Monday, November 29, 2004

Strategy and Tactics

I wrote my first major battle scene just a while back. After last evening's crit group meeting, I can actually say that I nailed it. It felt good when I wrote it; I studied several historical battle plans and I've been reading Machiavelli and Sun Tzu. I had to start the section two or three times and ditch the first few stabs at the opening (don't groan, no pun intended) before I got the scene moving the way I wanted. I even drew the battle plan out on paper with all the little rectangles and arrows and everything, and wrote scene notes all over the battle map. But once I got past the opening part, things just flew. The next thing I knew, it was about two hours or more later, I was starving, and the battlefield was littered with the dead and wounded. I even killed the only horse who got a name. Sorry. I didn't plan it beforehand, so I guess his number must have been up or he was wearing a red bridle, or something.

Some writers use theme music when they write, and I'm no exception. The theme for my main character's climactic fight scene in Aspects was from the X-men soundtrack. For her first wartime battle in Shadows, it was the soundtrack from Tomb Raider. Music or no music, the results were pretty good--or so my crit group tells me. I still need to run the scene past the guy who helped me think up my initial war strategy, but I think it'll get a good rating there, too. I might--just maybe--be good at medieval battle tactics. Who knew? If I can keep the stakes high and the sex and battles hot, this book might just be a keeper.

Yeah, I'm feeling pretty confident at the moment, perhaps influenced by all that studying I did on Alexander the Great. Buy my books when I'm published, and you can either diss or praise my battles on Amazon. In the meantime, I've got an island to conquer. Oh, and if Bob should happen to read this--I'm almost done. Just a few more chapters, I promise!

Saturday, November 13, 2004


It's interesting to read what other writers say on the subject of how many words per day they manage to get. For me it's never perfectly consistent. Two nights ago I wrote nine and a half pages in one sitting and barely remember coming up for air. Thousands of words and all in what writers call "flow". Last night it was not quite three pages, which still amounted to about a thousand words but left me short of the section I wanted to finish. Both nights' work should be considered progress. I just need my progress to be more like the first night, and more often.

I've just been figuring out where I'm at on my current book, and I've already hit 112,000 words, with quite a few more plot points to go. I'm thinking this thing is going to finish at about 160,000 to 170,000 words, which would be fine for epic fantasy if I wasn't a first-time author. But hey, the book is what the book is. I'll try to pare it down where I can and we'll see what happens. The way things look now, I should finish it somewhere in mid-December, though I'd really like to send it off before then. I'd get it done by Thanksgiving, but it would take a miracle.

I have a battle scene to write, so I'm off to have fun storming the castle....

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Off to see the wizards

I'm about to attend my second Sci/Fi convention. Klingons and Vampires and Elves, oh, my. The classes for writers sound interesting, and I'm also looking forward to some contact with the published authors who will be there. It's interesting to hear them read and see how they interact with their fans. This is like a little mini vacation for me--something I haven't gotten much of lately. I'll be hoping for writing time while I'm there, but just getting out of town for a weekend can give me such a boost--I've always been a bit of a wanderer. I like nothing better than a good road trip--except perhaps a good European vacation. And before you think I'm putting on airs, let me explain that I've only flown out of the country once. That once was to Ireland for one glorious week. If I were told that I could only take one other out-of-country vacation ever again in my life, but it could be to anywhere I chose...I'd go right back to Ireland without even having to think about it. It's in my soul, in my blood, and always, always in my heart. But since I can't go to Ireland this weekend, I'll settle for Oregon, which sometimes reminds me of Eire on a soft day.