View from the Other Side

Well, here it is. 1:06pm December 1. I got up an hour ago, I’ve taken a shower (I choose not to think about how long it’s been since I took my last). The only things open are Firefox and iTunes.  No Word documents whatsoever.

I won’t lie. I’ve been sitting here for a little while thinking “hmm. wtf am I gonna do now”. There are lots of things that in principle I could do. I could start thinking about Christmas shopping. I could tidy up my room. I could *read a book*. I’ve still got Steven Erikson’s latest, that I imported from the UK back in September, that I only made it to page 200 on and I really want to read that. And there’s also this nifty little piece of writing that I stumbled on a few days ago; it was out of place so I opened it, read it, and have been wanting to work on it for days. It’s neat and features such paragraphs as

“And no one would step in between them, everyone would stand by the sidelines as the friendship imploded, as Vasily locked himself away for another brooding weekend, emerging each successive time aged another few years and eyes a little more dead;  as Nicolaas left headquarters to get secretly high, a secret he knew was secret to none. Then the stares afterwards, ever glancing to bare inner arms as though he would tattoo himself so visibly with the shame of what he did when he could no longer take the world, or could no longer take the sight of the man who stared back at him in the mirror.”

(Okay. I had to open that document to get those lines)

Anyway, there are probably lots of you lurky readers that want to know what the hell I plan to do with this lot now that it’s written and stored in multiple places online and on my flash drive. The first answer is? Let them sit quietly for a little while and ferment.

Then, in January or February, perhaps, I’ll pull the suckers back out and read them. I’ve already forgotten half of them anyway, but I’m still emotionally connected to all the characters. Right now, having just written them, I want to say that three of my four projects will make it to second draft. Under the Infinite Skies is just a silly mess – oh, it’s coherent and everything, it’s just never going to be workable into anything useful…and I don’t want it to be. It’s harmless and silly and it was fun to write. After I’ve read them in a few months time, then I’ll decide how best to proceed: either a) keep pretty much exactly the same plot and rework all the bits that don’t exist or b) take the characters and revamp the plot – it would still go along the same lines but might make more sense or c) good god this is a bunch of crap, let’s get rid of it right now.

Now, I’ve had a couple of requests via PM about some deluded souls who want to read these first drafts. So I’ll throw it out here: if you think you can stagger through a first draft (99.5% grammar/spelling perfect) and actually want to, send me a request through here with an email address or something. But pause for a moment before even thinking about it: the each book in the trilogy is 200,000 and Just a Glimpse is 300,000.  I would prefer that if you *do* decide you want to read something, that you be willing to at least try to do more than glance at the first page.

In the off-chance that you are thinking “hmm, I’ve got oodles of spare time, I wonder how I can best waste it…maybe looking at one of Kate’s Pieces of Dreck” but don’t know which to choose, the following are updated summaries about each of them, now that they’ve actually been written

Legend of Paredin: An old man comes to a village and tells Rawlan that he is the heir of the kingdom to the north, and that his throne has been usurped by the evil Jaron and that it’s his obligation to join the resistance and fight to free the country, a country about which he knows nothing, doesn’t speak the language, can’t even use a sword, etc. Sensibly, Rawlan refuses.  But the resistance starts getting ugly and refugees stream across the borders into Rawlan’s village. He decides that he has to go and take charge, if only to control them and keep them from burning villages to the ground. But when he joins the resistance, it’s just the beginning of a massive web of lies as he learns who he really is and who is actually behind everything that has happened to his new, adopted kingdom. (This is the one I wrote on November 1, and while there are some subplots that vanish into thin air, I think it’s actually pretty decently written for a first draft written in 24 hours.)

Under the Infinite Skies: At one point, the premise made sense to me, and I think that it was based somewhat on my bare-bones knowledge of places like Cyprus. There are two countries who decide to perfectly amicably erect a wall between them and sever all relations between them. On the last night, there’s a giant country-wide party, and a cop from one side ends up sleeping with a young man from the other side. A decade later, he gets a call that because he’s good at catching serial killers, he has to go to the other side and help catch this one (big surprise, it’s the guy he met at the party 10 years previous). When the killer sees him, he assumes that it’s because Vahn, the cop, has finally come back because he loves him. The investigation proceeds, Vahn gets more and more suspicious, and everything nearly ends in tears before it works out for the best. (I don’t think that structurally there’s a lot wrong with this, but it’s a mess conceptually, and the plotline is silly, which is why it’s going to forever be a first draft.)

