Chapter 27: Precipice

I’m just crankin’ these out, huh? Well, finally (finally!) the audio issue is resolved. The setup works, and works so much better than what I had before. I cannot tell you the frustration! I hope you’ll hear the difference in the podcast, as I didn’t have to mask the track with a million filters to keep out the background noise; I definitely feel as if it’s much more authentic to the way I sound, and of a quality of which I’m more proud. Eventually, I may go back and record all the tracks again, just to get consistency. But when I started this podcast in April of 2008, I don’t think I even contemplated what it’d be like when I reached this point…

Well. Two chapters to go. That feels weird! What on earth will I do when it’s over?!

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Chapter 26: Preparation

Once again, here we are. I’ve been having a little bit of frustration with my recording equipment, and hopefully by the end of this week I’ll have a totally new setup: phantom power here I come! I’m working on ways to keep background noise to a minimum, which has been an issue throughout the podcast, but I did my best.

As I mention in the podcast itself, music is by my beautiful and talented sister, Llana Barron. You’ll be hearing this music again, so keep your ears open. Only three more chapters to go friends, and this ride will come to an end. Thanks so much for listening along the way…

Alderpod #28 – Chapter Twenty-Five: Lost and Found

Without further ado, here is Chapter 25. Once again we are back at Vezina Ranch with the Order of the Oak, and Cora and her friends. I’ve got a few notes at the end of the chapter as usual, so I’ll leave you to listen.

Just a few more chapters to go…

Okay, more effective if I actually liked champagne.

But, at approximately 3:3opm, EST, here on a very chilly blustery day in North Carolina, I completed the second draft of The Aldersgate.

That’s thirty chapters and a hefty 161,000 words. (Like me, it could stand to lose some.)

I started The Aldersgate two years ago, and finished the first draft one year ago. This has been the single largest project I’ve ever undertaken, and certainly the longest book I’ve ever written. Of the original 100K in the first draft, I salvaged somewhere around 5K, and rewrote everything else.

There were days that I honestly never thought I’d get to this point; sincerest thanks to some of the most awesome readers/listeners/Tweeters out there, too.

So, yes. In the meantime, I’m going to finish another WIP that is single person, pure fantasy, and will hover around 90K when said and done. Then, well, of course, I have to work on the sequel!

398px-ferc-fish_ladderThis NaNoWriMo experience has been… well, intriguing, to say the least. If anything it’s teaching me to write more habitually. That’s kind of expected though, you know?

What’s got me lately are the unexpected turns the book takes. I haven’t had so much time to sit and type, to plan to plot, and that’s sort of the idea, I guess. So it’s writing in the dark even more intensely than usual. It’s sitting in a pitch black room and waiting, and then, when something stirs, chasing it down, putting a light to it, and describing what I see.

Last night was… intriguing. I made up for my deficit on Saturday (my husband’s leaving town for a week, so I’m forgiven!) by quite some, and am just below the 15K mark.

But let me tell you, half of what happened last night… um. I don’t honestly even know where to start. Everything just took such a different turn, such a curious turn. And it’s nothing that had to do with setting, which is steampunkified Boston, or the research I was doing in to the shape and formation of the town itself in the 1880s.

Well, apparently I have something of a villain. And she’s my heroine, as well. And… yeah, I’m as confused as you. I’m going to stop now. Hopefully this all makes more sense in the end.

Your webmistress and writer is currently under the weather. It appears that not only did my family return from California, but so too did some microbes. The kiddo is ill, and now, after spending two days with him, I am ill. Currently forcing myself to drink some godawful protein drink, because I’m not hungry but need some kind of nutrition, and lounging, coughing, and sputtering here in my armchair.

In the mean time, I’m back in the Nithings, writing some of my favorite parts of the book again (ah, my editing process… slash, slash, burn, bleed, light afire… rewrite). I liked this bit, but I’ve always been a fan of scenes where heroes get cool schwag.

