10 November 2003


Well, my rewrite of THoI is ahead by a little over a month. That, unfortunately, is well-balanced by my 28 days of catch-up work I have on TSoB3. whee LOL I'm actually looking forward to it. I've got the whole plan down for all three books, and I may move TSoB1 out of school and back to Siviyaonei, after school, since I've got the timeline going. I just don't want to start it off at the same time as THoI because I want to use THoI as detail, not have the exact same story from two different pov's hanging around. bleah

I do want to illustrate the relationship between the three main players, however, and to do that, I feel I need to show them in school together. I also want to use this to explain why Akiro does what he does in THoI--and I don't feel confident that "they used to be lovers" will suffice as an explanation. I want to make it very clear that he does this because Barukei and Rikiyu (Keikithei) are friends--the first two people in his life who took him as himself, not as an extention of his brother, or--worsel--as Akotai's autmaton shadow. Not that Akotai is particularly notorious, but these are two people from Akiro's home city who don't act as if he's a person in his own right, and not just a way to Akotai.

I'm rather anxious to see how Akiro grows. He's braver than he believes he is, and he's far stronger than anyone--including himself--suspects.

I'm glad I write. It's fun, even when I'm so far behind . . . :D

18 October 2003

The Shadow of Blood has expended itself into a trilogy. This means that, yes, I really am working on FOUR WIPs at once. They are, however, feeding off of each other. Since expanding TSoB into a trilogy, I've learned that Rikiyu (Keiki), Jaiya, and Akiro went to mage-school together and that Barukei went to Secondary at the same time. I inserted something about Akiro's Mage-School being one of several other municipal buildings atop a levelled-off hill in TSoB2, and things sort of developed from there.

It's frustrating, somewhat. I had to equalize all the daily goals to 500wpd in order to keep up. I regularly do more than a thousand on them all and last night I slammed out over 3K on TSoB1. I've made up a timeline to determine exactly when everything's happening, and I started it on 3000, so now I know how long there's been an Imotinan Empire. LOL I needed dates, and wanted to start on an even number and three was the one that came to mind.

The best thing about working on all four WIPs at once is the fact that they're building on each other. I'm glad I started the others, even though it's bothersome. I now have a much clearer idea of the characters' relationships and a better understanding of how Rikiyu's (Keiki's) attitude about his relationships with Barukei, Jaiya, and Akiro challenges him. He's assuming that Akiro is untrustworthy, when in fact Akiro's decided to keep his friendships a secret. He cares for Barukei, and for Rikiyu. I haven't decided if he figures out who Keiki is . . . but I think he might. It'll allow me to insert a couple of intense discussions. Either that, or he'll just spill his guts at Rikiyu's ashes--against his brother's wishes . . . which will be rather difficult, since he doesn't like to do things quite so openly.

I figure TSoB will probably cover both Akiro's mage-schooling. The second will cover him with Pei Pei (Hiyo Faochimaotao), and the third . . . I haven't quite gotten that figured out, but I've got plenty of ideas for it. According to what I've already written, he's undergone something to hide some of his memories from him. I'm not sure what that is, because there's not quite enough going there. I may go and follow him through inei, but I'm not sure . . . it would certainly be interesting. He goes to inei on one of the four islands off the south coast, and, because of the spells that have blanked things out, he's a bit clumsy. He's also got more company than most Sabi'Oji generally do . . . all of the Zhiraikaovei are pretty much permanently bound to him. I haven't figured out why, but I do know in the TSoB2 that they're doing their damn best to convince him to become a Sabi'Oji.

I refuse to expand TSoB any further. It would be too much work, and I'm afraid that if it did get published it would lose readers at four books. I could give up on following Akiro through his part in correcting the problem he's created, but I see too much potential. This of course means I'll have to reiterate things from THoI, but it'll be from Akiro's pov, which should prove interesting and distint enough.

THoI is proving to be a bit more intense than I first thought it would be. The rough draft did not indicate anything of what I'm doing with the rewrite. It's still essentially the same story, but the focus has changed. This time, I've found the Heir-Regent rather quickly--Hiyo, who fulfills her duty by becoming a Sabi'Oji. Just when that's been almost decided, Keiki, who's all but drained himself with magic-use, leans of a major problem with magic. The last time a similar thing occurred, it blasted one continent into two and created a desert out of the southern half. (Huh, I think I know the map I need for Ferodoxis now . . . ) After that, the survivors each found a way to control magic: the northern survivors (Eudissainese) instituted pogroms and eradicated mages and have legalized the exposure/murder of mageborn children; the southern survivors bind children into a power matrix that, in time, makes each of them into the anchor/wells that they removed from their land (which has in turn kept it a desert), and the Imotinans have taken to binding mages, at the completion of their educations, to Wells and Sources (binding someone to an anchor will kill them--Anchors absorb power).

However, the last attempt at restraining power had been on a Source. Not nearly as dangerous as what Akotai (Akiro's brother) has done. Akotai's put a "lid" on a Well, and has altered the streams so that magic is going into his trap-spell. None of the power can get out, and the Anchor-end of the Well is also affected. This means if nothing's done--and if it's not done carefully--half the world will disappear. Granted, eradication of Eudissaine will prevent a lot of trouble, but the blast wouldn't leave any survivors elswhere, either.

I'm excited about this . . . very excited, but cautiously so. LOL But very, very excited.

06 October 2003

I've been writing for the past week. My goal for The Hand of Intrigue is 1,000 wpd, since it's a rewrite and I'm more familiar with its characters. My new project, The Shadow of Blood has a goal of 500 wpd, because it's new and written in a new pov.

I'm considering expanding SoB to a duology or a trilogy. It's pov character is Akiro Odaohanei, and I'm wondering how he got to the point he's at--emotionally and politically--where SoB begins. I think a "prequel" (that's what it's status is at this point) would be enjoyable to write, and I'm thinking about taking it from when Akiro learns his favorite cousin has drowned--she goes ice skating on a pond she thought frozen near her Secondary School, and falls through. No one is near enough to save her. I think that's something that has a lot of bearing on his current personality, in addition to the role his twin brother plays. He's really the brains of the outfit, but Akotai is manipulative--though in a subtle way--and after the death of his favorite cousin, Akiro is willing to follow.

As for HoI--it's proving to be much more interesting--and Keiki-oriented than I'd anticipated from the initial draft. Some things have changed a great deal, but Barukei's still an unwilling Shisei, and someone's stil out to kill Keiki. He's just had a shock I wasn't expecting--it seems that Hiyo, one of Barukei's nieces, has ideas of her own. She's willing to Contract-bear the Heir Keiki needs to secure the throne, and to be regent, she's going to have to be a Sabi'Oji--which, of course, she's wanted to be for years. LOL Poor Keiki had quite a shock--he didn't realize she had a crush on him, and I'm going to have to go back through and patch in comments about disturbing dreams concerning pretty young Hiyo that Keiki has. At age nine (about sixteen in our years), Hiyo is legally mature enough to make her own decisions--the law was originally set in place so youngsters wouldn't have to run away to become Sabi'Oji, and it has since grown to cover everything from signing Contracts to getting married and having children.

Hiyo, apparently likes to shake things up. LOL I'm glad I'm getting an "oustide" view of her; I don't think I could write her from her own pov. She's a fickle thing, with her own rather stick-in-the-mud opinions and beliefs. She's as much a conniver as her grandmother, but she's more subtle and far more willing to manipulate . . . which I suppose explains why she disobeys her Zhiraikaovei and presents herself to Akiro instead of the "spiritless, spineless, and thoroughly superfluous girl" to whom the Zhiraikaovei'ubu wanted her to present herself. She won't be able to say as much, but they'll still be on the search for a suitable Heir for Keiki . . . LOL

I'm having fun, despite the trouble I've had keeping up. I've kept Keiki off-balance throughout the first 22k words, so I'm going to give him a bit of a break. I'm also keeping Akiro off-balance in SoB, which is giving him a lot of quiet anxiety. He's been introduced to the Temple of the Zhiraikaovei, though he isn't a Sabi'Oji, and I plan on plaguing him with frequent, vague "calls" toward the Temple throughout the novel, until his Sabi'Oji is un-gairi'd and escapes somehow. I think Akiro will have something to do with that, but I'm not quite certain what . . . yet.

18 September 2003

I haven't written any in the past few days. I've been itching to, but nothing's really been coming on the rewrite and I've come to the conclusion that I've hit a minor block. In the interim, however, I've had a few ideas for the second novel, which is struggling for a suitable title. I've known the POV character will be Akiro and that Hiyo had a very large part to play in it all.

