Saturday, March 12, 2011

From scratch . . .

Returning to Riding Ten Thunders is more difficult than anticipated. After rereading the first chapter, I realized my style has changed considerably.

I've spent so much time in Randall Toussaint's world, reclaiming Jagantha's voice is not going to be easy. I may have to do a full rewrite of Riding Ten Thunders. The right elements are there but the way the story unfolds isn't doing it for me.

There is an upshot to redoing this story: tailoring it for the YA audience. Originally I simply wrote on impulse. I got to know the characters, put them through their paces, but I wasn't aiming for a particular audience. I am more focused now.

I am kicking around a better pitch for the story, one that nails the "high concept" though I dread making comparisons such as "It's like The Hunger Games meets Shaka Zulu in a land where children are bred for war."

But that is how the game is played. I doubt I will use that exact pitch. I am fairly certain EVERYONE compares their books to The Hunger Games these days just like they did with Twilight and the Harry Potter series . . . but with a twist!

I am putting aside Untriggered Magical Devices again. I just don't see its potential beyond the solo story. It's a tight idea but it feels very derivative. The high concept? "It's like The Hurt Locker in the world of Harry Dresden." Just writing that makes me weary.

Stratum, on the other hand, is something else. That's my kick in the teeth with a steel-toe boot. It is the kind of story that will make enemies out of people that don't even know me but that ironically is the point of the story. The mechanics framing the story are tricky, still working out the logic and rules of the setting but it does have me pretty excited.

Meanwhile, Black Saturday is in the first editor's hands. As soon as I get feedback, I'll let you know.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away