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Posts Tagged ‘wilders’

Twenty years and still going strong

Twenty years ago today, I finished my first novel.

I often say — because it’s true — that of the basic foundational skills one needs to be a writer, the last one I acquired was the ability to finish what I started. I was writing competent (if not brilliant) prose, characters, and plots before that point, but none of them meant much because unless you’re a celebrity or otherwise have some kind of “in” with the publishing industry, nobody’s likely to buy an unfinished project from an untested writer. Nor should they: I was living proof that being able to get a good start doesn’t mean you can stick the landing.

Why did that change? I more or less tripped and fell into it. I’d written assorted scenes for the novel that joined up into something like a coherent whole, but a guy in our crit group (the one who is now my husband) pointed out that there were problems with the pacing and so forth. He was right, but for a deeper reason: I looked at what I had and realized it wasn’t the beginning of the book. You see, in those days I tended to leap around writing whatever bits sounded exciting, and unsurprisingly, those were mostly from the middle.

So I made a list of stuff that needed to be set up first — worldbuilding to explain, character stuff to establish — and worked out a path through it all that would let me work that stuff into the story. I spent the first half of the summer writing my way down that list, until I finally was ready to stitch it onto the part I already had . . . and realized I had half a novel.

At which point there seemed no reason not to keep going.

Much of what I wrote for the beginning was ultimately cut. I’ve said before that Lies and Prophecy owes a debt to Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin; the connection is much less visible these days, as I wound up revising out a lot of the material that followed the characters through their lives at college in favor of getting to the central plot more rapidly. But it was still an extremely useful thing to do, because it turns out that for me, the “leap around writing the fun bits” approach is a really bad idea. It leads to me writing stuff that isn’t grounded in what came before, and when the time comes to splice things together, the splicing material is very utilitarian, designed to get the story from Point G to Point J as fast as possible. These days I will occasionally skip ahead to write a scene out of order, and of course the structure of Turning Darkness Into Light meant that one threw much of my usual process directly out the window . . . but I still mostly write in order. I have to, if I want good results.

Like the result of finishing what I’d started. Twenty years ago today, for the first time, I had a complete novel: a long story that went from beginning to end with no holes in it. I didn’t publish it until thirteen years and multiple revisions later, but it’s still a watershed in my career. I have a career because of that moment.

(And for those who have been wondering . . . yes, there will be a third book in that series. Various factors have prevented me from writing it yet, but I haven’t forgotten, and by god, I will finish it eventually.)

Soundtracks on Spotify!

Last weekend @hannah_scarbs asked on Twitter whether I had the soundtracks to my novels on Spotify. To which the answer was no — but now it’s yes, because that made me realize that putting them up there is an eminently sensible idea. Of course not everything is available on that service (in particular, all of the Battlestar Galactica scores are absent, and I’ve drawn heavily on those over the years), but the vast majority were there! So if you want to know what my soundtracks sound like, now you can give ’em a listen. And if you want to know what each track maps to, I’ve also linked to that information for each book.

LIES AND PROPHECY and CHAINS AND MEMORY now in print!

It’s been a bit of a stealth launch up ’til now, but: I am pleased to announce that you can buy both Lies and Prophecy and its sequel Chains and Memory in trade paperback, from the following retailers:

I owe this state of affairs to the hard work of Leah Cutter, without whom I would not have had the first clue how to go about creating a print edition, much less done this good a job with it. I highly recommend her to anyone in need of a POD formatter; she does fantastic work. She also runs workshops, if you want to learn how to do it yourself.

Limited time sale for LIES AND PROPHECY!

From now until next Tuesday(1), Lies and Prophecy is on sale! Normally the illustrated edition is $4.99 and the text-only edition is $3.99, but each is a dollar off for the time being, making that $3.99 for the illustrated and $2.99 for the plain. Choose your retailer here!

I’m also pleased to link to a pair of pieces about Chains and Memory. The first is a piece I wrote for Special Needs in Strange Worlds, on characters with PTSD. I could have talked for a lot longer there — one of the things I didn’t even try to touch on is the fact that Kim has also developed PTSD by the second book of the series — but the focus of that post is how I managed to give Julian PTSD without noticing, and what I did with the story and the worldbuilding once I figured it out. The second post is over at Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, discussing the cultural differences between Kim and Julian, and how the two of them work to bridge that gap. Her blog series is called “My Favorite Bit,” and given my anthropology background, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that my own favorite bit is the mismatch between the two characters’ assumptions, the things they do because of those assumptions, and most especially, the light-bulb moment where they realize what’s been going on. (For those who have already read the novel, I’m referring specifically to the scene after Julian gets his nose bloodied at practice.)

