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


Adam Meyers said...

Nathan, I think it would be good for you to have an editor go through your back titles with you, and then just start putting some up Indie style. You've got good stuff, and I think you'd do well. But then I'm a biased newbie as well.

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