Anbar August - The End is Actually in Sight, EC blurb

on Sunday, August 28, 2011
I have a sort of "tradition" (meaning I do it every time without planning it) of when I come to the end of a book (or, in case of longer ones, end of a part/section) I have a tendency to write down very brief chapter outlines. I then use these as a basic guide for my writing.

Why do I do this?

Well, I'm a very hardcore discovery writer. I still make outlines and plans, but I keep the framework in my head. I've never benefitted from writing down an plan, because when I write I'm wired into the story. Switching from what I'm writing and glancing over at an outline or guide draws me out. I like to think it helps make the flow of the story more natural (especially in dialogue) but that's up for the readers to decide not me. In any case, it makes it easier for me to write, so it's a plus.

However, since I discovery write, that means I have to take care with the endings. Dan Wells from Writing Excuses (and other things) has often commented the ends are killer for discovery writers, and I'd agree (though I sort of have a way around it, as I will explain). In many instances, I plan the ends of my books first to prevent myself from messing up. If I have a goal, a final twist, or a supposed resolution, then that's enough to keep my characters, who are sort of doing their own then and I'm just watching, someone in line as they reach for that final goal. It keeps stuff on track, which means at least the whole thing had a point when I started it.

The issue arises when we actually get near the ending, and I realize I've added a bunch of extra crap that also needs to tie off, and it needs to do so semi-coherently. So that's when I start outlining.

In truth, I usually only glance over a chapter, sit down and write it, and never look at the outline again or during the process. However, writing it helps organize everything and give a definite timeframe. It also means I can estimate how much longer until the book is over, which is also a boon.

Paradise Seekers was extensively plotted, mostly because I was terrified of somehow messing it up (since the idea had stemmed completely from the twist). Effulgent Corruption, surprisingly, was not. I made detailed notes for the ends of parts 1 and 2, but the rest just sort of happened. I refused to write notes for the final couple of chapters, mostly because I wanted them to be completely natural and I felt outlining might ruin that (I probably ran the final scenes through my head a hundred times, each one a little different than the previous ones).

The point is this: Gears is on chapter 19 (as of tonight, since I wrote a full chapter today). The book will have 24 chapters and an epilogue. Which means I'm around 75% done, all things considered. But more importantly, I can count down. Six chapters and an epilogue left.

And four days to do it in.


Well, it'll probably actually be done in a week from today, which is close enough. I went to a freaking convention in Reno during this chunk of time, so I suppose I can cut myself a little slack.

Oh, there is one more thing. It may make me look like an arrogant prick, but I don't care because I want to say it.

So I have a friend (Eric, I suppose he doesn't mind if I name names. He co-plotted Lacrymosa the video game which eventually devolved into Lacrymosa the novelization of the video game) who is actually going through Effulgent Corruption TWICE because he is both insane and insanely dedicated. Anyway I sent him an email asking a question about something that's been bothering me about the novel and he responded with something I didn't expect.

Something fantastic.

I don't know how to describe it except as a very detailed look at the juxtaposition of the viewpoint characters, their roles in the novel (considering both the plot and the world they are in), and themes shown in the book. Needless to say, it was an incredible read to say the very least, seeing an outside perspective go into so much depth about something I created.

And here I didn't even think of half the crap he dug up while writing it. At least not... consciously. Maybe it was subconscious, I don't know, because it all makes sense when he says it.

Anyway, I'd love to post a bit of it but it's basically a spoiler explosion, so you'll just have to survive. It was just a cool thing that happened (he apparently also has a massive document of critique/review that he'll be sending me one of these days, which I am awaiting with more than baited breath at this point).


Though that isn't to downplay all the others who have read or are currently sifting through it. I greatly appreciate it, and will appreciate it even more when I decide to start tackling these edits in October or November. Everything is taken into consideration, even if I seem resistant towards it, because I feel every opinion is valid. Whether or not it gets applied directly or in the way you anticipated is up to me since I'm the boss. Yep.

Anyway, that's it from me tonight. I'm tired and have a lot of writing to do to meet my goal.

