Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ebbella, a mystery girl

Greetings all.
Into the school year now, and my workload is heavy but manageable.
I have been processing thoughts on the least defined of the characters in Toivo's little squad:  Ebbella, the girl from the Hidden Villages.  She is a Clear topaz, and as such, her range of the Spectrum is up above the Visible, into the ultraviolet and above.
I have been treating her char as that quiet girl who is sitting on the side of the room, silently reading a book or some such...but when you look again, you can see  that she is gazing intensely at you, her eyes full of questions.
I had originally based her appearance on one of the girls that I was teaching many years ago, but then I saw a face in a National Geographic article about the Sami people....and then, like a splash in the face, I was looking at Ebbella.  Triggered all sorts of side-thoughts:


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Still here, and chugging subconsciously

Hello all.
Yes, August is here and soon we teachers will be grinding out our plans for the new school year.  The re-drafting of the manuscript is still on the back burner at the mo', but that is not to say that the brain is mush.  In the process of getting my head organized, that durned creative spark just keeps making connections...
Ebbella, understated girl in Elpis' squad...member of the secretive clear topaz region.   I got to thinking about her the other day.  I already see her as clear as day in my head, but her region to is NOT visited while Elpis is a boy. The reason for that hit me whilst wandering around in the rocks and minerals section of the Royal Ontario Museum, in Toronto.  There is no possible way that Elpis would have been sent to visit there: the mineral opal glows when exposed to ultraviolet light, which is the range of the topaz Spectrum that the clears command.  His opal powers would have been lit up like a beacon, and that would have been the end of one of the shorter-lived plot lines in all of literature.
Heh, I am beginning to think that she is unique in her tribe too...because I have envisioned a moment when she has to use her powers at full adept level, and it is revealed that she is a PINK topaz...rarest format of the gem.  ( true fact topazes are usually so small as to be useless.  Get one big enough to facet and mount and you have a truly valuable jewel.)

We shall see if that can be woven into the tale when I get to that end of the narrative.

Take care.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

draft #7

Hey all.
Have't posted in a while, but I've returned to my job as an elementary school French and Music Teacher, so I've been 'Real-World' occupied.    That's the way of things.

Just a note to say that the most completed Draft I have generated, #6, is nice and all . . . but I find that I am able to conceive of how to modify the story to make the narrative more immediate.  Draft #7 is my attempt to bring the tale of Elpis and his friends into a format that is more gripping.  I must say that I have been guilty of wanting to reveal my wonderful fantasy world as fast as I could.  I'm a first-time author, what can I say?  Well, having read "The Lost Gate", by Orson Scott Card, and "The Hunger Games" since I last blogged has shown me that my chronicle-style narrative, hopping from moment to moment through Elpis' young life, is less immediate than I am wanting. 
Therefore, I am now able to conceive of how to delay the revalation of him being from Opal until well into the story....the strangeness of his powers is a mystery to him and to the reader, and they discover it together.  Uncle Saul's secretive meetings and mysterious connections will still be there, but the reader won't have the answer to SOME of the questions until graduation day, and those will help move Elpis / Topaz towards the right questions that he has to ask to get the answers that he needs.

(Confession:  It is a very exciting thing for me to actually be able to conceive of this level of reformatting.  The sheer size of this task is not as daunting as it might of been, at some earlier part of my life.  Not sure why, but not complaining either.  This manuscript WILL be ready.  It might have to be middle of August now, but Focus is no longer the Foe that it used to be.)



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Author's voice

I'm pondering, of late, how one goes about finding one's voice, as an author.  To all you still in school, that is part of your Language Arts learning.  (I know it is.  I have read the Curriculum documents.  Heh.)

Here's a couple of good links that speak to the idea of "voice":

It bears thinking.  The concept of "voice", as it applies to the stories that you write, is one that you learn as you go.  The more you write, the more you learn about your own writing process, the more you learn what your voice feels like when it is present on the page.

I feel that many of my chapters do have elements of voice to them.  They are inconsistent, though.  I'm learning how to recognize this sort of thing as I go here.  I do not relish the thought of a total re-write on this manuscript, but I'm thinking that some kind of process like it will be the only way that I can get all the styles to line up better. 
I know that I need to find a better literary vehicle to drive the plot given that the chapters jump forward through Topaz's life, sometimes 3 or 4 years at a time.  As I have it now, there's not a through line yet.  The chapters are episodic.
Maybe I need to treat this as a series of short stories.  Hrm... limiting, perhaps, but it is a way to address the discontinuity. 
Saul is probably going to have to be the through line, then, since he's the constant in Topaz's ever-changing life.  The story is about Topaz growing up, but the central character could be Saul?  NO.  That's too much of a change. 
More research is needed here.  I will finish the adjustments that I'm making right now, but these topics need to be addressed. 

I have a goal now....several actually.  Good.  One needs goals in one's life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pre-chapter blurbs

When you read stories, sometimes it's the little extra bits that add depth to a created world.  This is an interesting side task.  I'm finding that this little tidbit is a neat challenge...a chance to set the tone for the chapter, maybe even a key to understanding what is to follow.