I've just figured out exactly what's going on--with Hiyo, anyway. I know the opening--which will be in a "tourist attraction" imbued with blood magic. The magic consists of an autobiography written in blood that glows, imbued with power with a spell-phrase and truth. It's to foreshadow Hiyo's service to Akiro; she'll be discovered (as a Faochimaotao) and accused of spying by Akotai, Akiro's insane twin. She'll do the same spell to exonerate herself, and that is what will convince Akiro to abandon his brother. Because Akiro has been the one making all the public appearances, this will cause a bit of trouble (*glee*). However, during the course of her service, Hiyo will learn quite a lot: for instance that the Usurper's supporters are funded by the Eudissainese who intend to use the admittedly weak-willed woman to conquer Imotina subtly. However, things don't go as planned for the Eudissainese. The second novel will commence just after Hiyo is released from inei (school for those who wish to learn to be Sabi'Oji).

Hiyo is rather hardheaded. She goes her own way . . . much to the chagrin of the Zhiraikaovei. LOL

15 September 2003

I'm about 500 short on 10k on the rewrite. I've noticed that things are going along rather closely to the rough so far. This surprises me, because any other time I've tried to rewrite any of my attempted novels it's diverged a great deal. Thus far, instead of going to Barukei's parents' home, the same scene occurs at his private apartment. It's also a lot more interesting . . . I have a feeling that Keiki's going to be rather behind magically for most of the novel this time around, thanks to a trap-spell meant to drain mages who attempt to break the enchantment on Barukei.

I'm having fun with this, and thus far have come away from the WIP very happy and excited about it. I still chuckle over Keiki's getting whapped in the head with the window, which is a good thing. It's rare that anything I write that tickles me this long. That scene, I think, has become representative of what I want in the rest of the novel. What I want: Poor Keiki to get whapped in the face with a window every so often.

12 September 2003

I'm back into the rewrite for HoI. Things are coming together much better this time around, and I'm closing up some loopholes from the original draft, which has fallen to the status of glorified outline--I have lots of "glorified (something)"s. LOL

I've decided--for now--to keep the relationship more uncertain and thus bothersome to Keiki. :) He's already suffering . . . Barukei is just as determined not to have a Sabi'Oji as in the original, and instead of taking them to his parents' home, I decided things may go better at Barukei's private home. Thus far, Keiki's been cussed at, insulted, locked out, whapped in the face with the cellar window, and almost killed by a drain-spell meant to power the enchantment another mage has placed on Barukei. I'd feel sorry for him, but I can't stop chuckling over his getting knocked with the cellar window . . . LOL

In all, things are qoing quite well, despite the fact that Barukei's one servant has seen Keiki's face. She's a country-born Baiya, and actually in the employ of Barukei's mother as a spy (which Keiki has guessed). She won't tell anyone who doesn't already know (Barukei's mother and her Sabi'Oji) who Keiki really is. Barukei's younger sister, Hiyo also knows--but she's apparently been in contact with Keiki throughout his training to be a Sabi'Oji . . . LOL I love what I'm writing! *giddygiddygiddy*

24 August 2003

I've worked a bit on the HoI rewrite. whee However, that was moving slowly and I wanted to move quickly . . . I'm working on the "second novel" now--Hiyo's. I've gotten her into chapter two and almost 4k into the novel. I'm not making things difficult enough, I think; that'll change. Akiro's brother, Akotai, won't be happy to learn his brother's gotten a Sabi'Oji--especially when he realizes Hiyo's under the will (nominally) of more than one of the Zhiraikaovei (guiding-spirits, for lack of a better short explanation--I'll dredge through the WIP and find Hiyo's explanation. It's much clearer and gives a clearer picture of what the Zhiraikaovei are/do).

Anyway . . . I'm going pretty good. Didn't write today--just feeling too edgy, and aimless. I expect to write some tomorrow, however, and I'm anxious to get on with Hiyo's story. She's proving to be more interesting than I thought she would be. LOL

19 August 2003

On the trip to CO, I made a detailed list of the characters' motivations. whee I've now started on the full rewrite of HoI, and it seems to be going well. I think I have a stronger begining. I'm trying to focus more on Keiki, too. I think I lost focus on his emotions and all in the rough. To make sure I keep his motivations in mind, I'm keeping the list on top of the rest. I need to remember to include the others' motivations only as they relate to Keiki's, and I hope this helps some.

I'm finding the pov a bit easeir to get into this time. 1st isn't my best (in my opinion) pov to write from. Familiarity with the world is helping a bit, I think. I'm having fun with it--when Dale's desktop works. LOL

26 July 2003

Tried working out a character influence map for HoI . . . unsuccessfully. Everything criss-crosses and I don't want to have that. ick Not fun, not neat, and just too confusing. *sigh* Unfortunately, characters overlap their influences in HoI. Much more complicated than the map for Heidi and Mem's story (see P&KII).

I've figured I'll probably have to do the second novel in Keiki's pov at least part of the time. I don't want to, but I don't see any way around it. The rest of the time, I'll be in Hiyo's or Akiro's pov, but in third. But I think the halting relationship between Keiki and Barukei (and, by extension, Barukei's husband, Feiyao) will be important to the progress of the plot. Keiki, I think, despite a distinct lack of interest in being the "Legal" heir, will be looked upon as such by the populace, especially those actually in the capital city. I'll, in effect, have two intertwined-but-not-quite-meldable plots going. whee

I love it when I get plots like this . . . ROFL

24 July 2003

Yes, I was home most of the day. No, I didn't go through the rough of The Hand of Intrigue.

But I can feel something perking for the next novel . . .

23 July 2003

Okay. I'm starting to feel guilty here. *sigh* I've been neglecting The Hand of Intrigue in favor of my new project. Maybe if I don't make it out tomorrow before Jane's trailer is moved out I'll open the file and start looking at it hard.

I want to start on book two. I need to go through HoI and figure out the character motivations. That should help me figure out what exactly is going on with Hiyo. How much she has to do with her Uncle and Keiki. Well, with Keiki, anyway. I've got a feeling he'll be masterminding--to some extent--what she does in book two. He, after all, will know who/where the legal Heir is.

But before I can figure any of Hiyo's activities out in book two, I need to hammer down Keiki's connections. Not just the obvious ones. I need to get the "hidden" ones down, too. ANd I need to decide once and for all exactly how far the relationship between he and Hiyo's uncle goes. *sigh*

I really hope book two is a bit more straightforward than HoI was. I don't know if I can drag Hiyo through the mess I've gone through with Keiki. There are days when I wish my characters were real enough for me to lock them in my bedroom with the command, "figure this thing out, then I'll write your story." Unfortunately, I can't, and I seriously doubt they'd be more forthcoming even if I could. They enjoy tapping me on my shoulders and whapping me upside the head with inspirations via my Muses far too much to give that up.

Particularly Barkei and Keiki. *chuckle* I almost wish I could skip to book 3 . . . I can't wait to give 'em both what they deserve--each other. Which reminds me . . . I need to work up the Contract Laws . . .

. . . In rereading this, I got some ideas. I'll have to let 'em cook a little. Maybe I can get things organized so the two not-quite-but-want-to-be lovers can meet a time or two in book 2. Don't know, though . . . pov doesn't switch, and I can't seem to write Imotinan pov's in anything but 1st. *sigh* Something to think about, anyway . . . maybe if Hiyo has Feiyao's help? Ooooh. That's a definite possibility. *VEG*

19 July 2003

*sigh* Haven't been working on anything for Imotina . . . I think my mind wants to work through a few odds and ends before it finally sets everything on the stove. I've got other things simmering, and I know I want to continue chronicling (rather tame, I think--more like on-site war reporting) the usurpation and reacquisition of the throne of Imotina. The characters aren't all there, though, I think. And I'm certain something about the Eudissainese Envoy will have to be involved. The Legal Heir needs a good reason for getting herself into the palace so she can do her little appearance in the throne thing. *grin* No reason to guard the Audience Hall when the Zhipei isn't present . . . And, thanks to an old law, the person seated in the throne at sunrise on Coronation Day (national holiday) is the Zhipei.

It'll help that more recent laws--and the small fact that the Book of Blood recognizes her blood and not the usurper's--will reinforce the true heir's claim of the throne. Not to mention the fact that she's married a direct descendent (though he neither is eligible himself nor particularly "likes" women) and could be pregnant at the time. I'm still undecided on the pregnancy part.