Here's a quote that makes no sense out of context! Ha!

I gave a snort. “I dunno, after seeing that Steam Spider, I don’t know why those things [the Demigod Apparatuses] get such an impressive title.”
Again, Stewart was so offended he couldn’t talk. Pitronus moved to voice an answer, but Ashe cut him off with a wave of her hand.
“Hold on. If we do everything for him, he’ll never learn.”
I paused, blinking. “What? Never learn? What are you talking about?”
Ashe gave me a mischievous smile. 

Anbar August - STEAM SPIDERS

on Friday, August 26, 2011
So I'm finally getting into the whole "Steampunk" aspect of the Might of the Steelgods books. It's always been a sort of hybrid between traditional fantasy and Steampunk elements, where the Steampunk parts are mostly of my own design (that is, we haven't gotten into the whole "Victorian era" part of least not extensively).

I've always loved Steampunk, even though I know...well, not a lot about it. Perhaps the biggest Steampunk thing I enjoyed was Final Fantasy VI, which was big on the technology part and not on the other aspects (clothing, period society, etc.)
Which is sort of where my enjoyment of the whole Steampunk thing comes from. I love the idea of goofy, impossible machines powered by steam and clockwork, but get bogged down in the rest of it. However, I'm cut a bit of slack in Gears: It takes place in London, which is the main city of the Gears of Anbar (the steampunk guys) in Tempered (the land that is mostly traditional fantasy). So they have aspects of both society, which basically means: Nathan can cheat and cut out all the parts of steampunk he doesn't like. Suckers!

Unfortunately, when they actually get to the Steel-Imbued Domain in a later book (the entire country that is a massive Gears city) then I'll have to know, follow the "rules" of steampunk. But we'll worry about that when I get to it.

But my total ruination of Steampunk for my own fiendish devices means I can do CRAZY THINGS. LIKE ADD STEAM SPIDERS. NOBODY HAS EVER...

Oh wait. 

Well...mine is different. Also there's dirigibles, a staple of steampunkness, as well as some other crap. Basically I'm enjoying myself since I haven't been able to put guns in a story for forever, so it's good to have them all back.

At any rate, I'd say we are about in act 3 of Gears, which is good considering there are only five days left in August. If I'm going to finish this thing before "Anbar August" ends, then I'm going to have to pick up the pace. The plan after that is, while I still have Cevan's story fresh on my mind, I'll go back and edit the first Steelgods book. I'm also considering changing the title to The Destroyer of the World, and thinking of something else for the last book. The Destroyer of the World is just so much more attention-grabbing, you know?

Also all that rambling about that job last time and I probably didn't get it. Oh well.


“That isn’t even the best of it,” Pitronus elbowed me. “I heard from a little bird that they have Steam Spiders here.”
I blinked, uncertain what to say. Steam mixed with spiders didn’t sound like a good combination, no matter how many options my vivid imagination threw up. Ashe, on the other hand, nearly exploded in excitement.
“Really? Are you serious? They gave Boreous Spiders? As in, more than one? Steelgods, that’s amazing! Where are they?”
“Judging by the sound,” Pitronus grinned at her, clearly enjoying the attention. “I’d say they are next up in our little performance.”
Ashe’s gaze glued on the corner. I don’t think if I’d stripped naked and danced next to her I could have gotten her attention at that moment. So I watched along with her, hair bristling with anticipation on what a “Steam Spider” might be.
When the monstrous machine at last rounded the corner, I saw that – like the Walking Artillery – the Gears were not ones for subtlety when naming their creations.

Anbar August - Still not a WorldCON post

on Thursday, August 25, 2011
Yeah I know I should be blogging about WorldCON. But I'm at work and my brain is fried, but I still feel obligated to blog about something, so here goes?

I'm applying for a graveyard shift full time call-center job. This has both pros and cons. Pros include being able to write since probably nobody will call in, a $5 an hour pay raise (substantial!), doing in-house support rather than distributor support, and full time benefits. The cons are that I won't ever see my wife, I'll have to sleep during the day (ruining any daytime activities before 4 or 5), and I'll become a hermit.

