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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Flattery

Recently we were in Kirkland, WA visiting with two of our sons. We had taken them to The Red Robin restaurant for dinner, and two of us were enjoying our hamburgers on gluten-free buns, when Josh, the collaborator, leaned over and said, "Mom, you are so good at this, I can't believe you haven't done it already. You ought to write a novel from the viewpoint of a Driddion." All I could think was, "Yeah, right."
His teen-age son heard this and said, "Oh, I can see this. The dialogue goes, "Click click click click click." I laughed.
Last year, Josh said he wanted me to write a Game of Thrones type book involving the Gigantics. That seems so far outside my skill set. I don't understand politics, jockeying for position, outflanking opposition, gathering allies, and all that sort of social maneuvering. I do understand stabbing enemies with a knife. I think he's going to need to hire someone else to write that book. Still....that could be fun if I could write like that. We're going to have to work a lot harder on the Gigantic society for me to understand them well enough to write from their viewpoint.
I was thinking that when I finish the Kruliss novel (still looking for a title) of maybe telling a Mountain Man's story. Maybe Montee. I assumed he survived the Warrior Woman attack, but since he never ran across Bowmark again, I just let him go off and do his own thing. A Seafolk story would be interesting. Thinking.
So far:
Scarred King I, II, and III--Bowmark POV Human young man
Sailing From Stoneshell--Spearmark POV Human young man
Killing the Siij--Eberamend POV  Garloon buck, from youth to adulthood, Risli POV Human young woman, Chanter I POV Siij, male pre-birth to adulthood
The Ungols Ride to War--Klikatak POV Ungol male youth to adulthood, short story
Finding Home--Cryout POV Human young man
A Little Magic--Dawn POV Human Little young woman
The Journey of Pledgekept--Pledgekept POV Human young man
The Kruliss novel--Atiuk POV Kruliss male youth to adulthood

Hmmm, our intended audience is young adult, so I won't apologize for the ages of the main characters, but that so many of them are young men tells me I do need to add more variety. Maybe I do need to add some dialogue in clicks.

correspondence for collaboration

In case you're interested, here's a little correspondence between my son and I about the series we are collaborating in:





On Fri, May 8, 2015 at 1:38 PM, Lelia  wrote:
I think I have an idea for the ending of the Journey of Pledgekept. What’s been bothering me is so far in Stone Grove, is he’s been watching Bowmark act. At the ending, HE needs to be the actor, not the watcher. So, I’m thinking, when the nobles convene to vote for the first time in their lives, Pledgekept will address them in story or song. He can’t fight. I’ve spent an entire novel establishing that. But he can tell a story. So I’m running through scenarios right now, not writing, but thinking through this conversation and that. What would be the most dramatic? Thinking, thinking.

Still waiting to hear from you on whether or not the slight changes I put in the Kruliss novel pass your inspection before I go too deeply into the rest of the novel.
 Mom
 
From: Josh Foreman 
Sent: Friday, May 08, 2015 6:35 PM
To: Lelia
Subject: Re: end for journey

I'll try to read that tonight.  Been a very busy week at work.




From: Josh Foreman
Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2015 7:35 PM
To: Lelia
Yeah that works.  The only minor thing I'd like is if there was an indeterminate amount of days between the first and second Gigantic encounter so I can fill it with other stuff in a movie if needed.


at 7:45 PM, Lelia  wrote:
I’ve seen enough movie adaptations of books to know the movie director can put in as many days as she likes between scenes.


On Sun, May 10, 2015

From: Josh Foreman
Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2015 11:48 PM
To: Lelia
Subject: Re: end for journey
 


You're forgetting the ENTIRE POINT OF MY WORLD, which is that every story told in every medium is canon and DO NOT CONFLICT. If the book says "the third day on the river..." then a movie I make is not going to move that stuff around.  Part of the reason this isn't done in other fictional worlds is because the material being made in one medium isn't designed to be flexible for other mediums.  But if we make sure our stories are approached from the ground up with that flexibility then that will make the multimedia expressions much easier to manage. What we are building is unprecedented, and so this stuff has to be figured out as we go.  But it's that ground-breaking approach that is going to bring success!   



On Mon, May 11, 2015 at 3:53 PM, Lelia  wrote:
Oh, right. You have a lousy employee.

Subject: Re: end for journey
 Well you have seniority so I'll never fire you.  ;) 


Josh has to put up with a lot with his stable of one writer so far. From book to book, sometimes from chapter to chapter, I change what is capitalized and what isn't. I change the names of things. I change what is hyphenated and what isn't. I forget the names of cities and continents. 

