Monday, January 31, 2011

Making up words?

I read an article the other day about making up words in sc-fi books. I don't remember where I read it... wait, found it:

Anyway, the author of the article was strongly against making up fake words for ordinary things just to make it sound science-fictiony. To a point, I agree with her for the reasons she lists, but it got me thinking. Now, she does have a disclaimer at the top of the article, and that's kind of where this post is going... in a round-about way...

Specifically, when she mentioned calling something "klaa" instead of coffee.  I hit a mental speed bump right about there. For those who have not read Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, stop what you're doing right now and go read Dragonflight.

There's a good reason "coffee" is called "klah" on Pern. That makes it OK then, right? Apparently it does (to me at least) for two reasons:

1. Anne McCaffrey is a best selling author and has won just about every sci-fi writing award there is.
2. It fits in with the story. If they had coffee on an alien planet, that'd break suspension of disbelief more than a funk word would throw me out of the rhythm of the story.

I think the point the article is trying to make though, is that one should think very carefully before just making up a bunch of random words. Famous authors can get away with things that would get an un-known author tossed out of the slush pile. And sometimes it just isn't necessary to put in a made-up word when a regular word would do just fine.

Or possibly I'm just defensive because I have some made-up words in my writing... ;)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Short Story Submitted

I got my short story back from the last reviewer a few days ago. I learned a lot about commas....

Editing has now finished, and it's been submitted to the Writers of the Future contest. So I guess I'll be nervous about that for a while now, until results are announced.

After the contest is over for the year (hopefully), or if my story doesn't make it to the next round (hopefully not), I'll post it on my website.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

Yup, the title pretty much says it all. Not much going on in writing land today.

I have one more person going over my short story before I send it in to the writing contest. My wife is still reading through Meskka before I send that out to agents.

I'm working some more on A Wizard of Arade. At some point I should really think up something more than just the working title, but nothing comes to mind. As to where I'm at in the writing process, I'm just past the plot catalyst now. The dragon has been dealt with, and our friends are about to start the real adventure... lucky them... :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Short Story

I'm still working on the query letter for The Guardian Chronicles, Book 1: Meskka and getting ready to send it off to agents.

I'm also working on a short story set in the Guardian universe, set long before the events in the book. I wrote it a while ago, and it kinda got shoved to the back burner. I'm now working on finishing it, and plan to submit it to the Writers of the Future contest. After the contest, win or lose, I'll post it to the website to read and download for free.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Manuscript Guidelines?

I've been looking all over the web for a nice list of how one's manuscript should be formatted to send to agents and editors. I can find parts of the rules everywhere. Most agent's sites have a tiny blurb with either the most important things to them, or a brief summary, or, most common, formatting specific to them.

I finally found a post at the Author! Author! blog that has it all, all in one post:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Query Letter

OK, here's the pitch paragraph from my query letter for Meskka, what do you think?

When an alien ship lands unexpectedly in the middle of her clan's territory, Bast is sent to investigate as part of her scout trial. After accidentally injuring her paw, she meets these new visitors. She and her senior scout Rrrark are invited to return with the aliens to their home planet to open diplomatic relations. What started out as a simple diplomatic mission is soon complicated when they discover a pirate scheme that might be more than it seems. Only herself, Rrrark, and two of the aliens called Guardians that have strange powers different from the others are capable of stopping the pirates.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Map of Arade is up...

I have the map for Arade posted now,

go check it out!

The map is just a rough draft, it's just done in pencil for now, and since I'm only a few chapters into the first draft there isn't much detail yet. More details will be added later.

Also, if you love fantasy, check out the preview chapter from "A Wizard of Arade"!

(Do remember that it's a first draft, so there are lots of spelling and grammatical errors and the content may change drastically before the final version.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

4th draft done!

I just finished making corrections to the fourth draft from comments from two of my reviewers.

Now, to finish working on that query letter...

Also, coming up in the future: a sample of the fantasy book I'm writing, and some info for it on the website.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A new map

I made a preliminary map today for the fantasy book I'm writing. I also changed the working title to "A Wizard of Arade" because too many things were sounding the same. (Not that I expect this particular working title to survive all the way through anyway, but I do plan on keeping the world name.

I'll post the map here after I've done some more work on it. Right now it just has basic continent shapes and the two town names that exist so far.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm still here!

I had a good holiday season with my family. I didn't get much writing done, but I had fun.

I've been working on A Wizard of Aarde and am now on Chapter 2.

Still waiting for reviewers to get back to me on Meskka. And I've been working on the query letter for it.