23 December 2010

Progress on TOC

I've reached the point where Peikigi has arrived at school. I've redone the scene where she injures the other student and kind of stopped there. I spent a very intense two weeks writing up to that point, putting in all kinds of new scenes. I feel what I have is much improved over what I had before, and I'm very pleased with my progress and the scenes I've written. I have a more complete picture of Peikigi than I had before, and I've given her an almost-sweetheart that will goad her into a situation that will both hurt her deeply and make her stronger.

I'll be spending Christmas through Sunday with my mom, so I intend to write a lot on Peikigi's story. I've been working on a different, project for the past several days, and I think my mind needed the break because the project is already done and spawned a sequel. I'm hoping I'll be able to balance this a bit, kind of see saw between Peikigi's story and non-fantasy projects for the duration. This break from her story has been good for me. I can feel ideas hovering in the background. It's a very nice feeling.

Part of the reason why I stopped is because I've been trying to figure out how to continue her journal entries while at the same time skimming over sometimes full weeks of time. The best I've been able to come up with is relying upon the introductory entry I wrote on the 29th of last month to cover for the lapses of entries over time. Peikigi's days are going to develop a kind of sameness as she becomes accustomed to her school schedule.

I've changed the division of the book somewhat. Each section that begins with another major occurrence (for instance, her arriving at school) starts a large chapter, but I've kept her journal entries as separate chapters within that. So far, she's got two sections; the initial one, and her arrival and first day at school. I'm titling these large sections and including proverbs relating to what I see as either the theme or major point made in each journal-entry chapter. It's proving to be a fairly interesting process, as I write each journal entry before deciding on the proverb, which I often just pull out of thin air. It would take too much time for me to research appropriate aphorisms and, in any case, I wouldn't be able to find enough to fit Peikigi's story since it's set on a fantasy world in a society very different from ours.

06 December 2010

Progress On The Obscure Child

On the 29th of November, I wrote a short introductory piece to the new version of Peikigi's story, The Obscure Child. I wanted to do this as part of the worldbuilding of the story, to give the reader some clues as to Peikigi's future. That her journals from her Secondary School years have been made available to the reading public is an important indicator of her status to come, as is the fact that the person who wrote the introduction shares her last name. Just two hints of Peikigi's future at the very beginning.

The story has changed substatially from my original conception of it, though much of that original concept remains. The substantial changes encompass my better understanding of Peikigi and those around her. I have a bit of outline written, but I doubt I'll be doing much outlining on this project; I can't seem to get the scenes to organize enough in my mind. I may be too accustomed to working things out as I write them; it took me a couple hours to organize the scenes in the outline, and I'm still not satisfied with the organization. I may have to try a different method of outlining. I just haven't figured out what yet.

I believe I was able to improve upon the original first chapter of TOC with the new first chapter I've written. I've given Peikigi friends and allies in her home eshosha, but I've still placed her in a location where she's discounted and condescended to. Her original goal is to become a priest, which will explain her closeness to Abodaore and familiarity with the Temple, but will retain the indications that she would best serve her people as a Sabi'Oji.

I did do some copy-pasting from the first chapter; I believed it began the story too well for me to be able to rewrite it all better. I couldn't think of any scenes that could improve upon what I had originally written, except to change the eshosha manager's opinion of Peikigi.

I've been working on the motivations of the various people she'll meet in secondary school. I intend to make Peikigi make her situation more difficult at the school all by herself. She'll start off by injuring a favored student, which will offend at least one teacher. Then she'll backtalk other instructors, telling them they're not treating her properly (she'll be right, but they're Voting adults, and they won't like it). It's going to culminate in the teachers who are indifferent and supportive of her departing when she enters for her oral exam and refusing to grade her written exam. They'll do this because they'll have been corrupted with certain information they shouldn't have and will feel unable to fairly judge her knowledge--these are the instructors with integrity. Those without it will deliberately remain so they can falsely judge her knowledge, doing so unfavorably.

This will drive her closer to the Sabi'Oji.

At the same time, her peers in school will mock her. What I'm doing with all this is isolationg Peikigi. And making her angry. An angry Peikigi becomes more determined to succeed, and, though she really doesn't want to, she will turn to the Sabi'Oji because her education is very important to her. Through their guidance, she'll come to see the merits of becoming a Sabi'Oji and come to appreciate her strengths, but it won't be an easy journey for her. Part of her condition is a weak heart, and that's going to interfere with her education under the Sabi'Oji who volunteer to educate her.

I'm really looking forward to writing this new versiono of TOC. I just hope I can make steady progress on it.

11 November 2010

Progress On Married to the Moons

I've been going through a spotty mostly dry spell of writing recently, but I have made progress on MttM. This progress was inspired by a post a friend linked to on the blog The Sharp Angle concerning the inciting incident and catalyst in one's story. It made me realize I'd left out quite a bit about the boys' friendship--in fact, I skipped the whole foundation of it in the original ms of MttM.

What I have now is much better. Not only is it describing the friendship the boys are developing, but it's enabling me to set up their departure better. It's also changing quite a bit about their trip through the forest, but that's okay. The story will be better overall, and I expect it to meet at least 80k this time around; before it wouldn't have met 55k, even if I'd gone ahead and written the ending to the first section.