So we'll see how that works out.

Gears is going well. The Steelgods series is also doing quite good. I've been struggling how exactly Cevan, his purpose, and all that fits into the story. I've also been basically stalling the ending of the series, since we all know what happens thanks to the prologue/epilogues, but how it resolves was still...well let's just say I had a good dozen ideas, and the majority of them were terrible.

Luckily, I managed to squash all these stupid problems (or most anyway) so I can sleep easy. Also it means I can do proper foreshadowing in these books for how everything will end, assuming I ever get around to writing four more books past this one.

I also have a tentative fourth book title: "The Wanderer of Shattered Blades." Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but I'll figure something out if it needs changing.

Well, my brain is breaking. I've been writing a fair amount; we'll see if that continues tonight. I've been playing Age of Empires Online, the sort of awful online "free to play" version of Age of Empires that is way overpriced if you decided to pay to play it.

In any case, that's it from me. Here is some Gears.

“Hmm.” Ashe nodded, though I thought I saw a splash of disappointment cross her face as she returned to her tidying. “So you slept through the big news.”
“Big news?” I asked, sitting down on the bed. Ashe finally finished and then plopped down next to me, hands on her knees.
“Last Washington is sending troops to aid Spoke Boreous. Steam-machines, weapons of war. They’ll be marching through London tomorrow in some sort of parade. They cancelled morning classes so we can attend.”
My eyes widened. “Spoke Boreous…you mean Divine? He’s getting weapons from Last Washington? So there is going to be a war?”

Anbar August - Not the WorldCON post

on Tuesday, August 23, 2011
You are probably expecting an extended WorldCON post.

This ain't it.

This is me saying that I wrote every day of WorldCON that I wasn't travelling, and wrote a hefty amount. I also met a lot of people and had a very good time. I certainly had a better time than at World Fantasy (we'll count that as the "warmup."). I also met a lot of very cool people and had some great conversations with agents, editors, and other authors (published and non-published alike).

But this is about Gears and what I've been doing.

Here are a few notable things:

- We listed to The Way of Kings audiobook coming up and going down to Reno. We are about 1/3 of the way through the book. It's...pretty good, but not blowing my mind. It's more "Robert Jordan" than "Mistborn," which is too bad. I usually like my fantasy fast-paced, which few authors really excel at anymore. The visual imagery in Way of Kings is fantastic, though. I still recommend it, thus far.

- I read A Game of Thrones. As in, the whole book during the Con. Let me say: this book is a freaking masterpiece. One of the best fantasy novels I've ever read. I am beyond pumped to read the rest of the series. Why did I put this off for so long? It has "me" written all over it. Great characters, very dark, very gritty, and very realistic. Exactly how I like my fantasy. Bring on A Clash of Kings. 

- Gears crossed the 60k mark tonight. I suddenly realized the pacing for this book might be crappy. Or maybe it might be great, I have no idea. It depends on how much book is left. I really wish I knew I have the ending 1/4ish planned but getting there is going to be a pain in my butt. Something I do like about these books, however, is that they aren't broad. EC has to deal with a world in conflict. The world of Steelgods is in conflict, but since it's first person I don't ever pull the camera back. I'm enjoying this, because it makes the book more personal. Anyway, my warm-down reading is fun. And I think Gears is entertaining, which is all that matters.

- My next book is probably going to be a stand-alone dark fantasy novel. Yes, I just read Game of Thrones, shut up, but I actually got the idea listening to A Way of Kings. It's going to be short (120k is my goal, no more Effulgent Corruption's) and...that's about all I'm going to say about it right now.

- Effulgent Corruption has been running over and over in my mind. I haven't gotten to it yet for editing (I'm waiting until November), but I've already figured out a ton of scenes to cut, including entire chapters. People say you have to "kill your babies" or "kill your darlings." It's going to be hard to try and cut 90k from this book, but if I ever want to sell it than it's pretty much necessary. Also condensing the book will fix a lot of issues I have with it, so it's win-win.

