Epilogue – Happy Independence day!

Happy Independence Day, everyone (in the USA, at least)! Here’s a preview of my novel/novella.

This scene is currently the epilogue to the story. Some brief notes:

Hodran: Raccoon-people
Horos: Fox-people
Madchildren: Psychic constructs with incredible psychic power
Copai: Slave race to the Horos. Not sure what they look like yet, but I’m leaning towards either humans, or cat-people.

I’m scheduling this on June 23rd, since I won’t be at home for this update. Enjoy anyway! 😛

Spires of steel and glass raked into the skies outside her window, jutting out over the horizon for as far as she could see. Lightning arced regularly from building to building, an eldritch storm in a jungle of steel. Sometimes she could notice a building shifting into a new position, to better send or receive the great bolts of energy. There was a palpable sense that the city itself was thinking, feeling with every burst of lightning. More importantly, however, was the sense that every last inch of it was dangerous. This was a city of conquerors, and it looked the part of a dangerous weapon.

At the same time, however, the city was a sensory assault. Bright, vibrant colors that inferior races may call ‘garish’ covered the city below. A neon green building here, a deep scarlet tapestry there. She liked that the most about this city – there was some new decadent delight for her senses everywhere she cast her eyes.

Lucia sipped from her wine, smiling as the arcs of lightning continued to strike outside her window. Divinity itself and nothing less.

She continued to watch the sight for a time before turning back to her room. It took up an entire floor of the building on its own. Gold was inlaid on the marble floor in a whorled pattern. Tapestries depicting various debaucheries adorned the walls, and a mosaic depicting the planet in a hand of steel was at the other end of the room.

A slight tingle ran down her spine, but she ignored it as she strode to her bed. It was long enough for two of her and wide enough for five, and the deep violet of royalty. The frame itself was gold. Real gold, appropriately.

How vain.

“I deserve far better.” She smirked. “So which is it? Am I speaking to a piece of you, or the whole?”

“Cryptic as ever, madchild.” She muttered, grabbing a bottle and an empty glass from her nightstand. She poured it a glass before immediately pouring the wine on the tile. It never hit the ground. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” She growled dryly.

Capric is dead.

“Good.” She growled, sipping her own drink again. “The fool wouldn’t know knowledge if the lady herself explained it. Why do you care?”

We don’t. We killed him.

She cocked an eyebrow at that. “Didn’t know you cared that much about incompetence.”

We don’t.

“Why are you wasting my time with this?” She said coldly. “I was having a delightful evening.”

Watching lightning storms, yes, how riveting.

Sarcastic bits of an elder gods’ consciousness. Now I’ve heard everything.

Not yet you haven’t. One of the Hodran managed to harm a piece of me.

She stopped drinking. “…Really.”

It turned the piece’s psychic power against it, and wielded it as its own strength. Such a thing should not have been possible.

“The Hodran have a god of their own. Perhaps he intervened? Rewrote the rules?”

…There was… a touch of him, yes. But the Lady or the Madgod would surely have intervened in such a case.

“I am not in the habit of understanding the motivations of our divines.” Lucia responded, her eyes glazing over again. “Perhaps there was something more precious to them. Last I checked, the lady’s stance amongst her peers was… less than perfect.” She shrugged and stood.

Whatever the case, we’re afraid this has become too complicated to delegate to lesser beings.

“Agreed.” The Horos smirked, rolling up her sleeves. “I shall go personally.”

She stopped, her smirk instantly gone. “Excuse me?”

The Hodran have found a way to come here. They will attack this city, soon.

She stood stock still for a moment, thinking.

You shall deal with them here. I shall handle Hodra.

“It’s the Horos’ mess, we’ll clean it up.”

The Madchild didn’t leave. She waited a few moments before her laughter rang through the cavernous room. “Very well, you may handle Hodra yourself if you’re bored.”

Boredom is an emotion for lesser beings.

“If you like.”

It was gone. Lucia clapped her hands twice and two Copai servants entered, their eyes wide and fearful.

“Fetch my coat. I have raccoons to skin.”