Not only that, I've realized that instead of sections, I've got three actual books going here. A trilogy. Using the logline advice from more recent posts on The Sharp Angle, I've figured out just what the first story is about and what the title is: Attachment. This title fits for many reasons. The Nameless One has attachments to his life as it is as well as his desire for independence from what his father sees as his obligations; he also has an attachment to Anyit in that he's attracted to the other boy though he feels this is wrong, and his attachment to his religious beliefs fuel this misconception. Anyit is attached to his independence, almost as much as he is attached to his desire for friends, but he also lacks the capacity for emotional attachment to people and things, which makes the friendship difficult for him. The third and final aspect the title refers to is the attachment, the bond, the highest deity, Ceinthe, creates between the boys; it is a necessary attachment because it will anchor Anyit whenever he uses his powerful magic ability.

Aside from that, actual writing progress has been slow on it, but all the words are good. I'm just glad to be getting any at all, and I'm still very enthusiastic about this project.

30 September 2010

What I Haven't Been Doing

Which is any work on any of my projects. The most I've done the past couple weeks is open Baheen and check it out to see what might be done with it, and aside from getting the same ideas I had before, nothing showed up. I'm trying to restructure my days, but it's going slowly, so I think any progress on any of my writing projects is going to go with equal slowness.

However, I do have some writing goals.

1. I want to get back into my progress on Sethe's story using the Two-Year Novel course. I was doing well previously when I had enthusiasm to support my will, but I think my will alone will keep me going at least fairly well with that.

2. I want to reverse outline not only The Obscure Child, but am considering running it through the Two-Year Novel course as well to perhaps steamline some aspects of it.

3. I'd like to outline Baheen from where I've stalled at.

4. I'm considering running Married to the Moons through the Two-Year Novel course as well. I'm not sure I want to outline on this any just yet. I want a control project, I think, to test how well just the course does without any outlining out of turn, but with the base of the wordage it already has.

5. There is a "trilogy" of an old project that I abandoned that I think I can restructure sufficiently to work. I'm not sure exactly how to go about this, but that project is primarily on the backburner.

Both Baheen and The Obscure Child take place on Ferodoxis, as you can see by the notes following the titles in the sidebar. I haven't decided which one takes place first just yet, but I'm thiking TOC will. I'm thinking of changing the gender designation for bigendered individuals in Baheen to a slightly different word, but that would be the biggest change I'd make at this point.

04 September 2010

How Things Are Going

Okay, I've gotten to somewhere around Week 14 on the Two Year Novel lesson plan with Sethe's story. I've been in a manic phase the past couple weeks, and my interest in writing has fluctuated a great deal, so I've stopped working on it, but I plan on getting back to it on Monday. I'm kind of letting the questions in the week's less stir things around so I have plenty of information to add to the outline. I've got two "chapters" of the story written, as much to kick start the ideas as well as to help myself organize my thoughts on the story, and have begun an outline in the notecard program I purchased, Supernotecard. I'll provide a link to it in the sidebar.

I've actually started reverse outlining Peikigi's story, The Obscure Child on the notecard program I've purchased. I've added more into the beginning and started things out more reasonably, having come to the conclusion that the people she's most associated with (the other people who live in the hostel eshosha she's grown up in) would have come to accept her as being intelligent and teachable. I'm still beginning the story with her departure from her home, but I've made the eshosha's manager more sympathetic, understanding, and accepting of her to emphasize the opinion of her escort to the ojishiku's eshosha, who doens't know her and is basing his assumptions on her appearance.

I haven't decided if I want to reverse outline what I've got of Baheen or outline from where I've stopped with it, so I haven't worked on that recently. I'm pretty satisfied with what I've written so far and have plans for a couple upcoming scenes. I'm especially looking forward to writing out the scene showing Zaashen attempting to speak with his ex husband, but haven't quite worked out how I want things to go. I do know that Noova will turn away, insult Zaashen somehow, and then decide to leave the community to get away from Zaashen.

About Supernotecard (SNC): It's a program that does notecards for outlines and story information on the computer. I've been using it for a few days, and though it doesn't seem to have an instruction page, a little exploration of the options and experimentation proves that the program is pretty intuitive. I've found its workings fairly easy to understand. The notecards expand if you double-click on them, to a full page size that scrolls as you add your notes, which is good for me because of the way I'm outlining (I'm not someone who can get by on just a couple sentences describing the scene).

Using this program, I haven't noticed a loss of enthusiasm from putting the ideas down like I did back when I first tried outlining. As I've gotten older, and because of my mental health issues, and more experienced with writing, I've learned to do the kind of outline I'm doing on these computer notecards in my head, and I feel relieved after I've gotten the scenes listed. The only problem is that since I'm not focusing on my fantasy projects, I'm not making steady progress like I want. I need to buckle down and set aside a little time each day to make these notes and work on my 2YN thing for Sethe's story, but it's proving difficult, particularly with Peikigi's story, because the ideas are intermittent and I can't always get them to solidify enough for me to "capture" them.

28 August 2010

Changes and What I'm Working On

I've removed Failing from the WIP list, mainly because it's not going anywhere at all.

I've added "Sethe's Story" because that's a project that's just kind of fallen out of my head and into the Two Year Novel lesson plan. I'm already up to lesson 9 on it and the only reason why I haven't done it yet is because I'm still refining the information necessary for that step. Otherwise, as long as I know what's going on, I progress pretty quickly.

Haven't started the outline for The Obscure Child yet. Mainly because I'm waiting to be able to afford a notecard program. I'm also working out ideas for what Peikigi can do.