Hmmm . . . It may end up as book three . . . I've just had an idea for a twist. I know Akiro separates himself from his brother . . . Hiyo Faochimaotao may be the reason why. And she's supposed to be a Voice--one of the few and decidedly the most . . . vocal. Basically, Voices are the representatives of wronged people. Not necessarily victims, just wronged. They also happen to have some "bardic" qualities that they learn to use to remind people of the proper order of things.

Imotina is proving to be more interesting than I realize all the time.

By the way, the proper order of things is not for usurpers to alter the Imotinan constitution and laws to support their own wrong views. For instance, the suppression of legal demonstrations in protest of forced, illegal changing of the government.

01 July 2003

I think I've figured out how I need to go about doing book #2 about Imotina. whee *giddy* I need to use a different 1st pov. It's dragging me out and I'm forcing my writing if I stay in the Messenger's pov . . . but if I try the soldier's pov--he's had experience dealing personally with "barbarians" (in Meeyahar)--I may be able to swing it. :) It'll be easier, at least, because I'll be able to allow myself to be openminded about Imotinan society--as the Messenger is NOT. Not only that, I'll be able to let the Messenger be as prejudiced as he wants to be, without having to rationalize his reasons to myself. (And I can't spell today--I've had to correct way too many words here in this post. LOL)

And it'll be interesting to watch the Messenger's attitude change as he comes into contact with more and more of Imotina, learns more of its ways, etc. Innokenti (pronounced EE-noh-kensh) will be asking all kinds of quesitons that the Messenger will be forced to hear the answers to.

09 June 2003

Awright! from now on, all posts about Velara, Heidi, and Mem will be on P&KII.

As for writing . . . I wrote a bit on my tentatively-titled WIP last night. I think I'm forcing the story a bit, and it's giving me that itchy not-quite-right feeling I get when something's wrong. I may need to rewrite a bit--I think the MC (unnamed 1st pov) gives in a bit too easily, and that's just not him. He doesn't LIKE these "barbarian" Imotinans . . . especially since their women "don't know their place." I think I'm just shying out of the mindframe. Heh

17 May 2003

Well, I did write a bit after my last post, continuing on where I'd stopped as if I'd written everything as if what I want to do for the revision has been put into my first draft. I may try to divide it, but I need to see what I've got going and if it'll work in one novel. I figure I'm going to use Velara as the focus and kill her, make her the central . . . motivation for what's done in the novel. Not the "Velara would do this" kind of motivation, but the kind of motivation where she's touched and changed people and they do things because they feel it's now right.

I'm looking forward to writing this. Unfortunately, I'm bogged down in a job full of long hours. whee

01 May 2003

I know what I'm doing!

No, a writer does not always know what one's doing. Visit Holly Lisle's website and read a few of the general discussion board posts. There are plenty initiated by people who've lost hold of their outlines despite their best intentions, more by people who've lost interest, lots by . . . . well, just imagine everything that could go wrong with a book, and you'll get the picture.

What my first statement actually means is that while I don't particularly have any desire to write, I do know what I'll be writing about when I do tuck my ass on the chair to write. I just can't remember them right now. LOL I've got 'em written, and I know I'll remember when I see what I've written so far, so I'm not worried. I already know what I'll be doing with the rewrite.

Hopefully, tonight, Mom will do BushWatch. I'll be able to write. And I'm about 3k behind right now.

26 April 2003

I've written a bit more on Untitled. whee

Precentice and Adervalis have come to an understanding--their jumping point for begining their father-daughter relationship seems to be their matching opinions about the elves and elven society. Nothing like attending a "rebellion" and realizing the "movement" is a farce erected to inflate one's social standing.

Velara's bespelled the Swallowsands and that's led to one of her peoples' totem-animal-gods to permanently bind her to the land in control of the Swallowsands. Her twin, Demara, is becoming more and more a leader among the renegade women of her tribe, and their tribal totem, the Plains Bear, has been protecting them. They may leave the uncertain company of their tribe; I'm not sure if they will. They want to keep their children, but I've learned that Velara's had a full-Sanuset (human) son whom she abandoned when she broke the taboos, and I think her example is what the others are trying to emulate.

I've written no more on LedÈa. I really don't know what's going on with her or Elari. I do know that Elari isn't a shaman--one would not have survived a breath in LedÈa's presence. However, it doesn't take the spellbinding of a shaman or a mage to do what's been done with their blood.

I'm pleased overall with what's happening with this one. I'm slightly over 26k now in it. I'll have to cut one or two characters, and a lot is going to be culled when I reorganize everything. Ah, the chapters are coming out mixed liberally. I'm just letting the chapters begin with whomever they choose. My first rewrite of this one will involve a major reorganization of the chapters, and for that I'll have to page-break them properly. I've just been clearing seven double-spaced lines between them for now.

I've hit a bit of a stall; I think I'm trying to write from Adervalis's pov right now. Velara's has been giving me the most trouble, and I think I'm going to have to outline exactly what a shaman is/does before I get into the rewrite. I'm hoping that doing this draft cold will help me figure out her limits.

19 April 2003

I've been reading Jane Eyre online and listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack on headphones. I've had an epiphany. I know why Elari is important. More than just a foil for LedÈa's character. I just have to write through the scene where Precentice proves she can wield magic (for the elves, who've never had a wizard among them).

Elari is her own person. She has her own duty. That first duty will require a knife.

18 April 2003

Last night, I almost had the title to this WIP. It came and kicked me when I was getting ready for bed, then danced on the edge of my conciousness just as I was falling asleep. For a fleeting heartbeat, I had the words, not in order, that make up the title. I should be frustrated, I guess, but maybe I just haven't gotten to the point in the WIP where I have the title. Right now, it's working title is "The Messenger" which won't remain. It sounds like a religious story, and I wouldn't want to confuse anyone expecting a fantasy-fictional biblical story (but aren't some of them fantasy already? Not if you believe in them).

If I'm remembering right, I've gotten about 14,000 words on it now, and every single MC has managed to surprise me thus far. Adervalis is having an easier time accepting his daughter, now that he realizes that Velara was right about his people being snooty and prejudiced. Velara's shown me just how much her Healing can do--for herself and others; she's shaman, but largely untrained, and the earth likes to eavesdrop for her. LedÈa, the ruler of Onofar, has finally looked beyond the boredom she used as an excuse to begin her subjugation of the Sanuset and has now decided that a more subtle form of genocide (what she calls "civilizing the Sanuset"--rather akin to what was done to Native Americans) is a way of eradicating the thing that really bothers her: Gelee, a city on the northern edge of the Deeperat Rift, which has unobstructed trade with the Sanuset and levies taxes and tithes from Onofarian traders doing business with the Sanuset, who aren't subject to the same taxes and tithes. Then again, the Geleen government isn't interested in converting the Sanuset into settlers; it knows better. At the same time LedÈa's instigating this plot (and perpetuating beliefs that the Sanuset are all dirty mean wild men through her third-party alliances with four of the worst tribes in the Sanuset nation), she's befriending a Sanuset woman who was sent to her by one of her envoys, because she's lonely.

*sigh* Between Velara, who'll disembowel someone, then Heal him, just to make a point and LedÈa, who really doesn't seem to know what she wants, I'm discovering a rather complicated story under the plot. Do you think being disembowled by a woman, then Healed by her would change your opinion about what a woman is capable of, if you'd lived among people who felt women have a place, and that it's not in the practice-yard with a sword in her hand? I'm speaking of Rashir, here. His tribe is one of those allied with Onofarian "slavers," and they told him to seek another tribe or be exiled when he protested his sister's marriage to someone in Velara's former tribe. His aren't the worst, but they're a bare step above rogues; Velara's tribe takes great care to ensure their women are meek and obedient. Rashir won't abuse a "proper" woman, even though seeing all those women of Grass Mouse Tribe (which has taken him in) armed with nonmetal weapons (the taboo prevents women from handling any metal that can be used as a weapon) has made him a bit nervy. When they welcomed Velara, scarred by Outcasing and bearing a sword showed up, his poor male ego broke and he tried to attack her when she was entranced; I don't think he realized the reason why the shamans are sheltering her is because she's a shaman too, or he would have known better than to try and attack her. He now bears a lovely scar that slants up his torso from right hip to just under his left breast. I think he's wishing his sister had had some freedom to make her own decisions.

