Dreadmire woes

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all

-- "White Rabbit"

I wonder what would make this book come alive? Short of driving down to Looosiana and spending a weekend paddling through a swamp, that is. And don't think I haven't considered it.

They're not talking to me yet.

I was reading in TheFerrett's blog about his chance to ask Neil Gaiman (!!) questions, and don't think I'm not jealous that said Ferrett got to see THE DARK KNIGHT with NEIL GAIMAN. (!!!!!)

"I read a book once," he said after a pause. "Can't remember the name of it, but that's because I put it down after eighty pages. It was written well enough, I suppose, but the lead character was someone so unlikable that I realized that if I met him at a party, I'd make my excuses after five minutes and find another room to be in.

"So I thought, 'All my characters should be people I'd want to talk to at parties.' That's my - well, I'm just formulating it right now, but it's my Party Theory. Why would I like this person enough to spend time with them at a party I'm having a good time at? What about them would make me want to stand next to them and chat?

"If you don't know what it is, you should find it."

--- The Ferrett


I don't know if all my characters would be a lot of fun at parties. Crawford, for example, would not be a lot of fun. She'd be looking to jump out the nearest window, or possibly get in a fistfight with somebody. Torrance would be brooding, because it's what he does best. Maybe he and Ryan could get into a brooding contest. I take bets on who wins!

Diego, on the other hand, would be a blast. Until, y'know, you died horribly with him grinning at you, your blood dripping from his fangs.

Gee, maybe there's another Nocturnal Urges book in me yet. :)

Maybe my little quartet isn't talking to me yet for a reason. Maybe I need to do character studies. Oh god, do I have to? It was the only thing that woke up Samantha for me, but ye gods it takes a lot of time and effort.

So far I have, oh, 654 words into the next chapter. This is the "getting to know you" section. In THE WIZARD OF OZ, this is when the characters do their introductory songs so you learn what their main problem is. In FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, this is when the hobbits eat a lot before the Ringwraiths attack. In THE LAST UNICORN, this is the time on the road to Haggard's castle.

How do I usually solve these "dead zones"? Um, I kill somebody. Action, yanno. Swing a sword, kick some ass. But usually I have a better sense of my characters by this point.

• I think Kancethedrus, whose name I'm finally learning to type without copy/paste, is a little too dull in the first chapter. I'm gonna smarten him up a bit. Also, either he or Tam has to be a smartass, because they're both way too serious. (Why so serious? Yeeks.)

• Angiss is going to develop a singing voice. Somebody's got to be the morale officer of this little crew. Also, how hard is it going to be for a halfling to keep up with two full-grown, top-shape Moor Knights? Pretty hard, I think, and we need to address that. Seriously, did we ever find out how the hobbits kept up with Boromir et al?

• Alesia. SHADDUP. She bitches too much. We're toning her down a bit. Someone wrote recently that modern fantasy frequently has strong=bitch, and it annoys them. I hadn't thought of that. I think Samantha manages to be strong without being bitchy, but Crawford... well. We call her Full Metal Crawford for a reason. And Cat...

Let's move on. :)

I'm also going to resist the urge to make Alesia a feminist prototype. She's in a proto-medieval society, so there are going to be certain patriarchal traditions in place. She has an independent streak, which results in her not being married by the age of eighteen. That's enough feminism for her. She's our audience surrogate, the one who doesn't have any powers or fighting ability or special anything. She's Everywoman, and I need to keep her that way.

But more than that, I need to get over this persistent thought that I've got to hurry up and get to "the good stuff." If what I'm writing isn't the good stuff, it needs to go. Maybe we need another peril before the Darkhoppers. An early menace that they can bungle fairly badly. Give everyone a chance to stretch their legs.


  1. Anonymous9:58 AM

    DOH, wrong blog entry.

    Perhaps its best to start at the end of the journey. When the heroes stagger out of the mist for that last round of daring do, how have they been changed by there travels, hardships. How in turn did this mold them for the task at hand?

    Knowing who they need to be makes sense, so at the beginning they can be a bit more immature, spoiled even grating at times before the crucible has a chance to melt out the dross and leave the pure metal behind. The swamp is background, use the encounter tables for some of the terrain descriptions if you need locals or a quick trip to the library for some inspiration.

    Creating characters is the most difficult then changing them over time, brining out part of their suppressed nature and having maturity rise over the more childish behavior.

    If these characters have to survive the trilogy you can truly see them grow over time. Hang in there, don’t doubt the gift.


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