I haven't even opened Baheen recently, but I'm considering doing the outline thing for that, too. Also considering the outline for MttM, at least from the point where I'm at since I'm pretty damn happy with what I've got so far in the WIP. I'm just sort of stuck as to where to go with it and I'm thinking that maybe doing an outline of future planned scenes might jump start something.

22 August 2010

Sorry About the Lack of Updates

But I haven't been writing fantasy recently. I've been working on another genre and it's filling my time. I will be dabbling in the fantasy stuff, however. I have plans (evil cackle).

For instance, Peikigi thinks she's not getting written about. But that's not the case. The problem is that I've realized I've left some important stuff out of her story and it'll change how things go. I'm trying to decide exactly what I want to do with her story. In any case, I'm planning on trying to outline things, whether I go back and make the changes or just power on through and write from where I am.

I'm not concentrating at all on MttM, mostly because I have no idea what happens next, pov-wise. I kind of want to include some scenes from the pov of Anyit's Nameless One, but I'm not sure where to insert them.

Still trying to figure out exactly what to do with the other two things. I've actually substituted my made-up word for bigender individuals in Baheen, and I must say that it's taking some getting used to. The languages on Ferodoxis don't have the he/him/his and she/her/hers forms we do. They have one word that covers all forms; for instance, in Meeyahar, where Baheen is set, "keena" for all the female forms and "valaacha" for all the male forms. She/he forms are covered by "keeva". It's really taking some getting used to using "keeva" instead of the various forms of she/he.

In an effort to streamline my writing, I'm trying two different things.

First, I'm going to be outlining The Obscure Child (Peikigi's story). I don't know how other writers do their outlines, but I'm going to do like I do in my head already. I'm going to write down what needs to happen in the scene in some detail, write down what the pov character's goal is, and write down what the goals of other characters in the scene are. I do this so that I can make sure the non pov characters react properly to what the pov character is doing. I think it might help, and it feels like this is an outline format that just might work.

Second, I'm starting a completely new project on a new world using Lazette Gifford's Two-Year Novel Course. I'll provide a link to the ebook in my side column. I've got the first two lessons done for this new project and am gathering the courage to face the third (which is about Themes, which I don't usually look for at all--at least, not on a conscious level). I'm hoping this works. I'd take the class, but I think I'll succeed better doing it on my own. I figure that if it works for me I'll start working up new stuff into it.

30 June 2010

Ishtal

Ishtal is one of the deities of Nahela. Here's a brief scene from MttM in which she appears.

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"Wake up, Ressi, wake up."

He rolled over, trying to escape the small hands which shook him, and pulled his pillow over his head to muffle her almost-shrill voice. He didn't succeed; the bed sank behind his back, at the level of his shoulder blades and the child continued to shake him.

"Wake up, Ressi."

Child? Ressi pulled the pillow off his head, slapping it against the wall. Seela's temple housed no children. Dilfris did according to all laws, and children without parents lived in foster homes as was proper.

The child shifted behind him. Her right hand gripped his arm near the shoulder, where his Seal was, and her left hand loosely gripped a handful of his hair. Her knees shuffled to her left, closer to his head. A moment later, her breath brushed his ear.

"I have come with a message for you, my son," she whispered and kissed his earlobe before crawling off the bed.

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Make of that glimpse what you will.

29 June 2010

Behind

I'm running pretty far behind on MttM. I should be at 58k words today, and I've only gotten up to a little over 43k. Part of the reason is because I missed writing on the 20th and I didn't write from the 23rd through the 27th. My current goal is to write 3k a day, but I've only made just over 2k today, and I'm not sure what to do for the next scene.

Right now, I've separated Anyit's Nameless One from Anyit and he's on his way home, and Dilfris is in the Flestan version of the doghouse (considered dead to all others until her fate is decided). I haven't figured out how Dilfris and Anyit arre going to get to the capitol, but I do know that Dilfris is going to get to walk barefoot the whole way. She's not looking forward to it. I also haven't decided whether or not she's going to be expelled from the priesthood, but I suspect that'll be one of the things that'll come up when I get to the point where it is being decided.

I'm not sure if they "need" an armed escort, and I'm seesawing between giving them one and not. Flesta is a pretty peaceful place, and people respect the Voice too much to want to harm him. Besides, the road they'll be on goes through remote forest, and most people aren't familiar with wilderness survival like Anyit is, so it's not likely there would be bandits. People tend to stick close to their villages, towns, and cities unless they're required to travel. The most they'd come across are trade caravans, farming vehicles filled with goods, and the odd mendicant priests and minstrels. Not only that, Anyit is so imbued with Baoyin's Gifts that he's capable of physically defending himself, though he doesn't realize that yet. I don't know if he'll ever have an opportunity to use that inherent skill or not, however.

I'm also not sure I really need to use Anyit's Nameless One's pov, though I feel some temptation to do so. He's not going to have an easy time of it. Right now, he's bound and on his way back to Tress, where he's going to be imprisoned pending his father's return. I'm not sure how to get him out of that situation, now that I think about it. I'm thinking that maybe Baoyin Valis, Jair's assistant, will be making a visit to Tress to retrieve Anyit's Nameless One. I'm also thinking that they'll attempt to Seal a name on the boy before he can be rescued, and that's going to traumatize him, but I'm not sure just how yet--this is where his point of view becomes necessary. I'm not going to let them force a name upon Anyit's Nameless One, so Ceinthe will definitely interfere. In fact, I'm seeing a bit of a few scenes with Anyit's Nameless One. I may well be writing from his point of view.

