May Newsletter

The May issue of my Unremembered Loss Newsletter is up.

This month focuses on Brian – one of the supporting characters in the story, but he still has things to say.

The newsletter goes over a little of his history and then has one of his reflections on hope.

Oh to have faith like a child’s.

I hope you enjoy and would love to hear your reflections on hope.

issue 21 – May 2011

Doug

Blogging Again

I’ve started blogging again for my characters. I took almost 6 months off, but I think I’ve got the juice to start again.

I’ve posted one a day for the last five days and I’ve got another five already in the can. I also have a story going in the background that all of the posts will play into. It is kind of like the prequel to the novel.

Hope you all enjoy

Flogging

The flogging came and went.

I faired better than some, but in the end the answer was no – he would not have turned the page. I’ve spent some time rewriting the opening taking into account the comments I received. Here is the original and the rewrite. Which do you like better?

Original

Dear Journal,

The war has not been going well. Today, we lost the last farms outside of the town walls, and the turpes and foeturs have completed surrounding the town. It seems they are waiting just out of arrow’s reach. They may not be smart, but they’re at least clever. The Captain said we have enough food and other provisions to hold out for another month, but that he doubts help will come in time. He called for volunteers today to go up into the mountains to discover the turpes plans. Cadmon, Hector, Julie, Red Beard, and I volunteered to be one of those teams.

I’m looking forward to getting out into the woods again. It’s been hard being stuck in town for eight weeks. It’s hard to focus with people all around who are upset because they’ve lost their farms and their families.

It’s strange how people fall apart when people they know die. Life is such a fleeting thing after all – with people dying all the time. Even though people hear of death everyday, death seems to catch them by surprise when it takes someone they know. Perhaps it’s my mental training as a wizard that lets me keep control of my faculties while those around me are loosing theirs.

Rewrite

Dear Journal,

The war took a turn for the worst today. We lost the last farms outside of the town walls, and the turpes and foeturs have completed surrounding us. They are staying just outside of arrow range, but I could see them clearly, taunting us.

I used the monocular Master gave me for my birthday – I wish I hadn’t. I could see turpes’ naked bodies, barely covered with short black hair – I don’t understand how God could have created something so hideous. I was trying to figure out what they remind me of, but nothing really fits. Maybe the elongated face of a wolf, but their heads are wider and rounder like a great cat. Their bodies are likes men’s, but shorter and more muscular, and the hair on their heads is matted and long.

After the last of the farmers and guards were safely inside and the town gates locked, the captain called everyone together. He asked for volunteers to go up into the mountains to locate the turpes camp and discover their plans – Cadmon, Hector, Julie, Red Beard, and I volunteered to be one of the teams.

I’m can’t wait to getting out into the woods again. Eight weeks is a long time to be stuck in town. It’s hard to focus with people all around who are emotional because they’ve lost their farms and their families. I wish they could be more disciplined like me.

Duty

I just wrote a journal entry for Brian, Master Gees’ houseboy. The entry was a reflection on duty. In Boy Scouts we say, “I will do my duty to God and my country.” I get to ask each boy what it means for them to do their duty, and what their duties are to God and to their country.

Almost universally the eleven year old boys have a tough time expressing what duty is and what their duties are. Even though I’ve tried to explain it dozens of times. I still have a hard time explaining duty in words that a boy can understand – maybe because I’ve never really put it into words that I understood.

I think about my duty to God. Is it obedience to God? I would say that it is my duty to be obedient, but not the other way around –  I am being obedient by doing my duty to God.

In the blog I wondered if duty had to do more with the motivation than the actually thing being done. Is it my duty because I’m afraid of the consequences? No. Is it my duty because I’ve been charged with the obligation? Maybe sort of.

I think, at least in part, that I do my duty to God because of my realization of how wonderful he is. He is so great that as an act of recognition of that greatness, I feel a sense of duty. Doing my duty is not about the results of my actions, but instead a response to God’s actions in the past.