Of course, the whole of Grass Mouse Tribe has broken a taboo in allowing Velara to stay with them. She's a "ghost," Outcast. However, the fact that she's wearing some elven armor allows them to pretend she's not a fullblooded Sanuset at the same time, and it's well known that the more domineering men will scar half-breed Sanuset, even their own children. Not only that, the shamans Grass Mouse Tribe seem to enjoy leading their people to the edges of taboos. They've allowed their women nonmetal weapons; I have a feeling that means some of their women ride horses and that they allow all women to have a say in whom they marry.

Then, there's Demara. Velara's twin. She seems to have become a reluctant leader for the women of her tribe. They seem to believe that Demara will know more about what taboos they can bend just because her sister "came back from the dead" to warn them about the coming war. I don't think the men of Plains Bear Tribe realize that they've got a rather large population of saboteurs literally in their camp. The women outnumber the men almost three-to-one. And the men think they have control when they don't realize that by forcing all the "misbehaving" women to trek together only encourages the women's dissent.

16 April 2003

As of today, the WIP for this blog is changing. I need to sort through what I've done on The Hand of Intrigue before I can continue with it. In the meantime, to keep up with my writing dare, I'm working on something I have yet to find an acceptable title for.

I've already done almost 7,000 words on it so far, and it's starting to look good already. Velara, the MC, is proving to be more forthright than I thought she was; she's older than I originally thought she'd be when I got around to writing his, and she's had a daughter by Adervalis.

She's not very happy with Adervalis right now. He's managed to insult their half-blood daughter with his elven prejudices. I wonder if he'll loosen up enough before he meets her. Although I'm curious, I don't particularly care to find out just yet what kind of temper Precentice has.

He's left the camp he made to help Velara. I don't know where I'm starting next, though I do know I'm moving on to another chapter. I can't think of anything interesting enough for anyone to do just yet. Even LedÈa--the antagonist--isn't doing much that seems interesting. Maybe back to Demara? Nah.

Huh. Maybe I'll follow Adervalis. Demara's not meant to be much more than a view into the changes going through the Sanuset tribes. Velara's going to avoid Gelee and the elven city, Perduinona. Perhaps I could do the meeting between Precentice and Adervalis? From her pov?

I'll have to think about it.

14 April 2003

I'm thinking of backing off of this for a time. I'm doing okay on it, but I think I've been concentrating too much on it and I'm losing sight of my goals with it. If I do decide to set this on a back burner for a time, I'll be replacing it with Velara's story, as yet untitled and unbegun.

I really must think about this for a while, though.

07 April 2003

I'm finally caught up on my wordcount for the dare, at 7,732 from the start. Whee.

Things have progressed a bit further between Keiki and Barukei than I thought they would. I don't know if I'll leave it in, but I think the scene fits so far. I'll have to see if I can get a couple of the guys on HL to read it over for me, particularly since this is the first complete m/m sex scene I've ever written. And from 1st POV.

Maybe I did okay the first time around. Maybe not.

I hope I did.

05 April 2003

Update. I'm on chapter 19 of HOI rewrite. I"ve made almost two thousand so far; I'm almost caught up on what I've missed writing on it the past couple days.

I honestly didn't know what I was going to do when I restarted. Keiki's told Hiyo, enlisted her help in finding the mage. He's also learned that Barukei's confusing I-don't-want-you-around-but-you-MUST-be-within-my-sight reaction to Keiki's confession boded ill. To prevent it from growing into an unacceptable situation, Keiki's now sending Courting gifts to Barukei--under his own name. It's a confusing situation, but it's keeping Barukei from making a difficult (for Keiki) situation worse by openly Courting someone who it's widely rumored to be the Heir to the throne. Keiki can't accept Barukei's Courtship, and he knows he'd be tempted to. As long as Keiki's Zhiraikaovei, DLachomaogu, doesn't pay attention when Keiki acts as his alter ego (the DL'Zhipei, Rikiyu), Keiki's safe on the side of legality; DLachomaogu refuses to denounce Keiki, but he can't ignore it if Keiki actively, seriously Courts a non-Sabi'Oji. It's not done. Not officially, that is. DLachomaogu is willing to do what's necessary for the betterment of Imotina and it's people. If that means aiding his Sabi'Oji in the farcical Courtship of his Sabi'Oji's former lover, then DLachomaogu's more than willing to do so.

In addition to such prosaic little societal details, there's the fact that the Imotinai do have electricity. They just don't have electric lights. Not yet. This gave me more insight on the reason why inventors and such aren't usually Sabi'Oji as well; apparently one's closeness to a Zhiraikaovei tends to hinder one's creativity. It's not as strong as the influence of the Gods, but it's there. It's also much easier for the Imotinan society as a whole to divide itself without the presence of the Gods. Gods=stagnation. The Gods knew the people would need some technological advancement to meet the future, so they willingly retreated. As a result, the people became rather . . . insane. As a happy (the Gods hoped it would be happy, anyway) medium, the Gods allowed the creation of the Zhiraikaovei. The Zhiraikaovei'ubu cannot Themselves perform miracles, but they are diverse enough and undemanding, so the people were able to turn to them for guidance without the danger of complete reliance upon the Zhiraikaovei'ubu. Most mages are Oshiri ("priests" of the Zhiraikaove'ubu) and Priests of the Gods, or in some way affiliated with Law and Lawkeeping or Healing. Most inventors are all but atheist, disinterested in the Gods, and happy to accept the representation of their patron-Zhiraikaovei, which is, in essence, nothing more than a personification of what they are and/or do.

Gods give miracles.
Zhiraikaovei give guidance.

Imotinans, as a whole, crave guidance. They're all well aware of what had been happening to them under the Gods, and are religious only in that they make annual sacrifices/tributes to the Gods in gratitude for receding from the direct influence of the people and for the births of the Zhiraikaovei'ubu.

Ugh. I'm going to have to do a workup on Imotinan Theology now. Wonderful

03 April 2003

I skipped writing altogether yesterday. In the interim, I had an epihpany (sp?). Hiyo will instigate the investigation. Keiki's going to go bonkers when he gets the impulse to share the duty assigned by his cousin with the girl. heh heh.

Aside from that, no major developments on the writing front. Wheee.

01 April 2003

I got 2024 words done tonight. That's just over twice my goal for HoI. Whee. The chapter just took off from me. Keiki threatened to quit (his duties as Sabi'Oji). I ended up sending Barukei in and Keiki had a nice little "you hurt me" moment with him. I think this has effectively hit the ball back into Barukei's side of the court, so to speak. He's not happy. Keiki had to break several taboos so he could come to peace with his past with Barukei, and this has upset Barukei. Now, however, Keiki's able to focus on his other duties--I hope. I'll find out when I get back on HoI. I need to work on DS tomorrow. Whee.

Having cleansed his soul, I do believe Keiki's going to get a bit braver. He's been afraid to move on, I think, and I'm ready to shove him off into the dangers he needs to face; he had to tell Barukei how he felt first, I think. Now he's done that, I think he's ready to go off into the other important stuff. Like finding that illegal mage. And being dutifully horrified by Akiro's Tendering of Courtship.

As for Barukei, I believe he's going to be thinking very hard about what he's done to Keiki and Keiki's response. After all, Keiki, though he ran away from the situation when Barukei broke off their young relationship, did go to inei to become a Sabi'Oji. Barukei, I think is realizing that he's been moping about things too much. Not only that, his Sabi'Oji is serving him despite very mixed feelings. Things are not resolved on Barukei's side. In fact, now he knows it's Keiki under that gairi, I think he's going to either be more upset, or more thoughtful. Probably both. A little hopeful, even. Maybe. I hope Keiki's confession has awoken Barukei to some of Keiki's strengths, at least some of the truth of the breakup, and to some of Barukei's own weaknesses. Maybe now Barukei will take some risks. Whether or not he actually accepts Keiki's Certificate of Oji . . . that doesn't have to happen; it's not that important. What is: that they both do what they need to.

I think they're ready to.

31 March 2003

Damn. I accidentally signed out. They need to move the bloody sign out button over.

Anyway, I've been working on the reverse outline for HoI in preparation for the Dare on HL. My goal is for 1,000 words a day. Whee.

I already have an idea of what I want to do with things. In essence, I'll be pissing Barukei off. I may have his mother send a whole line of suiters to Barukei--why do things by halves? And Keiki will be right there to argue in favor of accepting Courtship--making sure he weighs his advice towards the only thing Barukei really considers: how things will help his Family. He's really going to push DLufeiyao, though, because 1)he IS Lord Zaothetezhi and 2) House Zaothetezhi is the Mercenary House. Need an army? Hire from House Zaothetezhi. Need a bodyguard? Hire from House Zaothetezhi. Their alliance will be very important in the future--if I ever get the second book done.