15 June 2010

Progress

Okay, I know I've been away for a few days, but that's because I didn't write from the 4th through the 8th and I've been working on catching up on Married to the Moons. I've made a lot of progress; I've been writing an average of over 3k a day since the ninth and am 1397 away from being completely caught up. My goal with any project is to write 2k a day, and by now I should be at 30k.

I'm backbraining stuff for Baheen and have figured out a little more. Likii's going to be in some bit of trouble when she/he returns to home.

Trying to figure a way around the block I have with The Obscure Child because I'd really like to finish it. Since I've finally figured out what the damn block is, I should figure out a way around it pretty soon. "What is the block?" you ask? Well, it's the fact that I don't know if this story is going to end up as two books or one. I have the ultimate ending mostly in mind, but not an intermediary one in case it's split in two. I forget how many words in I already am, but I think I'm a fair distance in and I'm still in her first year of school. I'm actually planning on skipping the last couple and to not go very far into her second year since pretty much everything's going to be set up in Peikigi's first year.

As for Failing, which will be getting a title change eventually, I have no idea when that's going to go. I need to finish TOC first, then determine the line of descent for Failing's characters, do a workup of Danere's eccentric family (and that is going to be sheer hell), and figure out exactly what's going to happen. Current idea is sending Danere to Mukamutara as an envoy, but after that, my mind goes KAPUT.

And, on top of all this, I still have ideas for Selected by the Sun and Led by Lightning--the "sequels" to MttM. I'm getting quite a bit about the main character of LbL. I'll admit here that I got carried away after reading a Valdemar/Velgarth anthology and plopped this particular MC into the middle of the Pelagirs to figure out who he was. I learned quite a bit, and he's now one of the pov characters in MttM. Unfortunately, anything from his pov is in first person. He insists upon it and refuses to do more than cameo bits in anyone else's pov. If I don't cooperate, he doesn't cooperate. However, he was kind enough to be at "home" and answer his door and knock an errant priest of Baoyin down a few pegs for Jair. Then he saddled Jair with the errant priest's "assistance." Things are not going to go smoothly for Jair and his new assistant, to say the least. It's going to cause some problems; now all I have to do is figure out what those problems are.

09 June 2010

Progress and Sequels and Titles, Oh, My!

Well, I'm not going to let myself complain. My progress pace for MttM seems to be stuck at that commonly used by snails. Still, it is progress. I wrote a bit early this morning before I went to bed--the chapter didn't turn out exactly as planned, and I'd had it more planned than most, thanks to having had several days to just think about it. However, I have to say that it turned out better than I'd planned. I think that if I keep getting such good chapters/scenes, I have no right to complain about how long it takes me to write the damn things down.

And I'm getting an idea for a sequel. Something to do with the ancestral enemies of Anyit's people and a challenge issued by the Moon Sisters to the Sun god. Based on the current prevailing motto of the state religion, which is "It takes only one male to do what it takes three females to do." So, what if the Sisters issue the challenge of, "If that's so, why don't you create peace with our people?"

The Sun's Chosen isn't going to be able to do it alone, to say the least.

Not sure who the main character of this is going to be yet, not even gender. Tentative title is Selected by the Sun. I have a feeling that this story is going to utterly change the society's existing structure a bit. Hoping to be able to do it without having to create an underground army of rebels. However, if I end up doing that, it'll certainly stretch my skills.

And, damn it all, I've got the title Led by Lightning ricocheting around my head. No earthly idea what that'll be about--if I ever get to it.

05 June 2010

Changing Things Around

I once expanded my writing blogs into a set of three, this one being concerned with Ferodoxis alone. However, due to some nice changes with Blogger and the fact that I'm not writing as much any more, I've decided to contract back into a single writing blog. Over the next few weeks, you'll be seeing old posts from one of my old writing blogs appearing, interspersed with new posts about current writing. Please bear with me here.

Snippet - Married to the Moons

Here's a bit of my newest story, Married to the Moons. Hope you enjoy.

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He scooted his feet forward. Yes, he should drown himself. The river would carry him away, so nobody would have to take care of his body. His life meant nothing to everyone here. It didn't truly mean anything to him any more. His toes curled over the edge of the bridge's wall. Yes, he should drop himself into the water.

He held out his arms straight from his sides and looked up at the moons. He closed his eyes and tipped forward, giving himself to gravity. It claimed him more quickly than he'd thought it would, and jerked him off the bridge's wall.

"Anyit!"

He turned his head, opening his eyes. A shadowy figure waved its arms. Too late. He landed, and the impact smashed the air from his lungs. Anyit gave a short scream and sank, inhaling water convulsively.

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This happens in the first chapter.

13 May 2010

Figuring Things Out

The time away from Baheen has given me the freedom to consider options for getting Likii out of the mage plane. Things are looking up, too. I've also figured out more about Qawra-Pol's part in all of it. At the same time, I've refined a later scene a bit, one of my "candy bar" scenes, if you will. I'm looking forward to writing it, but I have a long way to go before I get there. I'm not ready to work on Baheen yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so pretty soon. Maybe within the next week or so. The ideas need more time.

07 May 2010

A Scene From Qawra-Pol's Youth

Go to Collecting Whistlegrass to see a snippet of young Qawra-Pol's life. She's commencing the final test of her skills and must begin by gathering a number of poisonous stalks of grass.

Playing

I'm considering playing with an incomplete story set in Imotina which I abandoned earlier. Its working title is Failing, which in no way fits how the story is turning out, even only four chapters in. However, until I think up a better title, it will remain known as Failing.