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Book Update

It’s been a while since I’ve provided you with an update on my book, so I thought I should give you all a quick update. I have an excel spreadsheet that marks how complete each scene is within the current draft. The scenes are marked as follows:

Unneccessary? : 2 (These scenes serve no real purpose and will probably end up either being cut from the final version or heavily revised)
Unmarked/Not begun: 7 (These scenes ARE planned out, but I haven’t started writing them yet)
Complete: 2 (These scenes are scenes I’m perfectly happy with at this point. They’re not necessarily the scene that will make it to the book, but they’re pretty close)
Complete, needs work: 4 (These scenes require some work before they’re ready, but still manage to go all the way through without TOO bad of a screw-up.)
Partially written: 7 (These scenes are not done yet and require not only completion but editing work to be done. These all have what needs to be done marked next to them, but are too varied to mention)

So roughly a third done, a third not yet begun and a third that needs work in this current draft.

One other announcement: I’m going on a trip with my family over the next week, during which I won’t be able to get much writing done for this blog. I’m planning on scheduling one of the two completed scenes above for Friday, and the Friday after I’ll be home to complete another short story for all y’all.

I’m mostly letting you know so I can be open with you guys. You’re all awesome, and I’m glad all 2 of you read this when it comes out.

*tilts hat* See y’all later.

Plotholes are a tool like any other

I’m currently at the climax of my (first) novel’s first rough draft. The word document gives me a count of roughly 9000 words at the moment, and I know most of those words are notes on how to rewrite scenes in rough draft #2. I know it would be more appropriate to wait until I’m done with the first rough draft to start reflecting on it, but I find myself doing it even when drafting up a completely different scene for a completely different project.

When I first started the rough draft, I wasn’t just excited that words were coming so easily to me, I was giddy. I’ll have this done by july, I told myself. Then I’d send it off to that editor friend, he’d look it over, it would come back and I’d have so much to work with that I’d make a masterpiece before I turned 25, make more money than I know what to do with, meet the beautiful woman of my dreams, have two kids with a white picket fence around my ridiculously sized mansion, discover eternal youth and become a god.

… Okay maybe not all of that. (which is okay – most of those things are overrated anyway).

Of course, the real world is not so silly or idyllic. The more I wrote, and the closer I came to July, the more I realized just how silly my ideal was. There were plot holes and inconsistencies not just within the scenes I was writing but the entire overarching story. In addition, writer’s block made things progress much more slowly than I had planned, as you may have noticed.

On the other hand, I did learn a very vaulable lesson about world-building: Filling plot-holes in your rough draft can give you some great details to work with.

As an example, one of the story elements currently in use is a Gate capable of interplanetary travel. The Gates were also used to deploy around the planet that the Horos were invading. One of the reasons the Gate works so well is because it links two bits of space together: once you open a gate, you can just walk through it like walking through a door (with about as much lag time).

Later in the story, the Horos suffer major damage to one of their facilities on the newly-invaded world, specifically their mech repair facilities. So they had to send them home to get repaired.

However, if a Gate allowed instantaneous travel, then why would this be a problem? It would be a simple matter to open a Gate whenever the mech was ready and bring it right back through, even if they couldn’t use the Gate at home to return it for whatever reason. I was stumped. The destruction of the repair site was supposed to be a serious blow but it didn’t seem to do anything worthwhile.

I asked some friends. They suggested that Gates have massive power drain, but I couldn’t reconcile this with the story in my head. It made no sense to me that the Horos would have any trouble conquering Hodra (a planet primarily consisting of tribal raccoons) would have any trouble whatsoever conquering a world if they could afford to have power drains massive enough to mention.

However, the conversations over this did give me some perspective on the problem: what I really needed was a reason that the Gate could not simply open on the Horos homeworld (tentatively named Astra) and wait for the mech to be sent over when not being used to deploy. Eventually I settled on a fairly simple explanation: the more distance a Gate tries to close, the slower it opens. This is because space-time is very hard to twist and bend to your will without ripping. Travelling through a gate was still instantaneous, so it was still a tremendous asset, but opening a gate to travel between planets could take hours, even days.

The most important thing I took away from that (aside from ‘take notes on why something is a plot hole so you can explain it to others properly’) was that if the book isn’t published yet, it isn’t a plothole yet. It’s just a tool to worldbuild with.

Also, when writers tell you that the first rough draft is going to be raw-sewage-in-your-soup awful, they’re not exaggerating.