Insights into Writing, Editing,
Turning Dry Facts into Compelling Stories,
and Anything Else That Interests Me at the Moment
and Anything Else That Interests Me at the Moment
It seems like every time I start working on the wiki, I find a new source of information that I have to stop and read. Today's was Michael Kyle Woodson's "Re-Drawing the Map of the Hohokam Canals in the Middle Gila River Valley." His map doesn't show the canals right around the Casa Grande Ruins, which is where my upcoming novel Swallowing the Sun is set, but it does show an area that is of great concern in the second book in the series.
I love archaeology!
Oh, how I hate that word.
I would prefer to call them "specks," maybe, or "tips" or "dabs." The sound of "blurb" reminds me of something going under the water's surface in the toilet.
But I've manned up and written many blurbs today, to be doled out over the next several weeks here and on social media.
Here are a few:
Swallowing the Sun is done and off to the copyeditor.
There's an interesting comparison of GRR Martin's storytelling approach versus the Hollywood formula that finished the HBO television series in Scientific American. I see a distinct parallel between my storytelling in the Tales of the Watermasters series and what Zeynep Tufekci (author of the Scientific American article) says GRRM tried to do in GoT.
Sometimes, unfortunately, somebody has to die. For the sake of the plot, one way of dying may seem more appropriate than another. This means research of a kind that normal people never have to do.
This week's death scene involved a knife wound to the belly. I learned all kinds of things about slow death as caused by damage to many organs: the vena cava (near the spine, so more at-risk in an attack from the rear than from the front); the liver, kidneys, and spleen (which have many connections to blood vessels); the bowels (which tend to slide away from a slow penetrating object such as a knife but if nicked can lead to septicemia); and the stomach (gastric leakage can cause peritonitis). Any stomach wound is likely to result in incredible pain but would probably take hours to days to kill someone and may not actually prove fatal.
In fact, modern medical care can repair almost any injury in the lower torso, as long as emergency facilities are close by. That should be some consolation to anyone worried about being struck with a ritual obsidian blade.
"So how is the final editing coming along, Sally?"
"It's coming along, just more slowly than I ever imagined."
"Why? What are you changing? I thought it was in pretty good shape for the beta read last year. A lot of people really liked it."
"Some of my readers had really good ideas for tightening it up and making it better. A few suggested new scenes that would help advance the plot. So far, I've cut out about 25,000 words and added three new scenes."
"Wow! I can see why you blew past your deadline."
The turning of the sun.
The Hohokam of central Arizona had several ways of marking the sun's movement. The most amazing one that remains is Hole-in-the-Rock in Papago Park, Phoenix.
The sun shines through the hole in the top of the rock formation and into depressions in the ground below during the solstices.
In my "Tales of the Watermasters" series, I imagine the lighting of huge fires, which could be seen from all the largest villages, at the time of the winter solstice. I call this the New Fire ceremony. I'm a few days off in the final editing of "Swallowing the Sun," though: the New Fire ceremony is still about 10 chapters away! It would have been serendipitous to be working on those scenes while the solstice was actually going on. Oh, well.
In the final 24 hours of what was otherwise a lovely trip to Europe, disaster struck. My laptop, flash drive, and notes were stolen at a train station, and I lost more than a week's worth of revisions on Swallowing the Sun. I also discovered that what I thought was being backed up to the cloud apparently wasn't. Painful learning experiences. I'm still determined to complete this first book of my "Tales of the Watermasters" series as soon as possible. It's just so hard to keep going this year.
I bravely committed to release Swallowing the Sun into the wild before 2019. Now I have to figure out how to not only finalize the text but also format it, get a cover design, and publish it with Amazon's new KDP system. Plus I need business cards and other marketing materials and have to increase my visibility on social media. This is the part of the writing process I'm least comfortable with . . . and it's becoming the most important!
My Instagram and Pinterest posts have gotten some attention, this blog has been up and running for a year, and my Facebook fan page has acquired several new followers--some that I don't even know! Then there's Goodreads, which has a feed to the blog and direct access to purchase my published books.
I now have a Twitter account and made my first tweet. I'm setting up a Patreon page and have my first Medium post ready to go. I've decided to wait on Kickstarter until Swallowing the Sun has been out for a few months and The Rainbow Knife (#2 in the "Tales of the Watermasters" series) is ready to publish.
When I write, I see the scenes as a visual image or even a film. This is a rough approximation of the title scene from my upcoming book, Swallowing the Sun. The details are incomplete (there are no openings in the temple, for example).
I have sketched out several scenes but have recently played around with colored pencils, watercolors, and even, for this illustration, a drawing program to colorize a pencil sketch.
I had my mother teach me to read when I was four, and I've never stopped. Now I can play with words all day long... it's the best job in the world.