As much as I’m enjoying Dragon Age: Origins, I’m starting to get frustrated by the dialogue. Sure, some of the conversations seem to violate some of “the rules” I learned about interactive dialogue, but that’s really not the issue I’m struggling with. What concerns me more is the lack of emotional context supplied for some of the dialogue options. I pick one response thinking I’m being funny or sensitive, and I get a completely opposite reaction from the other character. Read more
Tag Archive for Shattered Amulet
I’ve made no attempt to hide how much Dungeons & Dragons has influenced my writing, and Chronicles of Jord in particular. The world grew from a campaign setting I was developing, where Logan Shadowhand–the protagonist of Shattered Amulet–and his buddy Calivaan were the head of an NPC organization called the Dragon Hunters. Read more
I saw Man of Steel the week it opened. And thoroughly enjoyed it. John Byrne’s Superman will always be my Superman, but I can still accept Man of Steel as a valid interpretation of the character. The minor quibbles I did have were more with the storytelling than with the Snyder’s and Goyer’s vision of Superman. Read more
After my last post, friend and fellow writer Stuart Etter contacted me about becoming accountability buddies. Now we’re emailing each other every Sunday (or Monday morning) about our writing progress for the week. There’s something about knowing another writer (or editor) is waiting to hear how much writing you got done that really motivates you to turn off the video games and push through that writer’s block.
I’ve been sitting behind a pretty big writer’s block in Shattered Amulet. Chapter six begins with a return to Logan Shadowhand as the point-of-view (POV) character. When last we left him, he had unwisely provoked a fight with his guards and was anticipating the beatdown of his life. My outline for the chapter picks up the story somewhere in the middle of his recovery, but as I made several attempts to start writing, I struggled to find a good way of summarizing the resolution of Logan’s pummeling and how his fellow prisoner nursed him back to health in the time elapsed.
Part of my issue was coming up with a reason why the guards didn’t beat Logan to death. He was nothing special to them; his labor easily replaced. I considered ways his comrade-in-chains might intervene, but none of them felt right. Every logical path in my head led to the same conclusion: Logan should be dead. That wouldn’t make for a very good novel, however.
When I opened the file to do some writing on Thursday, all the abortive starts I had previously made were staring me in the face. Determined to move past this point–and not wanting to tell Stuart I hadn’t made any progress our first week–I followed my usual first steps in trying to overcome blocks. I reread the previous two chapters, all the while keeping the current scene percolating in the back of my mind.
As I neared the end of chapter five, I got an idea for how Logan’s fellow prisoner could intervene on his behalf that wouldn’t compromise my plans for that character. I went back to my outline to fix in my head the main plot points of the chapter. Then I rewrote the chapter outline with the new beginning, fleshing out points as I went. When I was done, I had a chapter that accomplished what I wanted and made sense within the context of the rest of the novel.
Now I just had to write it. I kept the paragraphs I had written previously so I could mine them as needed. Then I started writing, but I quickly ran into the same issue I had before with summary. I wanted the reader right there in the action, but using Logan’s point of view didn’t work. It didn’t take me long to see that I need a different POV character. And with the new outline of the chapter, Logan’s prisonmate was the obvious choice. The decision made, I was able to produce about 200 words in the couple hours I had left to write that morning. Writer’s block removed, and all it took was a different point of view.
I had a wonderful compliment paid to my writing last month. Scott, an editor from Black Gate contacted me concerning the launch of Black Gate Books that they announced at last year’s World Fantasy Con. He was looking to fill 3 of the 12 slots for novels they would publish in 2012, and wanted to know if I had anything I would like to submit.
Several different emotions ran through me as I pondered the question. The one submission I had sent to Black Gate had been rejected, though it had been a close call and the rejection contained praise for my writing. That was a couple years ago. The story eventually got published this past September in Pulp Empire’s Pirates & Swashbucklers anthology. I wondered if they remembered the story, or if the editor had been a fan of my Forgotten Realms work. The thought that my writing had made such an impact was a stroke to the ego.
However, the feelings that followed were not so affirming. I had nothing to submit. I had no finished manuscript. Shattered Amulet sat untouched for months; I hadn’t worked on it since the summer. I told myself–and the editor from Black Gate–that I could finish it in a couple months. And I could have. Deadlines do wonders. But I was kicking myself for having procrastinated. I told myself I should have had this story written long before now.
I started to examine my desire to write, and I had to admit it was almost non-existent. If nothing else, my neglect of this blog is ample evidence. I could come up with excuses: school, stress from recent personal upheavals; there will always be excuses, obstacles, though. If I want to write bad enough, I’ll find ways to overcome them. I have (and do) in other arenas.
The fact that I hadn’t made me question my love for Logan. Was I no longer interested in his story? I had other story ideas, both novel and short form, and they failed to fuel my desire any more than Logan did. I had to admit that non-academic writing just wasn’t a priority for me at the moment.
Scott was kind enough to suggest I send him a synopsis and the first three chapters of Shattered Amulet for him to look over. If they interested him, we’d go from there. I sent them, of course. Yet, as I waited to hear back, another aspect of my love for Logan surfaced. Black Gate Books was to be exclusively ebooks, with a word count range between 50-75k. Based on my outline, I envisioned Shattered Amulet to come in around 90-100k. I couldn’t imagine cutting out a quarter of Logan’s story.
And I wanted a print version. Not that I was against ebooks, but having grown up on paper, I wanted to be able to feel the weight of my first non-media tie-in novel in my hands, to flip its pages. As much as I wanted to see Logan in print (electronic and ink), I did not think he would be a good fit for what Black Gate wanted.
I heard back from Scott last week, and he didn’t think it would fit either. He enjoyed the storytelling, thought it would find a place in another market, and hoped I would continue work on it.
I hope I do, too.