Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's Quiet....A Little Too Quiet.......

(Another new piece of art for Interstellar Operations. Art is owned by Catalyst Games Lab, but it's still pretty neat!)

So, I'm 1600 words into a new Battlecorps story, and it's going well. the Characters are coming to life, the situation is coming along nicely, and I think it'll be finished in a week or two....

 But it's going a little too well......

Sometimes I have to fight stories in order to get them written. Sometimes, idea after idea roll off the fingers and what's supposed to be a short story suddenly has enough plot for a Novella. Other times, characters take on a larger role than you intended. And sometimes the story goes rocketing off the rails and into deep space. More often than not, I have to pull back and find out what I did wrong. Sometimes, it's cutting back to the point where the story goes off the rails and going from there. Other times, it's not as easy.

I generally have only one or two drafts of the story lying around on my hard drive, and maybe a file with the extra stuff from the working draft there, to used later on in the story, or for another story entirely. But there are times when I three, four, or five drafts of the story, twisting this way and that and I have to hammer it back into shape.

Two Battlecorps stories come to mind when I think about stories I have to hammer back into shape because they refused to fall into place. One was The Promise, which constantly refused to come into being. It took several drafts and hard thought to bring around. The second was Thirteen, which I first called Wolfsjager, then bounced between the two titles and plot for over a month, trying to find the story. I have a couple unfinished stories with the same problem I need to wrestle with, but this new one is going well, which makes me suspicious.

Maybe it will go smoothly, the story will write itself and maybe something unexpected will pop out and derail the story's train of thought. I've written enough to hope for the former, and expect the latter. Every writer has those periods when the story don't come into focus, and sometimes the best ways are to either power though it, or set it aside and work on something else. I done it both ways and had some success.

Well, off to bed -- this non-Battletech novel won't write itself and I need to ride the Battlecorps story as far as I can take it,. If it goes all the way to the end, I will be a happy writer. If not, I'll have to break out the power tool......



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rewrites --- BLEH!

(Art is from the upcoming Interstellar Operations rule book, and is the property of Catalyst Games Lab. But isn't this neat?)

When I'm not working on my second non-Battletech novel, I have been working on rewriting a story that went through the workshop and was battered around a bit. So, I've been tearing the story apart, and rewriting large chunks of it. I've learned a few things from these sort of rewrites;

First, I hate them. I realize long ago that I am not a "one take" writer, one who gets the story down perfect first time.  I need to get the story down on paper, then go back and rewrite. But when someone other than me points out things I couldn't see I really hate doing it. But it has to be done --- if you don't want to rewrite, then you will never make it as an author. So, I do them....

Second, I need a thick skin. Any author who wants to write professionally has to develop one. Reading criticism is subjective, but with the workgroup, it's also honest criticism which I can't dismiss out of hand. I have to take it seriously. Now, I may accept it or reject it, but I must at least look at it and decide how much of it to take. I am taking a lot of it this time around.

Third, Rewriting allows me the chance to make the story better. Guided by the criticism, I can add here, cut there, trim this conversation, add a scene. The challenge is going to be keeping it the same length. Right now, it's 500 words longer than the one I sent to the workgroup, so if it's still over my target length, I need to go back and trim it some more.

Rewriting isn't a skill that can be learned other than doing it. and successful writers will do it all the time. I don't have to like it, I have to do it.



Monday, June 8, 2015

There Will be Battletech Novels!

I'm not letting the cat out of the bag --- it's been mentioned several times on the official forums and backed by people in the know. There's been no official announcement, but it looks like we're going to be getting Battletech novels!

Before anyone asks for any details -- I don't have any. The reveal was a much as a surprise to me as to any one else. And me asking around behind the scenes has not produced any details -- everyone is as tight-lipped as an ISF agent at a Black Dragon Convention. Even if I could, I can't tell you anything because I don't know anything. I am as much in the dark as everyone else.

No, I have not been asked to write a novel. My guess -- and only my guess, with no facts to back it up --- they would be looking for proven names to get the new series up and running. And despite the number of stories I've written for Battlecorps, I'm not a name author.

So, what does this mean? It means that I have a new challenge ---  prove to the Powers That Be that when they start looking for other authors, I'm worth a shot. That means more stories, maybe longer stories, maybe novellas. It's an opportunity, and I need to make the most of it. Need to write more and faster. I pitched for a slot in a BC anthology this morning and have several stories I need to work on. That means working more on this non-BT novel so I can clear it off my board.ASAP.

It also means I need to stay off the Internet more.....

So, here's my shot and I need to take it. Follow me as I try to grab the brass ring.



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Honor Code: Stories of the Draconis Combine Anthology

The final House Book, House Book: House Kurita has finally been published in both PDF and hard copy (Anyone going to Origins will be able to buy a copy --- that where the picture above is from). To celebrate the publication of the final House Book, Jason Schmitzer, Battlecorps' editor, has commissioned an anthology of Combine-centric stories. Below is a quote from the announcement:
Honor Code: Stories of the Draconis Combine is a group of stories that all celebrate those central themes of honor, dignity and duty that epitomize the realm of House Kurita.
There are nine stories in the anthology, all by veteran Battlecorps writers (including yours truly). The list isn't in any order, so I have no idea when my story (or any other beyond the first two) will be published. The stories are:

“The Face of the Enemy.” by Philip A. Lee (Already Published) 
“Broken Brotherhood.” by Chris Hussey (Soon to be Published)
“Harvest of Deception,” by Kevin Killiany
“A Moment of Honesty” by Jason Hansa
“Karma” by Chris Hartford
“Risk of Honor” by David G. Martin
“A Warrior’s Fear” by Craig A. Reed, Jr.
“Lady of Steel” by Alan Brundage
“Family Honor” by Dylan Birtolo

I assume that once all the stories have been published on Battlecorps, they'll be bundled together and put out on Amazon for purchase. When I find out when, I'll let you know.

Now, back to writing!