What I have to put up with is his occasional changing what an alien looks like. Then I have to go back through all the novels and change all my descriptions. And after I'd written about a particular alien that I had invented (and he graciously let stay in the pantheon) for five books, he GAVE THE ALIEN FOUR LEGS! Huff huff huff. It is his universe, so he gets final say. Still....go back and change. The Giants became the Gigantics and lost a pair of arms, and changed the nature of their feet, and hands, and everything else. Go back and change.

Then there was the time we were working slowly through the first long book (which later became a trilogy). The first book took years to write as we were still working through the geography, peoples, and rules for the world of Talifar. So here we were, two years in, and my son tells me, "Oh, I forgot. Bowmark needs to be chased by a Warrior Woman through the entire novel." Explosion ensues. So Bowmark (who Josh had initially named Bomar) now is chased by a Warrior Woman for the second half of the novel, or, one and a half novels, unless we change the book again.

We wrestle from time to time about the names and their spellings of the aliens. I usually win those arguments (ie. Bomar to Bowmark). When everybody in my critique group trips over a name, even though it's OBVIOUS to me how it should be pronounced, I change the spelling. And go back and change.



 







Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Joys of Collaboration

So. I sent in another chapter of the Kruliss novel to my oldest son, Josh. I was super happy with the chapter. I know I might not like the chapter later, and that things might need to be changed around, but I felt good at the moment and chose to revel in that moment. My son emailed back in an hour: OH NOES, you forgot the MOST IMPORTANT scene. Then he said what I forgot to put in. I wrote back and complained that he should have told me what the most important scene was BEFORE I started writing the book. He emailed back that he HAD.

oh

Then he wrote the chapter the way he wanted it and sent it to me. I was highly offended at how he messed with my sacred text. I gave myself a week to calm down and think, and then rewrote his chapter to accommodate the character arc I had been working on, and sent it back. Best Beloved and I drove up to see our sons that weekend, and I think the first thing Josh said after, Hi, Mom. was Now I know how you felt about having your words messed with. I laughed heartily and told him the story of how Jimmy Carter and his wife co-wrote one book and swore they would never do so again. Then Josh started arguing for some of the things I left out or changed in my rewrite. And he was absolutely right on some of his points. Some. So I agreed where I could as we discussed pacing, modern writing techniques and reader expectations, geography, and biology. Then he had a friend take some authors pictures. All in all, a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A little grumpy. A little squeee.

Today I'm feeling a little grumpy because I am going through the novels in the Tales of Talifar series (set in Josh Foreman's universe) and breaking apart as many long sentences as possible into little snippets. Because. Today's readers can't read long sentences.
I'm also a bit squeee. I had a lunch date with a lady in my Sunday School Class, and we are having wonderful times with each other. She is interested in literature and almost everything else in the world. She didn't run away even when I got on my obsessive monologue about introducing new crops into Rwanda. And she loves art! We set another date for next week at a Thai restaurant, and then a tour through art stores. After Mom died and another friend got a job, I've had no one to go to art stores with. I am looking forward to this.
Now, back to breaking sentences.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

This and That- February 2015

Today on FaceBook (a social media site) my oldest posted an article about zombie ladybugs and asked me to tell Nature to stop stealing his best ideas. I said I would get right on that.

In other news, the house is sold, the business is sold, and construction on our new home should begin soon. This morning I delivered cups of Valentine candy to all the neighbors who might be impacted by that construction. On each cup I attached a Valentine note saying that I was sorry if the house-building causes any inconvenience.

I'm not quite to the halfway point on the Kruliss novel. This is a lot of fun to write. Josh has been sending me incredibly beautiful pictures of Arctic and Antarctic ice. I'm submitting Sailing from Stoneshell to the Ubergroup of Scribophile (a website of people who critique each other's work.) I need to go critique a lot more pieces to get enough credit to post the whole novel. And I'm waiting on an editor we hired to work on The Scarred King. Moving along in my plan to begin publishing the Tales of Talifar series this year.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!
This is the year that at least the first in the Scarred King trilogy will be self-published, and possibly the next two as well. Or, possibly, the editor we hired will persuade Josh to connect all three into the one novel they started life as.

2014 is the year I "joined" the 500 club, as explained by Randy Ingermanssen, the SF thriller writer in Battle Ground: once the novel has been figured out, I write at least 500 words per day on the thing, no matter what. It used to take me years, but this time I wrote a novel in two months. The next novel took three months. I don't know how long it will take me to write The Journey of Pledgekept, but I expect not too long as so much of it has already been written in other novels. I merely need to take the same scenes and rework them from his viewpoint. fun, fun, fun.

