Forgotten Memories – Anthology Cover Released

The cover to “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation” in which my story Forgotten Memories appears has been posted.  Ok – now I am getting excited.

Forgotten Memories is one of several stories I wrote as world building for “The West Wind.”  It is Weird West tale set in Johnson City, one of the main locations featured in the book, with Rachel and Clarence West playing walk-on parts.  Unlike the book, however, I get to have some fun with the paranormal – ghost hunting obviously.  The story centers around “Joe” who wakes up in the Marbury Sanitarium with no recollection of his past or how he arrived there.  As the story unfolds, he begins to suspect that his circumstance is somehow related to a recent horrific riverboat accident.  His journey of self (re)discovery nearly becomes a descent into madness as he struggles to uncover the truth about his past.

Here is the cover!  More info over at the Facebook page of “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation.”

 

Hunting Ghosts cover

Due West

The re-write of  The West Wind is going well following some gracious words of a new author friend: I just finished the first scene, a little over a thousand words, of Due West.

That part about the re-write going well.  Ha!  Not really.  But I do appreciate the encouragement.

Update: Finished the first chapter.  2,000 words.  I guess when the muse sneaks up behind you and plonks you on the head with a knobby stick, you best do something about it.

Moving Westward

Hello lonely blog follower, Facebook friends, and even Twitter account holders who made the ill advised action of following my never so frequent updates.  You can be thankful at least that I am not filling your mailboxes and feeds with endless posts.  Focused posting.  That’s good enough for me… when I get around to it that is.

Despite numerous heartfelt attempts, I have decided that I am completely incapable of generating any enthusiasm for rewriting “The West Wind ” (at least presently)  I am therefore pursuing what I believe to be the only sensible course of action… Start writing a new book!  If there is a rule that I need to finish rewriting the previous before starting anew, like some sort of literary lima beans before desert, I am afraid I am guilty of its violation.

“Due West” picks up roughly a year following the conclusion of “The West Wind.”  Rachel West returns as a principle POV character, as does my favorite troubled and unstable heir Eli Hardy.  For my third POV I am introducing a new character, the inimitable inspector Edward Percival Alford sent by the American Colonial government to investigate the extraordinary events of the previous story.  The setting remains the same – the Steampunk Western alternate world of the early 1900s.

Scrivener files created, timeline drawing template opened, let the plotting begin!

Timelines

Insert usual apologies about not updating blog more frequently…

I received a question from a reader regarding how I constructed my timelines – any special software?

When setting out to write The West Wind, I knew I was going to need something to create timelines.  I had never written something so big and complex but knew that I needed something to organize the multiple story lines.  I am also a very visual person – I often find myself drawing a picture to help describe some point I am trying to make.  Notebooks are fine, but I really needed something a bit more specific.  There were several features that, at the time, I thought I needed:

  1. The ability to capture a short description – these ultimately became my writing prompts for scenes
  2. Some way of tagging or creating meta data
  3. A way of showing relationships

I looked at the writing apps that had timelines built in, e.g. yWriter and even basic notecards.  They covered most of my requirements, but ultimately lacked a fourth item that I discovered along the way: flexibility!  Notecards, I need to point out, was a horrible experience.  I didn’t have enough space for all the cards, couldn’t keep the relationships, and most importantly, couldn’t read my handwriting.! My romantic notion of  a writer staring at a cork board plastered with notecards was quickly dashed on the rocks of practicality.

Then I started using Visio.  I use it in my professional life and in the design of boardgames, the other often referenced hobby of mine on which I will blame my lack of writing…   I put together timelines for each of my characters, a timeline for the world, and connected them all together with the dynamic connectors.  I found the flexibility I needed to move things around without losing anything and had control over cutting and reconnecting the relationships.  I also found I didn’t need to use any tagging, like an action vs reflective scene, instead I used colors.  Worked just fine…

Until I found out how much I was missing using the Windows Beta of Scrivener and, as luck would have it, demands of my professional life gave me a great excuse to invest in a MacAir.  Darn.

I finished writing The West Wind in Scrivener on my new Mac but then found myself wanting to re-arrange my timelines.  No, nothing really easy or cheap for importing Visio documents into Mac drawing programs that I could find.  I also didn’t want to go back and forth between platforms.  I wound up re-building the timelines in OpenOffice.org Draw which, as it turned out, was needed anyway due to the amount of drift from the original story timelines over the year that I wrote the story.  Re-building the timelines got me back in touch with the story and allowed me to implement an idea I had for telling much of Rachel’s backstory through a couple of key flashbacks.

To give some context, here is about the first third of The West Wind timeline as it was orginally in Visio:

First third of the West Wind timeline in Visio.

What’s in a name?

A lot! And considering a change of a name in a POV character is not something undertaken lightly, particularly having grown to closely know and care about the character with his current moniker.

Regardless, sometimes you do have to make a change.

Sorry Roland Pritchard, you are now Warren Pritchard. Sincerely, the author.

Let the Re-Write Begin!

I am re-writing.  Finally.

No more excuses.  No more indulgent distractions.  Time to buckle down and get going on the re-write.

Rachel’s backstory, though not actually in the novel, was my first task.  Something I had wanted to do following reading Jeter’s “Infernal Devices.”  The whole “inherit a clockshop” thing seemed a little too trite, too cliche.  So Rachel now has a new and better backstory.  Much darker and dangerous than previously.  Even better motivation than finding your fortune in the American Colonies… fleeing a dangerous conspiracy in England.  Unfortunately, Rachel and Clarence are only going to find themselves embroiled in even deeper intrigues.  Sort of “out of the frying pan an into the fire” type of thing.  Can’t let the two of them off that easy now can I?

NoNaNoWriMoForMeOh

No NaNoWriMo for me this year.  I enjoyed it last year and found it a challenging and rewarding experience.  Rewarding in the sense of personal accomplishment but also the first 50,000 words of the West Wind.  Considering it took me 6 more months to write another 50,000, it truly was a great experience.

Instead, I am going to buckle down and tackle the rewrite of the West Wind. NaNo would just turn into another month long excuse not to get cracking.  I have been doing well enough distracting myself with short stories (I have convinced myself it is good for honing my editing skills).  I think I need a month of NaNoEditMo!

So for the folks that are going to take take up the challenge, whether for the first time or more, I wish you best of luck.  Enjoy and I will see you next year…