Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Why Is Identifying Genre So Hard For Me?

It used to be that, whenever I started a new story, I rarely bothered wondering about the genre. It was always classed as fantasy in my mind. I read fantasy, I liked fantasy, therefore I whatever I wrote was fantasy.

It's been a long time since things were so simply put.

Of course, there've been stories when the genre of a novel is obvious, other times it took me a while to agree that a story actually belonged in a different genre. And there's the tricky one that falls under the glorious term of science fantasy.

Then there's the damn spellster series where one book is looking to be some sort of terrible, but
somehow sweet, romance. Whereas the other is... Well, I don't know, actually.

I know it's not erotica. This is not a story about Dylan's sexual journey, which is a key point in that genre.
Not that he doesn't have sex... he has a lot of sex, after around chapter eight, maybe even later. I've about seven planned chapters that'll have such scenes. That's less than a quarter of the story and I know some won't be as long, or as detailed, as another.
Some scenes are explicit, though. I've two back-to-back chapters dedicated to the MC's first time with a guy. Close to 10k in total, you can read the draft of those here if you like. But I'll tell you this: a large part of it has them doing a fair bit of talking, on top of the initial seducing and some fumbling. Sex (actual sex, not just foreplay) doesn't appear until the second part.

My second choice down the line of raunchy genres is erotic romance, which can be defined as "a romantic relationship that develops through sexual interaction". That doesn't quite ring true either. All my stories have an element of romance in them. I can't help it. Trying to steer any of my stories in another direction leads to character tantrums. But the romance element of In Pain and Blood is a secondary plot and happens more through his interaction outside of sexytimes. So maybe not.

It may simply be that I've a fantasy story about a magic-wielding guy who, after believing he's found his place in the world, winds up trying to discover who's responsible for the destruction of his troop, part of the king's army and his old home before they can endanger the kingdom... interspersed with some racy scenes.


Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Story In A Song

Given that I'm in the middle of rewriting the 13k I lost for this story because I'm a fool who got her only copy corrupted beyond saving bar the first chapter she put on Wattpad (it's okay, I've retyped close to 9k so far), I'm gonna let you have a little peek into my mind...


I've often got the ol' iPod on shuffle whilst I'm doing things and, mostly, the music is just white noise. But every so often... WHAM! A song that once had no meaning beyond the original suddenly has a whole story attached to it.

I mean a whole story...

In Pain and Blood is a good, fresh example. So I'm going to show you all what I saw. Firstly, the main character started out as a remnant of an RPG character, his story was mostly a few ideas kicking about in the back of my mind that clashed with the original world. Then along came "Savin' Me" and things all went downhill from there as he was dragged into one of my worlds...

Please, press play and join me...

Picture it. A human male wearing dark green robes and a shiny collar made of purple metal, both military issue. Look closer, if this was earth, he could be described as euroasian. He's almost thirty and, before now, he's spent those years in the confines of a tower stuffed with magic-wielding people known as spellsters.
We'll call him Dylan. He's been chosen as part of the king's army, the collar stops him from using his magic outside of orders.
Dylan's currently unconscious in the middle of the forest. The collar's now a shattered, discarded mess, like the surroundings. Corpses litter a clearing, some burnt, whilst others are merely a broken, bloody messes. Something big happened here, an explosion maybe.

I'm only 10 seconds into the song.
But the lyrics are about to begin and Dylan's waking up...

Prison gates won't open up for me
On these hands and knees I'm crawlin'
Oh, I reach for you

Well I'm terrified of these four walls
These iron bars can't hold my soul in
All I need is you
Come please I'm callin'
And all I scream for you
Hurry I'm fallin', I'm fallin'

[Chorus:] Show me what it's like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I'll show you what I can be
And say it for me
Say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me

Heaven's gates won't open up for me
With these broken wings I'm fallin'
And all I see is you

These city walls ain't got no love for me
I'm on the ledge of the eighteenth story
And all I scream for you
Come please I'm callin'

And all I need from you
Hurry I'm fallin', I'm fallin'

[Chorus:] Show me what it's like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I'll show you what I can be
And say it for me
Say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me

Hurry I'm fallin'


And all I need is you
Come please I'm callin'
And all I scream for you
Hurry I'm fallin', I'm fallin', I'm fallin'

[Chorus:] Show me what it's like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I'll show you what I can be
And say it for me
Say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me

Hurry I'm fallin'

Say it for me
Say it to me
And I'll leave this life behind me
Say it if it's worth saving me
Dylan finds himself face to face with a human woman who's been picking over the dead. This is Katherine, a hedge witch. She's leaving this place with Dylan. 