I had a good time over Christmas brainstorming another novel with my oldest. With the caveat that they all need editing, here is what we have so far in The Tales of Talifar series: The Scarred King I, The Scarred King II, The Scarred King III, Sailing From Stoneshell, Killing The Siij, Finding Home, A Little Magic, the short story The Ungols Ride to War, and the two novels I'm working on now: The Journey of Pledgekept, and the Kruliss novel. The Kruliss started out life as Binkutts, but I complained that every time I tried to think of their names, I kept coming up with Binkies. I'm still fussing about the specie's name. I'd rather they had a name that did not end in two esses. So, polar bear/centaurs that live at the poles of Talifar. Josh wanted me to write a novel with a brilliant and profound ending, but he could not tell me what that might be. So I had a species I still did not understand, no plot, and no idea what profound thing any of them might do. Generally, when writing about aliens, authors will throw in a human as a point of reference, so what if we had a slave human? What would a strong, giant alien that lives on ice need a human for?

Josh wondered if we would be too (something) if we made the slave's story something like Joseph's in the Bible. I seized on that idea like a pit bull. Think of the strength of Steinbeck's East of Eden. Okay, now what. So we started to draw timelines, and discovered that what I thought Josh wanted for the big boss battle, or the climax of the book, he actually wanted as preface to all the adventures. Aargh! So we played what if for a couple days and hammered out a rough plot that I think is going to be a lot of fun to write. I've already sent him the first chapter, and he's written back what he wants to see changed. We're using the Aleut language as inspiration for names, and Vikings for the starting point that then morphs into alien morality. We're always concerned about reasonable physics, economics, and social structures. We spent a lot of time watching on-line videos about icebergs and floes, and thinking about food and physiology. Yeah, this novel is going to be fun.

2014 I threw two novels I wrote decades ago onto Amazon for downloading onto Kindle. I haven't advertised Streets of God or Pilgrimage. I just wanted them out in case Shatterworld and its sequels ever gets published and a reader wants to read more stuff by me. Josh is trying to figure out how to push Tales of Talifar without using his GuildWars connection and thereby being unethical. If he were saying these were GuildWars stories, yeah, that would be unethical. I don't think announcing that he is an artist for them is unethical. Everybody else announces what their background is. Why shouldn't he?

In 2014, I reentered the world of the hearing (although music is still hideous noise) and found out I was allergic to much of the world. Also had a gall bladder taken out and a host of medical issues came and went, so I'm in pretty good shape now, better than in years. We sold (are selling) our house and moved into a small apt. to free up money to build a strong house for us, our autistic daughter, and her caregiver that we hope will last without needing major repairs for the next forty or fifty years. If the house and business sales go through as they look as though they will, 2015 will be a busy year of continual plan revision and building. And writing.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Some recent movies, including Interstellar

I really liked the robot in the movie Interstellar. Its locomotion was tremendous. The cinematography, the acting, a lot of the plot were tremendous. The science, as in most Hollywood movies, check that, as in All Hollywood movies, was forehead slapping. My husband had to make me stop laughing in the theater when beautiful scientist's daughter gives an impassioned speech about how love is quantifiable (and what quanta does love come in?) and how love transcends space and time. Uh-huh. Then I suppose hate does too. How about indifference? Still, if you like to feel while bypassing thinking, this is one good movie. Oh, and yes, the parent-teacher conference scene alone was worth the price of admission. And that robot!

I was a kid when Robbie the robot would intone, "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!", wave his arms around, sparkle in his glass dome head, and have various gizmos twirl. And for some reason, every show and movie thereafter had to have vaguely humanoid robots. This robot was a marvelous slab with sections that pivoted in various places. I would have rounded the corners a little bit, to save wear and tear on both corner and environment, but other than that, I thought the machine was marvelous.

As long as they follow their internal logic, I give a pass on science to cartoons and superhero movies. We took some men with us to watch The Penguins of Madagascar. We laughed a lot. Really a lot. We love those guys. Smile and wave, boys.

Big Hero 6. Despite the hollow feeling of missing a great character throughout the entire movie, I loved the show. Great animation and art. Great plot. Fun Characters. I highly recommend the movie.

Mockingjay. Not a feel-good movie. I thought it was powerful and moving. For a movie, it followed the book amazingly well. If I reread The Hunger Games, the actors are who I will see as the characters. If you can handle lots of violence and emotional turmoil, and aren't offended when the character you love suffers from PTSD, this is a movie I can recommend.