- I have, since I started writing on a computer instead of spiral bound notebooks, given myself a writing goal of 2k a day pretty much since the dawn of time. That's always been my fallback goal regardless of book, chapter, or any outside influences that might hinder writing. I'm now updating that after about three/four years of writing to 2.5k. The reason is I found I average about 2.8k a day. The 2k is the minimum (for example, I wrote 4k today), basically the basic requirement for me to keep living. However, I'm thinking I'm now bumping it up to 2.5k. This seems doable in every regard, though I also plan on going over. I write six days a week currently (I take Sundays off), which means I'm churning out a minimum of 15k a week. My "tier 2" goal is 5k (and there is a story behind that which I'll share at some later date...if I haven't shared it already) but I don't meet that as often; usually twice a week. Anyway, goal has been bumped, now to solidify it in my mind.

Anbar August has a little over a week left. I need to finish this book in that time to prove I'm as cool as I was last September. This...isn't going to be easy. But I'm going to try.

That's about it from me. Expect a WorldCON post sometime when I get around to it. Just know it was very fun (and I got Game of Thrones pins! AWESOME.)

I can't think of a great Gears part, so here is the end of what I just wrote. Why not.

The letter was folded on all four sides, opening like a flower. Inside the note was sparingly short, and I could tell from the messy script Devent had penned it in a hurry. I had expected an update on his career, or at least a friendly note. Instead the message caused a chill to pass through me, and I could hardly believe what it said.
You are not safe.
They know you are at Factory. Spies are everywhere.
Trust no one.
Do nothing save wait for further instructions.

WorldCON - For those wondering

on Friday, August 19, 2011
For those wondering: Yes, I'm at WorldCON.

For those wondering: Yes, I've met a truckload of editors. No agents yet (at least not ones I haven't met before) but I still have two days. Most of the editors have been from Tor, but Ace's panel is tomorrow so we'll to grab 'em then.

For those wondering: Yes, I got my kindle signed by a truckload of people, including George R. R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss.

For those wondering: Yes, Patrick Rothfuss is hilarious on every panel he is on. His reading was amazing as well.

For those wondering: Yes, I have a newfound zeal to submit things to people now. I just have to do loads of editing before it'll be ready.

For those wondering: I haven't been updating my blog because I've been spending my evening either at the con or writing Gears instead. Yes, I think this is a better use of my time. I'll post a big update once it is all over.

For those wondering: There are a truckload of Utah people here. Not surprising, but I swear I keep running into the same ones constantly. Seriously, I'm not seeking them out, but it's weird that this keeps happening.

For those wondering: Most professionals at these cons are very nice and polite. I suppose that is their job, but I figured I'd let it be known that their courtesy and tolerance is appreciated from this social troglodyte.

For those wondering: I've drunk a Rockstar every morning this week, and I feel awesome. 

For those wondering: Yes, I'm stopping blogging to write Gears. The month is over half finished and the book isn't. This is a problem.

WorldCON Time

on Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I have:

- Gotten an awful haircut
- Trimmed my beard so it looks reasonable
- Washed my clothes and packed them
- Made sure my Netbook is up to date
- Charged my Ipod and put the audiobook of Way of Kings on it.
- Bought SEVEN ROCKSTARS because I NEED caffeine to function in social settings
- Printed the WorldCON grid schedule and gone, author by author, over what I want to go to
- Written that down, found major conflicts (everything I want to go to is always at 11:00am AT THE SAME TIME)
- Put WorldCON and the Hotels in the GPS
- Got a sharpie and my Kindle for MAD SIGNANGE YO.
- Wished I weren't so nervous about this

I'm off to WorldCON tonight, fools! I'm going to try and not have it cut into my writing, but that will depend on how much free time I have at night. Here's hoping I meet a lot of people, go to a lot of panels, and generally have a kickin time.

I'll also try and update from the Con, assuming our hotel has internet. Ta ta!

Anbar August - WorldCON, sequels, monster-averse

on Monday, August 15, 2011
Wrote a large amount last week, which makes me happy. Unfortunately, Jason wrote like freaking 8k on Saturday which mean on our stat sheet he now holds the record for most words in a day.


