The Sheer Joy of Achievement (A trilogy is completed)

Nearly one year ago I posted up that Part III of the Precipice Dominions, being Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences’ initial draft had been completed and the fun part of editing, re-writing and so forth would be begin. When the volume is around 250,000 words this tends to encourage the urge to make sure everything melds together and continuity of the previous volumes Of Patchwork Warriors and Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire runs smoothly. Since neither had sold well, there was the luxury of yet another re-edit of those works. Thus the past year has been an epic of not just rooting out persistent typos, but straightening syntax and a modest adjustment here and there. In addition along came the bonus of having tremendous fun in two less than serious marketing campaigns:

Just for Marketing and Giggles- The British Approach

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The team conference)

There was some worrying or to be precise reflection over the length. Though in setting out a backdrop which involved several seemingly separate conflicts; being military, political and one of obligation which actually all overlay and interlock; to give each their fair due the narrative would have to be long. I also have this need (Flaw? Some might say) to go into depth on how events and their own subsequent actions affect a character; this comes from reading much military history; some of my writing is thus a dedication to those who have been there at ‘The Sharp End’. Having worked in the UK Civil Service for most of my life there was also the need to illustrate some of the complexities, frictions and downright follies which go on. Combining personal experience with reading military history convinced me there are no perfect or cunning plans by a villain or group of villains which nearly go right. A great number of the decisions are made on the hoof as it were. Hence witness blundering, hasty reactions, indecision and being wrong-footed by the unexpected. Heroics combined with astute tactics and strategies are valuable, but for them to work they require the foe to display error and sometimes stupidity which must be seized upon. 

In these days of worrying news and illustrations that the ‘bad guys’ do not get their neatly served up just deserts, something which is common in fiction too, there was a tendency to kick back. My intention was for the reader to enjoy the journey (a lot of differing ‘scenery’ out there folks)  and indulge the feel-good factors…… Which didn’t stop me stretching credibility, after all this is a Fantasy Novel with many different things happening in the greater environment; reading cosmology and trying to understand the basics of quantum mechanics / physics while including spirituality and some might say nods to ‘Gaia’ tended to also add to the mix.

A mash-up some might accuse me of. A Complete hodgepodge of themes untidily mixed together. A wandering series of confused elements.  My response is a shrug and to reply ‘Have to you looked around the messy world, read the confusions recorded in history and seen the questions arising in the sciences these days? Arguably these books are as close to A Reality as anything out there in your world,’  

And, so there it is:

The Gilrs in Yermetz in Finality   

Sometime in the next week there will be an announcement of the launch on Kindle….a few days free of course. Now all that’s left on My List being:

The blurb

Worrying whether Amazon will upload the whole lot.

And musing on how to correctly and seriously interest folks in the whole trilogy. For this Volume would be a hard slog, if not incomprehensible without reading the previous two. Therefore there will be another post giving an Overview of the entire Trilogy; intentions, themes and commentary on the narrative.   

About 5 to 6 years reaching this point. And I admit to feeling very durn good about the whole business. Sales would be nice, but ‘High Holy‘ (as they say in the books) seeing the project completed and out there….well, Satisfied and Content don’t come close.

Revision Revisited

More wise words and detailed information from Audrey, read and learn folks

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

I’m at the stage of my work in progress that follows finishing the first draft. That draft was a 6-month sprint compared to the rewrite, which right now feels like it’s not even a marathon, but a journey.

Several months ago, I heard a talk by a writer and editor about the psychological state of the writer while revising a piece of writing. I will not name that person here because I’ll be mixing their ideas with my interpretations and extrapolations.

The talk began with a writer’s inherent resistance to revision. There are several reasons for it, but the ones I related to most were the fear that making changes to a piece of writing might unravel it entirely, and the fear of being overwhelmed by the possibilities for changes. The first is like pulling on a thread in a sweater, and the second like looking at a map with…

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#InternationalGirlChildDay: Pakistan – Ehsaas Education Stipends

A worthy date to remember

The Human Lens

Each year on October 11, the special initiative of International Day of the Girl celebrates the importance, power, and potential of girls around the world, and focuses attention on the particular problems they can face.

There is no doubt that gender gaps and prevalent poverty structures impede girls rights issues as they are ignored in many societies. This day brings together stake holders private and public and people from all walks of life that combine their efforts to assist bridging the gaps for girls to have better access to equal opportunities of education, learning and health.

