Sailors on the Sea

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's a Good Start

Well, The Legion of On-Line Super Heroes is up to three official members right now, with a fourth soon to be included. For a complete picture list of who is slated to save the world (and possibly your very neighborhood), please visit Legion of On-Line Super Heroes and follow the sidebar down until you see the list of Heroes. Meanwhile, I will provide you with a text-only list.

Panthera and Leo (bevie james)
Fairy Hedgehog (fairyhedgehog)
Gatto Dea (lisa)

I expect the list to grow, so continue to check out the Legion blog. Also, stories may begin as early as next week. We've got a few more things to work out, and I need to make sure a couple of others who have created Hero Avatars are aware of what we are doing.

I'm looking forward to this. It should be fun. Hopefully, it will be. The problem, of course, is that all of the members are (by definition) creative, and creative people can get lax on administration. The administration will mainly fall to me, since I created the blog. I think I'm up to the challenge. As long as we don't p*ss each other off I think we'll be fine. Right now, all members and potential members are Minions of Evil Editor. The Minions have historically been intelligent, fun-loving, and decent people, so I'm not overly concerned. However, you do NOT need to be a Minion to participate. You just need to have a Hero Avatar.

Here's a thought, too. I'm only aware of a few authors who also illustrate. If you are more than a fair hand with drawings (ink, pencil, or otherwise) you might want to consider submitting pictures to the stories after they are posted. This would all be for free, of course. No one is getting paid for their hero work.

It's been a long while since I've collaborated with anyone. Not since '88. This will be different, though. All Authors are allowed their own creativity. There will be hero crossovers. (Instances where a hero will be used as a "guest hero" in another hero's story. Same with villains, I would assume.) Fewer arguments. It's kind of exciting. I'm trying to keep a level thought process in place, but I'm finding myself falling into B's perspective: I choose to get excited before the fact, because after the fact there might not be anything to get excited about.

I hope this isn't one of those cases. I hope it's fun. Some wonderful people are participating. We've got a good start.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Input Required

So, I've spent several hours creating SuperVillains. It took far longer than I expected and I only got six: three female and three male. I've given them names, but I have yet to assign powers and such.

I had come up with a few suggestions on how to do this, and then on my way to bring Son home from school I realized there was a better way. The better way is this: I created a new blog - Legion of On-Line Super Heroes.

This is what I'm proposing. Correct me if you have other ideas. What I do is INVITE each of you who wishes to contribute so that you can post directly to the blog. In order to get an invite, you must first create a hero character and post him/her on your blog, and then contact me. I will announce your new hero and post a copy of the picture. Then I will issue the invite and you are free to begin submissions.

(There are two hero generators that I know of: The Hero Factory (comic book appearance); Hero Machine (let's you choose your name).

The question now is, do you like this idea? Should we have parameters?

Possible Parameters (you may add to or subtract from this list):

1. Story Size
2. Submission Day

We do not need to have ANY rules, if that is the way authors want to go. Writing is a creative craft, and I do not wish to bind anyone with restrictions which reduce their creativity.
Let me know what ideas you have. I like the idea of a collaboration.

Meanwhile, here is are the two SuperHeroes I created, and the six SuperVillains.
EDIT NOTE: I created a third.
The Heroes: Let me know which you prefer.

The Villains: I'll take suggestions on their powers/abilities.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Got Old Wrong. Can I Have a Do-Over?

I'm supposed to vent today. Gave it a go, but the effort just faded. I'm at low energy.

Wish I was young again. Not because it's so especially bad being as old as I am, but because it is bad being as old as I am and not knowing what to do or how to achieve dreams. When one is young, particularly in their twenties, no one really expects you to know anything, so knowing anything makes you kind of impressive. I was impressive. When I was young. But not that impressive. Now I'm not impressive at all, except as an example of how not to wind up.

I don't know that I would want to go back in time and relive my life knowning what I know now. What a drag it would be knowing how I was going to f*ck up my life years in advance.

On the other hand, it would be cool, for perhaps I could avoid the absolute S-T-U-P-I-D mistakes I have made in my life. Probably wouldn't, though. I'd still be a coward, and most of my decisions were based on fear even more than desire. I had the reputation of being "the good kid". I didn't get it because I was a good kid. I got it because I was too afraid to do anything. Served me well in staying out of certain kinds of trouble. A royal pain in the *ss when it held me back from the things I very much wanted to try.

I did do some things, but not many. I remember the summer I was in a sling from a biking accident.

Stephen had wanted a new car. The old Falcon he had purchased from Judayl had finally died and he was without motorized transportation. I had this terrible old Chevy Vega hatchback. He offered to trade me even - his ten-speed bicyle for my Vega. I jumped at the offer. The Vega went through oil and gas like corn meal through geese. So I used the Raleigh to get from here to there.

While biking down (up?) East River Road, along the Mississippi, I came upon a low place where the road I was on ducked under a crossroad. I hit the drop faster than I wanted and ceased peddaling, but my speed had increased. Motorized traffic was restricted to 30 m.p.h. and I remember passing a vehicle. When I came out of the tunnel I crossed over to the center island in preparation for my upcoming turn. Unfortunately, my momentum took me to the curb and, first my front wheel, and then my back, wound up sliding along the curb. I couldn't steer. Knowing I in trouble, I considered how best to handle the thing. The brakes tended to grab, and I wasn't keen on dealing with that in the middle of a busy road. There was the concrete center. Perhaps if I were to carefully get off the bike I could let the bike go and run myself to a stop. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

I remember seeing the sky and nothing else. Then I saw the ground coming up at me fast. I dipped my head and rolled. The bike bounced away and I bounced along the center island. I lay quiet, letting my adrenaline settle down. No pain. That was good. I wasn't hurt then. I heard the screeching of tires. Then the sound of running feet. A man knelt beside me and asked me if I was hurt bad. I said I was fine. Just catching my breath. He asked if I had been hit and I said no. Then I sat up. New information.

The pain was so bad I nearly passed out. I lay back until the nausea went away. Then I tried again. It was my shoulder. It hurt. I reached my hand up, but I couldn't feel my shoulder. What was wrong?

Paramedics arrived. They were really nice. The one explained to me that my shoulder was no completely separated from my collar, and that when I sat up, my shoulder stayed down on the ground. Ouch.

I spent several hours in one hospital, drifing in and out of consciousness. After about ten hours my mother (who had shown up at some point) took me from that hospital and brought me to Hennepin General in Minneapolis. They fixed me up in about an hour. My fate was to spend the next two months in a harness, designed to hold my shoulder up until it could refuse with my collar bone.

