NaNo 2013 revisited and possibly finished

I’ve taken my 2013 NaNo novel out of mothballs recently, deciding the time was pipe to revisit the unfinished work. After reaching the 50K word goal, I had nowhere to go with the story, no idea as to the next logical progression. I was in a rut, so I set it aside, convinced it would never see the light of day. Now I’m not so sure.

I had to delete nearly 10K words, and I see a ton of discrepancies from where I started writing and where the story ended up. I have a lot of work in store for me to make this a cohesive narrative, but here it is, in all it’s 62K word glory! Okay, you can’t see it yet, but believe me, it’s there.

What took me by surprise is the direction and change of tone it took, particularly in the past couple of days. What started off as a novel about a forty-two year old woman facing a divorce, morphed into a story about neglect, love and sex, abuse, including sexual abuse and rape, and even death. It isn’t simply about coping and moving on from a cheating spouse anymore. It evolved and became messier.

However, that’s what I like most about writing, the adventure. I have a general idea of what I want, but sometimes the way between two points can’t be a straight line. Sure it’s the quickest, but when in life do we take the quick way. Human nature is way too complicated for so simple a route. I may be the writer, but sometimes I feel as though I’m only along for the ride, just like everyone else.

It took me nine months for a solution to present itself. It took many nights for me to figure out my main character’s motivation for doing certain things, actions that ultimately imperils my main character and possibly her daughter. I tried my best to tie up all loose ends, but the husband isn’t one of those characters. He didn’t deserve that kind of send off, though he’s never the antagonist, just the catalyst that launches the story forward.

I plan to read and make as many corrections to the story before shelving it for a month or so. I’ll have to print it out and begin making wholesale revisions next, trying to get everything in line, but I need a little time and prospective first. I may pull out another unfinished word and play around with it next. I don’t know. I’ll play it by ear.

 

Autograph this

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Photo of A. G. Howard’s books, Splintered and Unhinged.

I stopped by the Amarillo Barnes & Nobel bookstore this past weekend. Author and Amarillo resident, A. G. Howard dropped in to do a reading of her book Unhinged, the sequel to her first book, Splintered. 

The week before, my and a friend dropped by the bookstore, just looking to kill some time. On the storefront, I saw a poster for a book signing along with a photo of the cover art for the book. The dark beauty of the covers were haunting and breathtaking. I had to see what they were about.

I left with a copy of the first book. I didn’t get a chance to read it until the day of the signing, but what I read seemed promising, so much in fact that I bought a copy of the second book and had them both signed by the author.

I spent most of the night Saturday – after I wrote my 2100 words for my own work in progress – reading. The next day, after returning home from church, I climbed back into bed to finish the rest of the book.

I have the second book on my desk, but I’m rereading the first book, trying to absorb the this world she created. In brief, it’s a reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The main character, Alyssa Gardner is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Alice Liddell. When she returned from Wonderland, she came back with a curse, one that drives the Liddell women insane.

I’ll get more in-depth if I should I decide to do a review, which I’m thinking about doing. I rarely review books that are not self-published, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. I really think this is a great book. It’s so vivid that I had to reread it before moving on to the second.

The third book of the series, Ensnared, is set to be published early next year. Of course I’ll have to get a copy, then figure out a way to get it autographed as well. I’d like the complete set. I’m silly that way.

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Autographed copy of Unhinged.

My Mistress: Procrastination

Yet another Friday night, and once again I find myself sitting behind the LCD screen of a laptop. I have a few projects that I need to work on, a book I promised to publish over a year ago, and my NaNo 2013 that has yet to be completed.

So of course I’m not doing any of that. Oh no! I’m playing with video on the laptop, recording myself playing random songs. I sang one and played it back. No one will ever see that one. Lord, I can’t sing! I wanted to puncture my own eardrums! Seriously, I should never sing. Ever!

But my guitar playing isn’t all too bad. To be sure, I need to practice a hell of a lot more than I do, and playing electric guitar parts on an acoustic doesn’t sound the best, but it isn’t all that bad. I think I need to venture out and meet other guitar players. I definitely do.