The pair search for the army camp, only to find it ransacked. Its inhabitants dead, dying or taken.
There's a survivor. A woman. Elven, wearing the armour of a warrior. She'd lift her sword to ward them off if her arm wasn't broken.
Her name? Authril.

Dylan heals her, but Authril 's terrified and he's forgotten that his talents are feared. Also, without a collar, he's considered dangerous. So that sword comes up pretty quickly once he's done.
His only chance at redeeming himself is in returning to the very place that sent him here. It takes some doing, but both women are persuaded to help him return to the tower.

It's dark and raining. There's a hunter's hut in the forest, the human woman living there lets them stay the night and, after discovering the enemy is close, leaves with them the next morning.

They're in a village now. Dylan is attacked by an elven man who is one of the king's hounds (people who are unaffected by magic and in service to the crown to hunt unleashed spellsters).
Fortunately, whatever shattered the collar has left its mark on Dylan's skin. This gives the man pause long enough for explanations. He's called Tracker and, yes, he's coming along, too. To ensure Dylan is telling the truth.
Along the way, they meet Treasure, a human prostitute and associate of Tracker's. Through her, they discover rumours that don't bode well for their final destination.
They're close to the tower now. But something's off, there's smoke above the tree line. There shouldn't be smoke...
The tower's been attacked, all those within either dead or missing. The women discuss where to go next whilst Dylan quietly breaks down. With no tower and no collar, Tracker tries to convince Dylan to flee. But no, they're off to warn the king.

It's night now, they've taken up residence in two of the tower rooms, where Tracker seduces Dylan.

They're in a hall now, or maybe a dungeon, doesn't matter. What does is that Tracker's deflecting a sword blow meant to kill Dylan.
More importantly, Tracker's fighting because Dylan can't. He's been leashed. How? Why? What's going on? Where have the others gone?

Mhmm. Not telling.

Anyway, this is where it segues into "Burn It to the Ground". But I'm not going to tell you about the final battle, which I am hoping I can put into words so it comes off as awesome and brutal as it does in my head.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Songs Will Be The Death Of Me

So, whilst I wait for my newest beta readers to get back to me on The Rogue King, I'm turning to other works, not The Shadow Prince, although there are chapters that could be worked on there. Dark One's Bride has gotten a piece of my time, about a thousand or so words worth. Progress.

My major focus for the past three days has been on a new story, In Pain and Blood. It's been stewing in my head ever since Through Smoke and Fire popped up, largely because it's set in the same world, just a different kingdom and with different Main Characters. In fact, they're looking to have only the world and its rules in common...

See, Through Smoke and Fire has a rebellious slave getting deeper and deeper in trouble after being sold to his new mistress.
Whereas In Pain and Blood is about a cocky spellster who becomes collateral damage after winning the right to join the king's army.

Neither story influences the other.

So back to my current obsession...
Naturally, I found myself bouncing around trying to find a cover that matched what I could find, because that's how I like to work. And you know what? I wound up on scrolling through Shutterstock to make my own cover, the actual one I plan to pair with the story... Actually manipulating images and not just putting text on a finished image.

It was a lot more fun than I thought it'd be.

The colour of the top two words still bugs me and is likely to get tweaked to hell and back, but I digress...
After the cover, I skipped straight to what's looking to be chapters fourteen and fifteen or thereabouts and kicked off In Pain and Blood with what basically amounts to around eight thousand words of erotica... all whilst repeatedly listening to...

Yup... Now I've urge to go write two guys getting it on every time I hear this.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Mulling Over One Chapter...