It was during the middle of this that Stephen invited me to join him and Randy on a trip to Chicago to see the King Tut Exhibit. It was going to be quite a trip because they didn't have much money between them. They were paying for the hotel room with some coupons Randy got. With nothing else to do, I went. It was mostly a good time.

It's time for me to do something spontaneous like that again. After my Duluth trip I just don't have the energy right now. Besides, I'm really not sure where to go. That's all right when one is twenty. Past fifty one is supposed to know.

ADD-ON: The SpyBot software (STOPzilla) has successfully attacked and destroyed the big CPU hog on this computer. Speed has returned to pre-January rates. Huzzah!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sometimes the Past is a Fuzzy Place

This may be my last post until Sunday or Monday. I will be away from my computer for a bit.

This is supposed to be a "What am I Learning" day. Not sure I know what I am learning. Got something else to talk about anyway. The song I chose for Music of the Day.

Remember how I've talked about music affecting me in ways not always intended by the writer, or performing artist? This song kind of falls into that realm in a bigger way than most. The song is a kind of transporter device. Every time I hear it I find myself back in 1975. I am a teenager again, and I know no more than I did back then. I am the same person, without the years of experience to aid me. And I relive something which - I know this sounds crazy - I'm not even sure even happened.

Have you ever lived through an experience which was so surreal you wondered if you weren't dreaming? You need the confirmation of those who were with you to assure you that it really did happen.

I recall hearing an old soldier from WWII talking about walking through a city in Europe which had been blasted apart by one side or the other. He walked around a corner and found a building which had the outside wall blown away, but the rest totally intact. It was like a doll house. Inside, at the kitchen table, was a family of four, sitting as pretty as you please with their breakfasts. All dead. The concussion of the blast had killed them without inflicting visible damage. Afterward, he struggled with the memory because he wasn't sure it had actually happened. It wasn't until he attended a reunion with some buddies that it came out they remembered it too. Then he knew it had been real.

The same can be true with dreams. Ever have a dream so vivid you wake and wonder if it wasn't real? Only the lack of confirmation from those in the dream proves it wasn't real.

Well that's what this song does for me. Only there was only one other with me, and I can no longer find them to confirm the reality or fantasy of the incident. After thirty-four years I still can't make up my mind whether it happened or not. It's troubling, because I don't think there is any other instance in my life where this has happened. And I'm not always sure what I want to believe. I know what I should want to believe, but to h*ll with that. I just want to know.

The song brings me back. I'm listening to it now and part of me is again struggling with the reality - or lack thereof - of what happened. Or didn't happen.

If it was true, then someone did love me - until it was over. If not, I was as alone as I remember. Both have their own level of painful recollection. To lose someone's love is more painful than anything else. Save, perhaps, never having tasted that love in the first place.

I know current love is supposed to supercede past love, and the pains of youth are supposed to fade away and be replaced with the joys of adulthood. I guess I never made it to adulthood, for the pains of youth remain as real to me today as they were back then. And while I am immeasurably comforted by the love I have today, I cannot forget the love which went before.

I guess that means there's something wrong with me. But this song haunts me like no other. Most of the time when I hear it on the radio I will change the station. Yet here I am listening to it on purpose, wishing - it were real. Today I wish it really happened. But I don't know. I just don't know. I guess I really am crazy, huh?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What to Do, What to Do, What to Do

Sure with I could draw well enough to suite myself. (There's no way I will ever draw well enough to suite others.) My reason for desiring this artistic talent is because I have two comic strips I came up with: Decca the Brave, and Hot Shot Reporter. If I could draw, I could put together Decca the Brave right now. You see, I already came up with 52 weeks of story ideas.

I also have seven short stories and eight plays on tap to write. The problem with those is that the story ideas just aren't that interesting now. In fact, I've forgotten what a couple of them are even about.

So, if I am to amuse myself with continuing any unfinished work from The Archives, it would have to be a book. Or perhaps, change a book into a short story. There are 34 books on tap which are NOT associated with Swords of Fire. From this list a few stand out as interesting (to me).

Caves of Argorland
This was to be a comedic fantasy novel. After winning the annual contest for best warrior, MC is convinced by his bride-to-be to undertake the dangerous mission into the Caves of Argorland to search for her father, who disappeared into them years before.

Great Sports Central, the
When MC is presented with the opportunity to manage a fantasy baseball team, little did he realize that it would consist of real people living out their dreams of being professional ball players in a realm of fantasy. (This was before the internet. Now people do it all the time.)

Home is Where the Heart Is
Douglas and his wife have ceased struggling to keep their marriage together. Now they just argue and talk of divorce. Until that night when their car broke down in the mysterious fog. Now they find themselves in some strange land struggling just to survive.

Monsters, the
When three college students seek assistance at a creepy mansion, they find the mansion inhabited by the monsters from the old 1930s films, now retired. But the monsters' home is under threat. Can they help their hosts before all is lost? (One of the oldest surviving concepts from The Archives.)

Murder of Mazu, the
In the Animal Kingdom, animals rule and humans are excluded. All believed they could live in peace, until a hog is found slain near the panthers border. Can Sparks, the German Shepherd, solve the crime before all predatory animals are banned from the kingdom?

Shaden's World
The world of felines is in danger of being dissolved. The only way to save their world is for the felines to join together and form a society. But there are those who would rather see the world dissolved than to bow to another.

There are others, too. I just feel like writing something, but I'm having trouble figuring out what. The Muses are visiting, but they're kind of unfocused right now. I suppose it's because the house is a mess. But I don't really feel like cleaning house today.

Guess I'd better. Sigh.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A New Hero Has Arisen - maybe

There is a kind of writing I began back when I was a teenager in high school. In fact, I'm thinking it may actually have been as early as junior high (7th, 8th, or 9th grade). I would write ridiculous hero stories and include my friends (and occasionally enemies) as characters. I would read these to my friends in order give them a laugh. Most of them loved the stories (because they tended to fare all right with regard to clever humor) and would seek me out at lunch, study hall, or after school to have the latest offering read to them.

The humor was totally inane and childish (not too unlike my humor today). Jokes were mostly predictable, but that was part of the charm. Listeners needn't bother trying to follow the story too closely, and they didn't. They just waited until their character came on stage. I didn't find any of these stories in The Archives last week, which is a shame. The one had everyone laughing, except a couple of creeps who had no sense of humor. I knew they had no sense of humor from the beginning and went out of my way to point out their stupidity. That may have contributed to their lack of appreciation.

