Versatile Blogger Award + WIP Update

Versatile Blogger Award

Many thanks to Fel Wetzig at The Peasants Revolt! (http://www.scotzig.com) for my first Versatile Blogger Award – totally amazed and very grateful.  The Award is really surprising as I struggle to blog as often as Fel and many others.

Anyway the rules are to nominate 15 more bloggers that I either follow or have recently discovered and find excellent. Then to give 7 facts about myself. (Further info on the Virtual Blogger Awards: http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/about/)

My 15 nominations in no particular order are:

Finally, 7 things about myself (which aren’t in my Bio or obvious):

  1. First Award: when I was about twelve I entered an essay competition that came with a model aircraft kit. My entry – A Day in the Life of a Helicopter Pilot – was among the winners. We all won three days with the Royal Navy visiting submarine base, fleet air arm and sailing on a destroyer in English channel.

    HMS Dolphin

     

  2. J.R.R.Tolkien: Tolkien was the major influence on me as a reader and writer. I first discovered the Professor when I was age 16 in 1969. While exploring library for Anglo-Saxon and Old English literature, I found Tolkien’s seminal Beowulf: the Monsters & the Critics. Lord of the Rings followed in one long weekend without rest and I still have the books. I read anything else of his that I could find. After years of re-reading the films were as I imagined the epic and I currently escape to Middle Earth (see 7.).

    The Monsters and the Critics

    The Monsters and the Critics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  3. Beaver River Expedition: while at college in Canada – early 1970s – I went on white water expedition with teachers, a marine, rugby players, and various other friends.  It was the first recorded descent of the Beaver River – although sure native Canadians beat us to it by a few hundred years.  
  4. Magazine editing: Other than mowing lawns, my first job was as a sub-editor on The Field. But this wasn’t my only magazine editing experience as at college I created a Sci-Fi-Fantasy fanzine, in mid 1980s edited a green-socialist journal (New Ground), and before retired edited & assembled a carriage driving newsletter.

     

  5. Organic Food: In late 1970s set up Celandine Foods, one of the earliest wholesale organic fruit & vegetable companies in the UK and we tried to co-ordinate organic & bio-dynamic production in area of South East England. It proved better if growers and outlets traded direct, but one of the shops re-established business with my ex-partner who still continues to wholesale as well as retail bio-dynamic & organic produce. 
  6. Clothworkers: As a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers I at one time believed that I could take my sheep across London Bridge.  Sadly this is no longer true – for obvious reasons – but it’s a great fantasy even if the Congestion Charge would be hefty.  (See http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/sheep-across-london-bridge-the-freedom-of-the-city-of-london for further details including amusing anecdote about Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams).
    The Livery Hall of the Clothworkers' Company i...
  7.  Perfect World: I met my wife Juanita in Perfect World (http://www.perfectworld.com/), an MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game aka mainly men online role playing girls) set in a fantasy world. Even though divided by five thousand miles we met in real life and now are happily together and still gaming although in Lord of the Rings Online – http://www.lotro.com/ ). Some of course is ‘serious research’ but rest is welcome escape – when the kittens aren’t on the keyboard ‘helping’. Dogs are so much easier to train but what choice do two dog lovers have in a No Dog park home estate.

Once again thank you Fel Wetzig at The Peasants Revolt! (http://www.scotzig.com) for my first Versatile Blogger Award.

WIP Update

Spiral of Hooves:       I’m still keeping my options open as I had queries on the draft contract from Spectacle.  I’m waiting to see what they say in their clarifications before I shut other doors or avenues.  My primary intent has always been to get published but not be trapped into a tight deal or a drawn-out process.

Wyrm Bait:    I’ve done the first read-through/red-pen revision and have thousands of red scribbles, slash marks, and notes on the manuscript. But I have a much better idea of where the novel is going, how to improve the plot and how to bring my characters more to life.  Now for the rewrite which I aim to finish during October before NaNoWriMo starts.

Wyrm Blood: This is my intended writing target for NaNoWriMo 2012 (http://www.nanowrimo.org) and I already have the scribbled outline and character sketches to guide my journey.

So until the next time I find time to Blog, this is the Silver Scribbler wishing everyone Good Writing & Good health.

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How do you choose which path?