I've finally read through all The Rogue King with the additional chapters from A Game of Cat and Horse and, after removing a few chapters, reordering another chapter because I'm a dunce and put the other two in the wrong place, changing the PoV on one, adding another to even out the timeline and tweaking one of the original chapters to remove the now unneeded summary of a character...


All in all, I'm pretty confident the merge will work. Well, except for one or two chapters.

The main one in question is Chapter 46 and, as I reached that piece, it left me with a little "Do I need this here?" niggling in the back of my mind. Basically, it imparts knowledge about the state of a certain person as they learn about said state. But that knowledge is taken in via a third party, whereas the next chapter has, in my mind, a little more of an oomph as it's the same knowledge being taken in from the PoV of a character that has stronger stake in it.
Now I like several things about the chapter and it gives a certain insight into how other characters see the MC. But that can be readily dragged into the next book if needed that much.

There's another chapter, #52, that's not as problematic, but, what with everything surrounding it, may be superfluous. I've had all of it--the places, the characters and their timelines--in my head for so long that everything is already one and, even if I wind up removing both chapters, it's still roughly 20,000 extra words.

I guess it's time to go hunting for a second opinion...

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Good news... for once

Otherwise known as "what's been happening over here".

Well, there are always the multiple things that have nothing to do with writing. Notably, there've been some flooding and junk around here, and I've spent the first time in a long time 100% alone in the house. Oh! And it's my daughter's birthday tomorrow... Or rather today seeing that it's pretty close to 1am...

The repurposing of The Rogue King has claimed it's second victim. I'd already axed one chapter before I began the reading, but having reached chapter 29, I found that it didn't mesh with the flow of the story. It worked in the novella, but in the story... Well... Mostly, it slowed things down.
So I have my second cut.
Yeah, I could've rewritten it, but there's no guarantee that the new chapter would work any better than the old one. So it's better if it goes. It's all good, though. I mean that's why I'm reading, to see if things clunk.

On another note: After weeks of staring at the screen and cursing my inability to put the scene I saw into coherent sentences, I finally finished a chapter for Dark One's Bride. And I'm making headway into the next chapter.
I think I may have a sort of weird love/hate thing going on with ballroom scenes, too. Maybe it's the dancing. There's three such scenes in this series so far, one in Dark One's Mistress and there'll be two in its sequel.
At least the last in the trilogy isn't likely to have one. I really can't see the Ebony Court letting that happen. Although, you never know with those people...

So in short, I'm feeling super productive! Go me!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Mapping... uh... maps...

I feels like an age since I've posted here. Or done anything productive, really. Writing anything has become a bit of a struggle. It's not that I don't know where things are going or what would happen, in fact I do, it's just... finding the desire to flesh those ideas out. New or old. Little excites me.

But I long to finish what I have started. It was to that end in which I sat down and spent some time doing what I've never done for the lands nestled within the Dark One's Trilogy. A map. Low and behold, as I work a few sparks flit by. Not enough to power on, but if I fan them, perhaps one might catch...

The map in question is rough and little more than a carrot with which to bait my poor muse, but it's a start.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Catching My Tail

Whoo, what a wicked ride the past month has been. School holidays, people getting colds all over the place and the diagnosis for the cause of my pain has been given a treatment that amounts to basically "take these and wait it out". It could be worse. But I do find myself more drained than usual and it's left me dragging not only on the last bit I needed to finish this experimental addition to The Rogue King, but everything else...

But, today, I ticked one thing off the list. The very chapter that needed just a hundred or so words to conclude is finally done. The scenes are all filled in and the final placement for the chapters from A Game of Cat and Horse are now done.
Not everything has made it. I scrapped the last of Jarend's pov from the end as it added little and sort of spoiled the flow.

So it's roughly 22,000 words heftier than the current novel. That gives me a swanky 87,000 although I doubt it'll be the final number (it's never the final number) as I've still got the deciding factor...

Read the story through and see if the flow fits.

I've not been reading much, so it should be interesting to see how long it takes me. At least I'm at an advantage in that I can start at chapter sixteen...

Wish me luck.