There was one scene I remember. My hero character had just been captured with his secretary. That was Myra. Now Myra was about the sweetest and nicest girl you could meet. She had a sense of humor, but there was nothing "naughty" or wild about her. I kept putting her in compromising situations - but not compromising her personally. I kept her interest by making her character the smarter character. So when they were captured by the villain, it was the hero who panicked, and not Myra. Oh, this was written as a radio play. I actually got a bunch of people together and recorded it. That's lost, too. Why did I throw everything away?

HERO: What are you going to do with us?

VILLAIN: Ha! You will be subjected to the most horrible torture possible.

HERO: You don't mean?

VILLAIN: Yes. You will be forced to watch a documentary on how plants grow until dead. (Our high school science department was about the most dull in the world.)

(Sound of footsteps fading away and door closing.)

HERO: Ahhh! I can't stand it! I can't stand it!

MYRA: Hush! These are just the cartoons. The real film hasn't begun yet.

I remember that was Myra's favorite scene in the entire script.

Later, when working in an outgoing mail department, one of my co-workers and I coined the phrase, "Laze Ass." Since the organization was a Christian one we had to be careful about when and where we used this phrase, so we abbreviated it to L.A. Eventually, I created The LA Patrol, a group of super heroes disguised as warehouse workers. Again, my co-workers loved the stories, but management wasn't keen on it at all. Conservatives are BIG into control, and don't like people having fun without permission. So we had to keep the stories underground. This became of greater urgency when management became the villains.

It was the basis for my creation of Hot Shot Reporter. I worked for a small town newspaper, and I and my co-workers suddenly became Super Heroes stamping out international crime syndicates operating from two small towns with populations smaller than that of my villages in Swords of Fire.

I was making another set for the computer software company I worked for when my job was eliminated. The orginal owner, Lori, would have appreciated the humor, I'm sure. The new owners, a beer company from the Netherlands, had no sense of humor. They required every employee install software which allowed a group of observers in the Netherlands to monitor EVERYTHING we did on our computers. Talk about control. Not being one to work well under such an environment I still recall the day I shouted at someone in Human Resources about how things were being done. Less than two weeks later I didn't have a job. Good.

So what does all of this have to do with anything?

Well, my post from the other day - Guest Comment? It woke up the Muses, specifically Risa and Sonja. It occurred to me that it might be fun to do the same thing on-line. This would be especially so when one considers that most of the people I know on-line are also writers. They could write their own! I wonder if people would be interested. I mean, some have great character names already: FairyHedgeHog, McKoala, LaughingWolf, Xenith, BuffySquirrel, SpyScribbler, Whirlocher, Writtenwyrdd, BloglessTroll, Talpianna, FluffyCat, BatGirl. That's a dozen right there. It could be a series!

Twelve From Cyber Space!

What do you think?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Time to Close The Archives

Well, The Archives are being repacked. Five boxes are full now, and there looks to be enough material to fill anywhere from two to four more. Out of curiosity, I added a table to my SOF-Archive Database to contain a list of all of the books, short stories, plays, and poems I have written/plan(ned) to write. Sure I've missed some, but the table holds 128 items right now, of which 41 are actually written - at least in rough draft format.

A few more loathsome statistics.

Type of writing:
. 65 Books
. 35 Short Stories
. 8 Plays
. 17 Poems
. 3 Comic Strips

. 17 Fantasy
. 17 Poems (no genre)
. 5 Western (including comedic)
. 4 Science Fiction
. 7 Contemporay (close to modern day)
. 6 Children's
. 15 Comedy (all genres)
. 3 YA
. 10 Real Life (fact-based biographical)
. 1 Sports Related

Year Inspired
. 95 Undetermined at this time
. 1 1971 (Eric and Paulette)
. 1 1974 (Swords of Fire)
. 1 1976 (The Monsters)
. 2 1983 (both westerns)
. 2 1984 (western and contemporary)
. 7 1985
. 3 1986
. 11 1987
. 4 1988
. 1 2009 (Apprentice)

I know I haven't included everything, because there are three more short stories new to this year, as well as several poems. Very little of the poetry is included right now.

. 38 Swords of Fire
. 1 Decca the Brave (52 cartoons, but only one listed)
. 1 Furthering Adventures of Eric and Paulette
. 1 Case Histories of Detective LaManch
. 1 Heroes Ride Draft Horses
. 1 Seven Helmets of Shirdu
. 1 Defender of the Crown
. 1 Spargeld the Magificent
. 3 The Power
. 1 Kiahva (I am planning on writing sequels to Apprentice)
. 3 Denton and Tubby
. 1 Hot Shot Reporter
. 1 Animal Kingdom
. 1 Legions of Encarrah
. 1 Baby Talk
. 10 Dr. J and Dr. D (all of these are written)
. 1 Pet Rock (doezen of titles - all comic strip)
. 1 The Great Sports Central
. 1 The Life of Miles

So, there you have it. A horrifying glimpse into the creative thinking process of Bevie James. Some of those "unwritten" stories have actually been told. This includes the opening books in the two series: Heroes Ride Draft Horses and Spargeld the Magnificent. Unfortunately, most of the oral tales have been forgotten over the years and will require new creativity to replace.

Since I will be out of town a few days this coming week I will take another full week off before returning to Traitor. I will read it again, making changes as required, and then get back to finishing the query letter.

In the meantime, I purchased several new moving boxes and will be completing the repacking of The Archives. It's been an interesting walk down Memory Lane.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Guest Comment

Took some time off to allow everyone to catch up with all my posts. I'll try to curb my enthusiasm now and restrict myself to a single daily post on each blog. Maybe sometimes, I'll have a second. But it's back to normal now.

Well, kind of normal. This particular post is actually not a post. Technically, it's a comment on Kiersten's blog. But I needed pictures, and I don't think pictures are allowed in comments. So I asked if I could post the text as a comment with a link back to this post.

The comment is my submission for a contest Kiersten is having. The choice was to either explain why I visit her blog in the first place, or write the opening paragraph for her biography. I figured I stood a better chance of being humorous and cute with the biography. (Actually, it's tempting to write a biography for ALL of the bloggers who I visit. That would be cool. Thanks, Kiersten!)

I got the super hero picture from a website Writtenwyrdd (and others) linked to. (I saw it on Writtenwyrdd first.)

So, without further ado (I always provide lots of ado [grin]) here is my contest submission for Kiersten Writes.

