LTUE rocks when you actually make plans and go and stuff

on Monday, February 21, 2011
I'll admit, I never did LTUE (Life, The Universe, and Everything Convention on BYU Campus; basically a writer's con focusing on scifi/fantasy) very seriously, probably because it came off as a "little BYU" thing.
However! This year I made an effort to plan and go to panels (probably because this was the first year I had to pay ) and I actually had a much better time. Imagine that!
I went to several panels, and am in the process of downloading video/audio for ones I missed. I'm trying to think of something profound to say about LTUE or that I learned, but I paused writing Effulgent Corruption to write this, and I can't get it out of my brain.
Oh yeah, Effulgent Corruption, aka book 6 aka the monstrosity that is enormous. Yeah, that's going well. It'll probably cross over to 80k tonight, and I got a basic idea of where Part 2 is going (finally) so I can finish that and move to Part 3.
Still going to be obnoxiously long, but it can't be helped.
Anyway, LTUE is great, I Don't Want to Kill You is a great book, that's it.
I also have something like 5-6 blog posts stuck in the "still editing" stage, including one on ebooks, one on video games and how their stories all suck and it is your fault, several book reviews, and more.
Hopefully they'll show up someday. Don't cry too much if it takes a while.
Anyway, here's a bit of EC so you don't go insane and stop following my blog.
(this is during a meeting of the Kian, and they are reading the will of...well, you'll see)

            “There is one more thing. ‘To my adopted daughter, and future blood relation Ciara, I give her this enclosed box,’” Gredan lifted the small container in the air with his left hand, “’and included key. This is hers and hers alone, with instruction to not be opened under any condition until after she is officially wed to my son, Thomas Divinious II. Signed, High Kian Marcus Divinious.’”
            Gredan set down the paper and carried the box to Ciara, pressing it gently into her gloved hand. He also produced from his uniform pocket a small golden key, and handed that over as well before stepping back.

Effulgent Corruption - Crossing to 70k

on Monday, February 14, 2011
I'm crossing the 70k mark. That makes this book longer than Paradise Seekers already.
Just thought you'd like to know.
And I'm actually going to plan part 2 in a vain attempt to keep it a reasonable length. Yeah, it probably won't happen, but who knows.
Also my heroine and fiance went to a dinner party! Exciting times are being had by all, certainly.

He took a long drink then spoke in a hushed tone, like a child relating a ghost story. “Have you heard of the Yawning Maw?”
            “Heard of it?” Thomas snorted. “Surely you jest! The source of the Gangrene? The Heart of its creation? The tomb of the Dead Six?”
            “I forgot,” Edmund groaned as he took another drink of his wine. “I’m speaking with Thomas Divinious II, the boy obsessed with Gangrene.”
            “Not obsessed,” Thomas protested. “Just-“
            “Yes, he’s obsessed.” Ciara butted in, wrapping her arm around Thomas and giving him a coy smile. “But what of the Maw? All I hear about it is either nightmarish stories or how incredible the place is from Thomas.”
            “Well,” Edmund rose his eyebrows at Thomas, clearly relishing the reveal. “I’ll have you know that somebody’s father took him there but two days ago to pick out some new Marked.”
            “What?” Thomas coughed into his drink, nearly spilling. “You’ve been to the Maw? Across Herasha desert? The prison of the damned?”
            “As you say,” Edmund took another drink, the pause long and dramatic.

Pour one out for Brian Jacques

on Thursday, February 10, 2011
Brian Jacques, author of the fantastic Redwall series, died last weekend at age 71.
This is especially relevant to me as the Redwall books where really the books I read the most growing up, and probably the ones that helped push me to writing more than any other in particular.
For example, the first web site I ever worked on was a Geocities site my brother and I made that was a Redwall fan site. Mostly it was used to write fan-fiction set in the Redwall universe (currently the only use of fan-fiction I can condone), but lots of writing happened and it was loads of fun. I think we got to fifth on the top Redwall fansites at one point, even though our site really wasn't that awesome.
Another memory was when Jacques was visiting Santa Barbara for a signing, the closest he's been to us. That was when Marlfox was the most recent novel. We weren't able to go and my brother Ross was crying and crying about it (I think he was around 6) because Jacques was our favorite author. My mom called the bookstore asking if we could just buy a signed book, and apparently Jacques overheard and asked to be put on the phone with my brother. They talked for a good chunk of time over the phone, and Jacques sent my brother a signed copy of Marlfox for free. The guy was awesome.
Probably my favorite parts about the books were the songs and the descriptions of all the awesome foods. One could complain the books fell into routine (which, admittedly , they did) but the food and the songs and the good humor always persisted. They were some fantastic feel-good books in all regards, and excellent books for children (especially now, with that age-group's genre getting darker and more serious by the moment).
So Brian Jacques, you were awesome, and I'm sorry to see you go. You made my childhood, and it is largely your influence that inspired me to this point to try my hand at putting pen to paper. Few have a way to be compelling and imaginative in an old-fashioned,  swashbuckling, good-natured way as the Redwall books did. Thank you for making my childhood wonderful.
And, for the record, Martin the Warrior is still one of my favorite books ever.

