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Month: January 2016

The Chained Adept (excerpt) – Chapter 1

Posted in The Chained Adept, and The Chained Adept

The Chained Adept - Full Front Cover - Widget

CHAPTER 1

Penrys was crouched on one knee, slamming the rysefeol’s recalcitrant wooden joint with the back of her hand by way of a delicate adjustment, when the sudden transition hit.

“Oh, thennur holi,” she said, under her breath, but the oath that started in her well-lit workroom finished in swaying light and strong shadow. Already off balance, she tumbled on her backside. The soft surface took the sting out of it, and her hands, spread wide to break the fall, told her of carpet and, below that, uneven ground. A gust of wind blew smoke in from outside and the walls fluttered.

A tent, she realized, and a very large one.

She saw the people, then, and froze, stifling a sneeze, but they didn’t seem to have noticed her. No, that’s not it. They aren’t moving at all.

Perhaps no one’s moving but someone’s talking. She tilted her head and pinpointed the voice—it came from something like a mirror suspended from a metal stand in front of the nearest tent wall. She was too close alongside the same wall herself to see anything but the edge of the frame.

The flickering light from the glass-enclosed lanterns on the tables and chests in the tent cast moving shadows on the faces of the people. It gave the illusion of life, distracting her for a moment, and then the words from the voice in the mirror penetrated.

“…a field test like this is always useful for a new weapon. I look forward to greeting you in person, when you arrive for a permanent visit.”

Finding and working with a conlanger

Posted in Just for Writers, Language, The Chained Adept, and The Chained Adept

WerewolfThe Chained Adept includes four nations with different cultures and languages, in a full fantasy world (in other words, not just Earth under some other guise).

I may have a shallow linguistics background in a dozen languages (and I do), but that's just not enough to provide suitable linguistic depth for my world.  While full-world fantasies are often content to let many conventional earthly things appear unchanged, such as the air we breathe, the horses we ride, the sun in the sky, and the tasty beer, that is more in the nature of not having to explain absolutely every noun in a story to your readers. Those things are thought of as transparent, part of the background against which you set the actual story with its exotic cultures.

That carefully-crafted exotic flavor sours quickly if your characters are named Sam and Susie, or if their language and cultural artifacts are internally inconsistent, or indistinguishable from the usage of their enemies in another country.

Yet Another Fantasy NAme Generator - one of the better ones, actually. http://dicelog.com/yafnag
Yet Another Fantasy NAme Generator – one of the better ones, actually. http://dicelog.com/yafnag

We've all read fantasies where the author just threw in a few names from an RPG name generator and called it a day, but I know too much about real languages to stomach that approach and, besides, why stop at personal names? Why not include special terms for the exotic elements of the different cultures, using the appropriate languages, just as we refer to Japanese sushi, or French je ne sais quoi, or Sanskrit karma, all of which describe a cultural item in the native language? Why not make sure all the names in the landscape really are plausibly from the appropriate languages, possibly reflecting a history of border shifting or older populations?

Unless you model your cultures on real-world languages fairly closely, it's easy to find yourself out of your depth in linguistic plausibility.

The Chained Adept – Manuscript finished

Posted in The Chained Adept, and The Chained Adept

The Chained Adept - Full Front Cover - 297x459Yippee!

Now I have at least a week's worth of work to digest all the conlang material, do the big edit passthru, get beta readers involved, and scrub for typos.

And also: a big name index (time-consuming), a map, and Chapter 1 of the next book in the series, which means I have to rough outline the next book, title it, and produce that chapter.

Then formatting and distribution (that part runs like a watch).

ETA for release is circa three weeks from now, before the end of January.

Out of the darkness, into the light

Posted in Characters, Plot, The Chained Adept, and The Chained Adept

Winding Path (Bob Kimball)
Winding Path (Bob Kimball)

Endings are terrific.

I'm just finishing up The Chained Adept now, having extricated myself from the swamp of my misconceived 3rd act. I love doing endings. I know exactly where I'm going, what's left to do, and what I need to wrap up.

Some genres, and some authors, too, like to end their books with a bang. Kill the villain, defeat the army, save the alien princess — done!

I find that I prefer a bit of a cool down at the end, a reflection on what's happened, perhaps the foundation of a new vector for the next book. My characters need it, a way to recover from peril and stress. (As one of my friends would say with a wink and a leer, “it's just not the same if you don't get to smoke a cigarette afterward.”)

It's the light my characters work toward, whatever form that takes, whatever the darkness that impedes them. They need some of that light at the end to sustain them.

Taking stock of 2015

Posted in Goals

Still Life and Street, M.C. Escher, 1937It's time to look back on 2015 and take stock — what worked, what didn't, and where I spent my time.

Accomplishments

I doubled 2014's word count (which isn't saying much), even though I spent 5 months working on something else. That put me on track for equaling my annual word count for 2012 and 2013, if I had written for the full year.

I wrote two more short stories for my eventual collection.

My first short story submission was accepted and released.

I wrote a fantasy novel which will be out early in 2016 — The Chained Adept, the first in a series.

I researched methods of working with the Constructed Language (CONLANG) community and formed a professional relationship with a conlanger. Here's how it's worked out.

Word Count 2015

Posted in Goals

table_abacus-gregor_reisch_margarita_philosophica_1508

Always good to know what the numbers say…

Words of fiction

2015 – 119,603
2014 –    65,736
2013 – 210,470
2012 – 270,600

Total – 666,399

Goal for fiction for the new year

2016 – 365,000

Blog posts

2015 – 30,619
2014 – 34,214
2013 – 28,714
2012 – 18,347

Total – 111,894