Kiersten: From The Intimidating MASKED WIZARD to Famous Author
By Bevie James (suck-up extraordinaire)

Until her rise to fame and fortune as the world’s top YA author, Kiersten was best known for her Super Hero activities along the Western Seaboard. As “The Masked Wizard,” she ranged the coast weeding out the horrors of poor punctuation and grammar until that fateful day when the evil assassin, “Anonymous,” discovered her weakness: cabbage. Only the timely arrival of the equally magnificent “Hot Stuff” saved her from the smelly interior of The Cabbage Patch. But the ordeal left her weakened - and short. (She lost eight inches to her frame.) So she turned to writing. But how did this mild mannered woman of the west rise to such heights as “The Masked Wizard” and “Author Fantastic”? That is the reason for this book.

(left) Kiersten at the peak of her Super Hero prowess.


(above) Kiersten after her ordeal. Many thought she had died. But Hot Stuff was there.
(right) Kiersten today.




Hot Stuff, after Kiersten marked him for her own.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Came Before May be What Comes Next

Spouse is happy. My Archive boxes were taking up about a quarter of the shelf space in the utility room. Had an accident down there, too. I moved a small box containing delivery receipts (from when I delivered pizza for my keep) which was resting on top of an Archive box. I put it on something else on a different shelf. The whole thing, box and receipts, weighed less than five pounds. In the morning, the shelf had collapsed from too much weight. Talk about the straw!

But The Archives have been opened and rudimentally examined. This means I have found things to get rid of. That makes Spouse happy. Spouse loves to throw things away. Especially if they are mine or Son's.

Just a couple of minutes ago Spouse hailed me from another room, "Doesn't it make you feel happy to be going through all of that stuff and finding things you forgot about?" Yes, it does. Very happy, in fact. I'm so glad I kept it all. I can see where I was ten, twenty, thirty, and even forty (not quite) years ago. I can see I am not the same person I was. My writing has improved dramatically. I see momentos from the plays I was in. Notes, awards, trophies. All kinds of stuff. But since this blog is supposedly about writing - fantasy writing - I will try to stick close to that.

I think I may have found the Original Swords of Fire. Wrote about it on SOF - The People. See The Roots are Still Intact. These handwritten pieces are nearly forty years old. A lot of things have changed. The original story, The White King of Ladondo, is a far cry from Traitor. And as things stand now, there is no way to reconcile the two stories. Pity. I like the title, White King of Ladondo. Sounds cool.

Looking at a legal-sized legal pad with two versions of The Monsters in it. Neither finished. Both were attempts to re-write the original Monsters play, which no longer exists. The first is a story version. It's only four pages. The second is a play version of nine pages. I wish I could recapture the spirit I had when I wrote the original. I remember it was when I was attending Bethel College in Arden Hills. I would go to the student lounge and write instead of attending class. It went quickly, and I believe I finished it within a couple of weeks.

The Monsters is a comedy play. A melodrama, I suppose. The premise is simple.

Three young college students are out driving the New England countryside one warm afternoon. Their car breaks down and they walk to a nearby mansion to seek help. (By now it is dark. It's always dark.) The students (STEVEN, SUSAN, and SCULLY) are met at the door by WANETTA. In the background, we see a shadowy figure we can't quite make out. (This is BLAGDEN.)

WANETTA explains there is no telephone, but the three are welcome to spend the night to avoid the coming storm. (There's always a storm.)

While sitting in the parlor speaking, SUSAN and SCULLY begin seeing the "monsters". STEVEN is too engaged speaking with WANETTA to notice. The first monster is MUMMY, who walks across a balcony. DRACULA appears next, coming down the stairs and exiting before STEVEN can see. He is followed by WOLF MAN. At this point, SCULLY and SUSAN run in terror. They return to the door and open it, only to find FRANKENSTEIN's MONSTER barring their path.

After a series of comedic encounters, in which all of the monsters show up to bar SCULLY and SUSAN's escape, FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER speaks. (British accent) "I say! Have you ever seen the like?" DRACULA (Swedish accent) "Most strange indeed." WOLF MAN (Texas drawl) "Rightly scared the whiskers off my face. - to STEVEN - Mind explaining all of this, son?"

Turns out the house is a retirement home for the 1930s film monsters. Only SCULLY and SUSAN can't quite accept that. WANETTA runs the house now that her father has died. But there is a problem: the mortgage is overdue and they are to be evicted. If only her father had told her where the fortune was he had hid.

The villain of this plot is a greedy woman who's name I forget. (Haven't found those notes yet.) She has the inevitable toadie. A timid young woman.

The play had a lot of fun and energy. It was deliberately cliche, but that's kind of how I view melodrama anyway. Just put it "over the top" so everyone can tell you meant for it to be stupid and it becomes acceptable.

I really need to rewrite this thing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Learning From Critiques

Found something fun in the Archives. A one sheet critique of the original Swords of Fire: Book I. The critique was written up by an author, but I forget his name. He didn't sign it. It was part of what I paid for when I attended the School of Christian Writing at Wheaton College in Illinois back in the early 1980s. They brought in about a dozen published authors and a host of agents and editors to provide classes and submission opportunities to aspiring writers. You may not believe it, but I did learn a bit there, and this critique I found tells me I took it to heart. From it, I see why I took the Swords of Fire Saga in a new direction. This critique is the foundation for the reason nineteen books had to go away.

What's cool is that the critique is very short and to the point.

Section 1: Overall, your manuscript

___ is ready for submission to potential publishers

___ can be improved by minor changes noted

_X_ needs revision in aspects noted

Section 2: Specifically, you need to work further on: (I'll only list the items checked)

_X_ Opening

_X_ Focus

_X_ Pace

_X_ Description

_X_ Suspense

_X_ Credibility

_X_ Dialogue

The opening continued to give me trouble for the next fifteen years. I don't recall why he thought the focus and pace were off. I was poor on description, which took away a lot of suspense. Things were happening too quickly without reason. My credibility was off because I hadn't bothered to research certain aspects of medieval society. My dialogue was simple and stilted.

I remember when he went over the story with me he was very nice about it. He was also convinced I had a lot work to do, but he believed I had the talent to do it.

Section 3: You have developed well

Imaginary world, Window, Names

Section 4: You could make the greatest improvement in your writing by

Telling us more, examining why some details are necessary, looking again at dialogue

I know I paid attention, because the book wound up with too much backstory and details, which I've spent months removing. My dialogue is much, much better, too. I think so anyway.

