Saturday, February 26, 2011


I had a bit of a shock when I was writing this week. I realized that I've gone a long way in introducing characters and situations but I've never really had any conflict amongst them. Despite the fact that it's clear some of them don't like each other they've all been pretty civil. In other stuff I've written I've worked hard to create tension and drama in the characters but for some reason it wasn't happening here. The problem is I couldn't suddenly make them go at each other just for the sake of it. i also had to remember that conflict does not necessarily mean violence. Took me a few days to finally come up with a reason and had to go back and do some work on a character to make it not such a stretch.
Never be afraid to hurt your characters. Don't be afraid to really piss them off, either.


The Pitch round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest ended on the 24th. I didn't get picked to move to the second round. I'm trying to not be a sore loser about it but I would like to know what some of the winning pitches were.
So I am back to square one. I sent one more email to the publisher I talked to at Icon. Not sure why they've been so quiet but if there is no response to this one I will take it that they are not interested and move on.
Despite all that I'm selling a copy a week on Amazon Kindle. That is really turning in to the biggest market.
I've contacted a couple of big conventions and have two that will put postcards in the goodies bag so I am sending 500 to Balticon and 1000 to Ad Astra.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I did okay this week. Got 11 pages done and was pretty pleased with them. I'm starting to suspect this might not actually make it to a full novel. Novella are usually 20,000 to 50,000 words and it's just not feeling like it'll be that long. I don't know, there could be something coming I don't expect which is always the fun part.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


This was a very productive week. Put down over 8000 words and it's the best week I've had this year. I think the thing that was slowing me down was, once they were introduced, I was trying to develop all of the characters on a regular basis and advance them evenly. That is a really bad idea cause it slowed everything down and made it mechanical. I was watching an episode of Jericho and noticed how they keep there main characters going and then move the supporting characters in and out when necessary. Once I broke away from that pattern things really started moving and it opened up.
Sometimes I get carried away and get so involved with exploring these characters I forget about the science fiction part of it. It's the same thing that happened with Starpoint where I'd have to go back and add some of the fantasy elements. It seems so odd because of the way I used to think about writing it was action first and characters second. Now it's the other way around.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I had a really shocking surprise this week. I have a beat up copy of the Secrets of Starpoint Mountain in my desk at work. Some nights I'll just grab it and open it at random and read a few scenes. I did it on Wednesday night and read the first scene where Gallif talks about her history. She talks about how she was hurt when her parents and sister were killed in a fire and she never really got to say goodbye to them. Then she talks about how her brother was killed in a riot and she never got to say goodbye to him, either.


I completely forgot about her. I don't even remember why I had the reference in her. I'd written three novels and short stories and dozens of flashback scenes since and there was no hint of a sister. I made a note and changed it on the master version so it was fixed and no one who has ever read the books has mentioned it so it wasn't a big disaster.
The sad thing is that wasn't the first on. Much later in the book, when Gallif and her party is leaving Primor to head to the ice fields I added another giant character to go with them. I wrote the next two chapters and when I went back just out of curiosity I realized the character never shows up again. Seriously! The character appears and makes this really big entrance and then just vanishes. I was lucky in that I just had to rewrite one scene at the end of the chapter.
The only other instance of introducing characters that don't make it top the final print happened in the second book but it was a completely different reason. In the book they are headed to the Dragon Burial Grounds and, in the prologue, I introduced two characters who were already there. The plan was to have her meet them inside and they would guide them through some of the danger spots to help them find the library. What happened was that, by the time I go there, I had already introduced one character and knew they were going to meet another inside. These characters were both very fun and exciting and the two characters that I had planted weren't really necessary anymore. I also realized it would be much more interesting if the party had no guidance from someone who'd been in there and had to learn from scratch. In the long run it really turned out better.
It's wild and one of the magical things about writing. Lots of times characters will take on a life of their own and do things I don't expect them too. I love it when that happens and that's the time I really feel confident about the writing. So far in the second draft of the third book there haven't been any surprises like that but I keep hoping for one.


Didn't spend as much time on it this week as I usually do. Got something done every day but I worked hard on the rewrite of the third Starpoint Mountain book. Still managed to get about 2400 words out this week and Doctor Dietrich finally made his appearance.