01 July 2004

Interesting developments (I)

Well, things are going quite differently in Imotina these days. Rikiyu has shown his face to Barukei and they're both now living in Feiyao's house. This I never expected, but it opens some new possibilities. For one, Akotai would never suspect his brother to be visiting Feiyao's home. Another is that Barukei is avoiding Rikiyu like the proverbial plague. He is not happy to find that someone whom he thought himself well rid of has returned to "meddle" in his life. Feiyao is trying to help them both. Poor Feiyao, caught between his love for Barukei and his respect for Rikiyu.

I'm doing things I never thought of before. I've had Akotai attack Rikiyu--which doesn't happen in any of my previous drafts. It's the reason why Rikiyu and Barukei end up staying with Feiyao. It means that Rikiyu can't provide the infusions necessary to keep Akotai's magic from working on Barukei. Oh, delicious twists. Yum yum. LOL

I actually wrote myself into a corner at one point. I had Rikiyu on the floor, his back injured, and his Zhiraikaovei basically powerless against Akotai. How does one get out of this situation? IIRC--I've been doing a lot of writing so I'm not too certain--I had Rikiyu drag himself around to grab Akotai's ankle as Akotai prepared to stomp on him. The landing provided enough of a distraction for Akotai that he lost his concentration and the spells he had on Feiyao and Barukei stopped working. It doesn't pay to be a half-trained Mage; I've decided they don't start learning how to multitask (so they can hold one spell while working on others) until their second year, when they've got all the basics down. Akotai never made it to second-year classes; he was given enough training so the magic wouldn't kill him, then sent home. He's been practicing illegaly ever since, with some reluctant help from his brother, Akiro.

I've determined that Rikiyu's going to have to infuse Akiro's refreshments every time he visits. It'll also be a good explanation for the memory problems he'll have in his novel. He needs to have them; it provides some of the conflict, with him worrying that his brother will find out what he's been remembering and "dreaming." It will also be a good reason for Pei Pei to present herself to him; she'll be helping him decipher everything and will be a buffer to distract Akotai until he kills her.

I'm really enjoying everything that's happening. :D So much fun.

29 May 2004

Finally got some done--over 4k between yesterday and now. whee I had an epiphany (sp?) and decided to follow it: what if Rikiyu wasn't able to remove the enchantment on Barukei. *glee* Things are a lot more interesting now--and I absolutely REFUSE to do another full draft after this. I'll just puff it up to my goal (100k) and polish it a lot.

I'm having fun.

22 May 2004

Some interesting progress here. For one, I never thought that Rikiyu might be doing what he's doing because he wants to. Also, he's learned about what Akotai's doing. Always a fun thing, eh? I'll have to insert some more musing on the volcano so he'll have the idea to try and make something similar of magic to prevent Akotai's work from blowing a hole in the middle of the continent.

I've removed his interest in Barukei, too. It just didn't fit any more with the initial changes to the story. I've dropped in thoughts of his about Akiro instead, and that's working much better, particularly since Akiro made an effort to warn him about Akotai's workings on Barukei. I'm looking forward to the scenes when Akiro and Rikiyu get to interact; it's going to be fun. *grin*

It's really a pity they'll never be together. Oh, well. It'll be more interesting if I tease Rikiyu; he'll come so close to getting the man he wants. Then he'll die.

Mwahahahaha! It's so much fun being a writer.

05 May 2004

Didn't get my daily word goal on THoI rewrite, but I did do a little over 1600 words of worldbuilding, so I decided to count that as today's goal-meeting. Figured out exactly why Rikiyu's balking at being Heir-Regent and they're a lot better reasons than I'd originally thought up.

Also got some worldbuilding on the political parties done. There were, IIRC, seven total, but I feel like there are more. I just needed to get these down so I know what's going on and which parties are after Rikiyu--they play a part in his reasoning and one or two could be a major threat to him if he resurrects his Heir-Regent persona. whee

Am having fun. Always a good thing. Can't wait to get home and write some more tonighte. :-)

04 May 2004

I didn't finish the second rewrite. I think that was a mistake. I may go back and finish it before I go any further on the "final" rewrite. I think that's what's caused me to stall, but there are so many changes I've made that I can't see where finishing the second rewrite will help.