Section 5: Resources and/or examples you might find helpful are

nothing listed.

Thanks a lot for nothing, I guess.

Section 6: In addition to the notes I have made on your manuscript

Khirsha seems like a helpless wimp, Kelso like a reckless opportunist. Is this the best the Endos can produce?

Back then, the family was known as "The Endos". Got rid of that.

Both Khirsha and Kelso changed dramatically. Nobody liked Kelso except me, and it was important Kelso be likeable. Khirsha was too wimpy. What I wound up doing was giving up on Khirsha's wimpiness, replacing it with simply naivte. Instead of an opportunist, Kelso became a planner and helpful advisor to Khirsha. Both Khirsha and Kelso were now confident warriors of superior prowess. From this new foundation of character the Saga would now head in a totally new direction.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sorry. But This is Cool, Too

I just stumbled upon the original list of books for Swords of Fire! There were twenty.

Book 1: The Prophecies of Madatar

The rest of the original series has been abandoned in favor of changes to the saga.

Book 2: Fernando - King of the West
Book 3: The Freedom Fighters
Book 4: The Warlord's Darkness
Book 5: Elden's Quest
Book 6: Hail the King
Book 7: The Dragon's Revenge
Book 8: In a World Alone
Book 9: Lords of the Land
Book 10: Private Challenge-To Where the Winds Blow
Book 11: Era of Men
Book 12: The Life
Book 13: Conquest
Book 14: Dragons and Horses
Book 15: Attack on Eternity
Book 16: The Cloud
Book 17: Highway to Freedom
Book 18: The New Land
Book 19: The House of Fernando
Book 20: The Great Sea

The original Book I is now Book I and Book II. Some of the remaining stories I feel bad about losing, but changes to the saga meant a completely new direction after the current Book II. (Remember I've talked about losing important scenes because of the way a story flows? Well how about this: I lost nineteen books.)

The original Books 3-12 are especially painful to let go, but there is no going back now. The new direction is so much better. A lot of interesting characters are not going to exist, though. Pity.

But I wanted to show that my thirty+ years of effort haven't been spent on a single book, but instead on a saga. This story is vast. I'm so glad I didn't throw that list away.

THE ARCHIVES HAVE BEEN OPENED! (and what a mess they are)

Sorry to keep doing this to you, but I'm practically giggling. (Good thing nobody's around to catch me, or I might find my new residence is a state hospital.)

I found my music from when I used to play harp. I almost cried. D*mn! Why did I sell it? I'm getting another one! D*mn it! That's what I'm going to do. When I've got the money. If I live so long.

Found more things from my play. Got some sheets notes indicating reactions and stage directions. Got a rehearsal schedule. Seven weeks. "BR" was the director.

Found a piece from Dramatists Play Service, Inc in New York City with directions on "How to Start A Theatre". That's what I would love to do. (Besides write.)

I found an old PRESS card from when I worked at the newspaper in 1987.

And, I found a stack of loose leaf papers, each with a short blurb for a different story. What's cool is that there are only a couple of duplicates from the list on my earlier post from today. Here's another list of things I want to write. Take a breath. Ready?

The Actors' Union = play April 1988

I Never Get Shot = western series spring 1984

Magician-The Gambler's Gambler = western fall 1983

The Clan = western summer 1983

Three Friends = contemporary spring 1985

Wild Stallion = modern western summer 1984

Joey = children's story fall 1985
(This story was actually written by request of an editor from
the David C Cook publishing house. They rejected it.)

Denton and the Boat = children's story March 1988
(This is a short story actually written but never submitted.)

Good-bye, Cherae = teenagers spring 1987
(This is a short story actually written but never submitted.)

The Experiment = young adult October 1987
(This is a short story actually written by never submitted.)

The Loves and Cares of Holly McBride = play winter 1987-88

A Taste For Blood = play fall 1987

Decca the Brave = comic strip fall 1987

Fontworth's Harem = play fall 1987

The Monsters = play fall 1976
(This was actually written, but the script lost. The inspiration
was a pack of bubble gum cards, also lost.)

The Furthering Adventures of Eric and Paulette = series spring 1971

Harold and the Spaceman = science fiction some time in 1985
(This is a short story actually written but never submitted.)

Heroes Ride Draft Horses = series or play summer 1985

Detective LaManch's Case Histories = series summer 1986
(The first installment is actually written, but never submitted.)

Hobby Farm Slave = contemporary summer 1985

Hero of the Night = contemporary fantasy summer 1986

If I Knew Then = contemporary fantasy fall 1987

The Voyageurs = science fiction fall 1987

Day's End = fantasy april 1988
(This was a short story actually written but never submitted.)

The Seven Helmets of Shirdu = fantasy series winter of 1987-88

Home is Where the Heart is = fantasy fall 1987

Defender of the Crown = fantasy series June 1987

Spargeld the Magnificent = fantasy (series?) summer 1986

The Power = fantasy (series?) April 1988

Swords of Fire = Epic Fantasy Series some time in 1974

I never could remember the exact year I began Swords of Fire. I got to thinking it was 1976 or even 1977. So, it's even older than I thought. Cool.

All of these stories.

I'm sorry, but some for some reason I feel proud to look at that list, despite most of the works unwritten, and none of the completed works (after Swords) written well enough to submit.

Just think. If I could become a published author I would have a host of stories to keep me busy for the rest of my life.


Now I just need to become a published author. Then I'm going to start a theatre company.

And buy a harp.

Don't You Just Hate it When

Don't normally like posting twice in the same day on the same blog, but I'm finding all kinds of things in the Archive box. Another yellow legal pad with a variety of things inscribed. More for The Freelancer, my would be magazine for short stories. Some loose sheets for Swords of Fire and a colorful world map of some place without a story.

And there were the three loose sheets of legal paper with the following story. (Please excuse the VERY bad writing. This dates back to the 1980s.)

He entered the saloon slowly, pausing at the swinging doors to let his eyes find all the hidden corners of the room before pushing forward. Yet his manner was quiet and easy, despite his caution. His stride brought him up to the bard where he turned and leaned, eyes on the room. A few who were at the bar decided to find a table, despite the fact they were not that close to him. He seemed to be the kind of man one made room for.

Jodel, old Harry's daughter, happened to be behind the bar. She walked up to the stranger adn paused, not sure how to deal with a customer who seemed to pay her no mind.

"What will you have, mister?"

Her voice was direct, but he made no response.

"Mister, what do you want?"

