The Great Winter Eclipse

To Princess Lorraine of the Summer Court, does King Natanael of the Winter give his most respectful of greetings.

I extend my deepest condolences for the losses you’ve suffered during the Great Eclipse. Know that your steadfast neighbors to the north share in your time of mourning. Queen Artemis was an inspiration to us all and the world is certainly darker having lost her.

As for the Council of the Courts, I accept your invitation to Emberstone Keep. Please be certain that the mirror in the northern antechamber is uncovered on that day, as I will be traveling by the usual method.

I also, with your grace, would bring to this meeting a most intriguing individual. It is no falsehood that we suffered less losses in the Great Eclipse, but it is equally true that it was not by our tenacity alone that won us the day. Without their intervention, this letter would have gone unwritten.

Their present leader has expressed interest in speaking with the Courts of Season. Please do me the honor of introducing him to you, as well as to the Emissary of the Eight Winds.

May the summer’s sun bring you comfort.

King Natanael Continue reading

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Exodus of the Court of Autumn

Speaking of those who chase winds instead of the ladies, I have a matter of great comedy to share. Think of it as the matter I regard with my half-smiles, this millennia-long temper tantrum from a indignant, unlucky queen and, more to the point, the temper tantrum the Luminary and Emissary keep pinned to their office walls! If you cannot find the breath to laugh at that, Rilke, then I daresay you can hardly draw breath at all.

Have you noticed, that the vultures gather at our walls? The middle will challenge at the next full moon and, by saying that, the future shifts in your favor. Foresight is so grand a gift that I would be tempted to invite destruction just to spread it, except I will not, for I am no fool long given to dust.

And neither are you.

Ava Continue reading

Concordance of the Seasons

I have gathered, less for the name of history and more for the name of amusement, what records there are of the earliest pieces concerning the ladies of season. The Court of Spring recorded their primitive art, bless their futile efforts, for they are much unlike their cousins to the east, and especially unlike those who have denounced their lady in favor of far more frivolous and far, far more nonexistent entities. Perhaps you could consider the irony, that those who preserved so much of history were the first to fall. I would not consider it myself, but if I were, it would be with the manner of half-smile in which I regard the antics of our favorite joke.

Still, my dear, I do hope you find some measure of delight in the words of long-dusted artists.

Rilke
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Prequel Week

I’ve been super excited for this year’s NaNoWriMo, in case if that wasn’t evident in the week of worldbuilding and the little bits of the idea taking form. Given this is the week leading up to the first of November, I decided to take my ridiculous file of notes and images and start writing. Not the Shadows in Summer story itself, but of the events that lead to it. In essence, seven days of prequel freewriting.

I’m also giving myself the rule that I am not going to edit them at this time. I will sit down with the little bit of information and just write like the wind, like, you know, you’re supposed to be doing in November. The impulse to go back and edit is a powerful one for me and, in much of daily life, I’m encouraged to do so. So it’s getting the same treatment as the entries.

As such, they probably won’t be the best writing to ever drip from my fingers. But damn it, if I am not excited for this.

So excuse the mess, and excuse the meaningful entries until about, oh, December. I have not been as excited for NaNoWriMo since my first year in 2005 and it is showing.

Reference Books on Writing

I love having things to do, except it means there are a lot less time for other things I usually do. Hopefully front-loading all the busy stuff will spell for a more serene November to focus on National Novel Writing Month. Until then, I’ll do a quick post on my favorite writing reference books. These are the works that discuss the craft of writing, whether it be the tools of the language or the actual assembly of phrases into sentences into paragraphs into scenes into chapters into stories. I find them inspiring to study and to integrate into my writing, keeping the pearls of wisdom that work and discarding those that do not complement my style.

Specifically for this group, I find myself returning to their pages frequently. What are your favorite writing reference books?

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Brief Thoughts on Horror

So Wednesday was a bit of chaos in a jar, so hello, dear backdated entry, and some brief thoughts on writing horror. This is largely spurred by an amazing collection up for sale on the Writer’s Digest Shop that gives you a lot of information for forty bucks. The reference books haven’t arrived yet, but the discussion from Philip Athans justified the price as it is, so seriously. If you have any interest in writing horror, this reference collection will probably do wonders in spurring ideas.

I adore books discussing the writing craft. Sometimes I like reading through them and planning imaginary classes that I will never hold to discuss the merits of one author’s method to develop characters against another. Communication is at the heart of writing, after all, and I think there’s something deeply beneficial for writers who can meet with others to trade tips and lessons.

Anyway, I won’t pretend to be an expert on horror writing, much less any authority. Though I admire the works of Mary Shelley and revere HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe to the point of emulating their styles, the closest brush I’ve had to horror is writing protagonists with unsettling reactions and voices. Of my work, the only real scene that I’ve written that could be considered horrific would be Bed of Weeds‘s Noelle Kavorath lost in a crowded nightclub. I tried to frame the scene as similar to the panic attacks I suffer when in a huge crowd; writing that scene left me returning to the experience and, whenever I’ve returned to the scene to revise it, I experience the same reaction Noelle does. The more important question is, however, if the reader, who may not have the same experiences with anxiety, can relate to it.

Sustainable horror stories seem immensely difficult, the deliberate pacing to emphasize the reader’s dread, as well as the meticulous selection of details to balance between “too much information to invalidate the horror” and “too little to sustain the dread.”

So I guess, to tie this off, I’m going to include that segment from Bed of Weeds to see if it does effectively convey Noelle’s panic, enough that the reader panics with her.

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