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Racciman's World News

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.

Do they count as fans…

…when they have no choice but to learn everything about it?I was entering the lyrics to the Flame and Steel Black Flag song into the music program today (couldn’t remember one of the verses and had to go hunt down the scrap of paper I wrote it on… ended up finding it in my Scent of Spring binder ?!?!) and I walked into the kitchen caroling “…He without the strength to stay me, will be trampled as I pass…”

“Mom, what are you singing?”

So I obligingly started at the beginning. “I was born a pirate’s daughter, I was bred to take command. All I am I freely offer: warrior’s heart and killer’s hand…”

“Oh. It’s a Bonnie Anne song.”

Instant character recognition. That means I’m doing something right?

Dicing With Flames passed the 80 000 word mark today, and is now officially longer than Talking With Winds

Here we go again!

I went way over my quota today. Nearly double. Wrote almost a whole chapter from Samanth’s point of view without even noticing how much I was over, and now I’ll have to go back and switch the second half of it into Tomah’s pov (losing a rather nice description of the villain in the process). :sigh:

But I have finally gotten Asond back into a situation where he gets to be brilliant, snarky and more triumphant than troubled, and we’re fast approaching the end, and all I have to do is get that pesky bad guy out of the way, and then I get to do the final scenes that I’ve been anticipating since back when I was working on Book One. (Now I’m anticipating final scenes from Book Three, of course, which I likely won’t be writing for at *least* a couple years, and more likely closer to three. My muses are always so mean to me! )

I always have trouble holding myself back when I get to this point in a book. It’s a rush, but it’s also very wearing.Which is a pity because I’ve finally got my space armor deconstructed, (so I can do images of it opened up and my space pirates stepping into and out of it) and I could have gotten back to work on the next page in Black Flag if I had any oompha left over. 🙁


Dicing With Flames: 75472 wordsI passed the 75 000 word mark today, so I thought I’d post the count. 🙂

This one is going to be longer than Talking With Winds. I can’t possibly finish it in the next 5000 words; I’ve still got to get them to a battle, and through a battle, and do the wrap up.

Forward Motion

Dicing With Flames is back in production.I’m not up to full speed yet, but while nattering in rec.arts.sf.compostion about what all I’m working at, I got a ‘sounds fascinating’ about Song of Asolde, a ‘sounds fun’ about Eyes of Infistar, and a ‘will you get these stories finished already!’ about Black Flag all within a 24 hour span, so I’m feeling too happy-bouncy right now to angst over being 1105 words shy of my week’s quota.

Hero Archtypes

I was reading Romancing the Blog (because I can't find the oompha to do anything) and happened on this discussion of romantic hero archetypes listed as being: Chief, Bad Boy, Best Friend, Lost Soul, Charmer, Professor, Swashbuckler and Warrior.

And I found myself thinking: “Is Silver a Lost Soul? I hope not, because Heathcliff is the listed example, and I couldn't stand Heathcliff. And yet, Silver is a Lost Soul. Phooey! And Blood is a Bad Boy, another archtype I despise. Grumble. That isn't all they are, though… they are both Chiefs. And, both Professors…”

Bad Boy Professor. Lost Soul Chief.
Okay, realizing that you have put together some unusual combinations is sort of fun…

…but mostly I don't get the attraction of classifying one's heroes this way. If, say, Darcy from _Pride and Prejudice_ is a Chief and my Ikhsior from Cantata is a Chief, where does that get me? Trying to equate the two in my head just makes me go :glurk!: Other than that they both have a commanding presence (as they would say at the Coral Palace) what have they got in common, and why should I care? (Actually, I think Silver has a lot more in common with Darcy, although I would not classify Darcy as a Lost Soul.)

But, for the record, as close as I can figure, my hero's archetypes
Ikhsior: Chief (That seems so inadequate, but what else fits?)
Asond: Chief (Those two are the *same* archetype? Pardon me while I glurk again.) Professor
Algernon: Swashbuckler
Kide: Charmer
Silver: Lost Soul, Chief, Professor
Blood: Bad Boy, Professor, Chief
Talon: Charmer, Chief, Swashbuckler
Turner: Swashbuckler, er… Turner's reflexes are so fast and deadly that he tends to kill people without really meaning to. Does that make him a Warrior, a Bad Boy, or a Lost Soul?
Harchung: Chief
Cabal: Lost Soul, Professor, Warrior

I'm a bit short on Best Friends. Maybe because I married one?

I think the overabundance of Chiefs is not a romantic issue but something else entirely. It goes back to the question “Why are the main characters in fantasies almost always royalty?” If I take that one on it probably ought to be a different post.

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?

Hexblurb for Harp & Gyre
Apprentice bard:
Hero, diplomat, or prankster?

Copyright © Michelle Bottorff

Email mbottorff at lshelby period com