Finally, I’ve gotten out of the habit of linking to reviews here, but I have to say I love this quote from Marissa Lingen’s review: “There are action scenes. There is not fencing, but there is fighting, torture, revenge, and true love. Of more than one sort. There is not actually a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, though. I suppose one canโ€™t have everything. At least not in a book of this length.” I am now sorely tempted to put an MLT into the third book, just because. ๐Ÿ˜›

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(1) Actually, from a couple of days ago until next Tuesday — but I forgot to post this in a timely fashion. Mea culpa.

Chains and Memory is on sale now!

Chains and Memory cover

At long last!

Chains and Memory is on sale today, at a variety of reputable outlets. This is the fruit of my very first Kickstarter, which was a resounding success; backers have had copies of this book for a little while, but now I can share it with you all. Go forth! Buy! Enjoy!

Seriously, I’m really excited about this. Remember, I ran the Kickstarter because I’d been wanting to write this book for a solid decade and more; to see it out in the world is incredibly satisfying.

And for those who are wondering . . . no, this is not the end of the story. There will be one more volume. When that happens will depend on the schedule of my contracted work in the immediate future, but stay tuned.

Illumination, on this Blackest of Fridays

The illustrated Lies and Prophecy is now on sale!

“What’s that?” I hear you say. “Illustrated? When did that happen?”

Well, today. (Obviously.) But, to back up a little, it happened during the Kickstarter for Chains and Memory — one of my stretch goals was illustrations for Lies and Prophecy. The Memoirs of Lady Trent have spoiled me, you see; now I feel like all my books ought to have pictures. ๐Ÿ˜› Ergo, the first book of the Wilders series now has six images, drawn by the talented Avery Liell-Kok. Here’s one, to whet your appetite:

Athame

You can get this edition now, from a whole swath of retailers: Book View Cafe, Kobo, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, and Amazon UK. (Also other Amazon outlets, but if I list every country individually we’ll be here all day.) Barnes and Noble will be up and running in short order.

And for those who have been wondering, Chains and Memory will be out on January 5th. You can preorder that one from many outlets right now!

BVC Year-End Sale

I’ve been remiss in advertising this, largely because I’ve had my head buried in the first draft of the next Memoir. (Current word count: 33,191, and Isabella’s brother is endearing himself to me for being the kind of guy who will say things other characters won’t.) BUT! Time has not yet run out, for me or for you!

Book View Cafe is having an ENORMOUS sale right now, continuing through January 1st. I will not attempt to list all the participating titles, because omgwtfbbq there are a lot of them — but Lies and Prophecy is one of them. Since one of the other things eating my head right now is revisions on Chains and Memory, this is a dandy time to pick up the first book, if you haven’t already. Or, y’know, one of the other splendid offerings. Or all of the above! (Now I’m wondering if any crazy person has actually bought every single sale title, just for the heck of it.)

You have a few days left to take advantage of this, though not as many as you might have had my brain not been snack food for my current obligations. Should still be enough time, though. Go forth and enjoy!

Number sixteen

It’s a short draft, and I already know what needs to be added in, both to fill it out to a better length and to mend a kind of gaping lack in the story. But that is what revision is for.

Right now, at 84,223 words, Chains and Memory is finished.

Back on the horse

Got started again on Chains and Memory last night. I wasn’t sure I’d recovered enough brain yet (between jet lag and the anaesthesia, I’ve been half-zombified for days; I spent most of Saturday alternating half-hour naps with an hour or so of wakefulness), but I decided to put my butt in the chair and see what happened. What happened was 1K of words, so I got to pat myself on the back for that and declare that I am officially Back to Work.

Of course, one day of writing does not actually Back to Work make. It’s a nice start, though, and it was actually rather pleasant to feel like I’m starting to recover. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another 1K to crank out . . .

the real work begins

The hard part isn’t running a Kickstarter campaign. The hard part is dealing with all the work after your campaign succeeds. ๐Ÿ˜›

Good news is, I’m being organized. I’ve made a spreadsheet for all the backers, noting which items go to whom, so that (hopefully) it will be easy to track what’s been taken care of and what still needs doing. It would be easier if I could take care of everything in one go, but of course that won’t work; a lot of rewards involve Chains and Memory in either print or ebook format, and I can’t send that out until after I, y’know, write the book. (And revise it and copy-edit it and proof it and so on.)

But the ball will get rolling pretty soon. I’m just waiting on a half-dozen remaining surveys, at which point I can start sending out the rewards that are ready to go. After those, I’ll deal with the stuff that involves actual production (t-shirts, miniscript photocopies, etc) and/or coordination with the backers (tarot readings, tuckerizations). And then so on from there. This is going to be an item on my to-do list for a while, I can tell.

Such, my friends, are the laments of success. ๐Ÿ™‚