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Weekly Wrap-Up: May 10 | Kestrel's Aerie

Weekly Wrap-Up: May 10 | Kestrel's Aerie

Weekly Wrap-Up: May 10

What Is This?

Every Monday, I document the happenings of the past seven days. The original (and still primary) intent is to track my progress in meeting my writing goals. Increasingly, I’ve been discussing more than just writing. For example, I’m a sports nut, so occasionally I’ll throw in a sports tidbit. I may talk about World of Warcraft, do-it-yourself projects, travel, food, or beer and wine. I think potpourri fits very well. *grins*

Writing

Weekly Word Count

My weekly goal is 2,000 words. I use an Excel spreadsheet to track all my work by category (blog post, copyediting work, creative writing) and item. So all I need to do is add up the “words” column and I’m good to go. Blog posts and creative writing count full credit. Copyediting for other writers is counted at ten percent of the starting word count for the document; style sheets for that copyediting will count twenty-five percent. Editing my own work, if and when I get to that point, will count fifty percent of the starting word count.

This week’s word count: 2,289.

  • Blog Post: “Weekly Wrap-Up: May 4,” 541 words
  • Blog Post: “MarsEdit 3.0: Blogging Software for the Mac,” 632 words
  • Creative Writing: World-building for The Obsidian Throne, 514 words
  • Blog Post: “World-Building with Skitch and Scrivener,” 602 words

World-Building

The world-building exercise was actually done in two phases. The first was described (and in fact related) in the world-building article last Thursday. I debated taking credit for an extra thousand words, based on the drawing of Throne’s world political geography. *grins* (Tami said I should!)

The second phase I wrote on Friday, when I started to describe the main characters with more specifics. Well, okay, maybe more generalities. For instance, I haven’t gotten round to physical descriptions yet. Those will be pretty easy, as I already have a fairly good idea of what Cato, Celeste and Wil look like. For example, Wil has jet-black hair, but that’s a plot device (cue dramatic musical chord). I also realized a fourth character, Sharia, will appear relatively early in the tale, and may (or may not) become Cato’s love interest. She’s a healer, by the way (fortuitously, it seems).

Finally, I started working on the prophecy that starts the three on their quest. (Wait…this is high fantasy; thus, “…the Prophecy that starts the Three on their Quest.” Right?) The challenge here is to keep it ambiguous enough that I have plenty of wiggle room for the climax to reveal a surprise twist. In other words, “The Crown Prince shall venture forth with his blood twin and the twin of his heart to fight and slay the evil Monster, else the Land shall be plunged into eternal Darkness” just isn’t going to cut it. And of course, it needs to be in the form of a poem, right? Except…guess what? Bingo: Robert Frost, I’m not.

And somehow, I just don’t believe a Prophecy (note the capital “P”) should sound like it was written by Dr. Seuss, either. Unfortunately, right now it’s more Seuss than Frost. (Any good prophecy-writers out there? *looks hopeful*)

Potpourri

Reading

The reading bug—I haz it! It’s been much too long since I’ve done a lot of reading, but thanks in part to my commitment to myself to read at least one book a month this year, and in part to having plenty of time to read when we were in California in late January – early February, I’ve regained my enthusiasm for reading, and my excitement in enjoying well-told tales.

In the past couple weeks, I read Todd McCafferey’s Dragonheart, a continuation of the Dragonriders of Pern series his mother, Anne, started writing back in the ‘70s. My sister gave me the book for Christmas two years ago. One reason I’d resisted opening it (even though I’d asked for the book!) was my fear that Todd’s writing wouldn’t measure up to his mother’s (even though I’ve read at least one collaboration of theirs). My fears were ungrounded: His writing about Pern is every bit as spellbinding as his mother’s. The emotions in the first chapter actually had me a bit choked up (perhaps I was overcome by being transported back to one of my favorite science fiction worlds, too).

In fact, I was so enthralled by the book that I promptly ordered three more paperbacks by Todd that I’d somehow missed, and pre-ordered the next hardbound book in the series, Dragongirl.