Is the same true for my country? I feel a duty to my country, not because I might be rewarded for doing my duty, but instead because of how good my life is because of this country. I follow the laws and pay my taxes, not because I fear the punishment for not doing these things, but because I believe that I live in a great country that deserves that response from me.

Perhaps that is the problem with how we view duty. We are surprised when people don’t do their duty. But if someone feels betrayed by their country, where would the motivation to do their duty come from? And when citizens stop feeling like they have a duty to their country, the country has to find another way to obtain obedience – fear.

How much better when citizens feel a duty to their country. rather than when a ruler has to use fear. How much better when we feel duty towards God because he has loved us, rather than to live in fear of the wrath of God if we are not obedient.

I’m glad I feel a duty to God and to my country, not a fear of God and country.

Hathrae.com

I just took the website, for the world that my novel is set in, live. It has been a long time coming and I’m not sure that I haven’t just bitten off more than I can chew.

It is currently 8 pages in length, but is set to be a hundred or more over time. I’ve created it to look like a bunch of newsletters. Each page has a little flash movie on the top for navigation, and then one or more pages that “page in” when the navigation is pressed. Each page is an In Design page that has been saved as a flash movie.

I’ve set it up so that everything is linked through one PHP page. This way it should be easy for me to update the site by adding pages. The links are all embedded in the flash movies and In Design documents.

The questions is, will this be easer than just doing a WordPress page? The problem I see it that there is no way for people to leave comments, but people can leave comments here about that site.

Look for more to come soon.

90,000 words

I reached another milestone today, 90,000 words.

It’s getting a little tougher to make lots of progress. As I was writing I skipped around a bit, an I left other bits unfinished. Today I started writing the last chapter. I got the beginning of it written, but I’m having problems segueing into the second part. I’m also trying to figure out out to pull it all together.

If my story was idea based story, I would have been finished two chapters ago.

If it was character based story it could have been done four chapters ago.

But my story is event based. The story starts when Annay’s world is turned upside down. It can’t end until she has set it right again, or at least accepted her new life as right side up.

So here I am with the final battle won.

With the characters changing or staying steadfast as needed.

The urgency of life is returning to normal.

All that is left is for Annay to figure out how she fits in.

Just 500 more words and the end of the book will be done.

Another 500 words to finish the second to last chapter.

Then the last third of the book will be done.

That’s most of what I did today. I went back through the chapters adding the little bits a skipped. Putting in the quotes I put off. Adding the intros. Finishing the half written chapters. 3,000 words worth of little bits.

When I finish the last third I’ll have all those chapters in the middle I skipped. 25,000 words of chapters here and chapters here.

I have the quarter written flash back to a previous adventure where Annay and Julie learn to rely on each other.

I have the preparations for the rescue mission.

I have Annay’s rescue mission.

Then I have all the bits I need to add to flush out the characters.

More about Latem the ogre

More about the war chief

All those pesky chapters when Hector is a prisoner

The rest of the chapters with Annay dealing with her loss

And lets not forget the missing journal entries.

Yep, there’s plenty to use up that 25,000 words. Just no 5,000 word stretches.

I guess that’s what I get for skipping around and doing the fun bits first.

80,000

With a rush of adrenalin, I wrote the set up for the final battle and then wrote the final battle. I finished late last night – late for me anyway. It took 5,000 words to do the final battle, so I’m at 80,000.

I hoped that today I would be able to write a bunch more, but I don’t seem to have it in me. It kind of feels like a did a 50 yard dash, and now I’m winded.

Maybe it is that I’m not sure which part to write next. Do I write the aftermath or go back and write some of the parts I skipped. I’m torn between just wanting to be done with the first draft and knowing that there is more of the story I need to tell.

I think I need to go back and shake some of the threads I haven’t fully developed so I will know better how the end needs to wrap everything up.