Its MC is Danere, a bigender individual who would like to be referred to as "neither," which is rather impossible as there is no acceptable designation for one of that gender identity in Imotina. Her/his mentor has set his thoughts on that, however, so I expect him to come up with something at some point. I should note here that it is extremely arrogant to refer to any intelligent being as "it" anywhere on Ferodoxis. That designation is reserved for Abodaore's Avatar, the genderless Child whose care Zaashen has been given.

Speaking of which, I've made no progress on Baheen the past few days. I'm thinking that I'll stay in Likii's pov, however, and have her/his would-be mentor kidnap her/him while she/he is cuddling a child from another family on her/his lap. Seeing as Likii's relatively new to being a priest, I do believe I'll give her/him some trouble in returning to her/his home Oasis. Perhaps a bit of a trek. Still need to think up some things for Zaashen to do while Likii's gone. And I need to think up a description of the mage plane that satisfies me. Oh, and it just occurred to me that Likii doesn't know how to connect to others' spirits in order to move them. Hrm. Things just keep getting more and more difficult for Likii. Oh, and she/he also has no idea how to read landmarks in the mage plane. Likii is in deeeeeep shit.

Now I just need to figure out how to get an unarmed, unprepared youth with a toddling child back home. whee

05 May 2010

Qawra-Pol

Qawra-Pol is one of my oldest (agewise, not conceptually) characters on Ferodoxis. She is a mage, a priest, and a shaman of the Ird-an'e people. In age, she has lived for over three thousand of Ferodoxis's years, was a youth when she saw the rise of the Unity, saw the fall of the Unity, and was one of the directors of which peoples would retain what knowledge. It was Qawra-Pol who suggested the Imotinans be assigned the keeping of technology.

She is actually bigendered, like Likii, but she prefers to be known as female. This does not mean she has closed herself off from accepting a woman as a spouse; Qawra-Pol simply prefers the female gender and does not feel that this is any disrespect to Deity; she takes the view that Deity made her to prefer to be known as female so won't be angry that she chooses to be known as such.

Qawra-Pol's people are Especially Chosen of Deity on Ferodoxis. They have more Holy Ones than any other country has priests. I should perhaps make it clear that shamans aren't necessarily Holy Ones (priests), but are simply those who have mental abilites instead of magical abilities. However, for the Ird-An'e, shaman generally does translate to Holy One because the Deific Gift of Holiness is given to almost any Ird-An'e who practices the basics of prayer and compassion and asks for Holiness. The Ird-An'e are also Especially Marked, in the color of their hair, which is always some variation of red; this tends to breed true in all descendants, regardless of how much actual Ird-An'e blood they retain.

04 May 2010

Epiphany

What if the one who teaches Likii her/his magical skills isn't Yasaroon? What if the "foreigners" who teaches the people aren't just aimless foreigners? What if the "people" who are supposed to do that are the same person? What if "they" are Qawra-Pol?

I will have to play with this idea a little before I can decide if it's the one I want to go with.

Today's Justin's Exercise

I've decided to see if I can keep up with doing Justin's Exercises at least a few times a week over on Forward Motion. Since I don't really have anywhere else to post such things except here, I'll be posting what I do here as well as on FM. Today's exercise involved a character cozy in their home hearing footsteps outside. The image that came to mind has nothing to do with Ferodoxis, but I wanted to write his bit anyway. Wordcount came out to 1530. Here it is:

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Wade opened his eyes. Had that been a footstep? The sound came again. A distinct ploomp, a slosh, then another ploomp followed by another swish, just barely audible over the sounds of the wind whistling around the Cathedral. Someone paced outside his window.

He rose, leaving the pew's row, and padded to the Cathedral's door. The sound had come from the east side, so he went down the stairs, heading to the east. At the end, he levered himself over the railing, perched his toes and the balls of his feet on the curl of the bottom step around the one above, and leaned out past the corner of the Cathedral to look up the long side of the building.

Light scattered on the water. A hard wind blew, stirring the water up, creating waves which flickered in the colors the light through the stained glass windows threw on the surface. Wade shifted, rubbing a hand over his coarse hair in a gesture of frustration as the wind blew his loose garments about. Granted, it was pretty boring being stuck in this place whenever he slept in his own world, but the last thing he wanted right now was the frustration of mysterious noises outside his dreamland-home.

Then he saw it. A movement. A flicker of silhouette, a bit of face partially lit by the light coming through the open window. The stranger halted, facing the wall, and moved the shutter a little. If the hinges squealed, Wade couldn't hear it as far away as he was.

"Hey, you!" he called.

The stranger started and looked at him, taking a half-step in retreat. This brought the stranger completely into the light. Wade gestured, a come-hither motion.

"Who's there?" the stranger called.

Wade shifted, glancing down. Since nothing happened most nights, he'd chosen to appear in his blue pinstripe pajamas. Them, with his black skin, probably made him pretty nearly invisible in the darkness here. He sighed.

"I live here," he called back. "Well, sometimes. Come this way. I'll meet you just inside."

He turned, one foot slipping into the water. Wade didn't take any time to test whether his foot would sink in or not. It was irrelevant if it would; that his visitor could walk on the water was enough for him to know. It told him that the other was probably another visitor like he was.

Rain slammed down as he levered himself over the handrail. It soaked him in moments, but he ignored his wet clothes. He mounted the stairs and entered the Cathedral just far enough to get out of the rain. Thunder rumbled; a few moments later, lightning flashed.