I may even throw Akiro into the mix. I wonder how long it'll take Keiki to choke out Akiro's virtues for House Faochimaotao? Keiki, of course, doesn't know what I know about Akiro . . . and it would provide an excellent excuse for his already unstable twin to go a bit more bonkers.

In the meantime, Keiki's going to be working on finding that illegal mage for his Cousin, the TLozhipei. Things are going to get dangerous, I think. Between Keiki's investigations and Akiro's apparent defection, Akotai's going to be getting very . . . messy.

Whee. I know what I'm doing. Well, with this one, anyway.


30 March 2003

I know what I need to do with HoI today. I need to go through and update the reverse outlines. Whee. It's a hassle because I accidentally minimize something completly. This means I have to move the file I have open over, then back when I have the other one restored. Ugh. I can't wait until Mike's able to get down here so I can get that annoying program I hate on Ye Olde Borrower. At least then I'll be able to open up the same program several times so when I minimize something, it won't disappear.

I altered my wordcount pages; I intend to enter next month's Dare on HL. IIRC, I've decided to do Master-level on both projects. I'm not sure, though. Whee.

Once I get done with this reverse outline, I may have a better idea what to do. I hope so. I changed the last scene I wrote so instead of caving in, Barukei leaves. I don't know how Keiki's going to work around this. Maybe Hiyo will help? I don't know. I have to see what's going on. I think its about time TLowai and the other three showed up as Tendering of Courtship from DLufeiyao anyway. Hmmm. I get the feeling TLowai's going to like Keiki; I know she respects his devotion to duty.

I also need to work more on the background notes. I need to punch holes into the ones I've already got printed out. They're starting to look messy, curling up at the corners. I've also got to go through and redo the "cast list" and sort out the twins. I think Keiki's going to have more direct contact with Akiro, but he's going to be fighting Akotai magically. I'm begining to wonder if Akiro really isn't the mageborn one. He just had more . . . aptitude, so his minimal magic was trained, but his brother, who had no interest or aptitude, wasn't because he didn't show signs of having magic. It would explain why Akiro is the leader of their conspiration and the director of the magic and why Akotai is angry; he's learned he has greater magic than his twin and wants the greater portion of control. Which would also explain why he commandeers that Source; he thinks a private power source, which he has not been given (because he wasn't schooled), will give him the power to overwhelm his brother.

This is a new dimension here.

29 March 2003

Okay. I think I'm about done with the Blogs. I've even gotten my rants blog going. Whee.

I'm going to try to write a bit, but I'm not sure where HoI's going. I may end up working on DS instead. I plan on doing the reverse outline for what i have of HoI tomorrow, to see where I'm going with it. I've hit a stall, and I think it's because Barukei's given in too easily. Well, I'll have to change that. Unfortunately, I don't know how.

28 March 2003

I've spent most of my online time working on Pen and Keyboard II for The Dismantled Sword today. I've written a few words, and Barukei seems to be caving in to Keiki's wishes a little too easily. I wonder what's going through his head, especially since he still refuses to accept Keiki's Certificate of Oji.

Now all I have to do is get the Investigators to Keiki or vice-versa. Somehow. Whee.

27 March 2003

Ahhh. Spent a the day at a one-day job from temp agency. The break seems to have helped. Keiki's been "recruited" by his cousin to investigate a possible illegally operating mage. Since Barukei hasn't accepted his service, he isn't bound to Barukei's agreement. Of course, Barukei's jealous and upset. I think he's privately thinking of Keiki as his Sabi'Oji now, if not something more . . . intimate.

This is going to be a major twist of the plot and will bring things down upon Keiki. This investigation will also bring to light just how much involved in the interhouse-spying business Keiki's family is. tee hee. It's going to do everything the original draft did--and then some. I'm excited again! Whee. LOL

And poor Barukei. (HAH!)

26 March 2003

I haven't done anything on HoI recently. I worked on Heidi&Mem, whose story looks like its shaping up to be The Dismantled Sword, with a good bit of erotica in it. I haven't decided if I'll just add the title to this page, or make up a separate blog for DS. Either way, it looks like HoI will be getting a bit more erotic, too. Oh, whee. I. can't. wait. to. start. THOSE. sex. scenes.

LOL But I got myself into this, didn't I? At least y'all can't see me blushing when I write the stuff.

25 March 2003


24 March 2003

WOOHOO! That scene I redid, I sent to Fetu Andi on HL. She saw the original BAD version. She says it's much improved, and she liked the little addition of the smoke from Barukei's nostrils. Whee!

I'm going to go over everything I've written after that scene and slog though the holey rough draft and see what I can do to more convincingly introduce the Evil Twin. I'll definitely keep the argument scene and the following one, where Barukei walks in on Keiki all but completely nude. I think it's important for Hiyo's development (she's becoming more important), and for the development of the tension between Keiki and Barukei. Up to this time, it's been Keiki and I want to show that Barukei's returning Keiki's interest, in spite of that gairi Keiki's required to wear in Barukei's presence as long as Barukei refuses Keiki's service.

I started Adelaide and Marion's novel today. I'm already going to make some changes to it, and I'll probably put up a Blog for them, too. It should be a more interesting blog, too; they aren't wasting time. LOL

23 March 2003

Late post attempt #2. I accidentally signed out before post&publishing my last post. My computer fell off the internet and I signed back in and hit the wrong button when I got back online. *sigh*

Back onto my main WIP with a frenzy now. I tried several methods of getting around the bad het-scene knot. I tried third pov again, then tried switching 1st pov's between Barukei and Keiki, which didn't work too well. I finally ended up cutting a couple of largely useless chapters out and reinserting the rest. I deleted the last scene and rewrote it from the gate of Barukei's new home. I basically shoved Keiki through the gate and Barukei followed along nicely. tee hee.

Imotinans are proving more violent than I thought they would. For all their silk-and-velvet finery, they've got some wicked weapons. The flat of Barukei's sword has some sort of coarse and harmful inlay that scratches Keiki through the headcloth. Keiki also does a little teasing when Barukei tries to throw him out.

LOL I'm liking this situation. Hiyo, who is approximately 15 in our years, chews out her uncle for his "mistreatment" of Keiki (he spent his first night at Barukei's new home on the porch--and prevented one of the twins from entering). Then Hiyo turns around, all sweetly and hugs Keiki in greeting and asks if they can practice sword-dancing. To do this, Keiki changes, and Barukei comes in when Keiki's back is turned; Keiki's almost naked, wearing only his underpants. LOL Barukei definitely liked what he saw, though he never got to see Keiki's face.

Whew! Now I just have to get Keiki out of the house, and I know exactly how to do it. It's time for an attempt on his or Barukei's life, don't you agree?

21 March 2003

I've just written a short story. Marion's. I've tried writing it before, but it never came out quite as I thought it should. I think going to the Character Chat at HL did me good last night. LOL The fun Marion had. She kicked a poor character named Ted in the crotch (he's considering cheating on his wife, apparently), met an evil Queen (whom she's offered to assassinate for besides finding quite enticing sexually), and an interesting toothy evil blue demon named Elethredil. All in all a very interesting night for Mem. I'm looking forward to the next Character Chat, though I'm not sure I'll bring Mem back. I have other characters I'd like to exercise.

On the main WIP, I intend to start working on it again sometime today. Well, maybe tomorrow, probably when my friends are here tomorow night. LOL I've allowed the good advice I've gotten to simmer a bit and I'm about ready to tackle the WIP. Wish me luck. Hopefully, it won't read as a bad hetero romance any more.

20 March 2003

I haven't written any today. I've been trying to figure out where I want a surprise wannabe-novel wants to go. I'm really just procrastinating on going through and seeing how things read in HoI, but the other characters, Adelaide and Marion (Heidi and Mem) have a valid story. I think I know what it is, but I'm going to think on it a while. I think.

If I can get Heidi and Mem's novel going, it'll give me a bit of a break from the 1st POV with Keiki and shake me out of the intensity of that situation. The way I'm thinking of playing their story out is having Heidi look for the stranger who keeps helping her (Mem). They're old characters, ones I've had for years, and I've been looking for their story for a long time. Besides, it'll be a first draft of theirs. My only fear is that I won't stick with HoI, even though I'm still excited about it. Oh, well.

Okay, I'm off to dredge through *something*. Oh, the joy of having two projects.

If I strangle my characters, you won't tell anyone, will you?

