Posts Tagged ‘characters’

My life over the past couple months has been taken unexpected turns. It’s not all bad, I don’t even know if, in retrospect, any of it has been ‘bad’, actually.

I stopped writing, not so much by choice or even lack of motivation / creativity, but because of ‘real’ life interfering. I was too busy cutting wood to keep the house warm, and working on making the truck run to really have time to sit and write. When I did find time, I was too worn out to actually do so.

Then my wife said that we were going to be active again in the Society for Creative Anachronism. I wasn’t necessarily being bitten my the bug to do so, though I had been on and off for the past decade. I didn’t complain because is was clearly a good thing for her. I knew, once we started playing, I’d be swept up in the life and that has proved true.

When this decision was made, I was already getting to the point where less time was being taken up by wood cutting, due to warmer weather. I had more free time, but wasn’t quite in the zone to write. Instead, I threw my creative energy into what I used to do last time we played SCA – jewelry making. By jewelry making, I mean carving / shaping bronze, and brass, bone and wood, into ornaments, decorated my hand shaped glass ‘gems’ all in the style of 1500’s venetian period. It is an exacting, creatively challenging, hobby that is very rewarding.Maiden's Heart #1full copy

So, in one way, I’m glad I wasn’t writing when this life change happened, because I would have found it harder to adjust and slip back into the life. I have plan on stopping writing. I honestly don’t think I could, even with the ‘new’ distraction. In point of fact, my mind is percolating, starting to work on a short story I started months back. working a short story is a good way to get back into the rhythm, I find. From there, delving back into the novel will be easier to accomplish.

When will this start? Saturday. How can I know? Because tomorrow, I go to Windsor for my twice annual cat sitting job which is always a writing retreat – a stimulus for getting the words out and onto the screen. I’m looking forward to it, the zen of writing, the enjoyment of submersing myself into another world. I am also packing the equipment needed to work on jewelry, so that I can have both creative outlets available to me. I will have the time, and the desire, and plan on indulging.

If I have any doubt about getting back to writing – or the value of completing another short story – all I have to do is look at the reviews coming in for my second released book, Blondes, Books, & Bourbon. The anthology has been getting some very encouraging things said about it :

anthology 5* – “I loved this book even more than Mr. Ridley’s previous one, Tomorrow Wendell, which BTW is also about Jonathan Alvey and is super awesome! I absolutely loved all the stories and will re-read them very soon (yes, it’s that good!) All the stories are unique and adventurous… Mr. Ridley has created something more than just a likeable character, he’s created a character sensation. Jonathan Alvey is an extremely well developed and an amazingly crafted character”

5* – “Ridley opened this anthology with an interview that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and an even bigger reaction in your brain to continue on reading.
If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Tomorrow Wendell, you’ll still enjoy this collection and get to know Jonathan Alvey, as well as a few other recurring characters”

5* – “Ok so I want to start out by saying I have a strong dislike for short stories in general. But I really enjoyed the time I spent with each one of these. Alvey is an awesome main protagonist that is easy to get along with and root for… I never felt lost reading these stories, and I was never just wanting to get onto the next one either. I can honestly say I like each and every one of them. Even if you haven’t read Tomorrow Wendell you’ll have no problem keeping up or getting to know Alvey…If you like magic and the supernatural in your stories, then Blondes, Books, and Bourbon: A White Dragon Black Anthology is for you. If you’ve never really tried out a detective story, then this is the one I would recommend finding out with. Great writing, amazing characters and fun yet creepy new monsters you don’t normally run into.”

5* – “This is an amazing read, although short stories, all the stories are linked through Mr. Jonathan Alvey and this is a unique collection that reads like an amazing novel. The reader follows Private investigator Alvey as he takes on paranormal cases. I won’t go into each one but just know they are interesting and compelling cases that will have the reader glued to this amazing anthology… This is an amazing book and the author has done a wonderful job creating a special story. Believe me this is a do not miss story!”

5* – “Alvey is a fantastic homage to the hardboiled detective fiction of old with a fresh insertion of the mystical and arcane. Conjuring images of rot-gut bourbon, duplicitous dames and dangerous foes, Ridley manages to channel some of the best traditions left over from the old school of detective fiction… Full of intrigue, danger and bleak humour – the stories in Blondes, Books and Bourbon not only expand on the world Ridley introduced us to in his debut novel Tomorrow Wendell, but rather supersede it.”

I know – I know… I have been remiss in my postings. I place all the blame, squarely on Winters shoulders. That bitch had me in a strangle hold, and it’s hard to type when your fingers are frozen.

My routine, the entirety of my days, was all about getting wood ready for the furnace to keep warm. I had little time of my own, and less energy when I got it.