I've dropped the first chapter and started at the second chapter, for one. I think it's a truer beginning, and not just because I chopped off all the exposition and threw the MC into the fire first thing. Better beginning, opened up some room for more time spent hunting out Barukei--which is how I've managed to put all the exposition in where it's needed. I've managed to introduce both Akiro and Akotai this way, and Jaiya, and I've given readers an idea of the political situation and the threat Akotai represents. All I have to do is go back and include the foreboding thread of lava leaking from the neighboring volcano to thicken things a bit.

whee

02 April 2004

I wish I didn't have to finish the rewrite. It feels like it's going badly. I want to restart the rewrite.

Maybe, I will.

Then again, maybe not.

*sigh*

24 March 2004

My characters are still at it. I've decided that this will be the last full rewrite. This rewrite will be printed out and I'll type it back in adding revisions and doing a general edit, but nothing more for THoI in the way of a full rewrite. It took me about six or seven chapters just to get Barukei out of the palace and back home (he decided he was going to get more drunk under a tree somewhere). And I've lost Hiyo as a secondary character. She no longer fit once I met Akiro's Grand Aunt leaving a bordello owned by Barukei. I figured she'd be a more logical contact and it cleans up the story quite a bit.

Hmmmmmm . . .

I just had an idea. It might be a good idea to bring Hiyo in for future purposes. I've never quite liked the fact that Akiro's going to marry a cousin of his. He did once, according to the new timeline I've got worked up. I think it would be quite a surprise to society in general and the Houses in particular if Hiyo Faochimaotao was the one who started lobbying for Akiro's release. I don't know whose pov I'll use in Akiro's novel--perhaps both their points of view.

I love good ideas. I just wish DOC's keyboard wasn't all upset; I can't write. *pout*

03 March 2004

Okay!

After a few days of floundering, I've refocused. I was online on, I think, Sunday, at Forward Motion and hopped in to attend the Think Tank. Talking to everyone there helped me figured out what I was doing. *bows worshipfully in homage to fellow writers' wisdom*

Problem: I wanted to insert a bit of Akiro's past history into the THoL. The only way I could think of doing so was through expanding the novel into a trilogy. However, I was having difficulty writing that much, even though I've learned a few things (for example that Akotai killed their mother and actually forced Miyara into marriage before using her the same way he'd used his mother. I'm not certain if she kills herself somehow, or if Akiro killed her to spare her further pain).

Well, I've figured out how to do it: Pei Pei.

Which means, the rewrite of THoI is going to be more complicated--it's already taken about five or six chapters just to get Barukei out of the palace and to his parents' home. Now, he's run off so Rikiyu and Jaiya are on a hunt for him. whee And I've upped the ante a bit, too. Rikiyu hadn't gained the sought-after control of his voice, so must of what he says is flat in addition to being higher-pitched in the search for perfect neutrality. Jaiya knows him very well. So does Barukei (when he's not drunk).

He's had an encounter--brief with Akiro. A longer one with Akotai. He knows something deeper is going on, and right now he's only looking out for Barukei. However, I've foreshadowed his death as well as the fact that Akiro will become involved in things, even though he's becoming known as "The Traitor's Brother."

Which brings me to the next novel. *grin* The Hand of Liberty was good, but it wasn't the best. ANd it was repetetive. I don't want to repeat "the Hand of This" and "the Hand of That" throughout. Besides, since he is the Traitor's Brother, and that's how it begins, and it follows him even to the Throne, I thought it might be best.

Over that, I'm going to try and finagle some things. I know Akiro gets married to someone. A willing wife, much younger than he--but age isn't much of an issue to Imotinans. What is the issue is his history. Most people won't realize what he did to help Rikiyu in THoI. Damn few will realize that he's the Heir until it's too late. Well, few among the Muti and Baiya classes will. The Oji class is a different matter, and the most important class in terms of politics. They're the ones who will be Akiro's major support, I think.

I'm so excited. *GRIN*

20 February 2004

Akiro's out of hiding and has abandoned the traditional garments an Heir-Regent wears. He's recieved an unexpected welcome from his own kin, and I left him dancing with a distant cousin.

