Writer. Editor. Leximaven. Game Designer. Vorpal Blonde. Bisexual Brainlicker. Midas's Touch. Schrödinger's Brat.

Twas Brillig

Day 23: The Poison Eater

posted on: January 23, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

The Poison Eater Cover-2015-08-05

Just put the nail in the lid of the draft of the first two chapters (yes, two!) of The Poison Eater for Kickstarter​ backers. I’m very very happy with them (even though I know that a lot will change by the time I finish the book and go back to do a rewrite).

Also, I apologize in advance for breaking your Ninth World heart.

~iadace~

Shanna

 

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 21 The Poison Eater: Write and Rewrite

posted on: January 21, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

JAM_9583ac48-f8c7-409f-9dd9-4afcbd176282

I have started this blog post three times. Four, now, by the time you read this.

I had what I thought was an awesome idea for a blog post, which was to write today’s section of the novel in Word (I usually write in Scrivener) with the Track Changes on, so that I could take a screen shot of it and you could see all of the changes that I made as I worked on a single section. Because I don’t have an internal editor, but I do have an internal voice. And I’m always adjusting the words to get the voice right. One line leads to the next and the next, and there’s a delicate balance. Writing a book is, for me, like building a house. If every brick in the foundation isn’t right then it will fall in the end. (Of course, I’ve written enough books to know that I never get every brick right and it will fall at the end, and I will have to rebuild it, but the closer I get to being right, the less rebuilding I have to do later).

Sadly, for whatever reason, the track changes wouldn’t take. So, here is a section without track changes. But let me tell you, if I was writing with pen and paper, this entire section would be so slashed through and rewritten and torn apart that you couldn’t read it. Thanks be to the god of the delete key.

There was very little in the room other than herself. A bed. A small table topped with a hexed arm band and a broken blue-black blade. A cobalt cloak upon a hook. Two doors, one to the street and one to the clave. And Khee, curled about himself and snoring lightly on a blanket in the corner, the creature’s weirdly angled legs and long neck forming an impossible circle.     

Talia picked the hexed metal armband up and pulled it over the space where her hand used to be. It glowed blue as it settled around the skin of her upper forearm. Emont’s handiwork. He’d wanted to recreate her a hand, but she’d refused. She had reasons for wanting to remember her loss. That negative space was as important to the entirety of her self as her face or the streaks of red hair that had grown from the scars on her scalp. 

She had not been able to turn Emont away from building this, though: As she reached for the cobalt cloak hanging on the wall, the hexes covering her forearm spread apart and reworked themselves into a semblance of her former hand. The transition was silent, and took a mere second—barely long enough for her to marvel, as she always did, at Emont’s skills—and then she was using both hands to pull the cloak over her head.

The cloak was not hers. It belonged to her station—those who had worn it before and those who would wear it after—but the metallic fabric settled and shaped itself around her as though it had been made for her. It had taken her weeks to figure out how to flow the fabric with a thought, but now it was second nature, a passing trifle in the small ritual of getting ready.

~iadace~

Shanna

 

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 15-17 The Poison Eater: On Choices (and the End of Choices)

posted on: January 17, 2016
in: Blog, The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

 

Day16-TPE

 

Some days, you have to choose between writing a blog post and writing another paragraph on your novel. Or between writing a blog post and working out. Or, on the really rough days, between writing a blog post and taking a shower. The past few days have been like that for me. Blog posts got scrapped for more novel writing, an hour-long walk with the dog along the nearby Cheasty Trail, a shower, and even a little Fallout. This is the trade-off you make, every day between now and the day you die. Every day, small decisions. Do I write? Do I spend time with loved ones? Do I take a nap? Every day, words that you give up in lieu of other things. There’s no right or wrong. There’s only today and choices. Tomorrow and choices. Until all of your choices are behind you. That’s how stories work too, I think. The character makes a choice every scene, and those choices inform the next scene, and on and on until someone (the writer, in this case) says, “Okay, you’re done. You’re out of choices. How do you feel about your life?”

In general, I don’t take much time off. It’s the danger of being driven, of hearing death’s pen coming for me, of owning and running a fairly small, fairly new business where people (both fans and employees) are counting on you, of thinking you can do it all. But on Friday, I checked everything off my to-do list for the day (a rare accomplishment), played some Numenera with the Monte Cook Games team, and then took the rest of the day off. I needed it. My creative sponge was wrung dry, and there was nothing else to get out of it.

