I think this is one of the reasons that finding a collection of letters written by the people of the time, or newspaper clippings from papers reporting issues as they affected people “way back when” are good ways to learn about the times, and sometimes more rewarding than yet another book that consists of a series of dates and significant battles.
Lately, I’ve been reading C. Warren Hollister’s Medieval Europe: A Short History, since it’s a subject that I know pretty well (at a certain level, anyway) so I can read a few pages before bed, fall asleep, and easily pick it back up the next day. As far as the scholarship goes, it’s a bit… bizarre. The author seems to think the Battle of Tours-Poitiers took place in 733, which made me go, “huh?” because I’ve never before heard it associated with that date, and there’s a little whitewashing of some very nasty people, but that can be chalked up to having to cram a lot of information into a ‘short’ history.
And, anyway, I’ve moved to the point where I’m reading the book not for the facts, but in search of a spark. No, I don’t need any more projects; I’m rereading the information to help integrate things…
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I thought this was a good lesson on searching for ways to mix things up. Maybe your big bad villain isn’t really a villain, but a transplanted life form that ends up REALLY liking the mix of air or the yummy dirt on your world. It’s intention isn’t malicious, but the fact that it goes nuts like kudzu and eats up all the land your animals and veggies need, could be a real problem.
I was driving home from work, appreciating that the switch has been flipped, and suddenly! Spring. The greens are moving all misty into view, and predominantly among them here in Southern Ohio is the Amur Honeysuckle. I was contemplating this, and how that trait is one of the things that makes it a highly successful invasive species, and it dawned on me that there are more ways to invade than are portrayed in movies about aliens. Sure, overwhelming military force is one way. But what other things have species done here on Earth that enabled them to conquer and victoriously rule the
forest field stream continent?
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It’s funny, after all these years of putting words to paper, I never really analyzed the difference between antagonists and villains. Nor did I really consider motivations for bad guys. After reading this, I can definitely point at K’hul and say, yeah, he’s a pain in the ass, but he’s not a villain, he’s an antagonist. Historian on the other hand, jumps off the cliff into true villainy. Yes, that continues on into Book III.
Hi. This was pre-written. I’m off the ‘Net at the moment, so please be patient if it takes a while for comments to be released from moderation. One of the other Mad Geneii has to do it for me. Thanks!
So, everyone and their literature teacher talks about the hero’s journey, and Joseph Campbell, and nods to Karl Jung in passing and then reaches for the checklist.
What about the villain? Why does he or she do that? And how did she end up like that, anyway? She was such a sweet kid.
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So, I thought it might be nice if I popped in here and wrote a real live post for a change. The nice folks who allow me to repost their blogs are a godsend for folks like me who really aren’t all that great at keeping up a blog. However, it isn’t fair to leave people hanging as to what is going on with me and my writing.
The biggie is that book three is getting near completion in terms of its first draft. I finished up the last big fight scene about a week ago, and I’m now finishing up the last story-line which will funnel into the dramatic (I hope!) ending. As usual, I have determined that I have written way too much for one book, so I will be stripping out one (maybe two) story-lines and shifting them off to a fourth volume. Yes, I have determined that there is enough material for a fourth book. However, rest assured that the ordeal with the Dragon Queen will be concluded in book three.
With the conclusion of the first draft imminent, I have some additional items I need to seriously start futzing with. One, and this is a bit embarrassing, I still have not settled on a title. Obviously, it will follow the pattern of the first two books and be “Exile’s”, well, something. I have a page of possible words to use, but none of them jump out as “the” word to use.
That brings me to my next item. I’m looking at turning my author page on Facebook into a group. It is my understanding that groups can do things like run polls. I thought it might be fun to set up a poll with possible titles and see what you guys think. Along with that, I’m not completely settled on who to feature on the cover. I know the dominant color will be red, and I know that one of the characters will be Foxfire. I’m leaning toward Kela as the second character, but I may run a poll to see if a different character might be more popular.
The final piece of work which must be completed before the book actually shows up in the store is the back copy. This will also serve as the copy for Amazon to lure in potential readers. Since my first book, I have learned that I’m doing copy writing all wrong. I’ve taken a few online courses and read a book now on how to do it, so I’m hoping I’ll do a better job this time around. Once I get the third book out I will go back and update the copy for the first two books, but that is something for later. Right now my focus must remain on completing volume three before all of us die of old age.
I hope this information proves to be good news for everyone out there. Completing this update will allow me to check off one of the to-do items on my list as book three nears completion. I appreciate everyone’s patience, and am crossing my fingers that the wait will prove worthwhile.
I find this lady so inspiring. She’s clear, humorous and insightful. Plus, I am always impressed by people who conquer multiple languages. I took Japanese for over four years, and never got anywhere close to being able to communicate adequately.
During my last trip to Tokyo I went to a Burger King and painstakingly placed my order, relaying all of my condiment preferences. The young man at the counter stared at me, not comprehending my sad little speech. I started over again. Just as I got to the end, his eyes widened and he said in perfect, unaccented English, “Oh, you don’t want mustard, ketchup or pickles!”
Yeah, I was mortified.
When I was a young writer (sung to the tune of “when he was a young warthog”) and we rented our first house, the landlord who was maybe all of five years older than us (maybe 28) asked my profession.
Since at the time I did not have a job, I told him none. He asked me what I did all day, and my husband told him I wrote novels. The landlord insisted on putting down “writer” as my profession, which embarrassed me mortally, since I didn’t think I was one/hadn’t done anything to deserve being called that. Or at least so I thought.
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I love the information and the humor of this blog entry. I’ve always been intrigued by the nuances of language, but don’t have the discipline (or time) to truly understand how English developed and how to approach it with historical accuracy. I know far too many inappropriate words sneak into my writing. I appreciate all you kind folks who put up with them.
Languages are anything but static. Some change very slowly, like French- which owes much of its ponderousness to a government department specifically tasked with rooting out heretic words that creep in from the outside. Other languages undergo periods of very rapid change- the English of Chaucer (late 1300s) would be very confusing to Shakespeare (late 1500s and early 1600s). Two hundred years seems like a long period of time, but in the history of an entire country, it’s a drop in the bucket.
English doesn’t just borrow words; it lifts whole phrases and grammatical ideas from other languages without so much as a by-your-leave. With the coming of the Saxons to Britain, Germanic languages crashed headlong into Brythonic and became Old English. Then the Vikings went for a multi-century beer run starting in the late 700s and left behind a bunch of Norse words, because who doesn’t invent a new…
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As if the average writer doesn’t already have too many story ideas on their plate (or should that be writing pad?)! But I do love the idea of mixing up both real history with myth and folklore.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot about using folktales in fiction, especially fantasy. I bought a CD of Songsmith, filk written to go with the novel of that title. The book was a collaboration set in Andre Norton’s Witchworld, and the songs are about events in the book, or are referred to by one of the main characters (a bard). Norton uses a lot of folk tale and historical references in the Witchworld series, but so deftly that unless you are really looking for them, you’ll miss how she weaves them in.
That’s what I want to focus on. Not on re-working fairy tales and folk-tales as Mercedes Lackey, Diana L. Paxton, Robin McKinley, and others have done, but using details from folk-tales and history as story elements.
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