I've also figured out exactly why his son and his son's Sabi'Oji end up in the Convict Army. I wasn't comfortable with murders--too many bodies lying around for no good reason. It hit me, though, that it's so socially disgusting and the Law is so strict where Sabi'Oji are concerned that Akiro's son and son's Sabi'Oji could have been lovers. Me, I wouldn't be inclined to convict so harshly they'd choose the Convict Army, but I'm not Imotinao. It would also effectively remove Akiro's son from the succession--such a law is not meant to be broken--or forgiven--because Sabi'Oji are holders of trust and the common view is that having sex with one's Sabi'Oji is the Sabi'Oji's fault and that the trust has then been ruined. If the Shisei admits to anything--as Akiro's son did--that person is also convicted. It's right up there with Treason and murder.

The only reason why Akiro's forgiven is because the truth of what his brother's plans were is going to come out at about the same time the volcano on the other side of Hipichopi Sea erupts. Barukei (though Akiro doesn't know it) will make sure everyone in Siviyaonei understands that much.

heh heh

Poor Akiro . . . He'll almost drown before he learns he's been exonerated.

18 February 2004

Well, I dropped back and restarted the chapter I was working on. Now Akiro's hiding in a secret storage place under an empty room's floor . . . whee

17 February 2004

Whee.

I've gotten to "part three" in THoL. Akiro's killed his brother, found his son, and just returned to the capital city--under threat of a volcanic eruption and the awareness that he's now got to get rid of the occupying foreingers out of his country.

Oh, and Pei Pei's dead. She was poisoned with the rest of the Sabi'Oji serving the interim ruler, Deivashai. Akiro didn't take it well at all. Of course, it didn't help that one of those who greeted him upon his return to the city was Barukei--who made certain to tell Akiro of her death in the most hurtful way he could. I left off with Akiro doing a credible imitation of someone well-adjusted discussing Magical theory with a non-Mage (Barukei's adopted daughter).

I don't really know where to go from here. I know where the Book of Blood is--and it's not in House Odaohanei. That would be too easy. It's at the bottom of Hipichopi Sea--and I wouldn't have thought of dropping it there if I hadn't spent a paragraph describing the view outside Akiro's old "office" window in his House. I thought I was foreshadowing, and I asked myself just what I could be foreshadowing. Well, now I know. I just need to find a way to help Akiro remember while at the same time making things more difficult for him.

("No! No! No more problems!" he screams behind me, in a rather Gollum-esque way.)

23 January 2004

#2 is well on its way. I've got Akiro battling his memories. He's absolutely certain that if his brother finds these things out, he'll be killed. I've introduced one of the Euidisainese--he's there to "help" Akotai. Not. He's got his own agenda, and Akiro's just blasted it open, though not in front of his brother.

He's also just come home drunk for the first time in his adult life. Pei Pei wasn't home, but his brother was waiting. When Akiro left to go upstairs, Akotai was not a happy person. He's been deprived of his magic--something to do with having lost his hoard when Rikiyu/Keiki made the Heir's Monument using the hoard. He's got a lot of political clout; he just needs the military manpower to back up his bid for the Throne.

We'll see.

I'm having fun with this . . . Now to introduce Deivashai.

11 January 2004

Well. I think I actually do have a trilogy. I just need to get book #2 adequately started. I may have given myself a bit of a false start with it. Granted, Pei Pei grew up in a rather rual area, and her "home"--actually a place where Sabi'Oji live--wasn't the most up-to-date--they still have gaslights instead of electric and what's called a sluice-tub. Water is brought down by gravity and you get in the tub, stand under the pipe, and pull a chain for a primitive kind of shower--but I spent a whole chapter on her raptures over a "modern" bathroom. She has Kazhehimo's Face, and it's taken a rather unattractive form over the top of her head. What little hair she has, she shaves because it just looks worse if she has hair, and she is a bit simple-headed--she has insatiable cheer and nothing seems to break her spirits for long. Also, the image of her dancing in the tub, with "truly running water," is one that's been immortalized in Akiro's mind. While Imotinans aren't body-shy, Akiro isn't comfortable with his memory of his dignified young Sabi'Oji dancing in the bathtub.

I may just cut the first chapter off. I'm over 4,000 words right now, so it won't put me too far behind. Perhaps half that. No problem to catch up. I may also just restart. I don't know yet, but I think it might be more interesting if I start things off from his POV and change Pei Pei's backstory a bit so she's not aimlessly travelling--nobody travels for no reason in Imotina, particularly Sabi'Oji'ubu, and Pei Pei's always known whom she will serve.