More significantly, I spent a few evenings last week re-reading the original Dragonriders of Pern trilogy, which I’d purchased in a single volume as part of a Science Fiction Book Club introductory special many, many years ago. So, so much I’d forgotten about these wonderful books! (And I simply don’t reread many books; the only other ones I can remember rereading were some Zane Grey westerns I read many, many times throughout junior high school.)

Another series I’m looking forward to reading is Jim C. Hines’s Princess Novels. These books are the (rather darker) retellings of the stories of some of the most famous fairy-tale princess—Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty—from a considerably different perspective than that portrayed by Disney artists. In other words, these aren’t my granddaughter’s princesses!

I picked up the (last copy of) the first book in the series, The Stepsister Scheme, at Borders on Saturday. I added the upcoming third book in the series to my Amazon preorder of Dragongirl, so I’m assured of some good reading come August. Incidentally, the first chapter of many of Jim’s novels are available at his website, linked above.

The Deck Project

In addition to going to Borders on Saturday (see preceding paragraph), we stopped at Lowe’s, where we ordered decking to replace the front deck boards. We decided on ChoiceDek gray composite decking in 12-foot lengths. I could have had it delivered this afternoon, but I’m glad I demurred until Thursday, given the continuous rain we’ve had since the wee hours of this morning, and which will continue through tomorrow.

Maybe it’s just as well the weather is still cool: I’m definitely not looking forward to unscrewing the old boards, not one teeny-tiny bit. On the other hand, installing the new boards won’t be a lot of fun either. Since we’re getting composite decking, every single screw hole needs to be pre-drilled. Ugh. UGH!

On the plus side of the ledger, Lowe’s extends a ten percent discount to all military members, both active duty and retired, on all purchases. I appreciate that.

4 Conversations about Weekly Wrap-Up: May 10
  1. Tami
    May 10, 2010 | 13:56

    Many happy things!

    Congratulations on the blogging and fiction writing goals being met. World-building and planning are so very vital – if you’re working on the book/story, then you should reward yourself just the same as if you’re actively putting words down on a page. Skipping one in order to more quickly dive into the other is a dangerous habit to form.

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts on Dragongirl and The Stepsister Scheme when you read them!

    And…congratulations on…deck…things. ;)
    Tami´s latest blog post is NaNo2010 > Character Roundup My ComLuv Profile

    • Kestrel
      May 10, 2010 | 14:18

         Twitter: If you’ve read Dragonheart, Dragongirl is a continuation of Fiona’s saga. (If you haven’t read Dragonheart, I recommend Dragon’s Kin first; some of the characters from that book reappear in Dragonheart).

      Not skimping on the world-building, but it isn’t going really quickly. I think part of that is because I’m being careful not to do actual writing before November 1. *grin* The one scene I have written was done mostly to chart part of Cato’s transformation; the scene, even if it remains, will change drastically in the actual draft.

      I also want to go slowly because I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself–and I mean that somewhat literally. I think my problem with my earlier story is that I knew how it started; I had a pretty good idea of the climax–and no freaking clue how to bridge that distance.

      So for Throne, while I’m not trying to create the story in linear fashion, I do want to be sure I don’t time-warp from “Once upon a time” to “happily ever after.” ;)

  2. Ratshag
    May 10, 2010 | 14:19

    Hrmm. Enjoyed the first Dragonriders trilogy back in the day, and the one about the harper girl too. Couldn’t get into any of the later books though – kinda felt like the cow was runnin’ low on milk, or maybes was adolescent angst gearin’ up fer me upcoming love affair with cyberpunk in the 80s. Maybe I’ll give this one a shot.
    Ratshag´s latest blog post is Galertruby’s Guide To Child-Rearing My ComLuv Profile

    • Kestrel
      May 10, 2010 | 18:03

         Twitter: Reading the first books again, there is definitely a certain sameness about them, with respect to the author’s “voice.” Sometimes, that is a bit off-putting (for example, when I see the same phrase used several times, which makes it seem trite or cliche—”sketched a salute” comes to mind—but for me, at least, the stories themselves, as well as most of the writing, are better than “good enough” to keep me reading.

      In fact, I started re-reading The Skies of Pern (2001) again today. While I could remember one of the storylines, I couldn’t recall any of the details of supporting story lines, so it’s almost like reading it for the first time.

      (Good to see you around the Aerie again, my friend!)