In other news, WorldCON is this weekend, and we are leaving tomorrow night. I still have to do literally everything to prepare, including getting a haircut (boo!), deciding my schedule, and figuring out where the crap we are staying Tuesday night. I'm also going to do most of the driving, which means I'm putting Way of Kings audiobook on the iPod.

So that will be fun and hopefully I'll make some good contacts. If not, every awesome author in the history of the world will be there, and I'm going to make them sign my Kindle. ALL OF THEM.

In Gears news, I've already decided on the title for the third Steelgods book: A War of Blood and Oil. In a not-so-massive spoiler, Gears ends with the inevitable war between the Gears and the Peacemakers starting up, which encompasses the rest of the series. So that should prove interesting. I actually also have titles for the last two books as well (The Tips of Creation and The Destroyer of the World). So Book 4 remains the only one current untitled. I'll get to these when I get to them; we'll see.

I also stumbled upon another revelation about my writing. I tend to avoid a rather large fantasy staple: mystical creatures. With the exception of Lacrymosa (which has a big flying nasty thing called a Zentapox), none of my books have any sorts of weird animals or creatures in them. Corrupters in Effulgent Corruption are close, but they are still technically people, just coated in Gangrene. None of my other books have any sort of weird animal life, and I only rarely have a different fantasy race (Lacrymosa has Ala and El, Harbinger has the Seraphim, and WGMD has...the gods?). It's almost as if I weened it out of my novels intentionally. I don't even plan stuff that has weird monsters (though The Tips of Creation will have weird monsters because that's one where they actually go to the Blight that borders the world.

Anyway, I just thought that was interesting. Now I really want to write something that has fantasy monsters, but they always have seemed so contrived and trite. Honestly, my least favorite part about Mistborn was the shape-shifting monsters and the Koloss (though the Koloss...well, it's a spoiler, but if you've read it you know why I might be more forgiving of those). It just seemed really out of place in a book about humans. I dunno, maybe I'm just super biased. I also tend to prefer my sci-fi without aliens, and that's pretty much the same thing. Huh.

Anyway, there you go. that's what has been on my mind. Now, a bit from Gears.

“Yeah, about that,” I muttered, raising the sword. That only resulted in me wincing and crumpling down slightly; I took a long, stabbing breath and forced myself back to my feet. “I kind of met him yesterday. And got punched by him. And…retaliated.”
“Wait, really?” Ashe looked at me in surprise, and then glanced over to make sure Tartonus wasn’t watching us. “What on earth did you do?”
“I kicked him in a…sensitive area. Sensitive to males. If you catch my drift.”
I was trying to be tactful, but I suppose I shouldn’t have bothered considering who I was talking with.
“You rammed your foot into Gregor’s nuts?” I didn’t know Ashe’s eyes could get that big. “Gregor Halbicus? The son of – “
“Yeah, Stewart and Pitronus already told me about how I pretty much signed my death wish, thank you.” I grunted. I was starting to feel a little better; I could stand straight, at least.
- The Gears of Anbar, Chapter 11 - Assessment

And here is some AWESOME CHIPTUNES from an equally awesome game. It was for sale with the recent Humble Bundle (pay your own price) so if you didn't buy it YOU ARE A FOOL. 

Anbar August - Stat Tracking

on Thursday, August 11, 2011
My friend Jason has constructed a rather interesting excel document. Basically, its a pretty version of a stat-tracker that lets you set writing goals, put in your amounts (time/word count), and provides useful facts like daily averages, totals so far, etc. It's a neat thing.

Probably the coolest part is he's put all of writing group on it, which is inspiring "friendly" competition. Plus, since we are all trying to get a wordcount in every day, if you fail hard we all know it. Solid motivator that (considering all I want to do is play Fallout 3 on my computer all day long).

I'm getting about 3k average, which isn't awful but should be much higher. Gears is easy to write dialogue for, but descriptions slow me down. I've noticed that about my pacing: when people are talking, writing is easy. When people aren't...I tend to trudge along. Which is probably why Effulgent Corruption took so long.