Still he made no sound or move. At that time Harry came in from the back. He started fora table with several regulars but caught their look and turned to see Jodel struggling to get a request from the newcomer. Rushing behind the bar he reached down and pulled up a bottle of his finest and hurried over to the man.

"How 'bout some fine Texas Jack?" he asked, thrusting forward the bottle and a shot glass.

He nodded his head ver so slightly. So much so I doubt many saw it. But Harry knew what he was about and set both the bottle and glass at his elbow. The newcomer slowly reached into a vest pockete and withdrew a couple of coins. He felt them between his thumb and forfinger before placing them quietly onto the bar. Jodel reached for them but Old Harry grabbed her and held her back.

The hand withdrew reluctantly from the coins and moved to the bottle and glass. Both were retrieved without a look and brought about. It was then Harry reached out and took his payment. Even from across the room I could tell he had been grossly overpaid. Yet there was no offer or request for change.

His eyes moved right to a dark corner and the poker game wqas quickly moved across the room. And with deliberate strides he took up residence at the vacated table.

"Father, what..."

But Old Harry cut Jodel off quick. "Darlin', say no word adn ask no questions."

"But, father..."

"Jodel! For once in your life please listen. Please! Be quiet."

Jodel subsided, but kept on eye on the newcomer. As did we all. The newcomer owned the room. He owned us all.

He took hte glass i nhis right hand and the bottle in his left. And using his thumb, he popped the cork without a sound and pushed it into his palm. He set it on the table and proceded to pour himself a drink. But he did not drink. He just spun the glass slowly with his right hand as he held it before his eyes. Though he paid us no mind, we were transfixed. Until Bill Baker and Rudlin James stormed in.

Laughing and jostling, they cme in with a roar. Horrified, all eyes turned to them. Except the newcomer's. His remained on his twirling glass.

Bill and Rudllin worked their way to thebar, heedless of the looks of concern on the faces of all.

"Say, Jodel, what about a bottle of whisky?"

Rudlin's tone was more a demand than a request. Jodel brought one from the back shelf and Rudlin elbowed Billy, who promptly dropped a noisy coin on the bar. Rudlin grabbed the bottle and bit off th ecork and spat it onto the floor. Then he took a long guzzle and handed the bottle to Billy. Wiping his mouth with his sleeve, Rudlin looked about.

"What's going on here? You all look like you're in church."

"Or at a funeral," added Billy, and the two set off to laughing.

Leroy Marks indicated the newcomer across the room. Even when they looked they didn't see him right off. But upon seeing him, their curiosity was piqued and they ambled over to his table.

And that's it.

Don't you just hate it when you find something you've written and it's unfinished? I have no idea what I was planning to write. There's no title. Again, no date, although I'm guessing 1980s. I don't recall ever writing this, but the handwriting is definitely mine.

But it's a western. No wonder I didn't finish it.

My Poetic Thread

Brought up a box of Archives from the utility room. (There is an amusing ancedote about this which I may post later, if I remember.) I lifted the lid to see what was inside and was immediately met with three magenta posters from the last play I was in, maybe twenty years ago now. The one poster is signed by cast members. They were all thanking me for "carrying the show". I remember getting a standing ovation during the Friday performance, but I don't recall carrying the show. I wasn't even on stage that much. Sadly, I'm only able to make out five signatures. Some wrote their names so poorly I can't read them. On used initials. I'll have to wait until I come across an actual program to figure out who "BR" is. Tickets were only $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for students. Not bad for an evening's entertainment.

Oh, the play was Neil Simon's, FOOLS.

Found a couple of old newspapers I saved. One is from January 14, 1978. Hubert Humphrey had died. Whatever one thinks of his politics, he was good for Minnesota. The other paper is from March 27, 1979. Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin had signed a treaty. There is a photograph of Jimmy Carter shaking hands with Begin while Sadat sits laughing happily at their side.

Next came a couple of Leadership and Team Building pieces from when I was a Project Lead in the early 90s. I recall managment didn't like my style and replaced my methods with a more authoritarian approach.

Then came a projected schedule for The Freelancer, a magazine devoted to writing I wanted to start up fifteen or twenty years ago. I'd still like to do that, but d*mn it, things cost money. Why?

I've only dipped in two inches, but now I've found something I find interesting. It is an old legal pad, yellow now (that's not fair - the pad was always yellow), which contains several ideas for Swords of Fire, Spargeld the Magnificent, The Power, The Caves of Argorland, The Quest, The Legions of Encarrah, The Dead The Dying and The Stranger, Shaden's World, The Seven Helmets of Shirdu, Home is Where the Heart Is, Day's End, and The Voyageurs.

There are four pages devoted of character descriptions for The Other Side of Life. There is a single page for my play, The Monsters. I had written it back in 1976 when I was a student at Bethel College in Arden Hills, MN. That copy was somehow lost, and I have wanted to reproduce it ever since. Never have.

The top page has a rough drawing of my Eyeglass House, and my Y House.

But it is Page Two which moved me to write this post. (Oh, great, your thinking. Over 400-words and Bevie hasn't even got to the point yet.) It's a poem. Untitled and without a date. I've read it a couple of times and I'm guessing it is from the 1980s, or the early 90s. What I find interesting is that the poem seems so apropos to my life today. The spirit isn't an exact match, but it's d*mn close. The difference is the presence of friends today.

The poem's untitled, so I'm going to attach one quickly.

When Doom Calls
by Bevie James

The voice of doom is calling
It hails across the way
It warns of sorrow coming
The night which follows day

I cry to the Lord in weeping
Joy has fled my heart
I lack the strength for keeping
For that I fall apart

Where are friends for comfort
From where will come the peace
Darkness is so overwhelming
to a heart that craves release

The weeping sobs are silent
The tears are dry and cold
And hope fades to confusion
And the spirit ages old

I long to see my Lord
I long to see his face
But I've failed as his servant
I've stumbled in the race

And now I grieve with sorrow
My heart aches all alone
The Spirit calls to Jesus
to come and take me home

To this, I can add the following:

Again I hear Doom's voice
It fills my heart with thirst
But I am not alone again
So I can take his worst

Perhaps not a good addition, but I want to say I am ready to face whatever is coming, even though I do not know what it is.

Whether I stay or go, there are people who like me. In my book that means I've already won.

Thank you, friends.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Progress Report

Well, I'm taking the advice of several Minions commenting to other Minions. It seems there has been a rash of completed works this week, and those of us who have one are kind of at a loss, emotionally, as to what to do next. The advice has been consistent: leave it be - for now.