Here are a few examples:
In Dream, we visit our other selves
so that we remember what we learned
when we were them.
      One of the Pearl Realm Mysteries

Everything grows
when you know how to nourish it.
     Saying from the Emerald Realm

“But, sirrah, you are but one. How will you survive battling so many?”

“Majesty, I am but one, but if I bear your favor, then I shall be many times more than myself.”
     from “The Peridot Queen and the Opal Knight”, a children’s tale.



Monday, February 20, 2012

Thoughts about the process

Hello everyone.
I've read this tidbit in various resources, and once again it makes sense for me.
Read.  Read voraciously.  Absorb stories and sentences and cool turns of phrase into your brain from it all.  This is the bank of words that you use when you create your own stories.
Having recently finished "The Lost Gate," by Orson Scott Card, I was reminded of the simple fact that the man can assemble words together in a truly masterful way.  His prose is very easy for me to absorb. 

Choose your favorite author, re-read a book of his/hers, then go and write something.  It's how you grow.  After all, you are the one who knows your story first . . . the trick is making it so that others can know it too.

J.A. Gartshore

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

AHHH! A new direction of effort...again!

I love my wife more and more, ya know that. She sees with different eyes, and not the filled eyes I have from looking at the depths of this story for as long as I have. She is truly my peridot...she comes to me and I am empowered by her.

Thanks to her, I am beginning to see that my current manuscript is, in fact, the first two books of my series, schmucked together. Therefore, I'm beginning to look at filling out the first part of the story, up to Topaz's graduation...treating that event as the climax. The adept stories that happen in the second half will certainly be kept, but interspurced with Academy elements.

Back to the drawing board....
...this means that all the sensory descriptions that I glossed over can now be expanded to a much greater extent.
...the interactions can be broadened.
...the emotional reactions to things can be revealed more thoroughly
...the Topaz Realm can be explored even more.
This burst of revisionist thinking is actually coming from two sources.  The first is my wife's suggestions, of course.  The second comes from having almost inhaled a new book by Orson Scott Card, called "The Lost Gate."   Greatjumpingsquashnibbletsonaflamingkabobstick!   THAT MAN IS A MASTERFUL WORD-SMITH!!!!  It's not my concept, thank goodness, but it does explore a magic system that is fresh and that breathes life into aspects of human history like nothing I've read in ages!  

Read his stuff.  Now.  Right now.  Find this book, or "Ender's Game" and subsequent books, or anything by the man, and read.  He's that good.  'Nuff said.
p.s.  New life is breathed into my stories here, with the need to further expand.  It's exciting, and infuriating, all at the same time. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

A fresh crew...welcome

If you are new to my blog, I bid you welcome. 

Just so that I can get a sense of who you all are, could you please....

1)     Introduce yourself
2)     Mention what month / gem you are

If you want to tell me a bit about yourself, you are welcome to.  This is a blog that I'm using as a thinking space for the stories.  There are many concepts here that I'm exploring for stories that happen later on in the Arc. 

I will answer, if I can, answer any questions you would like to ask me.

I really appreciate your interest, and I look forward to your reactions as you move forward in the reading of my work.

Fate Favor You.

Jeffrey A. Gartshore.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Process and the Learning

The more I revise-retool the manuscript, the more I'm appreciating my reader-helpers, specifically my amazing-brilliant-so-much-smarter-than-I wife.  As a lawyer, she sees things that I don't, language-wise.  Every point of weakness or linguistic ambiguity that she points out is like a wonderful little flash of light that helps me learn more and more each time. 
Ah, I'm going to be learning things about how to be an author for the next 70 years, I sure of it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Proof-reading...amazing what you find.

I've made a new, current physical working copy of the manuscript. Intersting. I'm finding many loose ends that I had thought dealt with hiding here and there.  So, after tightening all the time references, I've started another round of proof-reading/editting. The physical copy seems to be easier to see, for me. (Heck, the first sketches I wrote were drafted with a fountain pen. I guess I'm just a visual thinker. Surprise? Nope.)

Hope I can get this set of corrections finished in a timely fashon. Ya never know...a literary agent might nibble. Heh.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cultural links

Had this interesting thought the other day:
Ruby = Spartans
Sapphires = Samurai

Both warrior cultures, very different focus and spin. 
Leads me to find other cultural links between my Realms and the real world.

Garnet = pre-Revolution Russia, right before the change
Diamond = Finns (stoicism)
Peridot = Canada (+USA?  Possibly...)
Amethyst = Beijing?  Hong Kong? (a la Blade Runner)
Topaz = California?  (That's a whole culture right there...)
Aquamarine = Carribbean. (with enough PotC , of course, Yo ho!)
Emerald = The steamy jungles of the Amazonian Basin?
Pearl = Australian Outback (the aboriginal peoples there refer to the "DreamTime" culturally.  Research cue!)
Opal = The irish / scottish celtic cultures...with a serious dose of gypsy nomadicism!
Turquoise = Switzerland?  (Neutral, Make great timepieces)

Always interesting, this exploration of the possible links that can be called upon.  Now to keep the brain focused enough to make use of that in the tales...