Just a Glimpse: Enter into a world where you are defined, restricted, and segregated by your class – only certain jobs go to certain classes, certain drugs are legal for some and not others, privileges, housing, etc. You are what color your ID card says you are. But it’s a system on the verge of collapse and Cameron Alman, the leader, is losing control as his pseudo-democratic Congress tries to gain more control for itself. As Cameron is already something of a folk hero, the leader of the Congress makes plans to kidnap him, torture him, and make him confess all the awful things he did during the revolution so that no one will have any respect for him, and then the leader of Congress, Connor Haney, can take over. But when the plan is actually carried out, things go from bad to worse as everyone tries to get a piece of the pie, from the Alman Loyalists to the Church. Meanwhile, the mysterious prison camp just on the border of the city contains a terrible secret, one that might bring down the whole country if only someone can get in and out again without getting killed. (I didn’t have a solid plot when I went into this one, more like an idea and a world and some characters, so the plot wanders for a little before settling down, and I think it’s going to need heavy editing and trimming, but I do like the world it’s set in. Also, if you’re tempted here, beware: there are 15 viewpoints. Just an fyi)

This is How it Ends: The country of Fayrotin is involved in a generations-long war with the ‘squids’, but there are those who want it to end, those who want to keep fighting to the bitter end, and those who don’t care how many die in order to force the war to end. And while they think that the squids are all unified in their desire to fight the humans to the bitter end, they’re wrong.  But this is not a simple story of a war to end all wars – this is a war that has been going on for millenia and can trace its roots all the way back to the old homeland, all the way back to Earth. Across thousands of years, three species, the end is coming and in nearly all of the cases, it is brought upon themselves. (This one is so damn hard to summarize even after the fact because so much is going on, but it was a lot of fun to write, and there are *aliens* in it)

So, what am I going to go and do right now (I swear, I just had to edit that sentence because I typed “write” instead of right)? I’m going to post this blog, go sit on the forums for a while doing absolutely nothing, go back and look at the story mentioned at the beginning of this blog, probably not write anything on it but I might make notes.  Then I’m going to go downstairs and for the first time in a couple of weeks, start making dinner – something that I actually enjoy doing but haven’t had any time for over the past week or two. And later, I’m holding my mother to the promise of a bottle of alcohol of my choice (within reason) to be purchased at the liquor store. I’m thinking Bailey’s, but I haven’t decided yet. Tonight, I’m not going to sit in my room with the door closed, headphones on, typing away. I’m going to go downstairs and watch tv with the family. I might even have a drink while I do so. At probably about 1 or 2 in the morning, I’ll go to bed. I won’t be up until 4 or 5 writing.

It’s a strange feeling. Nano, I already miss you. Can’t wait till next year.

(For the record, I haven’t decided what I’m doing next year. Given that I’m desperately hoping to be employed by then, I may try to write as much as I can while holding down a full-time job. Or I might try to write 50,000 in Russian, which makes me shudder in horror even as I contemplate it. But I took four years of it in college and it might be a useful skills refresher, even if the grammar would make someone want to kill themselves over it. I think 1,667 words of Russian a day would be a real challenge for me.)

And, in case you can’t tell, I obviously miss writing. This blog is nearly 1800 words long.

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5 Comments

Filed under Nanowrimo 09

5 responses to “View from the Other Side

  1. anne

    ooh, can anne read some of these? especially ‘just a glimpse’ and ‘under infinite skies,’ if the latter is available to be read. i can’t promise to read them quickly, but i shall read them both.

    i’ll pm you my email via the nano website. i’m tamara_the_muse.

    and hehe, i did the same thing: yesterday i wrote a 1500-word-long blog post without thinking. -grins-

    yours in writing,
    –anne

  2. Jen

    Yup, I wrote a long blog post today too. It’s like a feeling of NaNo withdrawal.

    Will PM you with my e-mail, I’d love to read all of these (especially the one with the squids, since they were giving you so much trouble). And I have a long break coming up, nothing better to do than read when I’m not writing.

  3. I imagine that if I knew you in real life, we’d be best friends. ^_^ I wish I had Russian[or German] language classes at school. 😀

    Anyway, your summaries sound great, definitely stuff I would read. :]

    Good luck on your job-hunting!

    Jess

  4. I wish I legit thought I had the time to commit to reading one of them, but honestly, reading on the computer is killer for me, since about 85% of my reading time time is between the house / work [and actually at work on breaks].

    But I wanted to let you know that I would be interested, I just hate committing to things I might not be able to see through to the end. :/

  5. OldFashionedGirl

    All sound very interesting, but I know that I would never finish reading them, so I will have to pass. I can’t read on the computer, and it has never worked for me. Congratulations on hitting a million. I have been feeling Nano withdrawel as well, and I decided to go back and finish the second novel, which has the last 600 words as a bracketed summary of the scenes.

    Good luck with job-hunting and editing.

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