So I have resisted all efforts to jump back into Traitor and read it through. I had considered moving on to Book II, but Freddie told me over on Writtenwyrdd's blog to abandon that plan. I could wind up making a bigger mess for myself. So, I'm leaving Prophecies of Madatar alone, too.

So, what am I doing? Well, today I've been wandering about the house in a zombie state. Got up at eleven last night and haven't slept since. It actually hurts to think. Now I know what it's like to be a politician.

I walked the treadmill today. First time in a while. I've been bad. So bad that I only made it five minutes. I had been up to fourteen when I got sick. We're in a spot of good weather right now and I've actually considered walking outside. The only problem with that is that people would see me. At least when I'm in the house no one can point and make jokes.

I may write some poetry. (Oh, God! Please, no! You're thinking.) There may even be an unused cartridge of film for me to try and make a short video. That would be cool. Maybe.

Anyway, I'm relaxing and searching YouTube for songs I haven't heard in a long time. At the top of this blog is one I remember from high school.

For centuries people have wanted to go back in time. It turns out that, like Dorothy, we could return whenever we wanted. All we need is to listen to the right music.

I'm happy today. Spouse and Son are still with me. I have friends who like and care about me. What more can I desire?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Annoyances Can Make for Good Stories

Like most people, there are a variety of things which can tork me off pretty good. There are two, which kind of go hand-in-hand with each other. They're opposites to the extreme.

On the one hand (and sometimes this is my hand), there are those quick to condemn simply because of who has been accused. I do this with politicians. Accuse a politician of anything bad and I'm likely to assume their guilt. This rush to judgment is based on personal prejudice instead of evidence. That the accused sometimes actually are guilty only fuels their flames of hatred and injustice. This prejudice can be based on anything, but the most common forms fall into one of these categories:

Belonging to (or appearing to belong to) a particular Race, or Nationality. (Think Arab and American.)

Religion. (Think Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.)

Politics. (Think liberal and conservative.)

Gender. (This one's easy. It'd better be.)

Age. (The very old and the very young.)

Class. (Wealthy versus poor.)

There are a host of others. Anyone has the capacity to be prejudiced about anything.

Then there is the opposite end to this spectrum. The assertion of no guilt despite all evidence to the contrary. That there are so many innocent who are convicted fuels this flame. I've been part of this group, too.

I'm not sure which is more sickening: the blowhard who is trying to establish someone's guilt regardless of evidence; or the whining fool who insists on "not guilty" despite the evidence.

The fact that these two voices ultimate become the voices heard by the general populace only makes matters worse. The public realizes the blowhard is an a**hole, and the whiner is a fool, so judgment ultimately comes down to who is less likeable. If the blowhard can raise enough fear and hatred toward the whiner, the accused is guilty. If the whiner can establish the prejudice of the blowhard, the accused goes free. But in neither case did the truth matter.

I recall interviewing the head of the Interactive Television Classes between three school districts when I worked at the newspaper. These were classes in which a single teacher at one school would teach students from three schools at the same time via a television hookup. There was a boy who was being kicked out of the class for unruly behavior. His parents came in and assured with great heat that "little Johnny" would never behave like that. But the instructor had used the "record" feature on the cameras which allowed him to see students in other schools. But even with the video, the parents insisted Johnny was innocent. Five will get you ten that "little Johnny" has spent some time in jail since graduating.

Knowing these behaviors is irritating and annoying in real life. However, they become very useful when writing stories. But we needn't be cliche. Let the characters be complex enough so that each sides' point of view has it's own level of validation. Perhaps the accused, while innocent this time, has a history of real guilt. Or perhaps they are guilty, but those accusing them don't really know it. Kind of like a phrase I heard in one of the Thin Man movies: The DA framed me. Not knowning I was actually guilty.

I use this in Swords of Fire. It's a different way of venting, I guess.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Music: An Explosion of Moods in My Heart

Just got another reminder of how I am affected by music differently than normal people.

Sometimes it is the lyrics. They reach right to me. Most often it is the sound. I can hear the sound and separate it from the lyrics (most of the time). That is why I can listen to a humorous song and begin weeping, or a passionate love song and laugh.

Generally, this doesn't pose a problem because I mostly listen to music while I am alone. In the car, at the computer, laying in bed reading a book. Music touches all of my emotions, but it only evokes a few moods. The most common mood is nostalgia. I'm pulled back to a time - long ago it seems now - when happiness was something I saw within my grasp. It was elusive, and I wore myself out trying to lay hold of it. But I remember days when I was so close to touching it. So close. There is a host of music which brings me back to one of those moments.

The next mood is one of high energy. I feel like bursting! I feel like dancing. (Even though I do not dance. Been laughed at too many times.) I can't dance because I can't maintain any semblance of choreography. Even within my own "moving about" there is no rhymn or reason. I will repeat some move over and over and over again, and then suddenly break out into something totally different. I need a lot space, too. A LOT of space. If I'm going to dance I can't sit still. And I can't hold onto anyone - or be held by anyone - for more than a few seconds at a time. I have to MOVE! I don't, though. I sit in a chair and let my emotions swirl me about the room, taking me across the stage, flying me into the air with spins, leaps, tummults, and shouts. When I'm not nostalgic I like energy.

Somewhere between nostalgia and energy is the music which makes me think of fantasy. Not THAT kind of fantasy. No. Actually, music seldom makes me feel erotic. Not sure why. READING can do that. IF I'm reading something written well. I guess that's because reading engages my imagination far more than music, which engages my emotions. Imagination is FAR more erotic than emotions. At least, for me it is.

Umm, fantasy. Right.

The fantasy I refer to is medieval fantasy. Quests, battles, dragons, unicorns, flying, sailing, swords, nature, storms, sunrises, sunsets, mountains, lakes, rivers, valleys, horses, wild beasts, and lovers. I didn't say it NEVER made me feel erotic. Just not that often. [grin]

Humor is high on the list of musical moods. But bear in mind that I can laugh at songs which are not meant to be funny. I can laugh at songs which just about everyone else finds romantic. I can laugh at songs others find patriotic, or inspiring, or even offensive. That's what got me into trouble this time. A simple phrase in a song got my humor going and I was laughing. Nothing else about the song mattered. That's how music can inspire me. A single sequence of words becomes the sole point of my comprehension. I hear nothing else from the song except that phrase. It becomes the story.