In the efforts for improving the girls education rights in the country, the Ehsaas Education Stipends programme has been amended to provide more possibilities to underage and young girls in Pakistan.

What is Ehsaas? Its the biggest and boldest programme ever launched in Pakistan to uplift its marginalized citizens and people.

At Ehsaas 50%+…

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Promotion Paradoxes

Another very valuable post from Audrey. Read and consider in depth.

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

Unlike advice about how to write, I have no desire to quibble with advice on how to market or promote books. Social media, paid advertising, giveaways, email lists, etc. I have nothing to say about any of them.

BUT: must every indie author even worry about marketing? Consider the following questions:

  • Do you see marketing as part of the same exciting creative process as writing?
  • Do you think of marketing as a tough challenge to whet your mettle?
  • Is marketing a kind of hair shirt you have to wear to expiate your writing habit?
  • Maybe marketing is a form of torture you wouldn’t inflict on your worst enemy?
  • Or perhaps you see marketing as a waste of valuable writing time.

Just about every author who says they love writing, just have to write, will stop writing only when they die, also says they hate marketing, but they have to do…

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Show Don’t Tell

Writers starting off, floundering a bit, wondering which way to go or reflecting on whether they should or should not continue will be aware there is something approaching an article of faith which is: A Writer Should Show Not Tell’

Just out of whimsey, as it were, I typed in ‘Show not Tell’ on Google and the busy little search engine proudly informed me that in 0.84 seconds it had identified 2,210,000,000 hits. Now how many of these actually refer directly to the subject of writing I did not venture to examine. If for some unaccountable reason I were to seek out each and every hit at the fanatical pace of 5 seconds per hit it would take approximately 350 years for a single person. Since this does not take into account all functions necessary to physical and mental well-being, what might happen to human culture and environment the effort seems somewhat unnecessary. A dedicated team of 1,000 might complete the task in ten years, although the attrition rate would probably be prohibitive and result in the organiser being actively disliked. Suffice it to conclude a lot of people have a lot to say on the subject.

It is only fair at this juncture to admit, yet again, there is within me a not so latent flaw which persistently inhibits any possible success; this being as my wife wearily reminds me ‘You will not be told’ . Thus if anyone even intimates to me how my writing should be done, at best they receive a politely vague comment and communication withers. Therefore there is a certain bias in this post; my apologies.

Considering the number of hits again. It cannot be denied that amongst all the comments and advice on the subject there has to be a certain diversion of view as to what constitutes ‘Show’ and what might be thought of as ‘Tell’. From this, taking into account all other Human responses to ‘Subjects’, ‘Beliefs’, ‘Outlooks’ and so forth, some of these diversions would be quite strong, if not, one fears verbally ‘violent’. Now whereas the proponents can have a thoroughly cathartic time arguing with each other and suggesting their opponent is displaying ignorance or heresy on the matter, none of this is of assistance the poor help-seeking writer, who at times, battered and buffeted by storms of advice must feel something akin to a literary sea-sickness.

One equitable solution for a writer experiencing problems in this area, would be to turn their back on the various advice books, columns, posts and writing exercises to simply read (or listen if they have a taste for audio books) thus be witness to a number of published writers at work. The choice should be very broad and should steer from the very successful who are sometimes indulged by the publishing process because their name ‘sells’. Far better to seek out those of more modest achievements who still need to rely on every bit of their art and skill to keep their audiences.

This is not a suggestion the writer should try and copy styles, more a question of absorbing the various approaches and bringing them to their own style. Because, I daresay when the various Show Don’t Tell  advisors visit books there will be levels of disagreement as to where Show or Tell started or finished at one particular part and whether either should or should not have been used.

Writing is a constant learning process, with a vast panorama of ways and means by which the writer reaches the conclusion of their work. Far better to absorb an empathy with Show Don’t Tell than to struggle to attain it by some dangerously close to mechanical process.

Keep on writing. No matter what.

With this trio around in your town, admit. Feeling Safer Already?

The Girls in Yermetz

Matt keeps on adding more depth. This is image of Karlyn, Trelli and Arketre represents them walking through the town of Yermetz, the scene of a battle (based on the events at Stalingrad in 1942).
The little bird was something Matt just felt was significant of part of Karlyn’s affinity with Nature, and is certainly worth a couple of extra sentences    

WOMEN AND HEART ATTACKS: Things Every Woman Should Know, and So Should the Men Who Share Their Worlds — A New Spirituality

This post originates from rawgod. 
The symptoms of Heart Attacks for men and women are different, naturally the symptoms for a Man are better known. This post is therefore an important read for all. 

