Monday, March 31, 2008

I am determined to get back to this blog!
Okay, I have been busy, so there is some excuse for not posting here as often as I would like. And I was ill for about a week -- still suffering from mind-numbing headaches, but everything seems to be easing. I had a depressing March, but it's almost really spring (no snow on the ground at the moment, though it does keep showing up!), and I think that's put me in a better mood. That and the fact that I've actually gotten some work done. The last two books of the Dark Staff series are finally published and available at Double Dragon!

Book Seven: Gathering
Book Eight: Hope in Hell

Done! Really done this time! I did the cover art for the last two books, too. You can see the original work here:

I received a contract from a British publisher, Studymates, to do a print book on writing science fiction for them. I hope to be able to do it well. I do seem to have a knack for writing books about writing, so I have hopes for this one!

I'm working on various other things, of course. The third Silky book is moving along at a sedate, but fun, 500 words a day. It's my 'first thing' exercise each day. Then I'm on to whatever has to be done. The rewrite of Silky 2 is going well, also. It's a major reworking but I've really enjoyed it.

Back at the end of February at The Plot Bunny Farm (I LOVE that name!), I saw a post about first lines. I went and pulled up some of my own, and then promptly forgot to do anything with them. So here they are -- a month later, but at least I got to them!

1. The first rat tumbled down the hillside, slid across the mud at the edge of the pond and then scrambled to his feet. -- A Plague of Rats (Fantasy)

2. A damp morning breeze blew through streets already slick with mud and muck. Silky (Fantasy)

3. A roaring fire warmed the waiting room outside the Queen's Suite, a welcome sight for anyone who had braved the chill spring morning to come to the palace. Silky 2 (Fantasy)

4. I tried desperately to block out the world -- both worlds -- while my fingers brushed across the ancient harp's strings. I played Carolan's Ramble to Cashel, the bright tune momentarily lifting the gloom that had haunted me for the last few days. -- Mirrors (Contemporary Fantasy)

5. Lightning flashed so brightly that for one heart-pounding second I thought a bomb had gone off over the city. -- Summer Storm (Contemporary Fantasy)

6. The first leap into the stars had not been the high point of Earth's already sordid history. Oh, the ships were fast -- but then humans had always favored speed over sense: How far are we going and how soon will we get there? -- Farstep Station (Science Fiction)

7. Hot white lights picked him out on the stage, blinding him to the crowd again. -- Serendipity Blues (Mystery/Adventure)

8. Faith didn't know how much her life had already changed when she slid into the house and out of the winter storm. -- Differential Equations (YA Adventure)

9. The night came, a cold black Tasal night in the depths of the endless winter, where the sun slept beyond the edge of the world, and never showed himself. --Peri's Gift (Fantasy)

10. From the crest of the high mountain pass, Katashan stared all the way to the golden shore and sapphire sea far below. -- Paid in Gold and Blood (Fantasy)

11. Marcus tapped his fingers across the board, righting the pole-ward drift of his little fighter as he headed for the curve of the horizon. -- Ada Nish Pura (Science Fiction)

12. A dirty crust of snow and ice crunched loudly beneath Devlin's boots, the sounds picked up by the array of sensors throughout the loose, white safety suit that hung over her, a seemingly insubstantial protection from...Devlin didn't know what was out there. -- Medusan Mutation (Science Fiction)

13. If Devlin had paid any attention to the news, she would have noticed the pattern, and she would have seen the trouble long before she was so deeply involved that there was neither an easy, nor honorable, way out. -- Honor Among Thieves (Science Fiction)

14. Release from prison didn't end the nightmare. -- Ruins (Mystery)

15. There weren't supposed to be any hills in Nebraska. -- Muse (Mystery)

So there. A full entry from me, and I hope to keep at it at least once a week for a while. I don't know where the time goes sometimes, though!
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thank you for introducing me to the concept of writing in phases. I've been trying a slightly adapted version of it with some of the scenes for the novel I've been working on, and wanted to share. :) I look forward to trying it on a larger scale, but the following has been working pretty well for me.

In manuscript format, my scenes tend to run 3-7 pages, so I've been working with roughly one phase per page. For most of my scenes, I write a phase for the beginning, a phase for the ending, and phases for the 1-5 major beats in between. Since the phases are usually only a few lines, I can get them down on one piece of notebook paper.

Then I head over to my computer and type the phases in, putting a manual page break between each (control+enter in word) so that I've got 3-7 pages with a line or two of direction at the top. I take those pages, and all I have to do is turn each of those phases into one page worth of prose. Sometimes it's packed with stuff, sometimes I've got to pad it out with description, sometimes I go over to the other side of the paper, but the units move pretty quickly.

And like you said in the article, I make myself write the scene I have before me. Then, I enter the 3-7 pages of scene draft, take out the forced page breaks and give it a once over edit to file down the roughest corners, then move on to the phases for the next scene.