Writing This Novel Feels Like Playing Jenga

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this blob of prose. Frankly I am just throwing it up here for the feeling of accomplishment a blog post gives me, after spending weeks obsessively restructuring. But if you were thinking to yourself “boy, i’d love to read an enormous scene-and-a-half of character and culture establishment that I might recognize from a previous version, and then critique it on pacing and tone”, well then today is your lucky day.

Over 6K words following the jump.

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I Might?

I am currently entertaining the notion that this story would be better served if we met (character) before being sideswiped by (event), rather than allowing (event) to push characters together in what I suspect would be a dishearteningly mercenary way. So I’m backing up and trying out an alternate beginning, and a character introduction that’s more character-driven than plot-driven. I expect I’ll flail around trying various versions of The Beginning until I exhaust myself, or until every successive attempt has become so similar that they all converge.

I hope.

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It’s Finally Andar

Perhaps it was foolish to try and introduce a character smack-dabbus in the middle of an action scene involving bomber planes and explosions?

What I have finally banged out, here, may be finally working, though… I hope. I’d love to hear what you think of Andar now that we’re finally sorta meeting him, and whether you think this introduction gives you a distinct glimpse and some new questions (or whether it’s just hitting you as “…k”). Also (if you’ve read any of the lead-in to this scene) I’d love to hear whether the catching-Andar-up conversation is really just so much redundant overexplained plot-rehashing. ‘Cause if it is, I’mma fix it.

Roughly 1700 words following.

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Maybe NOT spelling static phonetically after all

Static is a key player in this scene, though.

So yeah, I reworked that scene wherein Tedis and her dad drive out to investigate an apparent UFO landing site and have unfortunate interactions with both an extraterrestrial THING and a pair of trigger-happy bomber pilots. Various things have changed and I will not bore you by enumerating them; if you’re up for reading a pile of text that you maybe kinda already read… here’s the actual scene for you.

Slightly under 2K words after the jump:

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Revised an earlier section, but that’s boring for you, so instead here’s this drawing and I’ll see you next week

I was revising this section yesterday, but I’m still not quite settled on it so I’m not gonna bore you with it right now. I’ll just leave you this small bit of in-progress description and this matching sketch I apparently drew a while ago. See you next week, if the muse pleases!


the pillars (466x640)

The pillars were a landmark, visible against the sky from the far side of the Bridge. They stuck up from the hill rather uncomfortably β€” like ribs from a butchered carcass, Billa often relished pointing out. Tedis thought of them instead as a row of giants standing in file to watch all the coming and going below. The five huge stones, capriciously balanced atop a line of weather-carved stone pedestals, would be their heavy misshapen heads. They looked every moment as though about to topple. It was uncomfortable to stand too close to them.

The walk was less of a walk than a climb; the hill was rough and steep. But with each other’s hands to lean on Tedis and Ghavan managed it quickly. They paused only a moment in the shadow of the largest pillar to catch their breath and bearings, and to glance down at the truck looking tiny as a toy below them. Then they skated quickly down onto the sand pit, getting sand into their boots and not bothering to mind very much because ahead of them lay the crater.

The hollow was almost unrecognizable. The bushes that dotted it, which should have been buzzing with fresh blooms this time of year, were blasted and black. Black rays of scorched sand fanned out across the sand a hundred feet wide and at the center of the burst, a glossy pit of hot glass crackled out the remnants of some immense heat. The air rippled and shimmered.

And in the bottom of the pit, tipped over in the ash, was Something…

The beginning of a beautiful bromance

I’m back! So are Billa and Victor, and snark, and tea, and alcohol. (Coffee for me, of course, because Panera.)

Read this (if you haven’t already) and then you can segue right into the continuation of that scene, below.

Roughly 1500 words following. As always, bolded words are placeholders for words that sound better, or will once I think of them.

Thanks guys. Enjoy. πŸ˜€

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The fire is probably a metaphor

If you’ve been following the blog before now, I apologize but I’ve skipped ahead again, like way ahead, to a scene that was more entertaining. So whatever questions you might’ve had from earlier sections … keep hanging on to them I guess?

I should point out that it’s daytime in this scene. Billa is sleeping through the whole conversation, not because it’s nighttime, but because he’s hung over from the whiskey that got him through some rather severe emergency field surgery, because uh… because I said so. More on that later. (He’s gonna be fine.)

Anyway, here follows some characters clumsily banging their way around philosophy and myth and race relations and sexual tension. It may be painfully cheesy: please tell me where it hurts, I’m never offended by criticism, I’ll settle for “slightly better than Anakin telling Padme why he hates sand”.

Roughly 1300 words following.

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In which i try again at trying out that POV switch

Good golly, I’m still here! Flinging prose up on my blog like a handful of wet tp against a wall!

Quick notes about this section:

It is not finished. It just runs aground right about where I had to leave Panera and resume Mom duties. Sorry. Blank spaces like this “_______” mean a definite Thing I just haven’t named yet. Bolded words are future-wild-west-alien-planet-slang that might be terrible.

This is attempt #2 at the scene from the previous blog post. I realized my first attempt was wasting time on throwaway characters that I should’ve been spending more efficiently on 1) filling out the world, 2) getting a bead on Billa’s psyche and voice (since this is a POV switch and it needs to feel distinct and necessary), and 3) pushing the plot along for heaven’s sake. Also on more lyrical descriptions because I love those. So hopefully this version does those things.

Toms! Who are they? What are they? What do they have to do with the UFO or whatever crash-landed? Obviously the novel will answer these questions and many more but if you are wondering about the word “tom”, go plug it in Google Translate from Swedish to English. (Swedish is not arbitrary; I promise, I have a whole book about constructed languages.) That won’t answer any of your questions but it might give you more. πŸ™‚

Bit under 3K words following.

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spelling static phonetically

Hello! I’m still here. We’re finally closing in on that Thing we saw fall in chapter 1.

More radio conversations in this bit – sorry? Reading spelled-out static interference may be annoying. I’ve lost perspective and will have to look at this again in the morning, and then a million more times, likely as not. But I’ll take any and all critique, on the static issue and anything else at all.

And pardon the cliffhanger. πŸ™‚ It has less to do with perverse glee and more to do with the fact that I haven’t completed enough of the scene to post the whole thing yet. Soon. Soon.

1.3K words following.

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Piper’s Gully

Back to the action – two characters in a truck and one in a little plane, heading out to investigate something like a crashed UFO (maybe. you don’t know yet).

I’d love any feedback, of course, but I’d specifically love feedback on the pacing — that is, if you’ve been following the last few posts. Sometimes I feel like it’s taking forever for anything to happen and I ought to condense it more; other times I revel in the setup and it seems justified, given the intended scope of the story. Like maybe Dune-length? I dunno.

Enjoy. πŸ™‚

Roughly 1k words following.

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