All the projects in their drawers

It’s been… nearly three years since I finished the first draft of The Red Box.  That’s a little horrifying to me.  I’d meant to have a revised version by the end of 2011, but, well.  We all see how well that went!  That said.  I’ve been having the itch again to pick it up.

It’s funny to note how few of my old in-progress novel ideas are still appealing to me.  I’ve changed a lot; my opinions on various issues and what I think are storytelling priorities have changed a lot.  I still adore the world of King of Salem, for instance, but I wonder if the story I started to tell would still be the story I’d tell about that world.  I still love the idea of the male witch, but I also wonder about how changing the gender of the persecuted magic user changes how that person is regarded and what reactions people have towards them.  Is it skirting the issue to make a witch male and not deal with the sexism behind the persecution of “witches” in our history?  There were few female characters in that story; only one with agency.  What, for instance, would change if the Jack character–the witch hunter–were female? What would change if Tony–a very influential royal–were female. 

One reason I still want to return to the Red Box is that I feel like it tackles, even if not as deeply as I would now, issues that I want my fiction to keep in mind.  There are a lot of women in that story who make a difference, even if the lead is still male; Frankie is super important and she doesn’t get shelved or victimized or anything like that.  The whole world is mixed race, so the “racism” is more classism, but the faces in that world are far more diverse than the blond-and-blue-eyes of Jack or red-headed, clearly caucasian Tony. 

My actual, main worry with Red Box is that the plot still makes any sense, so I’ll have to reread.  And I might have to rewrite from the beginning.  But even if I do, I think it would be worth it. 

I’ve shied away from revising for so long. I hope that I can do it.

(On the other hand, writing The Motley Star could still be so fun… augh. Discipline!  What is that?!)


More header art

So I’m trying to sort out what exactly happens next in this scene for Empire since I think there are some logical fallacies in what I was planning to do, but that means I’m not writing. Instead I drew a little; some more header art! This time, the casts of The Red Box and The Motley Star. These were actually drawn together, in a sketchbook, unlike the other which was patched together from a notebook and I had to strip out and photoshop the lines back in.

Still, I want to write tonight, so I should really think about that scene.

Eureka! — Oh, damn.

I think I’ve figured out why a section of The Red Box was bothering me like mad on re-read. I’ve made nearly all the sources that Trajan relies upon have some sort of history or connection (even recent) to him, and nearly all of them care about him in some way. But there’s one who has none of that, and though there is history I’ve carelessly blown over it, and so it feels like he blasts through his interaction (and subsequent investigations) in a hasty and unattached, more plot-driven way.

I do wonder if this is why I have trouble writing him in the scenes with Instigating Character. They have little connection and my attempts to make them have one feel not-yet-there.

I say “Oh damn” only because I’ve already sent the chapters including these flat, less-powerful interactions to my patient first draft reader C., and I hate sending off material where I know there’s a major problem, because sometimes reworking it causes big changes, and also I’ve forced someone to read something majorly flawed.

Then again she’s reading a first draft and is aware of it, and yet has been kind and encouraging. I guess I’m just afraid of putting her off badly since this is especially raw material, whereas the first half of the draft has been reworked quite a lot, having not been entirely rewritten in the past four months. 😦

… In completely unrelated news, I would like to know why my body seems to feel that sleeping from 10:30ish to 1:30 = a full night’s sleep. *annoyed*


Well, curses.

I was trying to write a scene where MC enters the apartment of a person who doesn’t really exist, and slowly, realizes what’s bothering him is the lack of personal touches. It’s been “window dressed” to look like people live there, but only on a quick glance.

But, this is a future culture where you can carry your personal everything on a small set tucked behind your ear. Maybe you have one backup stack or major system with all your entertainment/correspondence/etc but the majority of what you own is digital, intangible. So I can’t say that he misses the books, the movies, the letters, the unpaid bills. Of of that is digital. So what would be left? I assume a culture like that would be largely clutter free–maybe? And if so… what personal touches could he miss? The obvious stuff–pictures on the wall, stuff in the drawers like clothes or jewelry, I feel like someone faking the place would have noticed and covered.

Sadly I’m a cluttery person; I have boxes full of stupid things I keep as memories. But there is no requirement that all people would have that kind of thing. (Main character himself lives in a very sparse place, with a bed and chair and that’s about it.) Are there things which you might not think of right away which, no matter how neat you are, would indicate it’s a home and not a hotel? Clothes in the cleaning queue? Trash in the recycler? Or would all that be so automated it’d go right away? Hmmmm….

I guess I could just have it be something relatively obvious like the clothes are all newish and nothing looks used, but that seems so very obvious. Then again, he starts to wonder when he sees the kitchen cupboards are largely empty–though at first he writes this off as simply the person being someone who simply eats out all the time.

Must ponder.

A question of theme

I know it’s dangerous to think about at this stage, but I can’t stop thinking about some of the themes in my novel. They’re not issues I’d shy away from, except–the outcomes at the end of the story are not messages I necessarily agree with. And I worry that people might think they are. In one case, I worry that the message I send might be one that makes some readers mad, or dislike the novel.

More beyond the jump; please note there will be spoilers!!