saving the world with paperclips and string

After recently finishing The Harvest, I realized tonight that I love having my characters defeat their enemies with something simple and unexpected.

If you get to the end of one of my novels, expect the hero to defeat the villain with a pencil in the eye or whatever the hell is lying around. Or they might use something simple that was presented earlier.

To get spoilerific, Rigg from The Thieves of Nottica and Thalcu from The Harvest both do this at the end of their respective stories.

It’s hilarious to me that things so small and seemingly harmless could be so deadly. It’s basically a subtle statement about all my non-masculine, non-warrior female heroes.

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humorless and humorous

Revised Chapter 7 of The Harvest today (not really, this is a scheduled post that will pop up next week) and I realized that I enjoy making Quinn from The Prince of Qorlec and Cricket/Nineveh from A Time of Darkness polar opposites in temperament.

Cricket isn’t funny. In fact, because she becomes so bitter and grim, she gets less and less cheery as the books progress, and it’s the people around her, her friends who are funny.

Meanwhile, Quinn is funny because it’s supposed to be remarkable that someone who was a prisoner of war for twelve years and suffered such torture and humiliation would not only maintain a sense of humor but also maintain compassion for other people. Quinn comes out of imprisonment without racism, while Varzo — who becomes her best friend later — is the exact opposite and is always quick to form biases because she has been hardened (or let herself become hardened) by the world.

Quinn’s sense of humor isn’t a coping mechanism either. It’s just a part of her personality, a joyous part of her spirit that refuses to die, even in the darkest times of her life. And if her joy ever threatens to dwindle, she’s got Thalcu there to support her.

It’ll be interesting trying to figure out how Quinn deals with sadness when she is separated from Thalcu. After book 3 — according to the current outline — she won’t be seeing Thalcu for quite a while.

what makes that silly ol’ ant think she can move that rubber tree plant?

(4/1/2017 — Timestamp From A Bygone Era)

Everyone knows an ant. Can’t. Move a rubber tree plant! But she’s got hiiiiiiigh hopes.

The other day I noticed a forum thread on goodreads where people were talking about series vs. standalone books.

Whenever I write a series, I always try to write it in such a way that a reader could pick up any book in the series and enjoy the story without having read the other six or seven books. I’ve learned to do this after writing free series for people to read online and constantly receiving emails that went “Man, your series is HUGE. How do I read it? Where do I start?”

After realizing the error of my ways, I learned to write each book in a series as a standalone novel . . . or at least I try. Right now, a person could pick up The Harvest and read through what I’ve written so far (and hopefully enjoy it) without having to have read Project Mothership. And hopefully, The Harvest was so entertaining that they will want to read PM and every other book in the series.

That’s all I can hope for. But I’ve got moderately high hopes. The glass is half-full. Etc.

Did some brainstorming last night and wound up outlining six books for my series The Prince of Qorlec. I wanted seven but I think six is the magic number.

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the danger of the ineffective protagonist (sigh)

Just finished Chapter 7 of The Harvest (not really, this was posted with a time machine) and I’m not satisfied with Dr. Zorgone. I like what I chose to do with General Phorott thus far, but Dr. Zorgone needs to be someone the audience really hates and wants to see dead. I just don’t know how to do that yet.

So far, all he’s done is be funny, casually kill minions, and insult Quinn. And it might be easy to make him hated simply because he insulted Quinn — except I haven’t done much to make the audience pity Quinn in the first place.

Thus, the villain is ineffective because the protagonist is ineffective.

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