He heard the sound of hard soles hitting the stones of the step just before the stranger entered. Wade watched the stranger enter, then shut the door and barred it before the wind could blow it open again.

"What is this place?" the stranger asked.

"I'm Wade," Wade said. "What's your name?"

"Valon," the stranger said, pushing a heap of wet blond hair out of his face.

"This is what's known as a Cathedral where I spend my waking hours," Wade said, indicating the room at large. He took a moment to shake himself, concentrating so that his clothes dropped all the rainwater at once. The water slapped the old wooden floor. "It's a kind of religious gathering place."

"You're not from here?" Valon asked.

"No," Wade said, turning. "Come with me. Hungry? I have some food."

"A little."

"I'm not from anywhere in this place," Wade went on. "I come here when I dream. Every single night, since I was a child. I imagine I came here when I was an infant as well. Here, for this place, this world, I am an Oracle. Where are you from?"

"Not here, either," Valon said. "How did you get dry?"

"A little bit of concentration. Try it, you'll dry out, too."

Valon's footsteps ceased for a moment, and Wade paused. It took Valon a while, but Wade eventually heard the slap of water hitting the floor again.

"What brought you here?" Wade asked.

"I don't know. This is the first time I've been to a place like this--or in a dream that feels this real. What's the name of this place?"

Wade glanced over his shoulder, then stopped to turn and take a closer look at Valon. The blond looked to be in his middle teens. He wore a simple tunic to mid-thigh and a pair of heavy hose that could have been wool, with a pair of ankle-high boots with hard heels.

"The name of this world is Mizariel," Wade said. "You are most likely another Oracle, Valon. Don't ask me how we come to be here when we sleep, or how we learn what we need to know for the people who ask questions of us. There is no way to know any of this."

"Why didn't you come across the water to me?" Valon asked.

Wade chuckled and continued walking, mounting the steps to the platform where the altar stood. He went to the altar and pulled his satchel close, digging into it.

"Because my mind is not as flexible as yours. I doubt that I can walk on water, and I don't want to test the theory that I can because I can't swim."

"But we can do anything in our dreams," Valon said, joining him.

Wade chuckled again, passing the youth a fruit. "Take the peel off that before you eat it," he said.

Valon accepted it. "What's it called?" he sniffed it then dug his thumb nail into the peel.

"It's an orange," Wade said. He watched Valon separate a length of peel from the orange and took it to put in his satchel; there were animals that liked such things. "And, usually, we can do anything in our dreams, but Mizariel is a world as real as our waking worlds, so I doubt my abilities."

"I just walked across the water from the shore," Valon said, gesturing with a bit of orange peel toward the door. "What am I supposed to do here?"

"Go someplace and hole up," Wade said. "I've always been here, but you may have to go to the woman herself for advice on where to go."

"The woman who?" Valon asked.

"Mizariel," Wade said. "I suspect you're probably to go to the other continent. The one on the other side of the world, I mean. I've heard things are nicer there than they are here. You don't want to stay here. Things are . . . unhappy."

Valon looked up at him. Wade took the last bit of peel from the youth's hand and put it in his satchel.

"Where is she?" Valon asked.

"In a cave on Northaff--the northern continent. If you concentrate, you'll go directly to her. Unfortunately, she's one of the few Landmarks you can use here, and none exist on the other continent--at least, none that I know of."

"Can I stay here for a while?" Valon asked, looking around.

Wade looked around as well. The storm's power had increased and now the wind almost continually howled around the building. Rain pounded on all the windows as the wind whipped it around, and frequent rolls of thunder joined the howling of the wind. Flashes of lightning, just as frequent as the rolls of thunder, lit the windows from the outside. He realized that he'd left the lower window open and went back to the pew where he'd been seated to close it.

"It's best to go where you need to be as soon as possible," Wade said as he returned to the altar. "How's the orange?"

"Unusual," Valon said between mouthfuls. "But good."

Wade smiled. "Well, when you're done that, I'll teach you how to go on to Mizariel so she can tell you where to go."

Valon looked around, biting into one of the last few sections of his orange. "What's this place called?"

"The Waterborne Cathedral," Wade said.

"Will I see you again?" Valon asked, looking at Wade again.

"Probably not," Wade said. "Once you get to your dream-home, you'll be tied there." He watched Valon eat and swallow the last orange section. "Ready to go on?"

Valon looked around again, frowning, then sighed, meeting Wade's gaze. "Not especially," he said. "But I don't have much choice, do I?"

"Not really," Wade said. "Now, close your eyes."

Valon did so.

"Okay, stretch yourself out until you feel a point of great power."

Valon inhaled a deep breath. He remained silent for several minutes.

"I feel it," he said. "Somwhere northwest of here."

"That's Mizariel. Focus on her like you did when you dried yourself off."

The youth didn't speak. Wade watched, nodding a little when he saw the power increase around Valon. A subtle glow surrounded the youth for a few minutes, then Valon faded, leaving only a silhouette of light in his shape before that, too, faded.

Wade sighed and dug into his satchel again, this time for an apple. He set it down, pulled himself to sit on the altar, retrieved the apple, and bit into the fruit.

Ready To Write

I'm feeling ready to write today. Don't know if I actually will, however.

