Exit Rewrite Mode

Two books, 215,000 words, and pretty much able to stamp “Final Draft” on Aurori’s Blood. I’m pleased with the first two books of that series now. And I have an idea how to focus the fourth book so that it’s still the series I wanted to write, instead of the crazy thing it veered into with the fifth book. Ultimately it will still get to that crazy stage. But not until I’ve exhausted the history that’s the reason I wanted to write the series in the first place. 😛

So now I’m even more in a ‘dead’ time between here and NaNoWriMo. Or at least I would be, except for my vacation in September. So I think I can be at about 50,000 words by November, and then double that in the Month of Frenzy. Maybe even finish book 4, Chosen’s Return. Besides, can I really complain about going to Hawaii? Nah. Used to live there, once upon a time, for three years. That was before donning the tophat and goggles. My writing back then was largely academic in nature. Loved semi-colons. One of the things I had to learn when switching to fiction was to crush them ruthlessly.

I’ve been meaning to add pages on the blog for all the other stuff I’ve dabbled in. That is: The Aurori, my Hellenistic Fantasy, an Urban Fantasy, and a Space Opera. Though the latter may or may not go under Tarien Cole, as such. I haven’t decided yet. Given the amount of blog time I’ve talked about both lately, they need them. 😛

Something I’ve Discovered

Devoted Editing to two straight books in full rewrite mode saps the enthusiasm. I’m almost to the end of the second now. So there’s no reason to set it aside. But I don’t think I’ll do this again. Write one, rewrite one works better for me. Especially since I usually am editing a project while I write anyway. Though nothing as full-bore as I’ve done the last couple months.

I started compiling notes for Book 4 of the Hellenistic Fantasy. After the full-scale war of the last book, this one will be a bit more maneuver and counter, though with a dark adventure for a second plotline. Yalissa’s not-so-pleasant discoveries continue to accumulate. But at least she gets to ask questions in person this time around. Not sure she’s going to like the answers, though.

I made pilgrimage up to Sporting Park in Kansas City to watch Sporting KC throttle Toronto FC 4-1. It’s always fun to watch a game there. In fact, I’d call it the best venue for any sport in the country. And the team is the defending champs, so no reason to complain there, either.

But my real countdown is to vacation in Hawaii. Three weeks tomorrow. I lived there for three years back before Tarien Cole was a name to use. I’ve missed it often, but hadn’t had a chance to go back yet. It’ll be sad to miss the rainy, stormy, part of the year for sun and the beach. Oh darn. I may even get some writing done on it. If my wife will let me. 😉

In Full Editing Mode

So after finishing book 3 of the Sword, Sandals, and Sorcery series, I decided I needed a little break before going into the next. Still not sure how long that break will be. It’s too long to stop until November and NaNo. But it did take me three months to the day to finish the 120,000 words of Chosen in Chains.

I can usually edit one work while I write another. But there was one book I couldn’t, because sometime in the past, it got horribly reformatted. As in almost every paragraph break was annihilated. Indents were too far, random returns, just ugly.

It was also Aurori’s Blood. My first novel, and the one that probably has gotten the best feedback of anything I’ve shown. So I decided to take the time to comb through it in dedicated fashion, fix it, put it in Scrivener, and then rework the plot of the rest of the series.

For those of you who know nothing about it, here’s my attempt at a logline: A Romany Sorceress, not wanting to become a vampire, flees into the arms of a minor courtier of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague who is preparing to kick off the Long War against the Ottoman Empire. She thus becomes embroiled in a plot of forces political and arcane, wherein a necromancer steals a tome from His Majesty that will allow him to control creatures such as her would-be masters.

Much Chaos Ensues. Where did this come from? Well, I’ve read two authors in my life about whom I’ve said, “There’s no way in the world I could do this.” One was Steven Erikson and his mammoth, sprawling dark epic, The Malazan Book of the Fallen. To me easily the superior sustained epic fantasy of this era. Yes over Wheel of Time (which had 6 books of total cash-cow dross), and A Song of Ice and Fire (which has now spent 2 book spinning its wheels and sees its author dissing its fans for daring to think that once every 6 years is a tad slow for production, ESPECIALLY in a series that is making no narrative progress). When I read Malazan, I was amazed by Erikson’s worldbuilding, characters, gallows humor, and sustained ruthless forward energy. I looked at that, love it, but was pretty sure I could never do anything ‘like’ that. And didn’t really convince myself I wanted to. (I’m now doing a fairly dark epic fantasy of my own, but still, I’d be shocked if anyone compared this to MBotF.)

Then there was Jim Butcher and his Dresden Files. When I saw this recommended on the old Malazan Forum time and again I hesitated. Urban Fantasy didn’t appeal to me. To me, if it’s present day, give me sci-fi. Of course, the fact that too much sci-fi has become political tripe instead of stories about exploration, new cultures, and old challenges encountered in new ways has made me very wary on it. But eventually I gave Dresden a try…oh my. Nope, couldn’t do that either. Fast, funny, brilliant action scenes, and superb genre-savvy characters. For my money, the Best Fiction on the Market.

But, there was a marked difference: Where I read Erikson, loved him, but was intimidated from trying to write anything because I could never measure. With Butcher, it was infectious FUN to think, “I couldn’t do this. But what could I do?”

So I took my love of history, dropped it in one of the most eccentric courts of all time (Rudolf II, Emperor of the Romans in Renaissance Prague), remembered Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, and all the myths he toyed at with that, and then went through Slavic and German Folklore for a few dozen more, and did my best to turn it all up to 11 and see where it went.

And that’s the source of the Aurori Saga. An All-the-Myths-Are-True (sorta) 16th century “Renaissance Urban Fantasy,” if you will. And I’ve had fun refurbishing the first, and playing with the plotline of the subsequent books to tighten the narrative a tad. It might just keep my occupied until I can prep for NaNo with Book 4. We’ll see. 😉