Saturday, September 10, 2011

Graveyard Saturday: Water Town Exposition

Today I decided to make an effort to show not tell. It's a re-up of the intention stemmed from a great lecture about scriptwriting. I'm afraid I get addicted to dialog and I realized my characters are talking a lot and saying nothing - I want the whole book to be really snappy and I just got off a huge chunk of dialog, so I decided to cut this portion out completely even though I like it. So in it goes to the Graveyard. I hope you all enjoy this segment from Chapter 15


"We should reach the Southern road by nightfall," Peter called from the trailing wagon. "Then it's south to Chalsie Veneer from there."

"That long?" Ildri said and wiped her brow, "It's so hot out here."

"Hold on, I packed an awning." Kindle recovered a roll of canvas from her things and stretched over them on a set of polls, "Better?"

"Yes." Ildri answered in a weary tone, "I guess you knew you were coming all along."

"Yeah, I figured that out the minute you and Mom started arguing. It gave me all night to pack and make stuff." She grinned briefly at Peter then shrugged, "Lucky I'm over-prepared. I didn't think we'd get two Fire Curses. Lucky I made extra booties."

Aiden raised the scab that used to be his eyebrow, "Booties?"

"Oh yeah." She rummaged in her duffel and produced a sack of bags and string. She thrust her foot into one of the plastic pouches and tied it at the knee with a piece of colored yarn. "See? Waterproof!”

Ildri smiled uncertainly, “It's very clever, Kindle.”

Aiden bit dead skin off his lip, "How wet are you expecting it to get?"

"Water Town is super wet!" Kindle replied cheerfully. "Water Curses leaking, you know. They sweat and drool and cry and snot all over the place constantly. I can't wait to meet one!"

"Sick," Aiden sneered, "Do we really need one?"

We need one of each suit,” Cat confirmed.

"He can ride in your wagon then," Aiden groaned, “Keep the walking pain factory as far away from me as possible.”

"Don't worry, you'll be fine!” Kindle insisted. "I've got enough booties to wear on your hands too!”

Aiden wrinkled his nose, "I'll pass."

"What?" Kindle demanded. "Come on, I've made your life, like, fifty times easier. You can at least say 'thank you'."

Okay,” Aiden looped his arm out from behind Ildri and leaned forward, “Thank you for making us painful footwear that will take all the skin off our legs, stick to our sores, inflate with hot air and collect puss on the bottom until they're just as wet as the ground we're avoiding.”

"Ew," Kindle scraped her tongue on her teeth, "I think I just gagged a little."

"Nature of the beast, kid," He slouched in satisfaction, "We're Fire Curses."

"You're nasty." Kindle stuffed her invention back in her bag, "Our Water Curse will take Cat's wagon by choice."


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Evolution of a town

So my little Threadcaster world hasn't gone through a lot of significant changes. It's a very small world - a collection of towns within the bowl of a huge crater surrounded by mountains. In the center is the capital city called Castleton and in the four cardinal directions like a compass-rose are Dire Lonato, Chalsi Veneer, New Torston, and Astonage.

Saying the world hasn't changed through development is a bit misleading however. It's been changing constantly. The towns have changed locations, names, appearances and attitudes, but the things that are have always been; four towns in a compass around Castleton- the center around which this small universe rotates.

I just finished the final revision of Dire Lonato. Sure I'll go back and give it some shine later, but the series of events and what happens there is pretty much set in stone. I thought it would be a nice time to talk about the town's staggered history through the eyes of its author.

Dire Lonato was always named Dire Lonato. It was always Fire aligned and always the first stop on our tour of the Valley. The place was originally sort of a Disney's Aladdin looking place (further emphasizing the middle east and the allegory and ho boy that's another blog post). Square sand-brick buildings with colorful awnings and simple people who make pots and textiles. Cat and co were initially forced to adventure into the bad part of town because there are Curses among them. They left their things with a blind, toothless stable owner and got stuck in the market place on their way to Sharon Fiammetta's house.

I guess I could go back even further - in teh first first draft of this book, the place was an artistic town and we found Sharon by attending her daughter Kindle's school play. Not only was this impossibly slow and dumb but Peter's a liability everywhere we go. His trauma and hardship hinges on the fact that he's not tolerated - and walking into a school auditorium was really obviously misaligned. Instead I had Cat get nabbed in the street and trapped in a burning house. This was also bad so I had her attacked by fire monsters.

It's hard to believe these rough draft ideas ever worked now that I've got the final version - I won't spoil the events for those who will inevitably read the novel - but it does not involve school plays. What it does involve is the strengthening of global themes and the more poignant introduction of a main character. And more than one burning building - I scaled up :)

Past Dire Lonato is Fire Town which has gone through it's own set of changes. Originally it was out in the desert. Then I moved it to a dry riverbed. The final location is wedged in a mountain pass where (and here's some lore for you) the most impressive waterfall in the Valley used to fall. The hidden falls trailed down from the western mountains and carved a deep lake and snaking river out into a forest. The forest is long dead and the lake is now dry and that's where Fire Town is. It's pretty fancy. I'm quite fond of the "lake of fire" pun I serendipitously arrived at through this system. The Curse town itself still looks the same as it always has - and the members that survived the pruning are the same members that always lived there. There are about a dozen other named Curses that exist in town, but it's hard to keep track of a bunch of named characters when there's no time to flesh them out.

Fire Town and Dire Lonato's current incarnation is relatively young, but I feel like its the way they were always meant to be. When you read the book see if you can spot fragments of these old locations in the current ones.. there are more than a couple bones buried there.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


So I'm done with the next 30 pages. I'm using the term "done" in a "I'm SOOOO done with this" sense. I know it's not perfect, but I've changed so much and worked so hard that i'm ready to move on. I'll go over it with the spit polish when I'm done with the rest of it. Part of it hurts my heart - since I have an ingrained sense of perfectionism when it comes with my book - but its time to move on.

I'm on to the next 60-90. I have just as much work to do on these as I did looking at 30-60... these pages were written five years ago and my goodness are they showing their age. It's being made better, and that pleases me. I'm excited to move on to Water Town and getting the next leg of the journey behind me.

For those I've spoken to about possibly querying at the beginning of September I'm sorry to report that I'm not ready to do that yet. I'm going to save it until I'm ready for it to go out. hopefully it won't be THAT long.