There are a couple of spoilers in this one, but that should be obvious from most of these posts.
Sand and Blood 12: Investigating the Night
Independence. Most teenagers go through a phase where they try to find their own way of life, sometimes a way that is completely contradictory to the one they were raised with. I think that is the best way to describe Tsubàyo in this chapter; he is rejecting the Shimusogo Way (no accent, it's a possessive here) and finding his own. Too bad it involves stealing horses.
This chapter also is the second time I really show that the world is in the beginning of the Industrial Age. The giant mechanical scorpion is definitely not a fantasy troupe (unless you include Maze Mega Burst Space).
I didn't want to write a world where everything was steam-driven and amazing (also known as steampunk). Instead, part of the world is moving into the age while other parts are still clinging to the old age of magic. As it happens, both Sand and Blood and Flight of the Scions are both located in low population areas without a lot of mechanical development, so they are both focus on the magical age. At the same time, we have a road rally (a real one, not the “rally” from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) going along the west coast, a factory city from the south (where the giant scorpion came from), and growing acceptance in other large cities.
By the time we get to Sand and Bone, which is the third book in this series and fifteen years later, there is a lot more mechanical devices running around in the background, not to mention a couple six-story snakes that shoot fireballs. At the same time, Kanéko is deep into the mechanical age of the world and has a lot of industrial devices that should be firmly in the steampunk genre.
Read Sand and Blood 12: Investigating the Night at https://fedran.com/sand-and-blood/chapter-12/.
Flight of the Scions 18: Lessons Learned
This is the first chapter where Ruben speaks and it drives me nuts. He has a particular speech pattern that is sometimes a difficult to make flow easily but at the same time be just a bit unnatural.
He uses big words. They should be correct, but he uses larger words when smaller words would be sufficient. The problem is, I need to make sure they are the correct large word, including various connotations. And that makes his speech pattern come off as a bit unnatural.
The hardest part is that it shouldn't come off as forced. I'm pretty sure there will be multiple rounds of going through his dialog (I was hoping Author Intrusion was much further along since I wanted to write a tool to help with that.
The reason Ruben speaks the way he does is because he has a dictionary built into his head, this world's version of Wikipedia, and he doesn't normally speak out loud. As a natural born telepath and a fifth generation of Vo, his “native” language is telepathy even though there is no one in the area who is telepathic (except his father and we'll talk about that). Speaking will always be unnatural for him. Coupled with his knowledge, I thought that bigger words would be appropriate for his pattern.
Speaking of patterns, you may notice that Maris almost always starts her sentences with conjunctions. While this is not really grammatical, it reflects her environment when she grew up: where there were over a hundred dalpre all speaking over each other. Almost every sentence is chained from the one before it but it may have been someone else's sentence. In other words, they interrupt and steal conversations constantly, guiding it in the direction they want. Her father did the same thing, but he didn't have nearly as many words to let the reader really see the conjunction-leading sentences.
Over time, both of these characters' speech patterns will slowly change to be more “normal.” I figured it will be a natural evolution as they leave their previous environment (silence and overwhelming noise) and interact with more standard speech patterns (e.g., Kanéko).
I have no clue why I do things like this. I've been writing long enough that leading dialog with conjunctions or using a large word when a smaller one is frustrating. My heart says “wrong” but my plans say that it is correct.
Read Sand and Blood 18: Lessons Learned at https://fedran.com/flight-of-the-scions/chapter-18/ (subscribers)
Sand and Ash
On the Sand and Ash front, I have a bit of news. The first editor should be done by the end of the week. Once I integrate that feedback, I'm going to send it to the second one.
The main reason I have two is because they focus on separate things. The first one is a development and line editor, the second is a copy editor. I also know that I really need at least two rounds of editing because of mistakes I made with Sand and Blood.
I won't have a copy for Wiscon though, not unless I decide to spend an extra $50. Given that no one has ever asked to see a copy of my book at Wiscon before, it's probably not worth the money.
This week, I need to work on covers, assigning ISBNs, and basically get the packaging stuff done.
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