19 March 2003

Got in a little over 3,000 words last night, ending on a scene that's supposed to raise the sexual tension between my MC and Barukei. Unfortunately, Keiki sounds like a woman and the scene reads like something out of a bad hetero romance. Ick! I've sent a few PM's around on HL to see if I can get some advice.

I'm about ready to give up working the 1st pov junk with Keiki. Only problem is, I'd still make it seem like a bad hetero romance--and any 3rd pov I've tried has always flopped. It is NOT easy writing in 1st pov, especially when you're female and your MC is gay male.


Hopefully the guys can help. *crossing fingers* This relationship is too important to the novel; it's what drives Keiki further towards his duty, and he must be driven towards his duty in order to make the ending work. Not that Keiki will renounce his vows to his Zhiraikaovei, but those vows will eventually be the only thing driving him to protect Barukei and himself and to find a proper heir.

18 March 2003

I didn't actually get to writing last night. I realized that I needed to start a scene involving the Imotinan dishes/silverware. This is more complicated than it sounds. I didn't have the interest to work on it last night, so the scene's been stewing for a while. Ugh. I do not want to do this. Imotina isn't your typical run-of-the-mill based-on-medieval-Europe scene. There are social customs that come from well before Imotina was an Empire, and the characters refuse to let me drop the dishes. Besides, it'll give me a good way to explain something on making Alliances, etc. *sigh* I just wish I didn't have to write it all out. Worldbuilding can be so tedious sometimes.

Maybe I'll watch a movie. Write it longhand. That might help. I think I'll try that. Going to look at movies now . . . .

17 March 2003

I'm really looking forward to writing. I've been working on my WIP kit some more and have gotten the brief list of Zhiraikaovei and the Imotinan numbers printed out. Also, the names of the days, weeks and months. It's all very simple and mundane. One Month, Two Month, etc. on up to Sixteen Month. Same with the days. And weeks of each month. Whee. I'm working on the glossary for clothes right now and my minds been blown.

Maybe I can get past that stall I'm in.

Anyway, I saw the movie "The Hunted" tonight and while watching the credits (to see who it was singing one of the songs) I figured out why the sword-dancing stuff's so important. Keiki's going to be challenged. Whee. I get to write about fighting with swords (which I don't know how to do) using a system that's purely imaginary (which I can do. I think). I don't know how that fight's going to come about, but I do know that his opponent isn't going to be competing for skill, but for life.

Okay, going to go punch holes in my printouts and try to write. Wish me luck.

16 March 2003

I've only just started writing. Made my 1,000 word limit for the session and wanted to update here. This is the first I've written all day--actual countable progress, anyway. I spent most of the day starting on my detailed reverse outline for my WIP kit. I still need to hunt down the glossary and the character list, but I've gotten a great deal done. The first nine chapters of my WIP have are now where they belong: In a notebook so I don't have to hunt through them onscreen. Whee. Soon, the glossary and character list will join them.

I changed the scene with Keiki and Hiyo, and they seem to have developed a nice friendship. Lady Noyoku, Barukei's mother, made no attempt to hide her intent to fix Keiki and her son together. Ha. Keiki's ideas had enough merit to satisfy her, but she hopes. LOL I like her, but I don't think I could be that crafty for a whole novel. I still wrote her better than I think I did the sword-dancing between Keiki and Hiyo--it's hard to create a warrior's dance when one doesn't have any experience in either fighting or dancing with matching swords in her hands. I don't think I made too much of a fool of myself, however; the dances are more like prescribed, stylized battles, wherein the opponents go not for first blood, but for ultimate dominance of position. Sort of like chess. It's a strategic game, and while neither of them are betworthy competitors, they both posess skill and grace in the dance. One's initial stance often determines one's final stance, based on what one's opponent does. When they abandon the rules and try to "match" or mirror one another's moves, the dance becomes something else, for they move their feet in specific patterns. Those who only dance are well-paid entertainers, and, instead of topless dancers, Imotinans of all ages and both sexes frequent dancing Halls to see sword-dancers perform, either in game or in entertainment.

I'm sure it would be a beautiful thing to see. I just wouldn't want to be one of the two or more dancers competing or performing. They get to wield swords slightly longer than the Claymore. Two of them. One hand each. No wonder most professionals retire and do something more mundane after ten years of showmanship. Then again, they can afford to.

15 March 2003

Haven't written at all today. I've been out with friends. We saw Kangaroo Jack, and while it was okay, it made me wish for my own stories. LOL After the movie, we stopped by an office supply store and I bought the things I figured I'd need for my writing kit; I'm going to work on making a long reverse outline and try tracking the things put into HoI. I want to see how much I actually pay attention to and what doesn't get picked up; it'll either help me tighten what's looking to be a long novel right now, or it'll just make me more aware of the plots trailing through the novel. I'm not making any elaborate rules for myself with regards to the tracking--I'm just looking for paths, patterns, and continued storylines.

I left the WIP at an uncertain scene last night, and I'm going to change it a little before I continue writing. I want to nix out what I've got and just have Hiyo sit next to Keiki for a while. I think it's better if he doesn't tell her anything, and especially if DLachomaogu doesn't do anything but indicate his peripheral interest in the girl. I'm going to try to allude, quietly, to her future. All I know is that Keiki hasn't been able to sleep since completing the spell and being revived after fainting at the feet of Barukei's mother. LOL Poor guy. He's running on adrenaline right now, and his lack of sleep, I hope, will lead to more than internal moaning about the reaction-headache he's suffering, the fact that Hiyo's attached herself to his company, and he's in a situation he's just begining to realize he has no way dealing with. Wait, maybe the last is okay. With a little of the second. Very little of the first, if any at all. Just enough to show he's still feeling pain and is tired unto death.

I'm looking forward to it. Keiki's respite is about to end.

Okay, now it's off to assemble my writing kit and see about using that new three-hole puncher I got today. Whee!

14 March 2003

Well, wrote a completely unrelated short tonight. Went to a "Think Tank' discussion on Holly Lisle and made a suggestion and my Boss Muse hit me. LOL I did not expect the ending that came, but I like it. It's titled "Caller ID" for now, but the title may change, though I think it's still appropriate. I haven't given any crits, so I'm not posting it at HL just yet.

On the main WIP, I've gotten Keiki everywhere he needs to be when he needs to be there. He's even making Barukei suffer a bit for being so stubborn. heh heh. Never knew Keiki had it in him. He's got bigger plans for Barukei, too. (A "him or me" ultimatum that'll force Barukei into a Courtship, heh heh) But now, he's got to get rid of the re-energized enchantment on Barukei, with Jaiya's help. I'm glad I made that nice little allusion to her way back in what, chapter one? Two? Anyway, she's eased his way past the House Baiya, whose name I had to change because I couldn't remember the old one (and now I can't remember the new one, either LOL), and they're preparing to remove the spell.

Overall, I wrote, between my WIP and the short, a bit over 3700 words today.

And I'm looking to doing another session on the WIP. Whee. Things are going great. LOL

Well, for me, anyway. Keiki, now . . . *VEG*
I wrote a little last night. This after deciding not to. I'm reading more of my writing-advice books (one on character emotions and another on dialogue--in which the author suggests you spend one day going around whispering some nonsense word like "monkeys" to see how people react). They inspired me to write and I did a quick overview of what I'd done so far.

I need to make a reverse outline now. I'm going to start the fifth chapter and I'm losing track of the story lines, so I've made myself a little "writer's kit" with the list of words I made up (with the help of Langmaker), put in a bunch of blank notebook paper, and have brought my old printout of the character list out with me. I also have the "tracking sheet" I made using the suggestion of Zette on Holly Lisle--a speradsheet with columns for entering pertinent info on my writing progress as related to words, time alloted, chapters/scenes done, on what day, etc. I did it yesterday, but failed to use it last night. I believe I'll be hitting an office supply store this weekend to get a three-hole puncher, a binder, some separator-pages (you know, the ones with the tabs for labels on them), and a plain folder to make a more orgainised "writer's kit." Maybe even a pouch and some new pens. It's been a long time since I bought new pens. And I need more clicky (mechanical) pencils. I seem to have lost all but the broken one that doesn't hold the lead--it just drops out completely when you press the clicky button.

