Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Today's writing notes:

Working on: Skydwellers third edition

I can't believe I just now realized that I couldn't keep Wilder's eye color straight. In the second chapter he's got blue eyes, but in the very next chapter he's got brown eyes. Also I forgot he has freckles. Obviously my mental image of these characters is very clear. At any rate, I think I'll keep his eyes blue because it's symbolic of how, even though he's a sturdy Passerim farmboy, he's figuratively got his head in the clouds and he's always wondered about the cities he keeps seeing drifting by in the sky far overhead.

Another thing I want to do in this revision is make Wilder's characterization stronger, which is something I did not put a whole lot of thought into before. Wilder is Rohui's foil in a lot of ways, but something they both have in common is that they're pretty brash and impetuous. At many points early in the book, I kind of waffled between having Wilder be quicker to act and more on the cunning side, but now I realize the latter just isn't like him. He's a very straightforward person and just kind of says and does whatever's on his mind at the moment, and doesn't allow himself much time for planning ahead. (In other words, he's a typical teenage boy.)

Rohui is slightly different than this in that he thinks he's an strategic mastermind, but his genius plans just end up making everything worse because he does not actually think them through enough. They're both really bad at looking before they leap, but Wilder's experiences tend to turn out slightly better than Rohui's, because Wilder does a lot of his impetuous things out of altruism, while Rohui kind of mostly just wants to make himself look clever.

TL;DR: Kieri is smarter than both of them.

Also, hopefully it is evident from the Passerim's manner of speech and their general aesthetic, but I based their culture largely off of early 1800's frontier America--so basically the Mississippi River region (which the Deepmast River is a stand-in for). This story is essentially Tom Sawyer with goblins and flying cities. I like basing high fantasy worlds off of cultures and historical eras besides medieval Europe, because that idea's really been done to death, when there are myriad other equally fascinating and rich cultures in Earth's history to derive inspiration from. That's why I had fun basing various cultures in The Voyage of the Kaus Media off of (to at least some extent) WWI-era Europe, Moorish Spain, Warring States China, and Classical India. Let's get creative with our fantasy worlds!

Tommand does a lot of stomping. I guess he's the kind of guy who thinks that if he stomps his boots hard enough, he can rattle everybody's brains into thinking the same way he does.

Also, I'm making a conscious effort to make Wilder nicer overall. In the previous editions he arbitrarily does and thinks some things that are rather mean-spirited, but there's no reason at all for him to be like that, and I think he works better as a good kid who tries hard to treat others right. Writing tip: nice characters are more likable and a more pleasant read. :)

Also, the gist of Aehirim technology is that they've managed to basically turn their brains into smartphones. "Processes" are apps that run in your own head, and psych-contrivers are app developers. I had fun coming up with the idea. There's a bit of stuff about it that doesn't make it into the final manuscript, but that's what this behind-the-scenes stuff is for. In Chapter 4 Rohui briefly mentions things called cerebral loci that were used before processes--cerebral loci were physical bionic augments that were surgically attached to the brain stem. Eventually the Aehirim figured out how to dispense with the electronics entirely and directly rewire the brain to act as a computer that could connect to a central network. So Aehirim are really very, very advanced cyborgs whose bionics are fully mental, not physical. Of course I have no idea how they managed to achieve this, but remember that a) they have been living in a post-industrial society for thousands of years and thus they've had ample time to develop crazy tech and b) using aether as their power source may enable them to do things that our own civilization can't with its reliance on lesser forms of energy such as fire, electricity, and radioactivity.

The word count may not reduce as much as I had initially anticipated, because dialogue tags (or more specifically, lack thereof). Ugh I'm glad I don't do that anymore. Yep, the prose is gonna look soooo much better once I'm done here.

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