So anyway I don't have much more to say. Here's a quote and more Bastion music. Yeah, exciting blog day.

The larger boy laughed, though it was more of a series of snorts and huffs. “Cevan? Why are you named after a number anyway? Were your parents some sort of idiots?”
Well, so much for this being a friendly confrontation, I frowned. I wasn’t sure what to say, so I said nothing, just letting my expression harden.
The big boy apparently hadn’t expected this, because he gave my shoulder a shove. “Oh, come off it, don’t go pouting like a big baby. We know you are a rich boy, must be if the head Spoke of all of Tempered is sponsoring you. The question is, why is he wasting money on an idiot? You know less about chemistry than my baby sister, and you shoot about as good too. What’s your story?”
Oh, you have no idea. I grit my teeth.
“Sorry, I’m not partial to sharing it with assholes. Just one of my tenets.” I quipped, actually feeling pretty clever at using 'tenets’ in a sentence.

- Gears of Anbar, Chapter 8 - Ashe

Anbar August - You do not know a man until he has lost all that once defined him

on Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Wrote a lot yesterday, so I'm going to say Gears is going well. I figured out the crucial tie in between "past" Cevan (aka the main story) and "future/epilogue" Cevan (aka after the world is destroyed) and I like it. I also figured out basically the last 2/3rds of the book.

The problem being I don't know what happens in the part directly following this one, but I suppose we'll get to it when it comes. This is discovery writing, after all (and warm-down writing from Effulgent Corruption).

My wife is rather adamant that I try and get this sold, and if not get it up on Kindle. While she's certainly a biased source, I'm glad she is enjoying it. I have a bad habit of ragging on my own work when it doesn't go exactly as planned, so any more motivation is helpful.

Speaking of my wife, it's our three year anniversary today! Yay! We survived three years of marriage! Only a bajillion more to go! :P

I've also been thinking of how Effulgent Corruption has changed my writing style. I'd assume it is fair to say any good author gets better after each book he/she writes, learning from that novel and applying these new tidbits to future books. It made me wonder what I'd learned from my own previous novels, and so now I'm going to discovery write what I think I learned. Again, this is for my own personal amusement, so bear with me.

Lacrymosa - The first big one is obviously that I could finish a book, even if it takes four years. The second was that I wasn't nearly as good as I thought I was (Brandon Sanderson did a good job cutting me down to size in his class :P). I hadn't yet decided if this was what I wanted to do professionally, but it made it seem possible.

Harbinger - While Lacrymosa was the first book, Harbinger was the one that changed everything. I wrote every day for three months, recording my progress on LJ to make sure I stayed honest. I wrote an entire book over the summer. It was actually coherent, and completely discovery written. While Lacrymosa was extensively planned, Harbinger was not. It suffered from it, but it taught me I enjoy writing characters and dialogue spur of the moment rather than meticulously plotted in advance. It was also the weirdest book in terms of setting (wild west fantasy with angel-vampires that lived on a floating land mass above a western town that uses water for currency which RANGO TOTALLY RIPPED ME OFF)

Where Gods and Mortals Dance - A lot of my writing is me trying new things rather than doing the same thing over and over again. WGMD was the book where I tried to write a novel focusing more on politics and religion rather than a war or people killing each other. It was also the longest book I wrote, and the most interwoven at the time. Unfortunately, I didn't really have the skill to pull of the politics part, and because of it a lot of the novels seems disjointed and contrived. I still really like the story and the characters (this is the book the Useless God is in, which has become my email address and username) but it was still a mess. I think this book taught me about my limits, as well as how to do viewpoint right (thanks, writing group :P). It also was about the time I decided I could do this professionally, realized (after the fact) that I was doing a lot of dialogue wrong (modern slang, etc.), and really started feeling confident. If Harbinger was the turning point for my writing personally, WGMD was the turning point for me considering it a career.

Paradise Seekers - My first attempt at first-person since I was like...8. Also my first attempt at YA, with a book that was surprisingly not fantasy. This is the black sheep book out of them all, as everything else I've written was straight fantasy. It was also the most well-received (and well-read) out of all the books I've written. The biggest feat with this one was I wrote the entire novel in under a month. Like Harbinger proving I could write something quickly, Paradise Seekers only amplified that. I could write a YA novel in a month, and it could actually turn out pretty decently.