Effulgent Corruption - 3,073 words

Chapter 1 of Part 2 is off to a magical and wordy start. 3k to introduce our new female protagonist, and a completely different view of the world itself.
Not to blather too much about my own stuff, but after writing 60k of misery and crappiness, switching to a completely different scenario (a rich princess, essentially) who's life is a magical adventure is...a shift.
I am kind of enjoying it. Though I miss doing awful things to my protagonist (don't worry, it'll come!)
Anyway, here's the start of Part 2 for all those who care.

            Ciara pouted at the Gangrene crystals that had ruined her garden. The plot behind the mansion was neither large nor expansive, but Ciara had managed to cram as many plants and flowers as she could manage in just a small area. Tomatoes and carrots, protected by thorny rosebushes all intertwined into a conglomeration of leaves and branches under the shade of a large apple tree. Ciara had taken care to prune and trim the plants, making sure none encroached on each other’s territory, managing a veritable horticultural miracle at the expense of scratched arms and dirty dresses.
            And now the Gangrene had come and spoilt it.

Effulgent Corruption - PART 1 DONE - 60k

on Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Part one of Effulgent Corruption is finally out of the way. Meaning Drake's viewpoint is on hiatus for a while, and we get to switch to viewpoint character #2 (a girl! Wee!).
It's 60k, which puts it at 60k in a little under two months. Not bad, certainly not my fastest, but adult fantasy seems to be slower for me to churn out than young adult, so you have that.
I also have been averaging 4-5k a day this past week, so no complaints there. Keep it up and maybe I'll finish this book before I'm old and gray.
So Part One: The Yawning Maw is DONE DONE FINALLY YES. Part Two: The Burning City (which I've been itching to write since I started the initial draft way back in July and then swiftly abandoned) is all set to go. I'll start it tomorrow, after I finalize the viewpoint character's name (yes, I discovery write. Hush).
For those careful bloggers, you'd note that I previously mentioned EC has 6-7 parts. You are correct. You then might have done quick math, and realized that if every part is 60k this will be a 360-420k novel. You are also correct (and that is a terrifying # of words; nobody would publish that!). However, I'm certain that, while Part 2 might be as long as Part 1, the rest will be trimmed down to keep it short. I'm really, really trying to keep this under 300k. Yeah, that's still huge, but it isn't AS huge as it could be.
I'm going to ballpark (and bet on it, if I were a gambling man) for 250k. Though I usually get bored at about 120k, so this should be really interesting.
Writing group, you have your work cut out for you. :P

Here's your bit. FUN FACT: Each of the pre-chapter quotes have to do with the death of a deity. Each deity was assigned a part in the book (hence, 6 gods; 6 parts). I thought it was clever (and well organized!).

Here's the last two from Part 1, above chapters Army and Future respectively.

Here Lies Utana
God of All
Savior of Many
Lover of Few
- Inscription carved on the deity Utana’s tomb marker

“Utana was the first. The first to die. The first to leave us. The first to begin the curse that would be the Gangrene. The first to doom us all.
Lantuna was next.”
- Sir Thomas Divinious, Last Scholar of Finala, 154 A.G.D

Part 1 is almost done, but first...a random blurb about eBooks!

eBook hate completely blows my mind.

Yes I went there and I'll keep going there. I follow a plethora of blogs starring editors, agents, and authors, and nearly ALL of them make at least one post a week on the evils of eBooks. Next to nothing is positive regarding these things, a few even going armageddon on me and saying books are dead and gone and nobody will ever read paper books again and publishers are going to go under oh noooo!

This reminds me of how something else started all those years ago...anybody remember that?
Perhaps it isn't weird to me because of my age bracket. I was born as the digital age hit full swing (or the "internet" portion of the digital age, anyway). I own a plethora of modern technologies. I play video games, and I don't buy retail boxed PC games anymore ever (I buy them all off the internet). I also never buy CDs anymore. My wife and I both own Kindles.