I thought I’d jump back into the book on Saturday morning, raring to go. Let me tell you, that was not to be. I was like a school kid who’d gotten the taste of playing hooky in my mouth and who never wanted to go back. “Snow day!” I cried (even though it wasn’t snowing). “But I’m sick…” (even though I wasn’t). “I just don’t feel like it.” (that one, at least, was true). Most of the time, tight deadlines don’t allow me to listen to that whining little voice. I have to wrestle it into submission, lock it in a cage, and refuse to let it out until I’ve done the work. But sometimes I just let it run wild and I listen to it, deadlines be damned (yes, yes, I know that the odds are very good that past Shanna has just screwed over future Shanna in a very big way, but she’s done it before and I know she will give me cookies and I will forgive her).

So I decided to read instead. I am very careful about what I read when I’m writing a novel. I unconsciously steal other author’s voices the way that some people unconsciously mimic other people’s accents. Short stories are okay. Non-fiction. Graphic novels. So I read The Art of Language Invention. I read about the deadliest rocks on the planet. I read a paragraph or two out of every book on the coffee table (it probably doesn’t surprise you to know that’s a lot of books, and if I didn’t love coffee so much, I would call it a book table instead).

And when I had read enough that someone else’s words had filled me to the brim, I put down the books and started writing again. Because the writer that is Death gave me the choice, and who knows how many more I will get before he decides my story is at its end.

~iadace~

Shanna

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 14: The Poison Eater

posted on: January 14, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel
Photo on 1-14-16 at 4.28 PM

Butt-in-chair face.

I locked myself in the coffee shop today for four hours and wrote a lot of words. I currently have 24,000 words. Probably half of those will be changed, cut, or expanded upon before I’m done with the first draft. I currently anticipate that the novel will be about 80,000 words.

Here are a few of those words, in very particular order:

Poison never lies.

But Tali does. Every time she takes the poison, she lies. False words are the only weapons she has left, and she wields them with precision, but not with pride. She tells the ormess that she sees danger in the woods, creatures in the clouds, something coming, something dark. Not too specific. Just enough menace. For those who are looking, those who believe, there is always a danger to be found outside Enthait’s walls.    

She would lie this time too. She had to.

In the small room that she’d come, over time, to think of as hers, Tali marked another circle on the wall with a small spray pen. Five silver circles. Five moons. Five poisonings. Five lies.

~iadace~

Shanna

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 13: The Poison Eater

posted on: January 13, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

33c4eb9056e2d86b861ac60175b73f03

Cutting Losses

I cut the first two chapters of my novel today. The entire first two chapters. Every word. Just ripped them out whole-cloth after waking up at 5 this morning with an epiphany that I had started the book too early in the story.

Ten years ago, doing that to a book would have caused me grief and panic. Oh, my god. I would have died. Just given up. Or, I wouldn’t have cut it because I would have been scared.

But now I trust myself and my process. Now I know what it feels like when you do the right thing for a book. This morning, dumping all of those 8,000+ words felt freeing. It felt perfect.

It does make me panic about my upcoming deadline — 8,000+ words, just gone! — but I know in my heart that book is already better for it and that’s all that matters in the end.

~iadace~
Shanna

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 12: The Poison Eater

posted on: January 12, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

il_570xN.720805723_djbi

What I’m buying myself when this novel is done. ↑

Some days there is nothing as hard as putting one word on the page in front of the other. Those are the days that you need to promise yourself something pretty at the end of the trip. Today, I promised myself this skirt. I won’t get it today. Or tomorrow. Not this month. Or next. But I will get it. And every time I wear it, I will think of how I persevered.

One word in front of the other. As many times as you can.

~iadace~

Shanna

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 11: The Poison Eater

posted on: January 11, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

Day11-TPE

The Things Writers Carry

There are very few things that I NEED in order to write. A pen. A piece of paper. My brain. That’s pretty much all that I have to have in order to write.

But there are many, many things that I WANT in order to write. These are things that make the writing experience smoother, better, easier, or sometimes just more comfortable. Many of these are tangible things–of course, there are lots of intangibles, like software and apps, that I will write about some other time. Today I want to focus on the tangible things.