But all I’m doing is procrastinating. I’m the worlds worse procrastinator. I’ve been meaning to start a support group but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe next week some time, or next year…

I have a few puzzles to work out as far a plot lines in my 2013 NaNo. I had a few Eureka! moments earlier today while I was at work. I think I should explore those threads. That’s what I should do. I’m glad we had this talk. We should do this more often. Next time bring some snacks. I’ll provide the drinks.

Just goofing around.

Book Review: Back From Chaos

Happy Monday everyone! I know many of you have trudged off to begin another week of endless merriment. Meanwhile, I’m relaxing at home, enjoying a well-deserved day off. I’ll begin my week tomorrow.

Back From Chaos © 2011 Yvonne Hertzberger

Back From Chaos © 2011 Yvonne Hertzberger

I stayed up late last night, reading today’s novel, Back From Chaos by Yvonne Hertzberger. Back From Chaos is the first book of the Earth’s Pendulum series, which I believe is a solid foundation to begin with.

The book begins with Marja, daughter of Cataniast, lord of Catania, hiding in the castle. Bargia, a country which borders Catania invaded and managed to overthrow Cataniast. Marja only thought was of survival, but also gave thought to killing herself to save herself the terror of being captured and raped. As a member of the ruling family, she knew that tradition dictated that she be killed.

She had begun her escape when a soldier of the invading force opened the door and caught her in the act. He announced himself as Lord Gaelen of Bargia, and requested that she put down her knife, promising that no harm would come to her. In spite of the danger to herself and her people, something in his voice makes her relent. She is taken captive and held prisoner in her own room.

Lord Gaelen, finding himself the only surviving heir of his people, his father and elder brother both tragically killed in the invasion, decides to take an unorthodox approach. He presents Marja with a proposal, one that would guarantee her safety and her freedom, that she join him as his wife. Seeing the logic behind the proposal, she agrees.

Unbeknownest to the pair, the fate of their peoples, of Cataniast and Bargia is bound to their success. Indeed, it is Earth who through the seer Liethis, who demands an end to violence and a return to balance. In restoring balance, it is neither Lord Gaelen nor Lady Marja who are destined to be the main players, but rather Gaelen’s chief spy, Klast, and Marja’s lady in waiting, Bresna, who become the focus of Earth and her desire for balance.

Klast, whose childhood had enured him to hardships, hardening him against the advances of women and the company of men, whose ability to blend into the crowd and disappear, who had fortified himself against his own emotions, now must come to terms with his destiny.

It is through Bresna that he must decide his fate, and the fate of the mankind. It is though the act of saving her that he himself might save himself. His destiny is bound by oath to the house of Bragia, first to Gaelen’s father and then to Gaelen himself. Can he save both Cataniast and Bargia, as well as Bresna and himself.

What does Earth demand of him and why?

First let me start off by saying I cannot do this book justice by trying to summarize it in such a short amount of space. How can I categorize this? There seems to be many ways to do so. Fantasy to be sure, but there are elements of political intrigue, stories of love and romance. There are issues of rape, child abuse and hints of sexual abuse as well. There are graphic details of death and executions. This is not a feel good book.

That being said, it is a well-written book, one that captivates the reader. Once cannot help but root for Gaelen and Marja as they try to unite their homes against the attack of treason member of their inner circle. One is hard-pressed not to feel for Bresna as she suffers the indignation of being attacked and seeing Klast rescue her, and by doing so, seeing his defenses fall away in spite of himself.

Yvonne has written a book filled with many elements that together make up an elaborate tapestry, a story of pain to be sure, but out of that pain the birth of something greater. Out of it, there can be found a peace, all the more richer for the trials endured to earn it. But first the character’s must find a way to surrender themselves to their destiny, and find a way despite their reservations.

Once I began to read it, I was loathe to put it down, which I had to when my Kindle died. I picked it back up once my battery had recharged, eager to see where the trials would lead, and I was not disappointed. I was both surprised and pleased, primed to pick up the next installment of the series.

In short, I give this 5 out of 5 stars. It’s a great book with a riveting story line, characters rich in detail and subtleties. I cannot recommend Back From Chaos enough!


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