“I gave Emry a gift,” Nesme said. “I figured you should have one as well. Gem, too. But I think you possess greater powers of deduction than you might imagine.”

Cora hated making decisions. She felt the weight of it on her now, like a thumb pressed to the middle of her forehead. What would Nesme think of her if she were to choose something small and simple, like the silver pocketwatch on the second shelf? It didn’t look to tell time in any numerical system she knew, but it was fascinating. Or perhaps she should select the wind instrument, the one made of mahogany with silver filigree down its sides; surely Emry could teach her how to play…

But no, there was something else. As she looked and looked, it continued to hold her attention, to wrest her gaze back to it: it wasn’t that she wanted the gun, exactly, it was only that she could not ignore it. About a half larger than her father’s guns, this was a pistol of an older pedigree, from perhaps a hundred years past; she had read enough books to recognize it. It would be difficult to fire, and not good at close range, but still…

Before she could think further, she picked it up. It was heavy, and cool to her fingers. The weapon was composed of curves, not lines, and every detail had been attended to, from the embossed barrel, to the ivory inlaid grips. She squinted, trying to make out the design, and her heart skipped as she recognized it.

“Stags,” said Nesme, surprised. “The symbol of House Grey, is it not?”

“Yes, but how did you—”

Nesme turned to Cora. Hea was close to her, but nearly a head taller, heas dark eyes rimmed in white lashes as hea stared down into her face.

“Not all of us choose to leave everything behind,” the Sib said, reaching out and touching Cora’s cheek. Heas hands were soft, the skin slightly papery. As hea reached out the cloth from heas robe fell down to heas elbow, revealing an intricate tattoo that ran from wrist to elbow and, presumably, further. The design was a stag with magnificent horns that intertwined up the Sib’s arm, dotted every now and then with a black flower or star.

“I, too, was born into House Grey,” said Nesme, and Cora thought hea sounded sad, almost regretful. “This gun… it did not come with me, no, but with another of my kin, another of our houses.”

Nesme’s voice cracked, and Cora looked up into heas eyes.  She regretted her decision immediately. “You—you’re crying… I don’t have to take it, I—”

“No, no—I cry because, Coralie dear, I see parts of your path before you. Steps you must take. You choose a weapon of war, a weapon of death. You can feel the storm coming, too.”

When I started this blog, I had finished The Aldersgate. The idea was that I’d post the edited chapters, one at a time, and podcast them. Seems like a pretty straight-forward plan, right? The name made sense, the format and structure made sense.

It’s all fine and good, but I realize I painted myself into a funny little corner. As editing has progressed I realized my little novel isn’t so little, nor uncomplicated. The more I edit, the more I discover; the more I discover, the more I change; the more I change, the more the book looks less and less like the first version and more like something new entirely.

And since my pace isn’t anywhere near as fast as I thought it’d be, this blog has become, ultimately, a writer’s blog about a host of subjects, from the process of writing, to trends in steampunk writing and culture, to music and history, to fantasy writing and science fiction.

Ultimately I realize I made a blog for a book, when I should have made a blog for myself as a writer. I suppose in a way it’s comfortable to hide behind something, like a book–but eventually personality wins out. So I’m contemplating renaming the site (not the address, as that’s impossible) and rethinking my approach a little more. The Aldersgate is a well-intended endeavor and, I keep telling myself any, a worthy one. But the more I edit and rewrite, the more I want to challenge myself and get it right. It’s a big story–a huge story, the largest and most ambitious I’ve ever tried to tell. And I don’t want to risk the telling by taking shortcuts.

So, suffice it to say, this blog jumped the gun a bit. Although, in my defense, when I sat down to serialize the novel I really did think it was 90% there. I just found out it was really closer to, oh, 20%. I’ve never been good at math.

To all the readers and friends I’ve made in the last few months, thank you. I’m rapidly approaching 10,000 views (?!?) and am ever amazed and inspired by the people I’ve come to know through this blog. Expect lots more from me as the months pass into the next year, and prepare yourself for new adventures!