I'll also have to devise a sort of tracking for what character's doing what and how he/she relates to the others. Maybe by chapter. So I have a better view of what's going on. With behind-the-scenes notes about non-viewpoint characters (which is pretty much everyone since it's in 1st pov). I want to be able to keep an eye on what's going on when Keiki's not around so I can have him react properly, but I'm also afraid I'll let him know too much. Believe me, if I had been able to write this in 3rd pov, I would have, but I just couldn't get into the society. I kept forgetting the Imotinans weren't living like medieval Europeans--very bad thing. I've loosely based their culture on Asian cultures. Their language, too--but I've changed the phonetic rules to reflect their history; they basically "made" their language when the Empire was complete, the people familiar with the new society. To bring everyone into the family, so to speak, the first Zhipei brought representatives from every region and did her best to incorporate at least some of the phonetic rules of them all into one, unified language. Mages, priests, Tanahu (priests of the Zhiraikaovei--which are not Gods), and Oshiri (Tanahu mages), Ahaihu (Sabi'Oji who are mages), and priest-mages still must learn some of the Old Dialects, and the more one knows, the more variety one's magic/spells have.

Oshiri and Ahaihu have the Touch of a Zhiraikaovei in their magic, whethter or not the Zhiraikaovei actually works through them. So, Keiki could legally/officially introduce himself as Ahaihu DLachomaogu DLaokeikithei. He doesn't because he doesn't want people to remember he's a mage first thing when they think of him. Introducing himself as "Sabi'Oji" means others' impressions of him remain more innocuous. They won't be looking for any magic from him. Many Ahaihu do this. It allows them to better protect their Shisei.

13 March 2003

Did a little more on the MS last night before bed. I just kind of shoved Keiki where he belongs and a nice little subscene with a LOT of potential sprang from it. Now I'm going to have to go back and name all the dishes and utensils again (I haven't been able to find the original notes from before but I'll look for them a couple more times before completely giving up) and I have to not only decide what meaning they all carry--the Imotinans once used eating utensils and dishes as a means of silent communication, and, in fact, married couples still share a single set--but which dishes and utensils besides a knife they bring when they're at a party--a sort of all-purpose travel-pack with the most likely dishes/utensils necessary (and their accompanying messages when traded/shared). I remember the descriptions, at least, so if I have to write it all out again, I won't be completely lost.

The meaning of the knife is easiest to remember, though it was originally only given to one's most trusted friend/ally. I guess, in the political situation Keiki's facing, anyone who supports his cousin and his House--the legitimate heirs, after all--is a trusted friend/ally. Especially since he wouldn't trust his more distant cousins, who aren't eligible for the throne at all, except through birth and a blind disregard for Law.

The Laws that govern the throne are important. They can't be changed, but there are loopholes. The one Law that has no loophole, however, would Legally prevent any of Keiki's and Yajadi's distant relations from ascending the throne: Only the blood of Keiki and Yajadi has touched the Book of Blood. Anyone physically voilating that Law doesn't live long after the rightful heir's blood once more meets the tome. The spell connecting the Book and Throne doesn't care if you're related. If the Book doesn't know you, the Throne will kill you.

However, the Book of Blood's (the Keikithei's) importance has been allowed to erode through time. More than once, everone's lack of knowledge about the Book has prevented a usurper's success. No usurper has held the Throne for more than a portion of his or her lifetime. Not all heirs are publicly announced--only those produced by the reigning Zhipei are publicly known. Contract-births involving surrogate parents (usually a mother who was raped), are, by Law, to remain secret until the Heir comes of age. All Birth-Contracts are so. Only the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the child typically know about the Contract. Only Contract-births prove one's legitimacy to claim a House's name, properties, etc. So, if the TLozhipei (Yajadi), were to accept another woman's child as her own, but without a Contract for the child, that child could not ascend the Throne, even if that child's blood had been presented to the Book of Blood. The child would be an adoptee, nothing more. In order for the adoptee to succeed Yajadi, the child must be Legally acceptable. Her blood must be introduced to the Book, and there must be a Contract for her adoption somewhere in existence.

She will be. But that's for another book. I'm enjoying thinking of what I'm going to do to Keiki before I give him a break.

Keiki cannot take the throne himself because he has a birth defect; it comes with a facial scar. The Law preventing him from taking the Throne states that one bearing Kazhehimo's Face (the outward sign of the birth defect--the facial scar) cannot be trusted to rule wisely. This Law was made long ago, when it was believed that children born so were less intelligent than normal children. All Kazhehimo's Face really means, however, is that magic was used upon the mother at some point during her pregnancy. The birthmark can take a variety of shapes/forms/textures. Keiki's is a slightly-rasised winestain birthmark much smoother than the rest of his face, and covers approximately two thirds of his face. His lips are uneven--thicker at one end than at the other--and he cannot completely open his left eye. Even though he is a mage and has the buttercream hair all mages are born with, the hair in and at the edges of the birthmark is discolored, almost blood-red, though the birthmark itself is more of a liver-brown. The skin of the birthmark is cooler than the rest of his skin, but more sensitive to changes in temperature and pressure; it sometimes rashes when he's been wearing his gairi (headcloth that covers his face) too long.

Many people with Kazhehimo's Face become Sabi'Oji, giving the illusion that few are born with the scar. In fact, most of the Sabi'Oji are those with Kazhehimo's Face, and, because Sabi'Oji serve as one's closest advisors/teachers/mentors/friends, that proves they are quite as intelligent as "normal" people. Besides that, they go through specialized training nowadays in Imotina, thanks to Kazhehimo--he wasn't a Sabi'Oji. Back when he lived, Hand-Slaves were the most trusted slaves of their masters. Nowadays, thanks to Kazhehimo's work, they make up the most important Station in Imotinan society. They are no longer taken from their masters' slave population; they choose whom they serve, and serve the Zhiraikaovei whose "signature" they bear on their clothing and skin as much as they serve an individual. They are priests, friends, and a variety of other things to their masters (Shisei'ubu).

But Barukei is refusing to accept Keiki's service. Not that Keiki particularly wants to serve Barukei (he'd far rather Court Barukei). But neither of them has much choice. Keiki can resist some of what his Zhiraikaovei--DLachomaogu--wants, but to resist everything all the time would kill him. So he's left tracking Barukei down and gets to follow his would-be Shisei. Keiki's "service" to Barukei will not be a typical example of how a Sabi'Oji goes about things.

Poor Keiki. (Please note the sarcasm)

12 March 2003

I decided to reread one of my writing-advice books. This one: Dynamic Characters by Nancy Kress. It's part of what's sparked a lot of the changes that I've been thinking of the past couple days.

For instance, I'm expanding the twins' roles. I want to differentiate between the two a bit more, make it clear that they're operating in collusion. I'm also hoping to be able to make it clear which twin is whom by their behavior twoards my protagonists, Keiki--who's not having an easy time doing his duty this time around! Not only that, I've been able to slip a reference to Jaiya into the begining thus far--comparing her skill to Keiki's. My rough draft is turning into a glorified outline, but that's no problem, because I'm more interested now than before. Whee!

I wrote a little last night before bed. In about an hour I got over a thousand words. It all came so easy, felt so good. I'll compare it to an orgasm. Writing last night was like an orgasm. I may have to tweak the first chapter, which opens with the real Akiro confronting Keiki--hoping for information Keiki wouldn't share even if he had a choice in it. I think I confused myself a bit and I plan on cleaning it up a bit, since I figured out that I want both twins active in the conspiracy.

However, any confrontation between Keiki and one of the twins alone is going to involve the real Akotai, who wants to eliminate Keiki RIGHT NOW, instead of taking his wiser brother's advice and waiting for an opportune time. If they're caught attempting to kill Keiki, who is a Sabi'Oji (and in the direct, if not legal, line to ascend to the throne--but they don't know that), they'll be executed. But Akotai, whom I've realized is feeling a bit restricted by his brother's magical superiority, wants to assert his independence.

So, I'm going to have to go back and tweak Akiro so he'll consistently read as Akiro from CH1 on.

As to Keiki's difficulties: well, they're his, aren't they? He doesn't want to serve Barukei, though he's admitted he considered Courting Barukei before he (Keiki) went off to learn how to be a Sabi'Oji. I may change the timeline of it a bit. A year on Imotina's planet is 640 days long, a month forty days, with sixteen months to a year. Two years is then thirty-two months. I can't do the rest of the math without a calculator, but I think two years there would cover for the training Keiki recieves. He has to learn to use a neuter-voice--as neuter as he can make it, anyway--and to lose the contractions and slang of his former Station. I'm still trying to mentally do the math here. It's not working. Huh. According to the computer's calculator--if I entered it all correctly, two of their years is about three and a half of our years here. Good. That'll cover it. No fussing with the timeline there. (sigh of relief)

I can't quite figure out how I'm going to put Keiki where he needs to be when he needs to be there, but I do know he's going to hound after Barukei. Keiki's doing anything to avoid ascending to the throne, and I don't know at this point if the relationship between him and Barukei will develop as it had in the first draft. I may not let it; the emotional turmoil, especially after Barukei confronts Keiki should prove quite interesting. I don't want to make things too easy for Keiki, since he's refusing to follow his heart.

