|I may not draw very well,|
but this really does capture
what the Captain looks like.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
What Has TermiteWriter Been Up To Lately?
Neglecting her termites, that's what!
Neglecting her blogs, too, but that's less important
than neglecting her termites!
So why have I been so shiftless lately? It's not the holidays, because I don't do much for Christmas. It's my WIP, The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars. I may have mentioned before that I have a beta reader for this humongous piece, and he is totally involved -- he loves the opus and keeps wanting more of it! This has impelled me to work diligently to get parts of it ready to send to him.
I'm supposed to be shortening it (Hah! Famous last words!) Actually, mostly I'm just reading it. It's been a long time since I went through it and I've become completely absorbed, and the farther I get into it, the more intense and compelling it becomes. On the bright side, I've not added anything to it and I actually have shortened it a little, but only by way of cutting words like unnecessary "that," and "just" and "now" (which I overuse). I do occasionally condense a paragraph or cut a sentence, but those emendations are like grains of sand plucked away from a beach.
I honestly think I could shorten it more drastically, but I get caught up in the story and the flow of the dialogue (the piece is heavy on dialogue, like all my writings), and I never can achieve any distance. Maybe after I finish this pass-through, I can manage a more objective look.
Another thing that the story requires is new chapterization and that I'm managing to do. Since the book is cast as a biography, I began by heading the chapters with nothing but dates and places. This makes it impossible to know what's going on by looking through the ToC, so I've never been able to find anything in the story. The chapters were also too long, so I'm chopping them into shorter chunks and adding chapter titles. I like books with chapter titles. I think they can draw a reader in. For example, here are the titles of the first ten chapters of The Valley of Thorns (v.3 of The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head):
Now doesn't that list make you interested in reading the book so you can learn what all those intriguing titles imply?
As I add chapter titles to MWFB, I'm also retaining the dates covered in the chapters, since it is a biography. All this is taking some time, but it will make further revision easier. I'm still not saying I'll ever be able to publish it because it is in fact the quintessential million-word novel -- all one humongous story. The Termite Queen was too long for one volume, but it fit nicely into two. MWFB will need maybe five and that's just for the part I've completed -- it isn't finished, you know. It can't be a series in the traditional sense, which implies that each volume stands alone. This is all one long story, just like people's lives are one long story. You need the contents of v.1 to prepare you for v.2 and v.3, just as you need to know what happens in a man's childhood to help you understand his actions at the ages of 30 and 50.
Just the same, I'm sorely tempted to publish the first volume, which I call Eagle Ascendant. I takes Capt. Robbin Nikalishin to age 31 and drops him at a huge cliffhanger. It would be a long book in itself -- at the moment it's 171,000 words. But my beta reader was crazy about it and said he didn't think I should lose a word. So what's to do? Will anybody else be similarly impressed? Only the space gods know! If readers did take to it, it would be worthwhile plowing ahead with the project.
So that's why I've been neglecting my poor little termites! But they are still there, demanding attention! Why don't you all go out and help keep them content while I cook this big pudding that is The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars? You can find Ki'shto'ba and its cohorts at Amazon or at Smashwords.
A footnote on the genre of Man Who Found Birds: I almost have to call it a piece of literary fiction. It just happens to be laid in 28th century and to involve space travel and future history, but what it really deals with is the human spirit, with all its triumphs and all its failings. Really, all my books, including the ones inhabited by extraterrestrial termites, deal with that subject. Mythmaker Precept No. 17:
There are creatures on this planet [amended later to in the universe]
who speak, form symbols, and share emotions;
these may be called human.