I still haven't decided exactly what I want to do with Zaashen's next scene. I'm considering bringing in a foreigner or two to assist him with teaching the people how to defend themselves. At the same time, I'm wondering if there's a way for me to bring in some other Meeyaharans from a different Oasis to do the same thing. The main problem with the second option is that the priests once had the duty of teaching the people these things and there aren't any other priests left in Meeyahar. Well, none that have any training in any of the duties they're supposed to have, anyway. If I go with the foreigners, I have to fiture out exactly where they're from (as the backstory for them will fit pretty much anyone who shows up) and who they are.

Then there's Likii. I need to start bringing in her/his want-to-be mentor. Confusions galore there, at least until her/his want-to-be mentor announces a preference for being known as female. She's not going to be very happy with Likii's unwillingness to cooperate. I still haven't figured out how Yasaroon will know that Likii needs training. Perhaps Likii's want-to-be mentor will complain to Yasaroon? But why, when the other mages avoid Yasaroon because of her/his unwillingness to join them in the mage plane? Maybe she/he is a bit Touched by Keena-Valaacha, though not a priest? I don't know. All I know is that Likii needs proper mage training and she/he can't get it from any of the other mages who'd take an interest because it would take her/him away from the people and she/he wants as little to do with the mage plane as possible.

Reading over this, I just got it. Yasaroon will arrive with the foreigners, who are priests or shamans of Deity. That will solve a couple problems quite nicely. Unfortunately, I still need more scenes for Zaashen, and I still need to figure out where the foreigners come from. Much as I want to write, I just have no idea if I will today. whee

03 May 2010

Basic Instructions For Using Langmaker Software

To create your language: *SAVE the spreadsheet after each step or three. The program will tell you that it wasn't able to save, so check to make sure it did, because it will regardless of what it says. It's always been that way.

1. Click the uppermost, leftmost box on the spreadsheet and format your font. Arial size 12 is a good size; using serifed fonts like Courier New takes up more room, so try to avoid them, especially since going smaller on the font's size makes the words more difficult to read.

2. Resize five or six columns; remeasuring for twice the original width is a good ballpark for four-syllable words in the above suggested font and size. Any wider than this, and you may not have all your columns on the page if you print out the words, which is a good idea; that way you won't have to open the Lexicon file every time you need a new word.

3. Select the first column by clicking on the header.

4. Select LEXICON, then select GENERATE.

5. Using letters of the alphabet, enter the patterns you wish to use. (I generally start with C and V--Consonant and Vowel, respectively and choose different letters for different consonant or vowel makeups).

TAKE CARE and USE CAPS in the PATTERNS box. If you use lowercase letters, you won't get words; you'll get only the patterns you entered into the pattern box (took me five minutes to figure this out). It's a good idea to work out your patterns on paper before you enter them into the patterns box. It's another good idea to copy-paste your PATTERNS to each pattern box for each column you're using.


An example. For Meeyaharan, I have three entries: C, V, and W. Consonant, Vowel 1, and Vowel 2 repspectively. These include the sounds b, ch, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, sh, t, th, v, w, y, z, zh in the Consonants section; the letters a, e, i, o in the Vowel 1 section; and my made-up letters aa, ee, ii, oo in the Vowels 2 section.

6. Enter the number of words you want generated in the column. I generally choose anywhere from 500 to 1,000.

7. Check the EXCLUDE DUPLICATES box. This means when you generate the column the words appear in will NOT have duplicates. Duplicates from column-to-column is another matter, however . . .

8. Click SAVE before exiting each Generate box; the box will then automatically close.

9. Once you have prepared your 5 or 6 columns' Lexicons, reopen each, and click the GENERATE button next to the SAVE button. This will generate whatever number of words you've chosen to have generated in that column. The box will automatically close again.

10. It's a good idea to ALPHABETIZE your columns. There is a little button above the spreadsheet that will do this. SAVE after each generation.

11. Once you have the number of words you want generated, print out the lexicon for ease of access.

Today . . .

I've made no writing progress. Not even pinning down ideas. sigh

On the other hand, I've been afflicted with a desire to head up to the nearest office store to purchase things I may not need right away. I've done a budget and I don't have the money for that and some of the other things I want this month, though, so I need to think about it. On the other hand, I do tend to eventually use whatever I buy, so it'll come in handy someday. Sun's still high enough. If I leave now I should be able to get home before dark or just near. whee

I found some old software that I had years ago for making languages and I've used it for making a list of words in case I need them for naming concepts we don't have and other Meeyaharan characters. I'll put the link to it in the sidebar later.

Epiphanies

Ever since that little character chat, I've been getting teensy epiphanies. I already knew that Likii had already memorized all the Holy Laws Governing Marriage, and that led me to the fact that she/he, at eight (almost nine), is going to be the one officiating marriages. She/he is also a mage, and that chat cued me in to the fact that she/he is going to have to be the one to raise the dewllings and other structures for new settlements. I've just realized that this also means that she/he will be the one raising the walls that are supposed to surround Oases as well.

Now I just need to think of some more things for Zaashen to do. Hm, methinks it's time to bring in that foreigner from overseas. And, what luck, I already have her backstory planned. All I need to do is figure out what the hell her name is. Something derivative of Imotinan, for certain, as she's Sakmar, and they're a breakaway nation. Hrm.