Unfortunately, this time the story I ignored wasn't exactly nice, and I picked a foolish place to have it. So I mucked up. I still think the song's funny because I still can't picture the rest of the song in my head.

Sometimes I think I get too focused on things. You know?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Had My Bonnie Ancestor Only Known How to Fight

I'm supposed to talk about other works of fantasy, but I don't have anything active right now. Even Traitor is finished. So, with no work in progress at the moment, I shall digress to family life.

Yeah, I know that belongs on A Voice in the Wind, but my life is kind of active right now and I don't really want to make five posts a day over there. Don't get too distressed, though. I can't not write for too long. At the least I will begin working on military assignments. Just think about it: 6,754 characters assigned to military duty. I could post about them one at a time. I would have something to write about for years!

Don't worry. While I will have to go through them all one at a time, I will not bore you with it. I don't like comparing myself with J.R.R.Tolkien (it's like an Edsel comparing itself to a Lamborghini), but he wrote something in his foreword I can now totally relate to regarding the interest of others in background story.

... I had little hope that other people would be interested in this work ... When those whose advice and opinion I souight corrected little hope to no hope, I went back to the sequel ...

I would have been interested. Very interested. In fact, when I began my senior year in high school I was planning on saving up money and traveling to England in hopes of perhaps meeting him. Then, right after school began, he died.

Hmm. I was going to digress to family life, and here I am talking about a famous author of fantasy. I did meet Clyde Kirby, who was a friend of Tolkien's and C.S.Lewis, at Bethel College, St. Paul, MN. That was back in 1976. I mentioned to him that I had hoped to meet J.R.R.Tolkien, but he assured me that would not likely have happened even had he not died. Should have saved my money and gone anyway. Always wanted to visit England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. I have ancestry in that region. No, really.

Back in the 1600s, some of my ancestors were Jacobites. These were people who wanted to put the Stuarts back on the throne of England. We're not sure, but we suspect we may actually be related to Bonnie Prince Charlie, who tried to take the throne by force. He (and my relatations) were soundly defeated by the English. The Bonnie Prince fled, disguised as a woman, and my relations were kicked out of the county. Hmm. A familiar theme. I'm being kicked out of my house. Only I didn't support G.W., and I'm not related to him. So why is this happening? What? Oh, Never mind.

Anyway. I've rambled a bit. I have so much more to ramble on about, but the microwave just told me my Minestrone is hot. Now it's time to watch a rerun of The Wild, Wild West with Son, who is home sick today. Which means it takes me three times as long to write anything. I've lost track of how many times he's interrupted me just during this post.

Oh, well. Lunch time.

Enjoy the day everyone.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Preparing to Submit a Work Finished

Work sent out for review? It's been a while since I've had anything. The last was Apprentice. It survived a review of writers at my writers' group meeting back in February. But now Traitor is finished. (Poor choice of word. Let's say, "completed".)

I have a query letter to write. This is kind of like preparing to go to the dentist. I would give most anything for anyone to do it for me. I dread the prospect of killing my story by writing a lousy query.

Of course I have Evil Editor and the Minions to turn to, but they can only tell me what works and what doesn't. The actually assembling of words into a coherent money-making proposal to an agent will be left up to me. Supposedly, only I can write the query to my story. Not so sure I believe that. I don't want to believe it because what I desperately want is for someone else to write a brilliant query for Traitor which is going to make absolutely every agent on the planet drool with desire to get their hands on it.

The only droolers I know are my niece's new baby and great-great-Uncle Harold, who still thinks it's 1922.

I'm just scared. So what's new? You'd think I could take comfort in the familarity of my fears. Some things never change. Not really. Except Uncle Harold. Last year he thought it was 1918. He's getting better, so why can't I?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The End of This Line Means the Beginning of the Next

Traitor is finished. Again. Or, since I changed the name after beginning this revsion, perhaps for the first time. In any case, it is done. I finished it around 6:30 a.m. this morning.

Here are some loathsome statistics.

Final word count: 136,334-words

Goal word count: 130,000-words (or less)

Original word count: unknown (I would have to type it into the computer)

Highest word count: 234,000-words

Word count last time submitted to an agent: 198,000-words

Word count after getting help from Evil Editor Minions: 157,233-words

Year Swords of Fire: Book I began: 1977

Year Swords of Fire: Book I first submitted for publication: fall of 1981

Publisher receiving submission: Del-Rey (with letter from friend of Lester Del-Rey)

First Rejection Received: December of 1982

Number of "Major" rewrites: at least 10

Percentage of Readers who liked reading Book I (any version): 80%

Percentage of Agents/Editors who liked Book I (any version): 0%

Number in Khirsha's family (living and dead): 6,754

Number of Family Members with Unique Name: 6,754

I had to add that last. It took me years to name everyone. Exhausting work. And fairly pointless, too. But no less so than assigning each and every one of those 6,754 people a home for each year of their life, determining the year and day they were born, and the same for those who died, and figuring out when each of the twenty-nine villages came into being, and who founded them, and which line everyone belongs to, and how good each was with the sword, and when and where each served their military duty. (Actually, I haven't finished the military duty portion. No bragging rights there, I'm afraid.)

But it's done. I'm over budget on word count, but not by much. I'm thinking of going with this version and leaving the word count as it is. Dropping 21,000-words meant dropping some important characters and some important scenes. I don't know if I have it in me to do any more cutting. What is needed now is for me (or someone else) to step back and read the story as a story. Does it still flow? Are there unanswered - or foolishly answered - questions? Does it hold the reader to the end? Does the ending satisfy?

It's too soon for me to do all of that. I'm still trying to get out of the forest. But I have no reader for it, so it'll have to be me, I'm afraid. Then I get to start my new project.

The query letter.

I've been a reader only at Evil Editor's blog since getting into this rewrite. Probably thinks I bailed. Truth is, most of what needs critiquing are query letters - and I haven't a clue about those, so I say nothing.

Well, I can't get hammered because alcohol will kill me. So, I guess it's a can of Pepsi with some popcorn from a grocery store.

Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!


A Tentative Schedule

Monday - Progress Report
Where am I with regard to the Current Book

Tuesday - Thoughts About Writing
I was going to be profound, but let's be real

Wednesday - What Am I Learning
What can I take from what I am doing

Thursday - Work Sent Out For Review
Respondes to my submissions

Friday - Other Works of Fantasy
Some of my other fantasy writing

Saturday - The Impact of Music
How music has influenced what I write

Sunday - Venting
My 'morbid' time. A safe compromise, I think