Might of the Steelgods - This book was me combining what I'd learned with Paradise Seekers with a more traditional fantasy setting (with lots of steampunk slipped in). It was also my first attempt to write a series, because I realized if I could write one book a month I could technically write a six book series in half a year. Steelgods currently suffers from having too steep a learning curve for YA (the world is complicated and not explained early on enough), but it also hasn't gone through a major edit yet, so it'll get addressed. I actually greatly prefer this book to Paradise Seekers, and I had a lot more fun with the characters. This was another "monther," and also my attempt to have a completely incompetent protagonist and still make him sympathetic. It was "fantasy lite" compared to previous books, and I really enjoyed writing it.

Effulgent Corruption - If Steelgods was fantasy lite, this was fantasy hardcore. It was the longest I ever spent on a book, especially considering I wrote nearly every day for seven months straight. I think I've spoken enough about this novel, but if I were to take just one thing it would be that I learned how to balance extensive planning with discovery writing. The book is certainly the most complex I've ever written, but figuring it all out was extremely helpful. There was no way I could have written this book sooner (I started it after writing Paradise Seekers, and abandoned it for Steelgods because I didn't feel ready), but I'm glad it is finally written.

So there is what goes on in my head. Of course other factors have had massive influence on me during this time as well, first and foremost being writing groups, working with professional authors, going to cons and panels, and increasing my reading habits. I just started re-reading Lacrymosa for fun and profit and found I couldn't. Yeah, it's pretty bad. I guess that means I've come a long way. Hopefully.

Anyway, here is some Gears for ya. I'm enjoying this warm-down writing. Now I have to figure out what I'm doing after that.

“So,” Figtront walked close to the flame, still holding the gunpowder in his fingers. “Alandra, our resident genius: what happens when I toss this into the fire?”
I felt a bit of spirit in me, just itching to get out. “What do you think happens?” I snapped. “It explodes.”
If Figtront was surprised by my sudden flash of zealousness he didn’t show it. Instead he pinched his fingers, dropped the gunpowder into the flame. It exploded with a boom that caused several of the girls (and even a few boys) to give out high pitched squeals. Figtront wiped his fingers on his raggedy suit and glowered over me.
“Of course it explodes, you ignoramus. What is that process called?”
“Uh…” I wasn’t sure. “Explode…ering?”
The laughter was less for ridicule this time, but it was clear the class knew the answer and was enjoying watching me fail. Figtront wiped a hand across his brow as if unable to believe what he was hearing.
“Steelgods on Earth, we should send you to a primary school,” he grumbled.

And here is some AWESOME MUSIC from Bastion. Great for writing stuff like this. :D

Anbar August - Classes and vidja gamez

on Sunday, August 7, 2011
I wrote only 1.5k friday, far under mark. Mostly because I was working on a new side project (see later on!) and I was in a completely foul mood. But I still wrote, and that is something, and I wrote 3k to make up for it, and might write even more before going to sleep because I hate sleep apparently.

Gears is going...slowly. I have to keep reminding myself that after this setup I have a lot of words available for all the things I've been planning while Cevan is at university (spoiler?), but it is taking them forever to get there. I blame Effulgent Corruption, even though I'm still trying my hardest to keep things moving extremely fast. I guess it'll get decided once it gets to writing group.

I'm strongly reconsidering epublishing Steelgods. I also did something I should have done a long whiles ago: signed up for the Kindle Boards (well, I was already on and lurking, but I'm making an active move to post now). Things there have been very helpful and interesting, which is fun. Most of my forum-going has been lurking these past few years, so about time I got back on that whole forum thing.

So here is what I've been doing. I have a buttload of video games, and even more so I haven't beaten. I've decided that I'm going to try and beat as many of them as I can, since I have entire series of games I haven't even beaten one game in, which is bad. So I've decided to start a blog where I play though my backlog of games, forcing myself to play them until I beat them, and making snarky comments all along the way.

