Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The New Paradigm Mâvarin Novels

I had an awesome idea today for revamping my unsold fantasy trilogy, Mages of Mâvarin. I’m very excited about it.

(Please note: This was originally posted on Tumblr, where it will mostly be seen by Doctor Who fans who have no idea what Mâvarin even is. (It’s a fantasy country in an alternate universe, geographically located in the eastern U.S.) But the Tumblr entry will be picked up by Twitter and Facebook, and here I am reposting on Blogger, which will also hit FB. So much duplication, and maybe two or three people will end up reading it. But it’s worth it.)

Anyway, here’s the background. I recently finished editing my first novel, Heirs of Mâvarin, and am gearing up to submit to agents and publishers. Meanwhile, I recently reread the sequel, Mages of Mâvarin, cut one scene and added another, and called it done except for tweaking. The difficulty with Mages is that it’s over 300k words long, long enough to be a trilogy. So years ago I broke it into three volumes, with vague stopping places in the overall narrative, sort of like Tolkien did with The Lord of the Rings. An Adept in Mâvarin would set up the several plotlines, Another Mâvarin would get Our Heroes in even worse trouble, and Return to Mâvarin would complicate things further and then resolve all the plotlines, more or less.

I want my bookshelf to look like this!

But here’s the idea I had today. Instead of breaking Mages chronologically, with none of the volumes truly complete as novels, what if I made the three books concurrent? The first book would cover Rani and Darsuma’s storylines, the second would be about Fayubi, Fabi and Temet, and the third would focus on Li and Prince Talber. Each novel would begin on the same day, and each would end on the same day, and some events would be retold from different points of view, as Moorcock did with Corum, Hawkmoon etc. This way, each book tells the whole story of what happened to those particular characters, and stands alone as a complete novel. At the same time, each novel provides context for the other two.

This will be a really interesting writing exercise, and may even make the books more marketable. Here I go, starting right now! Hooray!

But yes, I’ll be submitting Heirs in the meantime.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Summary to Scene, Sort of

I had a scene in what is now Chapter 29 of Heirs that until tonight was not technically a scene at all, but all summary. You know the bits in which Tolkien or Rowling or whoever disposes of days or weeks of story time in a few paragraphs? This was one of those. But without a bit of actual scene to anchor it, the description of Li's behavior during this period was all tell, no show. This deficiency has been bothering me for years.

Tonight I at least got a line of dialogue in, and a few specific actions to make the beginning of the passage into an actual scene:

“Early again, Li?” Teri Dibel asked.
Li nodded, but did not bother to answer as he hurried to Captain Perton’s office. The first day after his arrest and release, Li had managed to grovel his way onto a City patrol. ’Nishmû willing, he might win a similar assignment today, but only if there was still room on the roster. Otherwise he would try for Gate duty on one of the exit lines. Sooner or later, the traitor girl would either meet with dissidents or try to leave the City. When she did, Li was determined to be the one to capture her, abating his earlier mistake.
Once inside the Wall, he looked over Captain Perton’s shoulder at the half-completed roster, and his spirits rose. Perton had put him in charge of six trained Rovers, on patrol through the merchant district. Li accepted the undeserved honor with a smile and a heartfelt salute. Perton grumpily waved him off, sending him on his way

Not the best bit in the book by any means, but it's much less clunky than it was.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

What I'm Editing Tonight - a Clarion Write-a-Thon Extra

This poor blog has lain fallow to two years or longer. Its most recent entry before this was an ill-conceived fragment that I was embarrassed to see listed on my sidebar. Well, no longer. During the Clarion Write-a-Thon, which started today, I will be posting fragments from whatever I'm working on, and possibly other Mâvarin bits and pieces. For tonight, I just want to show you the update of the same fragment that's on my Clarion Write-a-Thon pag:

Li said nothing further, and without meaning to, Crel let herself be drawn back into the book’s narrative. 
After a while, she realized that Li was still in the doorway, watching her. “I’m sorry. Was there something else you wanted?” she said.
“Well, yes, but I can come back later. I didn’t mean to be rude.” 
“I’m sorry,” Crel said again. “I’m the one who’s being rude. It’s just that I haven’t read this particular legend before.” 
“I get that way about books, too,” Li said. “Do you ever get the feeling, right after you read something, that the whole world around you is a little different because of what you read?” 
Crel thought about it and nodded. “Sometimes, after I’m lost in a book, everything I experience seems to mean a little more, as if it were part of the story. Yes, I’ve felt that.” 
“Then the feeling wears off,” Li said, “and everything’s just the same.” 
Crel looked at him again. She knew just what Li meant. She’d felt it herself, but she had never been able to talk to anyone about it. Not to Del, and certainly not to Jamek. 
“Somebody told me a story a few days ago,” Crel said slowly. “It changed the world around me, and I don’t think the effect is ever going to wear off.”

I've just finished Chapter 29, which I renamed, and I'm up to page 444. I'm going to bed now. Good night!