Not that I wasn’t writing, in all that time, you understand. I actually wrote an entire trilogy while my progress bar remained stuck, because I wrote it longhand, and therefore did not track my daily wordage. And after that I was doing revisions, which I don’t track on a progress bar either. (But I would love to figure out how to track revision progress, so if anyone has any brilliant ideas about that, please share them!)

But I finally came back to the story I was working on when the attack trilogy attacked me. Yay! Here’s to hoping that I can keep at it until it’s done and that nothing interrupts it this time. I don’t like leaving partially finished stories lying around all over the place… they nag at me.

Dusty cats, or real work?

Started playing with a “document processor” called Lyx, in my free time, ended up importing and marking up The Raven and The Veil, and then while I was reading through I decided the ending wasn’t as strong as it could be, so I rewrote it. It is now 4000 words longer. Hopefully that’s a good thing.

The cover artwork for Dicing with Flames isn’t done yet. I’m having trouble with the rock textures… and since the scene I’m doing is underground, it’s almost all rock. I put a Black Flag page together today anyway.

Too many things to do!

I stopped writing the story I wasn’t supposed to be writing, and started up work on Black Flag again instead. I’ve also been working on a major overhaul of my writing website (it fits fairly nicely into the chunks of time I spend rendering Black Flag art, and I can keep working at it when I’m really too tired to be doing much that is creative). The website work somehow managed to include me teaching my website to play Crazy Eights (or more precisely a game played with the cards from one of my story worlds that closely resembles Crazy Eights/Uno) because my cat was getting dusty (I don’t actually have a cat, but when has that ever stopped me?) and it was New Year’s, which is a holiday, so I wasn’t supposed to be working anyway. The card game page won’t go live until the new site does, though, and at present that seems very far in the future, because…

My daughter has been bugging me about the sequel to Talking With Winds. She doesn’t want to read it on a computer screen, she wants a book. ‘Please’ and ‘it’s for your daughter’ and ‘you have all that free time so why can’t you get it done?’ I can get it done, just not while simultaneously working on Black Flag and a website and getting a novel finished before March. But I have been meaning to get it printed up, along with Pavane, for quite a while now, so…

At least it’s a fairly short, self contained project. I should be able to get it finished quickly, and get back to my other projects. ::crosses fingers::

Taking my victories where I find them.

I’ve been working on revising Dicing with Flames, the sequel to Talking with Winds. My husband read it, and said it was mostly good, but he had some problems with the beginning. So I did some rewrites. Today my eldest son, who liked Talking With Winds best of all my stories to date, starting reading it. He began this morning and read it straight through to evening, start to finish in one go. It did not disappoint. Yay!

Maybe I should claim that the characters held me at swordpoint…

Because of something said on my lj “friends list”, I spent a good chunk of yesterday rereading the rough draft of Dicing With Flames (Song of Asolde, Book Two). Nobody else has ever read it, because I’m waiting to do revisions until I’ve finished writing the first draft of Sails of Everwind (Ice Wolf, Book Two — but I’m trying to write it so that it can stand on its own if need be), and in the meantime some of the places and many of the minor characters are still called ????.

Song of Asolde is a standard fantasy quest epic. It’s got elves. It’s got prophesies. It’s even got plot coupons. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have been told how awful it must therefore be, by people who have never read it. I was even told, on one notable occasion, that I shouldn’t hang out with the real writers, I should stick with the Dragonlance fanfic writers, where I belonged.

Clearly Song of Asolde does not appear to be designed to win the hearts of agents, please the critics, advance my reputation as a writer, and all that jazz. But I like it. And although the world in general may mock, most of the people who actually read book one seem to be looking forward to the second installment.

…So I guess I ought to stop whinging, and get busy drafting Sails of Everwind, so that I can get back to it. (37 620 words of Sails so far… it may be going slowly, but it is going. Real Life may be able to get in my way, but it can’t hold me back completely!)

Alas, poor ego!

My eldest daughter has been re-reading Harp & Gyre, and today she decided that a friend of hers who is moving would enjoy it, and asked if she could give her, as a going away present, the copy Lulu printed up for me (as part of their promotional contest thingy, three years ago).

One of my younger daughters leaned over her shoulder to watch her wrap the present, and asked: “How do you know she hasn’t read it already?”

Um… Because it’s unpublished, and that is the only printed copy in existence?At the time I was just amused, but unfortunately I got on lj and saw a rant about self-published authors spewing out their advice on the world under the misguided assumption that they actually know how to write.

I know it wasn’t aimed at me.

But still. Ouch.

It’s too late to tell her she can’t give it away now, it’s wrapped and everything.

Author's Note on Racciman's World

I'm going to blame it all on a guy named Tracy Hickman. He was at my first ever science fiction convention, and he did a panel on worldbuilding. I was a dedicated worldbuilder already, but my worlds had always been built alongside of the story that I was telling in them. Before Tracy explained how he approached worldbuilding, it had never occurd to me to build the world first, and find stories to tell in it afterward. So I thought I'd give it a try.

But what to base the world on? Well, they say 'write what you know', and as one of eight siblings, (and later the mother of six,) one of the things I knew was large family dynamics. So I decided to base a fantasy world on that. What would happen, I asked myself, if the gods of a fantasy world, were actually children? A family of children, with all their squabbles and shifting alliegences reflected in the world they created?

Quote from Eyes of Infistar
'Cultures that go around throwing visitors over their saddlebows don't deserve to be protected.'
-- Bambi Wysorickovitz
Copyright © Michelle Bottorff

Email mbottorff at lshelby period com