Also my truck wasn’t running, which added a level of stress, and time consumption, which didn’t help matters any.

I haven’t written in — an embarrassingly long time.

All this is beginning to change, as does the weather. Warmer days, and nights, means less wood consumption, which means more free time, which means an ability to return to usual habits.

My truck is running now (why she wasn’t before remains a bit of a mystery) although I do need to take her into the mechanic today – her axel U-joints are in bad shape. So I have to drive into town and spend money we don’t quite, really, have. But there is not to do about it especially when I look at the next month and see the travel we want to put on her.

This weekend we go to London for the SCA event ‘Winter War’ – or first event in over a decade. In a little over a week, I go to Windsor to watch my sisters cats again, and thus want to be sure I leave my wife a working vehicle – especially as she is going to be coming into Windsor for another SCA event during that that time. When I am done my cat sitting duties, I then get to go to the Ad Astra Convention, which I have been looking forward to since… well, November. That’s in Toronto, which a couple hours drive from me… so truck running = good.

The truck must be fixed, and so she will be.

anthologyOn top of all this, my White Dragon Black anthology ‘Blondes, Books, & Bourbon’ comes out this Friday the 13th (actually you can get the paperback now from Amazon – HERE)

So this month won’t quite be ‘routine’ but it’s will be a good break from what Winter was doing to me, and get my brain back on the right track. Hopefully soon, I’ll be back to posting about word counts, and story arcs, and characters.

I have managed the last two days to get in decent morning writing sessions. Redemption’s Child progresses and I’ve reach the first real ‘excitement’ scene. I hope that from this point on the tension, and action just keep escalating. This novel promises to be both very entertaining to me to write, and yet challenging as well.

As I see it, the breathing spaces in the story should come further, and further, apart and be shorter, and shorter, each time. A rising pace through out the novel, that – hopefully – had the reader flicking the pages towards the climax with greater enthusiasm and need.

A story can’t be all action, without some pauses, it simply becomes too much – almost boring – I plan to keep this  in mind as I go. There is also an emotional aspect, regarding what my protagonist is going through, as the story progresses, that needs to be shown. This will help both give small breaks in the action while giving more impact and tension during the action scenes.

I’m worried about my portrayal of the child that Jonathan is watching over. I don’t have much exposure to children in my life, and thus don’t have real world experience to draw on. I do expect  that anything which rings too false or contrary, will be brought to my attention by my beta-reader as she does have such experiences to compare to.

For now, as always, I write. I write without judging or worrying. I write the tale as it is shared with me by my Muse – all other aspects will be dealt with when the novel is edited.

Well, it seems I was riding some sort of high when I wrote the second novel… so long ago now, and it makes me a little worried about #3.

‘Bindings & Spines” is still a good story, don’t get me wrong, but it is…wordy. A lot of the edits is cutting. My personal editor suggest cuts and I tried to follow as well as I could, while still holding the things I thought I need in there. Now my beta reader suggests cuts and I try to take that advice seriously as well. Tomorrow Wendell wasn’t as much about cuts, but additions to solidify the world and now I’m fighting a totally different dragon. But since both of these two, who I trust and respect, are saying ‘trim it down’, I have little choice but to do so.

There is less metaphor and more description. I think that is part of the problem. TW was rife with metaphor and simile. Instead of ‘felt like a pinate after a boisterous party’, I have four paragraphs of detailed issues. Having identified the problem will, I hope, go a long way to resolving it. This will also bring the word count down, making it much closer to ‘Tomorrow Wendell’ in length.

It’s hard to hear critiques some times. It is also far to easy to tell yourself, ‘but they don’t get it’ — thing is… they do. They especially ‘get it’ when it’s people who have read a lot of your work before

Alas, I’m human. The important thing s tat I have accepted it and, by accepting it, allowed myself to see why thus opening myself to understand the difference from the first to the second novel.

I will never stop learning my craft, that’s part of what makes being a writer such a great job.

It has begun – reviews are coming in from ARC readers. This is getting real. Two wonderful reviews on Goodreads that are making my head spin.

It seems people just might actually like my writing, my words, and more importantly–my world.

It is that last one that is most important to me, because if people don’t like the world I’ve built than they won’t want to delve into it again and again. I write because I am a writer, but the White Dragon Black world is such a part of me now that doing it just for myself seems well, almost unfair.

Jonathan Alvey’s world has become so real to me, that I don’t want to live there alone.

… Wow –didn’t that sound like I was losing my mind in a whole knew way?

The point is, that I want to share these stories with others because I believe the vignettes my Muse gives me were meant for more than just my mind to explore. Hopefully, I’m right– the reviews will have to tell me if I am.