Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The BIG Books

So, yes. Wednesday and time to talk about writing!

Oh, the eye is still bothering me, of course. It will for a long time. It is especially hard for photography and reading -- rather annoying in both cases. I am trying to get past the 'annoyed' part and just work around it, but I'm now about ten days into it and it's still not easy. It has, though, stopped hurting. And I'm starting to recognize signs of strain leading to headache, so that's good!

Annoying, though.

Draw the Line is now up to 112,324 words. Yes, that's longer than I expected it to go, and no it is not done yet. It is going to be massive, but I think there's a lot I'm going to be cutting out, cutting back -- but a lot I see that I need to add, too. It's going to be an interesting rewrite. I've already been tacking notes on to the start of the story for things I want to remember to go over.

This is the last major novel I ever intend to write without a completed outline in hand. There are so many problems that I could have caught right off the start if I had just worked on the outline (instead of relying just on a bunch of notes about things I wanted to happen) that it's kind of embarrassing.

Even so, I like the novel. I am still doing the 500 words a day on it, though it is not always the very first thing I work on these days. In fact, I'm about to go in and attack the last of those 500 words in a couple minutes.

The rewrite of Rat Pirates is still fun. I am almost done with that book -- another massive monster that is right now sitting at 124,919. I fear it is going to top 130k. This must be the year of big sf books for me.

I am starting to look at a new fantasy novel, though. This one should be for NaNo this year. I had another one I had hoped to work up but it is going to take more worldbuilding than I think I can do in so short a time. This new story, which is going to be a Victorian Age fantasy (I think), will also take a lot of work, but not quite as much. I hope I can see the actual plot soon, though!

Well, for that matter, I hope I can see the rest of the plot to Draw the Line!

Here is a bit of a snippet from Draw the Line:

"I've come up with some interesting things," he said, settling on the bed. He looked like he wanted to just stretch out and sleep rather than relate anything. It made Rafe feel badly for having wasted sleep since it hadn't done him all that much good. "Etinon, have you been around the Norishi when they prepared for battle before?"

"Not in person," he said. "Only from ships."

"Audio contact? Video?" Morgan asked.

"Audio only. We keep our secrets," he said and tapped the pocket where he kept his own commlink.

Now there was an interesting comment and one Rafe wanted to ask about -- and refrained. He saw Morgan shake his head, plainly thinking much the same thing. He wondered if Etinon knew the kind of tidbit he had just thrown to two scientists who had come here specifically to learn about the aliens.

"In the audio contact, did they seem to be making odd sounds?"


"They're doing it now," Morgan said with a nod. "And there's something else. I've done a quick scan and I found that they are putting out a pheromone that is creating a level of anxiety in them and in the humans. I think they use it to create battle-ready status for themselves."

"This is what?" Etinon asked.

"A chemical reaction in the body," Morgan explained. "And it can be picked up by the others around them, so that they all get caught up in a single emotion. It is not affecting the humans the same way. They are also chanting and working themselves into a frenzy."


"A state beyond rational thought. I'm going to work with Doc to see if we can come up with a quick chemical mixture we can use to counteract the pheromone. If we can get something airborne, it might unsettle the Norishi. And it might help our own people out there. I'm not certain if it affects the Ksa at all."

Etinon went to the doorway and talked to another Ksa there. Rafe caught only a couple of the words and not enough to know anything of what he said. He came back in and gave a bow to Morgan.

"They had noticed a change in the scent, but it had not caused them any trouble and they had not considered it had to do with the change in behavior. Humans seem more apt to notice these things."

"We'll see if we can do anything about it," Morgan replied. He sounded worn again. "But I have other things to report as well. We tracked the site of the battle, Etinon. It appears to have been right on the edge of human and Ksa space. The last stop the ship made before being destroyed was a small colony called Wayland."

"I know this place," he said and nodded. "And that would mean that the Norishi were where they should not have been at all. It may be that which worried them more than even destroying the ship of the Old Ones. They know that we will not allow such transgresses."

"But you let the humans in."

"Humans and Ksa have not had a war that lasted generations."

Morgan nodded. Questions were in his eyes, but he didn't ask them, though he did look at Rafe as though hoping for some kind of answer from him. He didn't think now was the time to discuss something outside their own war. And he did not want to upset the Ksa, who were standing by them.

"I have come across one other item of interest." Morgan sat forward and Rafe had the feeling they were about to learn something far more interesting than anything they'd talked about so far. "It has nothing to do with the problem at hand, but it is related things going on here. I did a spectronomy test of the Old Ones ship to see if I could learn anything about the make up. The computer came up with an interesting corollary between the make up of those ships and another set we've seen here at Xenation."

"Norishi?" Rafe asked.

"No. Click."

Even Etinon looked startled by that news.

"The ship designs are not the same, but there are trace elements that are common to both that are not common to the rest of us. I tested against Xenation itself as well, but it's obvious the station was built completely with local materials, though there may be other things hidden back in the recesses of the station. I would like to think there is a connection, and that's why the Old Ones were coming here. It is possible the other ship was heading here as well, since it was within the jump point lanes -- if they even use jump points."

"It might be a coincidence that the Click and the Old Ones have these elements in common," Rafe said. But he shook his head. "It's unlikely, though, considering the size of the galaxy. So there is likely a link between them. That's just odd."

"The ones least like the rest of us." Morgan nodded and looked back at the doorway. "I think there might be a reason for it. That they aren't supposed to be like us, but that they're supposed to be with us. I don't know. Right now I'm running on gut feelings, and that's never good."

"In this case, it might be all we have," Rafe said. He touched the plate on the side of his head. That seemed to startle Morgan, as though he had stopped seeing it. "Xenation isn't really talking to me at all, you know. Images, I think. Odd things. More intense than before, but not what we need. We're going to have to figure this out on our own."

"Yes --" Morgan stopped even before Etinon lifted his hand for silence. The Ksa moved quickly to the doorway and stood there. The other Ksa were still as well. And a moment later two more Ksa arrived. One had a cut on his arm.

The Battle had come.
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