Yep. Pretty much what it would be like if you lived with me. My poor wife.

Anyway, it's up but I'm not advertising it on any of the gaming sites I'm active in just yet, not until I have at least two games under my belt and decide I'm going to keep doing it. I do my best to put lots of images and keep things entertaining, sort of combined "review" and "I'm going to beat this dumb game" thing going on. The current game is Metroid Prime 2, a game I technically started in 2005 and never beat. Yeah, fail.

So check it out, follow it, etc. If you like my brand of humor, it might be up your alley (or if you like video games). If you think I'm an annoying twit, you should probably avoid it.

The Backlog Blog. 

And now, a piece from today, when Divine is telling Cevan the classes he signed the latter up for.

“What’s this one for?” I asked, the blank cover mysterious.
“Oh yes,” Devent smiled. “A personal touch of my own: ballroom dancing.”
I froze. Devent and Rosemary stared at him with open eyes, and then looked back at me. Then, as if a dam had broken, they burst into uproarious laughter. I felt my cheeks go crimson as I just held the book in silence, my stepsiblings howling so loudly it echoed in the large room.
“Dancing?” I finally managed to sputter. “You signed me up for a dancing class?”
“I fail to see why this is so humorous,” Divine folded his arms like an angry parent. “Dancing has long been a sign of the civilized and refined. You couldn’t hope to visit a Spoke’s ball without at least a rudimentary knowledge of how to dance. It is an important life skill.”
This just made Rosemary and Devent laugh harder, the latter pounding the table with the butt of his silverware. I growled as menacingly as I could, but they didn’t stop.
“Bloody hell,” I muttered. “Well, is it a fun class at least? Something that won’t make me look like a total idiot?”
“I…actually didn’t take it myself,” Divine confessed, turning a bit red. “But I always wanted to. I figured you would enjoy it.”

Anbar August - The Factory, The Bastion, Something something

on Friday, August 5, 2011
Gears is going well. Very well, actually. I forgot how much I enjoyed straight discovery writing. EC was discovery writing dialogue and a few other things, but in general scenes were meticulously planned because everything was so tightly woven. While I "discovery wrote" lots of the connections, by the end I had to make sure everything I said was correct and fell in line, or else stuff would get messy. Also, having about 300k of words I had to be in line with when writing that last part made it rather difficult.

Gears I have Steelgods to follow, but that book is so short I know it like the back of my hand. Also Gears happens a year after Steelgods, so I have some wiggle room in world and character changes during that time.

But mostly I just enjoy going into a scene knowing only how it needs to end, and then I let the characters do their thing. The spontaneousness of discovery writing is something I like best about it; I feel it gives my characters life beyond simply being elements to move a plot. It also makes for some hi-larious character conversations.

So Gears is going well, doing about 2-3k a day at a leisurely pace, and can usually write that much in about an hour a day. I'll probably pick it up soon, maybe try and write two chapters a day (I'm excited with the prospect of writing this whole book in two weeks rather than a month, even if that will require some dedication), but we'll see. WorldCON is coming up, and I plan on writing there as well, should I find the time.

In other news, GOOD WRITING MUSIC ALERT. Bastion is an Xbox Live Arcade game that is beautiful and completely fantastic. I just beat it yesterday and I loved it. But besides it just being a great game, it also has an incredible soundtrack. It's available for $10, or you can just listen to it all free. Highlighted tracks for me include A Proper Story, In Case of Troubles, and Spike in a Rail. Makes me want to write a western.

Listen to it here.

That's it from me. Here's a bitty quote from Gears.

 "...Now it was my turn to speak with excitement.
“And me? I’m put in the Factory [the Gears University], yes? With the regular students, because of how exceptional I am?”
Divine opened his mouth, then paused. I saw a flush of color run across his face, and for the first time the eloquent Spoke stuttered with his words. “I…well, the Factory is a place for all students. All Gears are required to attend, be they exemplary or…”
            “What your friend Divine is trying to say is everybody knows you are a moron,” Devent grinned. 

- Gears of Anbar