I've also left Akiro's brother mobile and threatening. It'll run better that way, and there really wasn't much reason to incapacitate him to begin with. Akiro's fears are more logical at the beginning if his brother's able to carry out threats. Also, I've decided that the spell that Keiki/Rikiyu died to end didn't lead to a direct confrontation with Akotai--Akiro's brother--and that Keiki/Rikiyu had to die only to stop the spell from destroying the world. It also effectively took away a great deal of Akotai's magical power, but he's got enough political clout he's back to using his magic to protect himself from the threat of death he sees every day.

Now, since he's able to rip the servants' minds apart--though it's illegal--he would dearly love to rip Pei Pei's open. However, despite her lack of obvious influence--her clothing isn't embroidered in the traditional manner--he's even more wary of her. This was a calculated move on Pei Pei's part. She's simple, not stupid. She knows far more about House Odaohanei than either Akotai or Akiro realize, and she knows Akotai's begun to slip into one of the signs of Giyaowaime's Disease--he's paranoid. He wants to "test her for loyalty" but he doesn't dare because he can't predict what will happen. Without embroidery, Akotai doesn't know which Zhiraikaovei Pei Pei serves.

I'm going to have fun with this one, I think. :D

07 January 2004

My, how things change. LOL Having what amounts to a nervous breakdown is helpful to the writing soul, I guess. At least, in my case it seems to have worked that way.

THoI is back on track, though far behind. I've set the rewrite goal at somewhere near 85K, IIRC. I've got perhaps twenty more to go to reach that goal, and things have gotten very interesting.


I've been able to insert a bit more about the past the three main players shared--and have included Jaiya, who tutored them all, in the mix; she now works for Barukei's Family as the House Mage. Barukei's stiffened up a bit--not that way--and spends the first half or so of the book antagonistic. By the time he comes around, things have developed to the point that, when he discovers Keiki is Rikiyu--and that Akiro is involved in some complicated plot, he blows up and leaves the whole mess behind. *glee* He's turned into a major ass, but now that I know what's happened, I understand why he's doing it, and it makes the story better.

Also, the main theme seems to be "bad decisions/bad choices." It's rather obvious, with Barukei prattling on about how he shouldn't have gotten so angry at Rikiyu (before Rikiyu became Keiki) and later with Rikiyu struggling over forgiving Akiro for being "his brother's slave." Forgiveness doesn't come easily to Rikiyu, and I need to extend and intensify that internal battle, so it doens't seem like he just melts when confronted with the past, particularly when it comes to the scene where Barukei abandons his whole Family and accused Rikiyu of being a traitor.

I also need to pull Rikiyu's illness closer to the surface. I forgot for a while--focusing on the emotional conflicts--that he's supposed to be ill to the point of debilitation, and he's up and moving around without any symptoms. That's what edits are for; I won't do another rewrite on this unless I have to, and I'm going to let it rest before I do. Perhaps even find someone to read over it for me.

As for The Shadow of Blood, I don't know what's going on. I may shorten it again. Now that I know the past, it isn't screaming to be a trilogy, and I've inserted enough back-history into THoI, I think, to cover. I'll gloss bits over in Akiro's story--I definitely want to keep it, but I think I'll focus on his struggle to escape his brother's influence--and that to accept his own mistakes and find his confidence. He will have a Sabi'Oji of his own, but she won't be anyone he knows, and I think she'll have to die.

I do plan on giving him some funky amnesia. I've got it in my head--despite what our society would have to say about it, that Hiyo gets herself impregnated with Akiro's child. Jaiya kindly does the spell that wipes the incident from his mind--and a few other things as well. It would give me a good excuse at the very least for going over past events. It might also provide some conflict, particularly since he'll have his Sabi'Oji, Pei Pei to egg things on a bit.

I've also been working on the background and worldbuilding bits for Imotina some. I've finally got a full calendar of Imotina set up, and I've determined that there are at least three different official religions. I've set the "holidays" of one of them, and determined what days, exactly, are the National Holidays--completely secular, relating to the Founding of Imotina and New Year's celebrations, etc.--nothing at all religious about the lights they put in their windows at the beginning winter. I've added a lot of new words to the glossary and determined that I'll need to expand on the timeline a bit--change a few things. whee I love it.