I’ve been looking over some stories I started a few years ago (around 2000-2002) then filed away somewhere and forgot. I actually can’t find the cd that I think I have the files stored on, though I do have printed out hard copies of the efforts (a couple of chapters in one case, four with some handwritten bits of a fifth in the second), but I actually found them stored away on the Internet Wayback Machine. See, I used to have them stored on my server space, and I still might have them somewhere, I just don’t feel like looking around. Anyway, now that Yarny has offered unlimited stories in their free service I went ahead and uploaded them there. I’ve been reading them over and trying to figure out where I want to go on from where I left off; unlike the Nanowrimo novel, I didn’t have outlines, just a vague sort of idea of plot, but I had the characters pretty well mapped out. Anyway, I’ll be working on those. I’m thinking of making them both novelettes, not full novels, and once they get polished I want to get them published for Kindle etc. and maybe I’ll do a double-edition paper book via Createspace. *plans*
Okay, a couple of days ago I finished reading over the first draft that I had uploaded to the Kindle. Some things I noticed right off the bat: I’m going to have to make sure my paragraphs are indented on the first line, and also, a lot of my paragraphs are way too big. The Kindle’s about the size of a paperback page (a cheap paperback, not one of the bigger fancy paperbacks), and big paragraphs can take up more than one page which means one entire page of word-block, which looks rather overwhelming.
Okay, that’s all for formatting now. It actually read pretty good — the dialogue, such as there is, isn’t too amateurish, though I need to get rid of some anachronisms; my setting is a civilization some fifty-thousand years in the future or more so contemporary speech patterns just don’t belong. At least I didn’t have anyone say “okay” or “OK.” I do think that my heroine thinking of someone as “weird” was said in too American-girl a fashion. These people aren’t on Earth, there ain’t no Americans in it.
Names are going to be changed — I basically just came up with some quick names to get through Nanowrimo, but I have decided I don’t like most of them, except for the first names of the hero and heroine. Place names especially are going to get the old “find/replace all” treatment. I also have to get the thing into Scrivener but I want to finish the tutorial first. Wordpad and Yarny were great for the first draft, but now I am going to be working on the second, and I want to break it up in some way.
I also printed the thing out for the purpose of hand-editing, but wouldn’t you know, the dang printer started to run out of ink halfway through. It’s still readable for editing, I think (the document proved to be 92 pages single-spaced with an extra line between paragraphs, and only the first 33 pages — the printer prints documents last page first — are affected by the lack of ink). I hate wasting paper. Paper is so wasteful — another reason to publish electronically with only print-on-demand books for those who want a paper copy, but that’s a different post.
I went ahead and removed some themes I wasn’t using. Now there are just the two default WordPress themes to choose from. I’m using Twenty-Eleven right now.
I tried something with my Kindle: you can use a special email to send things to your Kindle web space, and later have it copied over to your Kindle, either via usb or wifi. And if it’s not in a native Kindle format (like it’s .rtf or Word .doc) you put “convert” in the subject line of the email and it will convert your file to the Kindle format. I tried this with the draft of the novel and it worked! It looks pretty good for something that is single-spaced (and turns out to have really long paragraphs in some places; I may have to edit those shorter). So I have hopes for the e-Book version of the thing once it’s done.
I went and took advantage of the winner’s prize coupon for Scrivener that got me the program at half price. Twenty bucks is not bad for something that apparently lots of writers praise. I haven’t done more than look at the tutorial, though. I’ve got to go to work.
I’m also probably going to get Calibre, which is a program for e-books (downloading, storing, converting, and so on). It was recommended on the Nanowrimo forums for converting files to Kindle and other epub formats. I also tried the trick of emailing my draft to my Kindle via my Kindle email thing, only I’ll have to upload it to the Kindle next time I’m near a wireless connection. It’s been soppy and rainy today so I didn’t go to the coffee shop. (And it’s going to snow tonight, when I’m on my way home. Oh, joy.)
…is pretty much summed up here, in a Cracked article on Skyrim. Here the writer is complaining that he does things in the game out of the right order, and it sort of fucks up the story:
King: Wanderer! Thank the gods you’ve come! The prophecy told us that a mighty warrior would arise, worthy of wielding Fjalnir, the God-axe, and slaying the evil Demon Prince Synraith. We believe you to be that warrior. What say you, traveler? Will you accept this task?
Me: Yea, verily I shall accept thine task and vanq- wait, Synraith? Fiery dude in a floating city? Cape made out of screeching souls? Ahhh, shit. I already killed that guy.
King: You … already slew the Demon Prince, the Knife in the Dark, the Void at the Heart of All Men, whose identity you did not learn until just now?
Me: Yup. I saw that castle floating up in the sky, and I wanted to know if I could jump up the rocks to get in the back way. It took a lot of reloads, but I finally managed to hop on up in there.
King: You “hopped on up” into the Abyssal Palace?
Me: Yeeeep, yep yep yep. Just squat-jumped on in there and looted the place. Then I killed that Sydney guy-
King: Synraith, Demon Prince of the Abyss.
Me: -yeah him. I ganked that guy. Mostly just to see if I could. Plus he looked like kind of a dick.
King: Indeed, the Foulest of the Foul was “kind of a dick.” But you vanquished him without the aid of sacred Fjalnir, the God-axe?
Me: Totally. It wasn’t even a thing. I just hid on top of a bookshelf where he couldn’t reach me and shot him with arrows. Then I waited until he forgot I was shooting him, and did it all again to get the sneak damage bonus. Took a while, but he died all the same.
King: Forsooth! Thine heroic deeds are … well, that sounds kind of fucked up, actually. Never thought I’d feel bad for He Who Devours. So you have no need of our sacred totem weapon?
So yeah, if you have the talent to bring off pretentious “Aragorn the King” dialogue, then do it. The problem is, most people don’t.
Okay! So… what now?
Well, editing, obviously. And adding all the missing bits — technically nothing is “missing” and it could be used “as is” (with just editing for spelling, grammar, syntax, etc.), but there are a lot of scenarios I left out, I need more descriptive stuff, I need more “world-building,” I need to polish (and change) a lot of the made-up fantasy science, I need to make things more consistent (for example, it turns out the organization in charge of my civilization’s instantaneous-travel-across-galaxies mass transit system is a lot weirder than I initially envisioned), I need more character backstory and more stuff about my characters… etc. Also this being “part one” I need to get cracking on the sequel. Well, the first day of December is already almost over, so it’s not going to be like that. But I want to try to maybe get out a draft of the rest of the story in about the same time frame. Why not?
I started reading the whole thing over last night and was not too displeased. Hmm. I forgot what else I was going to say here.
Anyway, as a present to myself for winning, I bought a Kindle. I get it tomorrow. I bought the cheapest one, yes with the ads, but they are supposed to be not really all that bad. And if I’m serious about this writing thing I should get serious about getting it into e-book format, because that’s the way things are going. I still want dead-tree versions of my books, even if I’m the only one who ends up buying them that way, but e-books are getting more and more popular. But I’m not publishing my book anywhere until it’s as polished as possible. Right now it’s not even ready for beta-readers (I’m thinking of going the beta-reader route to get editing help); it’s more like alpha, or whatever comes before alpha. Zygote? Wait, that’s not a Greek letter.
I may or may not keep this site up as my writing site. I like the way it’s set up, but so far the only visitors I’ve gotten have been spammers. *sniff*