Do you know, when women have heart attacks, they seldom experience the same symptoms as men experience. Yet men’s symptoms are well and widely known. We men are told what to watch for early in life. So why are women not told what symptoms and signs they should watch for! Heart attacks are the number […]

WOMEN AND HEART ATTACKS: Things Every Woman Should Know, and So Should the Men Who Share Their Worlds — A New Spirituality

Thinking about and hoping for Jill Dennison -Filosofa’s Word

As many of you may know Jill has not been in the best of health in recent times. I e-mailed our battling girl the other day, and sadly she is still in hospital suffering with serious heart and kidney issues.

She gave me permission to post this up-date so in her words  “as many of our mutual blogging buddies know what is happening”

As I’ve outlined she is quite unwell and can only manage short messages, but I am guessing will appreciate messages of support and concern.

We all know Jill for her ceaseless battles against political irresponsibility, sheer opportunism and downright hate.

I think I speak for us all, when I write how much we already miss those delightful Monday morning compilations of cartoons, captions, photos and cute videos; along with the adventures of Jolly and Joyful which start the week so well.

And although always ready with a well-aimed tirade against some deserving target or another, Jill has also been there to remind us there are folk who are working so hard to make the world a better place with her Wednesday slot of Good People Doing Good Things.

Let us all give some time in the day to turn our thoughts to Jill Dennison, her family and ‘moggies’, and for those of you in the USA, for her sake don’t give up the fight, the rest of us around the world have got your backs.

Let’s hear it for Jill then and put your own posts up in support of her 

Keep on keeping on kid, you’re a true American patriot 

United Airlines Flight 93. You Too Now Belong To The Ages

United Airlines 93

Edward M Stanton Lincoln Secretary to Lincoln is attributed with saying on Lincoln’s death ‘Now he belongs to the ages’ . These words themselves have become synonymous with any act worthy of remembrance.

And so the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 on the 11th September 2001 have earned this memorial. We cannot be sure of the exact sequence of events in analytical detail. We can be certain in the time preceding the crash the passengers were aware this was not one single event and that something dramatic was unfolding. The realisation was dawning that there would be no flying to somewhere unexpected and suffering the hostage experience. People were beginning to understand passivity would not be rewarded.

The last messages are well-known, and ‘let’s roll’ has become set into the lexicon of other heroic words. There are then sounds, cries, shouts, chaos before the final descent into immortality.  

Coverage of the events of 11th September 2001 USA understandably focused on New York and The Pentagon Washington. What took place on United Airlines Flight 93 in relative terms gradually filtered out to the public.

We cannot doubt the commitment of the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 that day, they were certain of their own fate. What they had not taken into account was the spontaneous reaction of a group of ordinary untrained civilians who aware of what was unfolding were not prepared to play the role allotted to them in those plans. The hijackers had not taken into account another style of commitment, they had not expected what any good military officer of experience could have told them, in extreme conditions even the least trained, least expected can do the unexpected.

The evidence indicates that two National Guard pilots were on their way to do possibly the unthinkable, their own lives written off. Unlike in the films or books aircraft do not fly unerringly straight to the target, particularly in a situation where all proverbial hell is breaking loose, so they did not ‘lock onto the target after a tense pause’. We will never know how that drama would have played out.

We do know United Airlines Flight 93 crashed far from whatever target the hijackers had in mind. The USA will forever be in debt to those passengers.

United Airlines 93 memorial

 

Damned if you do…

Very worthy thoughts and opinions from Audrey

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

I really must stop reading “advice to writers” posts.

The mother of all writing rules is “Show, don’t tell.” Showing good. Telling bad. Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t use adverbs. You know, those nasty words that end in “-ly.”

The writer wants to convey to the reader that a character is experiencing an emotion. Anger, say, or fear, or joy. She can’t say “X was angry,” because “was” is one of those forbidden words. She can’t have X saying something “angrily.” So what to do?

Okay, the writer thinks, I’ll just show what the character does. X clenched his fists. Y rolled her eyes. Z sighed.

No, no, little writer. You can’t do that. Fist-clenching, eye-rolling, and sighing are overused. And please don’t have eyes wandering around the room or crawling over anyone’s body (I actually agree with that one).

You know what–I just realized something.

Many of…

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