Sometimes characters can be so vexing.

11 March 2003

I've been thinking a lot about what I'm doing with The Hand of Intrigue today. I haven't done much except read through and make notes on changes and things, but I'm getting the feeling I'll need to actually start rewriting the whole thing from the begining. I have too much going on--if I'm going to add all I want to--to just patch it all in. This isn't a video game and patching in won't improve anything this time around; I'll have to go in and do another full revision, and that's something I don't want to have to do.

On the other hand, I don't want to spend all my time rewriting it, but it looks like I'm going to have to do it that way. I've considered changing the first chapter substantially, perhaps making it two chapters to emphasize a possible change in events. I want to focus on Keiki's familiarity with the palace (his return home, however brief its duration) and perhaps introduce one of the twins earlier. This would enable me to explain a bit of Keiki's history, perhaps betray his true name, and the source of the name he's taken for his service to his Zhiraikaovei. Not only that, introducing one twin before I introduce Barukei and then the other twin will give me a chance to see both twins. They won't be "playing" themselves; Akotai will confront Barukei first, as Akiro. After Barukei and Keiki return to the celebration, Akiro will greet Barukei, as Akotai. I'll have to find some way to delinate the twins in my WIP, so at least I know what's going on and who's doing what and when.

I'll also have a better chance of showcasing Keiki's turmoil. He doesn't know whom he's supposed to serve, because even his Zhiraikaovei doesn't know. Only the Gods know, and they're hesitant to push themselves back into mortal society at this particular time. Things are uncertain among the mortals and the Gods don't want to misbalance things too drastically; there are too many people who would promptly drop what they're doing to focus on the Gods again, and that almost destroyed Imotina once. In fact, more than one group of disenfranchized citizens left Imotina long ago--two ended up in neighboring countries and one went overseas; almost all at the same time. It left the motherland underpopulated and almost caused the early Empire to fall. The Gods, already abandoned by most of their people, decided to retreat until a more appropriate time, when the people had more than just their relationship to the Gods to focus on. That time hasn't arrived--yet.

But having left the Zhiraikaovei--created them, in fact--for the people, so the Imotinans wouldn't be alone and to galvanize the intelligence, creativity, and senses of adventure and invention in the people, the Gods had not completely abandoned their people. They've become quite accustomed to subtle maneuvering through the personifications the people applied to the Zhiraikaovei. However, they're wary of using Zhiraikaovei DLachomaogu's Tanahu, Oshiri, and Sabi'Oji too much. Their priests are encouraging them to trust the Zhiraikaovei of Intrigue, and have well-chosen their "operative" in Keiki, to some extent, if only because of his blood ties to the throne and House Oyuchayei (if not the Family Name) and the laws that, though they prevent him from directly assuming the throne will allow him to do so if married.

So, Keiki doesn't want to marry Barukei. Too much of a risk, never mind the fact that if he thought about it he'd realize his accepting Barukei as his husband would put him under the direct regard of all of the Zhiraikaovei'ubu. Well, he won't have a chance if I can get to the third book in this series. He may not be sexually interested in women, but he's digging his own hole here, and he'd better be happy his society accepts whatever contracts and bonds a married couple makes with each other.

Ahem. I'm done grumbling. Besides, I get another novel out of this mess Keiki's causing, don't I? Another chance to twist him for making my job so difficult. heh heh

So, I intro "Akiro" (Akotai), compare Keiki's memories of the man before Keiki had gone on to become a Sabi'Oji and the man he's meeting at present, drag him through Barukei's refusals of service, then show him "Akotai" (Akiro), who is the man who actually Courted Barukei before the other twin ruined it all by throwing a fit and turning to a woman. While that's acceptable, it's generally not a nice thing to do when one's led one's lover to believe one's planning to marry said lover. This ruined Akotai's reputaion for quite some time, and only Akiro's devising of the plan to place an ineligible distant cousin (ineligible because her blood had not touched the Book of Blood as an infant) on the throne.

I wonder if I could inject some hints on the disintegration of the cohesiveness between the twins, as well. The real Akiro's regret for having lost Barukei and anger at his brother for causing it. The real Akotai's anger at being controlled politically by his wiser brother and restricted in his magical training--because he lacks the emotional and tempermental restraint necessary.

Speaking of restraint, I need to lengthen Barukei's eventual acceptance of Keiki, despite all of Keiki's efforts to be friendly. This is something I'm not good at, but it needs to be done, and I'm sure I'll figure out how to do it without dragging it out too much.

10 March 2003

Awright. (Yes, I really do say it that way.)

My current major WIP is "The Hand of Intrigue." From the looks of things--I'm into the notetaking-and-revising stage now--I'll be lengthening the 50k novel a bit. I've already decided to keep something that I'd almost decided to drop. Not only does it provide a good excuse for me to infodump on the role and restrictions and rights of Sabi'Oji, it involves a character who should be appearing in the next novel I intend to write, Hiyo.

I've decided that it might be best to "up the ante" by invoking an attack on my MC and his "master" and involving the police much sooner than originally intended. It'll give me a chance to explain more on Sabi'Oji and their rights (to investigate crimes committed against themselves and/or their Shisei). Not only that, I may put the investigators' precinct in the square with the Old Temple, where the few but determined followers of the Gods still worship--another tie-in to the next novel. It would make a strange sort of sense, and I could possibly add in a bit more about Hiyo--maybe have her return to talk to Keiki some more, expanding her discussions to include changes she hopes to either make or to encourage after her time as regent. If she ever makes it to the throne. I don't know if she'll make it that far. Well, she will, but I don't know for how long she'll BE on the throne before the right and proper heir arrives on the scene.

Of course--getting back to the present dilemma--I'll have to expand on the relationship with the investigators that develops.

Speaking of relationships, when did Jaiya decide she knew Keiki from Mage-School? Hello? I'm the author here. Why wasn't I told? This makes things a bit interesting, to say the least, but I don't know how to work it in, precisely, and I may have to drop-kick this discovery out of this novel. If I don't figure out what's going on with this "Hey-I-remember-you" thing before I finish typing in this mad revision, I'll have to can it, won't I? It should come in useful later, though, if I ever do the THIRD novel that wants to get written--and it probably will. Can't leave the throne unoccupied. At least Keiki never had a romantic thing with Jaiya, or I'd have a hell of a time with the confusion. Well, a worse hell of a time than I am now.

And Akotai and Akiro need to decide what's going on, too. I know they're identical twins, but they need to get their butts on the line and figure out who's doing what before I rip my hair out. Just when I think I've got them pinned down, they skitter around like a couple of roaches. I think Akotai's the one who's the mage. If that's so, Akiro's the one who's been fronting for the two of them, because it's in the school records that Akotai's the mage of the pair. I suspect they've been regularly switching places quite frequently, so people never get enough of a handle on one's behaviors to be able to tell them apart. I do know that Akiro thought it would be a great idea to put one of the ruler's unworthy distant relations on the throne to play puppeteer of, but Akotai, thanks to his idiotic decision to persue a woman has ruined Akiro's chance to Court and marry Barukei--in effect use him to make their wishes come true. Not that Barukei would help, but he did once love "Akotai" (Akiro). A marriage would probably have helped them get Yajadi's cousin on the throne.

Ah. I know who's doing what now, don't I? heh heh I am the Author. I have the POWER!

Huh. I'll need to use that relationship between Keiki and Jaiya beyond their disenchanting Barukei. Maybe bring her in to ward Keiki when he does his Scrying? Hmmm. It would provide an outside observer to the relationship developing between Barukei and Keiki, which will make things in that particular subplot more interesting, especially since I'm going to do my bloody best to lengthen the dilemma for Keiki. I'm going to let him fret--good idea to let him fret until he makes Barukei angry.

Because Barukei loves Keiki, after all, doesn't he? And if he sends Keiki away and Keiki is attacked and ends up right back in Barukei's home/family, then they've got to face it, after all. And what if I had Feiyao actively pushing them together even though he's Courting Barukei with complete intent to wed Barukei? LOL What if I had Keiki stumbling into Feiyao's gates? Possible, possible.

I am really starting to like this full revision. Unfortunately, the way this is going towards complication, I may need to hire the people who do the "For Dummies" books to write a "The Hand of Intrigue For Dummies" for my novel.