But parts of this gives me a bit more perspective, I think, than others. This is because I've had direct influence using the internet to try and market independent material on the two main fronts other than books (games and music; I haven't sold movies yet), and all I've seen are positives. Here are the examples:
1. My brother has been part of indie bands for years (both my brothers, actually). Their vast market comes from either local gigs selling cds, or promoting their stuff online through facebook (MySpace back when it was relevant). They got so popular they were able to tour the US and stay in fans homes across the nation. If they hadn't marketed their stuff on the internet, they'd be restricted to local only. The internet helps independent lables.
2. For a stint in High School I made indie video games with a pal Eric (who also helped with the planning of what became Lacrymosa, my first full fantasy novel). While we never charged for these games, combined total they got somewhere around 10k to 20k downloads. That's 20,000 people who have looked at at least one of my games somewhere across the world (And that tracking was just on one site; I didn't bother checking the stats from other sites). Also if you look at the game industry you can see indie developers making mad bank (the guy who made Minecraft, for example, is a millionaire now, and the game isn't even out of beta) or getting hired on by big companies.

Other examples could be Justin Bieber who (despite my loathing of his work) was picked up because of a youtube video, and others. Sure the ratio isn't bad, but it still happens. The internet is the key to distribution for PC games and music now. When was the last time you bought a CD? That's what I thought.

The point behind all this is that people wailing doom about eBooks need to realize something: IT ISN'T GOING TO STOP. The Music Industry thought it could kill it...heck, they even sued 12-year-olds for millions of dollars for sharing songs on Kazza. But despite all the crying and screaming, they found they had to adapt. iTunes came alone. Then the Zune store. Next thing you know, CDs are being bought less, but he industry isn't suffering because of it. It just took longer for it to happen.

Games, luckily, embraced it (probably because most gamers are more up-to-date on how technology and commerce can interact). Stream (basically iTunes for games) made over one billion dollers over the holiday season alone. And while some game developers still insist on selling hard copies (and filling them with anti-piracy measures that do more harm than good), Steam has become what I would imagine is close to the most profitable online distribution source ever (the only one I could think would even get close would be iTunes).

 So here are your options. You can fight it, claiming books will be gone forever (like we are going to make a huge fire and burn books, basking in the pyre's glow as we read our satan-created Kindles) and complain as you are dragged unwillingly into the inevitable future. Or you could embrace it (unlike the music industry, like the game industry) and find yourself profiting from adapting early. Are publishers going anywhere? Are game publishers gone because of indie games? Are record labels gone because of MySpace, Facebook, and iTunes? Of course not. They just adapted to this modern age where, sometimes, people want to read a book now rather than driving to the store and getting one.

Book sales will drop, yes, but they won't disappear. I have a feeling they'll level out, and the loss can more than be made up by eBook sales. Things will change, but that is the nature of the beast. You can't very well shut off the internet; the change to eBooks will happen whether you want it or not. Ball is in your court whether you embrace it and profit or get dragged kicking and screaming.

Effulgent Corruption: 46k current, almost done with part 1.

on Thursday, February 3, 2011
I am neglecting this journal, mostly because I have little to say besides I'm still writing a decent amount each day. Posting on here seems self-reveling in a way, pandering books that few people will ever read, but if you actually enjoy it let me know in the comments and I'll try to post more.
Other news: Part 1 of Effulgent Corruption is just about done. I'm estimating two or three more chapters. My goal is to finish this part before Sunday night. In about this same timeframe (a month) I wrote 90k of Steelgods, so my pace is pretty much half speed which is disappointing. I'm going to speed it up and shoot for a 90k in February, meaning I'm going to have to put a minimum of ~3.5k a day. Shouldn't be too hard.
Mostly the reason  I'm sluggish is I'm getting tired of this viewpoint, and I know the next one will be exciting. So, if I finish part 1 by Sunday, I'll be into part 2 and a completely different viewpoint entirely. So that should motivate.
Again, I'm guessing another ~15-20k before this ends. Going to finish it by Sunday night. Seriously.

Here's a bit from what I wrote last night. The current bit is grossing out writing group (so...mission accomplished?) but it's nothing compared to where this story is going.

Slowly he pressed the tip against the base of his pinky finger. The blade did not need coaxing; a light shove pushed it past darkened flesh and to the bone beneath. It stopped there, piercing the blackened bulging skin as Drake steeled himself.
            He knew the strength necessary to rend flesh and shatter bone. He had done it to others countless times on the field of battle, be it arms, necks, or otherwise. For years he’d honed his strength and practiced against dummies and cadavers until he’d come to know the exact amount of force required to rend a limb. It would take an impressive strike to sever my finger in one blow, Drake clenched his teeth, focusing the room around him from his vision, shoving Gabriel’s intrigued expression to the side. It was just knife and him, and he knew what he had to do. It will probably take three stabs before the bone is cut free.
            The blade shone. Drake lifted it high and drew in a deep breath. He saw her face for a moment, the face he had loved more than any other.

- Barter, Drake's viewpoint (Part 1), Effulgent Corruption