02 May 2010

Character Chat: Likii

This is a character chat I did for Zette's Gym on Forward Motion (FM). I thought it would be fun to post here:


I'm sitting at my desk watching Chat pass by when Likii walks in through my front door. And it's closed. She/he stops to look at me and shakes her/his head before stepping over to prop her/his rump on the arm of my sofa. She/he looks like she/he will in a few years in the MS I'm working on--brown hair loose around her/his shoulders, earrings, a multitude of fabric necklaces decorated with beads of various colors and shapes, a sleeveless sand-colored tunic that extends to her/his knees, a shesees (a voluminous garment worn to protect against sun and blown sand), barefoot, more lengths of fabric laces with beads wrapped around her/his wrists and ankles.

"So, when do I get a say?" she/he asks.

I glance at her/him. "Well, considering the way my Muses are acting, probably not for several more months."

"Ha ha. Very funny. Without being foolish, A." Likii folds her/his arms and tosses her/his head a little, flipping the ends of her/his loose hair back.

"I'm thinking after Zaashen leaves the Oasis," I say.

"You're not going to go into the beginning of my training with Yasaroon?" Likii asks.

"I'm not sure," I say. I watch a few more posts enter Chat.

"I'd like my point of view to be included sooner," she/he says.

I look at Likii. "I know, but you know how much it's going to drive readers nuts reading 'she/he'?"

Likii laughs. "So? I choose to honor Keena-Valaacha. If you don't let me be myself, I won't cooperate."

I mutter.

"What?" She/he asks, voice perky. "I didn't get that, A. Speak a little louder."

I chuckle against my will. "I was complaining about other characters getting to you before I trained you properly."

"Oh, you'd hate us all of we followed you like sheep, A., so don't try to tell me otherwise. So, how many years do I have to wait before I can rejoin Zaashen?"

I sigh. "A few," I say. "He'll be at the Oasis for a few years, then leave to work on the next settlement, and you'll have a lot of training. You really should stay with your Oasis."

"What for?" Likii asks. "The community's too small to require additional homes, and once Yasaroon's set the mage lights and I've added my power, they'll be good. Besides, if Zaashen's going to be trekking a new community to an oasis for settlement, he'll need me along to set that up. And a few of whose years? Yours or mine?"

"Yours," I say. "Four, I'd say, but I don't think you'll take the same path he does. You'll have a few things to do on your own."

Likii groans. "How am I supposed to help Zaashen if I can't be with him?"

I chuckle. "I'm considering sending you on that trek with the new community instead of him. I think it'll be good for you, teach you some things about responsiblity that you'll need to know. Why does Zaashen need that?"

"No reason, I suppose. So, are you going to have me reconcile with Zaashen now?" Likii asks. She/he stretches out her/his left arm and shifts the bracelet on its wrist around with her/his right hand; the cord the beads are on is the same color as the rest of her/his priestly garments. She/he looks at me, folding her/his arms again. "I'd like to, you know. I mean, where you are in the MS, I'm angrier than a sandstorm, but I do want to reconcile with him. I believe you should put in my point of view now, A., because I think I have something to say where you've left off." She/he snickers. "And I think what you've got going on right now is kind of boring, never mind Napiina's squeamishness about sex. And at his age," she/he snickers again, shaking her/his head.

I chuckle, remembering Napiina. "I'm trying to figure out how to go about the reconciliation. And I'll consider putting in your point of view now, too. That's all I can promise."

"Well, I know better than to beg," she/he says, rising. "I have a question."

"What?" I ask, watching her/him step over to the door.

She/he looks at it as though really paying attention to it for the first time since her/his arrival. "Will I be able to walk through doors like I did when I came in here after I've had my mage training?"

"Not unless you use the mage plane," I tell her/him.

Likii winces, looking at me. "I don't think I'll do that," she/he says. "I'm not looking forward to meeting my want-to-be mentor for the first time, and I'm not too sure about Yasaroon, even though she/he's kept away from the mage plane as much as possible."

I chuckle. "That's understandable. I have a question for you."

"Ask."

"Why did you choose to remain known as both when you don't want to be a mage in the first place? I mean, other mages who are also priests or shamans choose one gender to be referred to as."

She/he looks at me, smiling a little. "Like Zaashen told me, I'm the perfect bodily image of Keena-Valaacha. I want to honor Her/Him. That's my entire basis for accepting myself as I am, even to my future agreement to being trained by Yasaroon. Like I told Zaashen, I'm what Keena-Valaacha made me to be--with, of course, the additional bits I've acquired since infancy--but I'm essentially Keena-Valaacha's child, and I refuse to disrespect Her/Him by not claiming all that I am." She/he starts to step through the door, then halts and leans back to look at me. "Ah, A.?"

"Yes?" I ask, ignoring Likii; looking at her/him leaning through the door makes me queasy.

"Will Yasaroon be the one to teach me how to raise the structures for the new settlement?"

"Yes," I say.

"Oh, that's a relief," she/he says. "Nice speaking with you."

She/he leaves and I slump in my chair, putting consideration into her/his suggestion. Maybe I will put in a bit of Likii's pov now in the MS. I think I'm seeing what she/he has to say.

Resurrection

I'm playing with something in Ferodoxis right now. Totally different project than anything before and I want a place to babble so I won't annoy my friends in FM chat any more.

Currently working on something that's been "complete" as a short story for quite some time now. I've long thought that Baheen could be extended into a novel and I've been writing on it for four days in a row. I don't know what this means for my other writing, and progress is slow (for me, at least in my opinion), but I am making progress.

Thus far, the MC, Zaashen's lost his spouse of 11 (Ferodoxan) years, gained an Avatar, and is reawakening the faith of his people. I'm having a fair amount of fun with this and would be having more if it wasn't like pulling teeth.