School’s In Session

So, the first week of school is over! I got into most of the classes I wanted to. Unfortunately, my Astronomy class was canceled last minute, and I had to take an online computer information class instead. So here is a breakdown of what I am taking:
Cardio Cross Training
Argumentation and Debate
Business Law
Computer Information Systems
English Composition “B”

I spoke to a transfer councilor, and my grades are good enough that, assuming I keep them up, I can pretty much write my ticket into any Cal State school, and any of the U of Cal schools, except Berkley (They require an extra 4 semesters of math!). I’m at a California community college, and my GPA for transferable classes will be in the high 3s, around 3.6 or 7. I am very excited about all that. Three of my classes are online, and I finished the last of this week’s homework five minutes ago, so I am sitting in the coolness of my in-law’s back yard enjoying a very fine cigar my wife bought me.

Naturally, school forces my writing to the back burner, but I am still managing to do some. I am working on an old story I’d abandoned called Charlotte and Caldor, after the two main characters. For some reason, my writing process involves starting, stopping, and restarting a story line before I get to the point where I actually get something finished. I also think I like to write an essay about what I want to happen, before I outline. I am still not sure if I want/need to do a formal outline or not. I did for the Bastard Prince, but somehow it just does not feel right to me. We will see how this goes. I am trying to take just a few minutes a day to expand the plot essay, and when its done, we’ll go from there. I am also working on the Undying, set in yet another universe.

While ‘Bastard’ is set in a low-fantasy world, the others are high-fantasy and are more in line with classic sword-and-sorcery. I am thinking of reopening a science fiction story about a cold-sleep ship that lands on a planet already colonized by humans from a collapsed FTL civilization. My unknowing mentor, Sarah Hoyt, recommends having at least three universes going, just to stave off the boredom.

Lastly, tomorrow is Labor Day in America. I will be off with my family and friends for an annual BBQ. I hope your day is as fun and carefree as mine will be.

The Bastard Prince

I finished the fourth revision of my short story, A Bastard’s Choice. As promised, I’m going to post both the first and final versions of the story to show how much the editing process has changed things. After that, I’m going to set it aside for a bit and come back to it with a fresh brain in a month or so.

A Bastard’s Choice and

A Bastard’s Choice v 4

Feel free to make any comments or suggestions to make it more enjoyable.

Writing Lessons

Sorry to have left you in the lurch for over a week. I promised you three posts a week. I feel a bit guilty for not posting when I should. I need more discipline.

I am learning that good writing is good rewriting. I’ve read that somewhere, but don’t know where. I have gone over A Bastard’s Choice dozens of times since I wrote it, and shown three versions to a writing group of mine. Just after I posted the third version, though, I realized one glaring omission. I did not have any descriptions of what the characters looked like, or the scenery, or the setting! Its all conversation and a little action.

Objectively speaking, it is good, even close to publishable. My group has helped me to see things in a different way, and shown me the flaws in my work. I tend to tell what happens instead of showing. I put in too much unnecessary detail, but do not give enough detail to set the scenery. I need to work on word pictures.

I need to keep working on other story lines. The advice I’ve gotten is to work in two or three unrelated worlds to prevent burnout. So I am resurrecting The Undying, set in a world where the royal family has bodyguards who cannot be killed, and do not age, so long as the person they are linked to is alive. The second is called Charlotte and Caldor, about a young couple who must take charge suddenly as their nation is under attack from the forces of evil. I am also thinking of working in a science fiction setting, set on a world that humans with faster than light drives colonized. Then interstellar civilization collapses. A thousand years later, the cold sleep ship sent a hundred years before the planet is colonized arrives.

And the troubling thing is, as I am researching, I keep getting more ideas. A dhampir and a zhudac team up to solve supernatural riddles. Someone goes back in time to prevent the Russian Revolution. A story based loosely on the life of WW1 Canadian general Sir Arthur Currie. I just need the discipline to sit at my computer for a couple of hours a day and write.