I’ve decided to add a new page to the site. It probably is going to be considered boring by many of you, but for me it is something of a blueprint in the sense that this article describing a concept called the “Ring Lord” culture (published on the web by author Laurence Gardner) touches on much of what I have been researching for many years and have been wanting to use for background material. The advantage of this article is that the material is very diverse, but Mr. Gardner manages to sum things up very succinctly. In fact, this article says so much in such a short space that it’s quite amazing. Now, it’s not exactly light reading and I admit it, but if you want some insight into ‘what’s really going on’ in “Mortality, Interrupted” then read the article here.
All of the webpages on the site that contain my writing still exist; I’ve just removed them from publication and are currently not accessible. I’ll make them accessible again once the site has been locked down.
The Poll only received four votes, so I’m going to go with what I got. If it turns out that the majority actually feel differently, then I guess the majority should have submitted a vote. I did leave the voting open for a full week and an extra full day, so why I only received four votes I don’t know. But three of you voted to keep the same theme and one of you voted to change it. I have no way of knowing how any particular person voted and that’s the way I like it. So I’m going to go with the majority of those who voted and keep the same theme, though I will continue to look at ways I might be able to address the readability issue.
CHANGES COMING SOON!
But there are still going to be some changes, and as they are related to security, the sooner I can implement them, the better. Although it can’t be proven, there is very persuasive circumstantial evidence that suggests that television writers are data mining writing sites and blogs (just like this one) for story ideas. One person in one of my local workshops feels certain that her site has been mined several times as she has seen one particular show use several of her ideas including introducing a new storyline concept based largely on one of her ideas in particular which she posted only on her site. So, when she heard other writers were experiencing similar issues she stopped chalking it up to mere coincidence and has locked down her story content, removing it all from her blog.
I really don’t want to have to do that. I love the feedback, advice, and encouragement I get from everyone here, so after a great deal of thought I’ve figured out a compromise. Those of you who have posted comments on this site will by now have received a WordPress invitation in your email inboxes. Please accept the invitation and create a WordPress account. You don’t have to create a blog here if you don’t want to, but it will allow me to add you as a Contributor to this site as I can only add people who have WordPress accounts. Once I have you all added, I’ll lock down the site. From that point on it will only be accessible by the WordPress users I will have specifically granted access to. Anyone else who wants to access the site in the future will need to go through the same process (up to a maximum of 35 people). I apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, but it’s the only way I can think of to keep this going without risking some thief out there stealing my ideas and writing their own book based on my stuff.
I made a name change to one of the characters: Charles Goodman’s wife. Her name was Belinda, but I changed it to Eva.
Some of you have noticed that I have gone to great lengths to make the setting as accurate as possible. One of the ways I’ve done that is by not only using the names of actual villages and towns in Hungary, but researching those towns and villages to find out what they were like in the 1500s. Some of them didn’t even go by the same name back then and to make sure that my descriptions are accurate I have used as much information as I could find about the towns and villages as they were back then. This research is necessary to make sure that the story works. Incorrect information here can potentially create a glaring error in the story or even wreck a plot entirely.
But, to avoid getting bogged down in too much research during the draft, one area where I have decided (in general) not to do this is with peoples’ names. Some of you have probably noticed that the names I’m using are familiar: Charles Goodman, Matthew Miller, Daniel Paris, et cetera. These names are not at all Hungarian names, but very Anglo-American. At some point these names will have to be swapped for Hungarian names to make the setting feel more authentic. It’s not necessary that I do this during the draft because these characters’ names don’t really affect the plot or the story in any way. Right now they are simply convenient “handles” to help me keep the various characters straight in my mind as I compose the draft.
What happened with the Belinda Goodman character was that a Hungarian name simply came to me, so I went ahead and stuck it in, replacing Belinda with Eva. But being very late when I posted the story I forgot to go back and make the changes or make note of them here in the blog. Sorry for the oversight and I apologize for any confusion. Also, my thanks to Nonie who pointed it out to me.
Attended the bi-weekly Clearwater Writers’ Meetup tonight. One of the things we do is go around the group and read ten minutes’ worth of our writing for the other members of the group to critique. I read the first two scenes of the draft (now called Chapter 1) at the last meeting so tonight I began at Chapter 2. In the ten minutes I was allotted, I read the first two scenes and got about halfway through the third (and final) scene of the second chapter. What can I say about the feedback other than that it warmed my heart to hear my work so well-received by other writers. I dare not be so effusive as to show outwardly the depth of my appreciation and gratitude out of concern for generating embarrassment on both their part and mine, but inwardly I can scarcely contain the joy I feel when people enjoy my writing.
The story itself seems to be getting the most praise. Tonight’s reading revealed the vampires’ ability to assume the identities of specific people by consuming their blood and changing their shape to physically match a person using their blood as template. Everyone seemed to agree that it was a very unique twist on more traditional vampiric abilities. They did not see it coming and felt that I did a good job of revealing it. On a more technical note, cutting away from Zsaka at the moment she first becomes stuck in the tunnel to focus on the events taking place concurrently in the castle above her was also well-liked.
The encouragement I’m getting from everyone has been critical to my ability to continue writing. I really can’t express the amount of gratitude I feel toward every single one of you who are interested enough in my writing to follow it and cheer me on. If this book ever gets published it will be because of all of you; because you refused to allow me to quit. I hope it isn’t too premature to thank you for it now at the time when I am the lucky beneficiary of your generous praise and criticism. I also hope that by cheering your efforts to push me onward that you won’t stop doing so when I hit future rough patches.
So, now I’m going to take the momentum from tonight’s meeting and see if I can channel it into some words.
First of all, I want to thank all of you for hanging in with me through this past week. It’s been a difficult one. I also want to let you know that chances are what I’m posting here may not be the end of the scene, and likely won’t be. But it did feel like a pause point and I’d worked so hard on this and you all have waited so patiently that I thought I would go ahead and post it. Please, as always, feel free to comment. I do read all of your comments and enjoy seeing feedback from you on the site. This scene has been kicking my ass hard and between a seemingly endless succession of distractions (including the worst allergy attack I’ve ever experienced in my life) and the inherent difficulties in the scene, I finally got it pretty much down, I think. I’ll fess up straightaway to some known issues:
The pacing needs work. I know it does. The main culprit here, I think, is that I have some clumsily-written transitions and places where conversation drags and places where narrative exposition is too brief. That’s the sort of thing that gets fixed in editing, so I’m not all too concerned about it now. One of the most common bits of advice I’ve read for beginning novel writers is to resist the urge to revise and edit the draft while writing it, to just “get it down”.
The length. I am concerned that this scene runs so long (over 1,800 words, believe it or not). I would like to break it up, but structurally I’m not sure how to do it. All of the events take place in the same place and time and among the same set of characters. How can I make this into two scenes? It would be like trying to book a flight from JFK to La Guardia. So, ‘yes’ I know it’s long, and ‘no’ I have no idea what to do about it. If any of you have any ideas, I’m all ears. Just post them in the comments section below the scene on the scene page.