Saturday, August 6, 2016

Weekend Writing Warriors August 7

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/


This is the last post before I take a blogging break and concentrate on finishing the first draft of The Ashes of Home. I ended the chapter with Randall, who comes across as a religious madman, talking about fire falling from the sky. His words hit Shayla hard when she realized he was describing the literal truth of something he’s seen, something she herself is intimately familiar with ... the systematic burning, thirty years ago, of the planet they are now standing on and trying to coax back to life. This snippet picks up the thread in the next chapter which leads on to new adventures, but I felt it was a tidy point to conclude this series of posts.

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Shayla leaned against the wall, taking in the sounds of the night. Shouts and coarse laughter drifted through the near wall, tinny and distant. Further afield wind rustled leaves, an unaccustomed sound from a lifetime ago.

Her thoughts whirled through her mind, muddy, fragmented. A survivor. From his speech he was obviously educated. What had the years alone on a global tomb done to him?

And how had he survived? She had watched the Cleansing broadcast from remote drones - propaganda to keep the peasants in line. The fleet of Swords systematically slagged large towns and cities, then bathed the remaining landscape in province-wide swathes of plasma, a gentle goodbye kiss after the fierce intensity of those first thrusts.


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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Weekend Writing Warriors July 31

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing a scene from my current WIP, The Ashes of Home, Shayla has tracked a mysterious madman, Randall, to a makeshift bar in a forestry work camp. The patrons have been plying him with drink, and he rewards them with an insane rant about fire falling from the sky. Shayla asked about the fire and Randall described an impossibly pure bight lilac.

Note - a Sword is a class of battleship, the largest in existence.

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Despite the warmth in the room, goosebumps raced up and down Shayla’s body. The table in front of her swam in and out of focus. She pushed herself upright, steadying herself against waves of vertigo, ignoring angry protests as she stumbled from table to table towards the door.

Outside, the night air restored a measure of balance. She gathered herself and, with an effort, walked around the corner to the shelter of a dark alley. There she doubled up and was violently sick.

There were no immigration records of this man because he hadn’t arrived and dropped off grid as Brin supposed. No, he had always been here.

Shayla and a few hundred others had escaped the Cleansing, taking flight while the Imperial navy closed in, but this man had lived through it. He had just described perfectly the flash from an exawatt plasma cannon, the signature weapon of Imperial Swords.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Weekend Writing Warriors July 24

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing a scene from my current WIP, The Ashes of Home, Shayla has tracked a mysterious madman, Randall, to a makeshift bar in a forestry work camp. The patrons have been plying him with drink, and he rewards them with an insane rant about fire falling from the sky. Skipping ahead a few paragraphs from last week’s snippet, the ‘audience’ has been goading Randall on with questions about his visions. Shayla pitches in with a question of her own...

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“What color is the fire?” Shayla called.

She ignored the puzzled stares nearby.

Sightless eyes turned towards her, then lifted to the ceiling. Randall raised his arms, hands outstretched like a priest before the altar of Unity. His voice was hushed. “It is the purest, cleanest, palest lilac. Too bright. Too bright. No mortal eyes should look upon that light.”


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Hmmm...what will Shayla make of his answer? See her reaction next week.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Weekend Writing Warriors July 17

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing a scene from my current WIP, The Ashes of Home, Shayla has tracked a mysterious madman, Randall, to a makeshift bar in a forestry work camp. The patrons have been plying him with drink, and he rewards them with an insane rant about fire falling from the sky. He’s so far described scenes of terrifying destruction. This snippet opens with Randall speaking.

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“It is Judgment Day. We harbored snakes in our midst and the punishment is swift and terrible.”

The rant sounded insane yet curiously convincing. It had the sounds of religious zeal yet Shayla puzzled. In her undercover assignments she’d studied the Book of Unity and many other holy works. She knew the Pillars of Duty inside out and could quote sermons wholesale from a dozen mainstream religions. This was nothing she recognized. Besides, the details were too precise. This man had seen something. And it had driven him mad.


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http://www.iansbott.com/the-critique-survival-guide

Just a reminder, The Critique Survival Guide is still available as a **free** e-book packed with tips for writers to get the best out of the (sometimes harsh and intimidating) process of being critiqued.

See the links in the side bar...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Writing progress

Just a quick writing update because this evening I passed the 75k mark drafting The Ashes of Home. That’s worth a celebratory glass of wine because it represents roughly 3/4 of the likely final novel.

Knocking out a first draft is a big task and can get overwhelming, and sometimes it’s hard to see how far you’ve come. When I’m in full-on writing mode I find it helps to set a word count target, and to graph the results week by week. This picture helps motivate me, giving me a kick up the pants when I’m struggling. It draws me back when I don’t feel like writing, even if it’s just to add a couple of hundred words. And when things are going well it reminds me to celebrate progress and milestones like this.

Back in February I picked up the smattering of rough scenes I’d written a few years ago, and set myself the goal of hitting 90k by the end of August. That works out at a little over 400 words a day. Not much by many writers’ standards, but with other commitments it’s a stretch for me to sustain day on day.

As you can see from the graph (blue = target, red = actual word count) I’ve been doing well, tracking just ahead of target. You can clearly see the slump when I hit a sticky patch last month. But with such a clear depiction of the slump (something it’s impossible to get just looking at a list of figures) I gritted my teeth and sorted out the root of the problem. There will be more slumps to come, especially as I try to bring all the story threads to a conclusion, but I hope to blast through them in the same way. Right now, words on the page is the name of the game. Kicking it into shape will come later, but you can’t edit an empty page.

Incidentally, the traffic light colors at the top of the page illustrate my fractal planner/pantser writing approach. Each column represents a separate Word document (I like to split the manuscript into manageable chunks) and the colors show state of readiness, with red for raw work in progress, and green for a section in good shape. You can see how I tend to leap ahead in the story and draft later scenes while I’m still polishing up earlier ones.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Weekend Writing Warriors July 10

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Shayla has tracked a mysterious madman, Randall, to a makeshift bar in a forestry work camp. The patrons have been plying him with drink, and he rewards them with an insane rant about fire falling from the sky.

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“The earth melts; it opens up before me.” Tears glistened on ruddy cheeks. “Buildings gone. Trees like torches. People are matchsticks in the wind.”

“Yeah, the wind,” someone near the back of the room called. He made a farting sound and collapsed, laughing.

“Fear the wind,” Randall bellowed. “It roars like a lion and sweeps all before it. It levels whole streets at a single breath, turns them to glass.”


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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

This is what happens when a husky decides summer has arrived


After the sunshine last week, Gypsy finally decided to start shedding her winter coat. Yes, that is a full carrier bag of fluff I combed out in a couple of ten-minute sittings, and there's more to come out yet!

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