|I use a lot of Thinkology while riding on the back of the bike on rides with The Biker Chef!|
Wow. I can’t believe it’s the last Friday of June. As far as my blog hop goes, this is half-way through the year, baby!
If you’ve been reading some of my more recent posts, you’ll know I’ve been shifting information from later books in my War of Six Crowns series to the second book. Not info dumping, mind you. Just… enough to make things more interesting all round.
Time Between Edits.
Using Text Speak Programs.
Print out the Manuscript.
Terry W. Ervin II is an English teacher who enjoys writing fantasy and science fiction.
Young Enchantress Thereese lays stricken and silent, her vital essence sapped by the Shard Staff, edging ever closer toward death. Supreme Enchantress Thulease refuses to allow her daughter to fade beyond recovery.
Even if Flank Hawk and Thulease reach the mythical forge in time, can its magic revive the ailing young enchantress, the one whose life is somehow tied to the Kingdom of Keesee’s ultimate fate?
Hey all! Welcome to another Monday Feature. Today, Mark Murata is visiting to show us how he uses Excel in writing.
Excel in Writing
Get the pun in this entry’s title? For the first time, I’m using an Excel workbook as part of my writing. In my mashup of The War of the Worlds, I have the cylinders from Mars landing near different cities around the world, not just London, so their invasion has to advance consistently on each day.
Learn from the greatest.
As some of you may know, I’m busy editing The Heir’s Choice at the moment. I haven’t really said much about how I’m doing, but let me just say this:
Editing a sequel is hard.
Especially because the sequel and the first book were two halves (literally) of the same book. See originally, I had this awesome 107k word book that I had to split.
And the approximate split was as follows:
The Vanished Knight: 65k words.
The Heir’s Choice: 65k words.
“Hey wait!” you might exclaim. (It’s all very dramatic in my brain, I promise you.) “That doesn’t add up!”
No. Because in order to make TVK into a book on its own, I’ve had to add about 15k words to the first half of the original book. Which is great.
Except for the bit where every single one of those changes has to be worked into THC. Which is most of what its extra 15k words consists of.
And then I’m not even getting into the real challenge.
As you might know, I’m going to re-publish TVK and publish THC at the same time. There is a very very good reason for this, but I’m not going to go into it. First, I want to see if my plan works.
But if it does work, most of the people reading THC will be doing so immediately after finishing TVK.
So what’s the challenge? (Aside from marketing.)
If I assume that my plan will work, no one will want constant reminders of what happened in TVK. If my plan doesn’t work, everyone will want a TON of reminders. Which leaves me with the unique challenge of striking the right balance between too much information and not enough.
While making sure that all the main strings I left hanging at the end of TVK gets picked up in THC.
Except…. TVK has a lot of strings.
How are you doing? What are you doing at the moment?
Hey all! We have another guest here today. C.M. Keller is here as part of her newest book release. So before I hand things over to her, I thought I’d share a bit more information on Screwing Up Alexandria:
Time traveling has never brought Mark Montgomery anything but grief. And then, things get worse.
When Mark comes home from Babylon with a coded tablet, he never dreams someone would be willing to kill to get it. But they are. So Mark and Miranda kidnap an ancient cryptographer named Nin and take her to the Library of Alexandria to decipher it.
The search for the truth of the tablet takes all of them to the most dangerous time on earth. And when Nin ends up on an altar surrounded by blood-thirsty crowds, only Mark can save her. But he’s blind.
As a writer of historical and time travel fiction, one of the greatest ironies I’ve discovered is that as radically different as other times and cultures are, people aren’t that different than we are.
The trick to writing time travel is to remember that while the character’s hopes, desires, and problems are similar to ours, they must be shaped by the time they are set in. The culture of the time period must become a character and drives the narrative. In other words, what happens to the characters in Alexandria should be so defined by the time and place that the plot could never unfold like it does anywhere else.
When I pick a time period, I research the culture and history, immersing myself in the significant people, places, foods, etc. I use small details like food, drink, clothing, and superstitions to convey a sense of the exotic and add verisimilitude.
However, the places, people, and culture must propel the plot. For example, in Screwing Up Babylon, I needed a chase scene, and I knew it had to take place in the Hanging Gardens. So I envisioned myself as Mark trapped in the gardens and wondered, How can I escape? The answer was easy—by way of a man-made river that watered the garden. I ended up with a very authentic “waterslide” adventure inside Babylon’s Hanging Gardens.
One of the great things setting the novels in Babylon, British Middle Ages, Alexandria, Mongolia, etc., is that it helps to keep a series fresh. There are always new characters and experiences, so creative options are endless.
The hardest thing about time travel fiction is the language barrier. There is no way to give your characters facility in various languages. My main character Mark, who is seventeen when the series starts, does not/cannot know ancient Greek, Akkadian, Sumerian, etc. So, I’ve had to find ways to allow him to communicate and establish relationships with other characters without knowing the languages.
One way I did this was through the use of other time travelers, people with more language abilities. But I wanted to be very careful with this and not use it as a deus-ex-machina answer to Mark’s problem. So I gave the other time travelers their own agendas, and they are at least as unhelpful as they are helpful, which made them wonderful to write. (I have a soft spot for tough, witty characters.) Another way I dealt with the language problem was by realizing it wasn’t really a problem. The places where Mark travels are not backwaters. These cities are cosmopolitan, cultural crossroads. It wouldn’t be unusual for people without a common language to encounter each other. So I spent a lot of time figuring out how to communicate without words.
A reader once commented that it wasn’t until after she finished the book that she realized that Mark had never once spoken directly to the Babylonians. So I guess it worked.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, questions, or ideas.
Thanks, Misha, for this opportunity to talk about time travel writing!