As I gathered myself together to sit down and write today, I had at my side:

  • My Macbook Air. (I alternate between that and my iPad/Keyboard, depending on what I’m doing)
  • My lined Moleskin Alice in Wonderland notebook (I prefer dots over lines or blank pages, but this cover was too good to pass up)
  • One of my many, many Papermate InkJoy pens (writes great, super cheap).
  • A blanket. (I’m often cold and insecure when I’m writing, and a blanket solves both problems at once)
  • Hot tea (Today’s was Apple Crumble from T2. And then it was a homemade mocha).
  • The kind of mug that makes me happy to look at and drink from (This one is from Society 6)
  • A dog at my feet (Dog is lab-something mix rescued from the local animal shelter; they’re sold out of her, but you can probably find a different one in your size)
  • Rain against the window (Seattle-style)

Here are some things that I no longer need (or want) to have in order to write:

  • Cigarettes. Yes, I used to smoke, in my former life. And there was a time that I had myself convinced that I couldn’t write unless I was smoking.
  • Soda. See above.
  • Stress and sadness. See above.

Building a character is so often about focusing in on the things that the character holds dear. The things they carry. Covet. Care for. Now I’ve told you the story of the character that is me the writer. What I cherish. What I’ve left beyond.

For Talia in The Poison Eater, she covets and loves the things she’s lost more than the things she has still: Her arm. Her innocence. Her lover. Her blue-black blade.

Part of Talia’s journey–part of all of our journeys–will be discovering what new things she carries now and learning what they mean to her.

~iadace~

Shanna

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 10: The Poison Eater

posted on: January 10, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

Got up. Coffee. Some words. Some people I like.

Panel: Beginning GMing: Tips and Tricks

Lunch. More coffee. More people I like.

Panel: Queer as a 3-Sided Die

More people I like. Drive home.

Some more (very few) words.

Dinner. No more coffee. Sleep.

Today’s word tally while at OrcaCon: 394.

Tomorrow’s word tally goal: Exactly 10x that.

~iadace~

Shanna

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 9: The Poison Eater

posted on: January 9, 2016
in: Blog, The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel

Day9-TPE

Writing in Small Spaces.

By writing in small spaces, I don’t mean like in a closet or inside a dryer (although I’ve known more than a few writers who sneak off to the bathroom to write, since it’s the one place in the house that they know they won’t be disturbed). I mean in small spaces of time.

I like to write in big chunks. Ideally, a week. I’m kind of kidding, but also not really. My ideal way to work on something is to have a long stretch of time where nothing else is required of my brain. I can do nothing but think about the story. The most productive I’ve ever been was when I lived on a tiny, rural island in Scotland. I only knew a few people. I didn’t have a job. Internet was sporadic. I walked and ate and read and wrote A TON.

But the truth is that space rarely happens. Thankfully, I do have a life where I can often grab two or more hours of solid writing at a time. Not always though. This weekend, I’m a guest at a lovely convention called OrcaCon. I’m doing panels on sex, gender, GMing, spending time with people I adore, and doing some other fun and interesting stuff.

I’m also trying to write this novel. Which means small spaces of time. I’m at a coffee shop now, and have just finished writing for the 15 minutes it took me to fuel up on caffeine and sugar (and to recharge my introvert battery). I managed to get some solid words down, to rework a small section that’s been bugging me, and to jot down the ideas that I had on the drive to the convention this morning. It’s taken me another 3 or 4 minutes to shoot a photo and write this blog post (which probably means there are typos, so I’ll apologize in advance).

Now I’m going back to the convention, feeling like I’ve accomplished something. I’ll probably try to get another 15 minutes in later in the day as well. One of the things I’ve learned is that successful writers are often the ones who find time for what they love. I once had someone tell me, “Everything you want to achieve requires some kind of pain. Choose your pain wisely.”

So here is my pain I choose: that sometimes I don’t have my ideal of long spans of time to write, but I find a way to make the time. Even if it’s just 15 minutes. Small spaces make big things.

~iadace~

Shanna

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Day 8: The Poison Eater

posted on: January 8, 2016
in: The Poison Eater: A Numenera Novel
Photo on 1-8-16 at 11.38 PM

How my novel sees me.

Late-night writing to this video tonight. This is the theme song for one of the saddest part of the novel. It helps get me in the emotional space that I need to break your heart. You’re welcome.

 

~~

Follow along! If you’re interested in learning how this novel (or, really, any novel) comes together, feel free to subscribe to this blog. Over on the right in the sidebar, you can subscribe to JUST posts that pertain to The Poison Eater, so you don’t get all the other stuff. Or just click The Poison Eater category to get a list of all the previous posts.

Page 3 of 11«12345»10...Last »