English: Crossroads - and three ways out of th...

English: Crossroads – and three ways out of the road opposite I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before on a single track road – a left, right and straight ahead lane to choose from. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When you reach a crossroads is there a right path?  Will turning right lead to a precipice or inspiration? Is self-publishing a more stressful route than the safe traditional path?  Will choosing to focus on the task ahead be at the expense of other demands?

This last month has thrown all these questions at me, complicated by the pain and exhaustion of MS – the MonSter that shares my life.  So where to start at this crossroads with multiple junctions? News first as that can lead down other lanes.

Hoof Shine

Hoof Shone ~ Photo credit: Flickr

Spiral of Hooves: Last month (in August 2nd post) I mentioned that I was considering submitting Spiral of Hooves to a US publishing group http://www.spectaclepmg.com/.  Well I did and they wrote back saying they were interested in publishing the novel so would send me a contract. Still early days but this could be the break I dreamt of years ago.  For now I am being patient and tackling other work.

Fire Wyrm

Fire Wyrm (Photo credit: garlandcannon)

Wyrm Bait: Returning to the first draft a year after writing this second attempt at a novel, I have found elements to change but also a basic structure and characters that read well. It is tempting to work on every sentence but at this stage I am looking at the bigger picture to see if the overall plot works. One element will demand a major rewrite – Point of View (POV).

When I wrote the first draft, I had a clear idea of the protagonist and chose his POV in third person as the opening voice, which works. I deliberated about the second POV: Should I choose the antagonist?  Should I choose his ‘sidekick’?  Would a female POV be better?  In the end I chose a guy close to the villain – as that seemed easier than getting into a female head.  The option of trying to inhabit the mind of the antagonist, make him believable and not have him lie overtly, was a tall order and not something I was ready to attempt; especially Agatha Christie does it brilliantly in ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In retrospect the second POV, as it currently stands, lacks credibility, perhaps because I tried to write an Asian POV plus the guy has strong similarities to the protagonist, and reads too much like an observer and victim of events.  So the conversations between him and his partner will be presented as transcripts by someone anonymous.  The new second POV who participates in the same events more actively than the Asian guy, is a female associate but American.  Having written a female POV as the protagonist in Fates Maelstrom – the latest WIP –I feel confident attempting it again.  Also the character is set to return in the sequel.

The Lair of the White Wyrm

The Lair of the White Wyrm (Photo credit: karlequin)

Wyrm Blood: After the first Wyrm Bait draft, I realised the characters and background – an online role-playing game – could support a series.  I intend to write the first draft of Wyrm Blood for NaNoWriMo in November (http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/about) and so I have outlined the plot and added to the cast.  Some months ago a short phrase came to me and I honed it until I had an opening for some story. That will now be Wyrm Blood and one of the characters will be my second POV in Wyrm Bait. Working on the characters also fed into the first of the intended Wyrm series and added new dimensions throughout.

Card from the Japanese game obake karuta, c. e...

Card from the Japanese game obake karuta, c. early 19th century. Each card features a monster from Japanese mythology and a character from the hiragana syllabary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MonSter: Our crossroads is not on an English or Irish lane that takes us back to the beginning.  Typing this blog has answered some of my questions and brought resolve into my plans.  There is one turning left and that is where the MonSter lives.  MS causes pain, exhaustion, headaches, spasms, gravity checks and as a result restricts my life.  If I choose the path of an agent and a publisher, I can envisage problems coping when exhaustion is an underlying concern.  How do I get to meetings, especially in London, when my mobility is a wheelchair?  What happens when I have to make verbal sense yet speaking or reading aloud is a problem?  I know that other disabled people cope and as the Paralympics draw to a close nearby I see what is possible.

However MS limits my work schedule so I make choices.  If I read all the Blogs I subscribe too, my writing time is cut short.  If I work on a book then I haven’t time to Blog. If I find time to write a Blog then editing is postponed. If the MonSter decides to run amok then I have to sleep or scream until I can re-emerge or escape into Middle Earth. It’s all about priorities and juggling but the MonSter can be managed, but not tamed, as long as I don’t overdo it and pace myself.

So if I don’t post for a few weeks, apologies. But please know that I am still writing or reading something and one day I will be back here.

Until then good writing & reading from The Silver Scribbler.