What a difference Ten years makes

Dirjack

I’ve been slowly typing my way through StarDancer over the last few months, currently up to chapter 22, and to give myself a break between chapters, I’ve been going back and editing my earlier ones, taking on board suggestions my readers have been making as well as running them through Grammarly, AutoCrit & a Text to Speech program (Which is hilarious).

I’ve just finished chapter 1’s second draft, and while I was saving a copy, I came across a version of the chapter that I wrote way back in 2007. I’m sure I have older versions floating around that are handwritten. I may dig those out at some stage.

I was curious to see how much my writing had changed in 11 years… The results are interesting.

Back in 2007, chapter 1 started like this.

As he raced through the stunning rock formations on the planet Dirjack, Star Ziebach was reminded how much like home it was, and made a mental note to visit when this race was over.
The twenty five year old had spent the last ten years being Star, hiding from his past and his personal demons. Considering it seriously now he decided that maybe he was finally ready to stop running and face his past, claiming his birthright.
“Damn, I think I just grew up” he ruefully admitted to himself.
Star was leading a field of seventy-six cars in the Passadfena to Glass City road race. The nearest competitor was twelve miles behind giving him time to enjoy the scenery, and after fourteen hours of staring at the barren desert the granite formations were a welcoming sight, heralding the start of the home stretch and the end of the race.

 

And today’s version gained 100 words 🙂

As he drove through the stunning rust coloured granite rock formations of L’Nari on the planet Dirjack, Star Zeibach, was reminded how much like home it was and made a mental note to try to visit sometime after the end of the racing season.
He had spent the last ten years of his life hiding, first as ‘Storm’, a Fyay Civil Air Patrol pilot, and more recently as StarDancer, the current Vlentary Intergalactic Racing Champion. Considering the visit home seriously for a moment, he wondered if maybe he was finally ready to stop the running and face his past, conquer his demons, claim his birthright and all the responsibility that went with it. It didn’t horrify him the way it used to.
I think I just went and grew up, he ruefully admitted to himself.
Star was leading a field of seventy-six cars in a race that wound its way from the Passadfena Crystal Mines on the northern coast of L’Nari, through the Eluv Forest, across the top of the Ra’ual Mountain range before descending rapidly to the Kukrax Desert to end at the famed Glass City on the southern coast.
With the nearest competitor still descending the mountain range, Star had time to enjoy the scenery. After fourteen hours of staring at the barren desert, the granite formations of Adevelai Ruins were a welcoming sight, heralding the start of the home stretch and the end of the race

I got more descriptive 🙂 Not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. The story is currently sitting at 130,000 plus words and I’m not even at the midpoint yet. Oh well, I guess that’s what editing is for.

I may post a few more “improved” passages as I slowly go through and edit the first 20 chapters.  It has been interesting to go back and read what I originally wrote and compare it to what is now planned.

In other news, I participated in a communal writing project created by the wonderful AJ Watt.  It was a blast to write, and part 10 of Lord Logenburt should be posted in the next few days.  Click here to check it out

 

 

You asked, I answered!

can’t wait to read the rest of this series

Anne Wheeler

A few days ago, I put out a call for your burning questions related to Asrian Skies. Some were easy to answer…some not so much. And one was so difficult to that I asked a reader for her input. So, without further ado…enjoy!

Are you planning on writing any more past Avery stories?
Not at this time, sadly.

Who was Chase’s mentor growing up?
Good question. I tend to believe he didn’t have one–given his background, I’m thinking his peers probably wanted him to fail, which probably explains a lot of his drive.

Everything and anything about Hadley. How he got recruited. Any broken hearts in his past?
What he tells Avery is Asrian Skies is pretty much the truth. He graduated from the Commonwealth’s military academy after not being able to afford university on his home planet of Voirs. His thesis was on the introduction of artificial intelligence in…

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Merry Xmas from the Worlds of Amberfyre

Merry Xmas from the Worlds of Amberfyre

Merry Xmas from Vlentary

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas :).

The heat is oppressive, the real-life job workload has quadrupled in the last three weeks, there’s tinsel on the floor and it’s a never-ending job to keep the cat out of the tree.

But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

This year has been one of big changes and moving forward.  I managed to plan out three complete novels, have ideas for another four,  wrote 12 chapters on a new novel during NANO… actually won NANO.  Made lots of new friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Seriously go follow these guys.  ElusiveStory, Anne Wheeler and the #turtlewriters on Twitter.

My plans for 2018 is to actually finish Danni & Alix’s story as well as StarDancer.  Everyone else is still clambering for me to finish their own stories… I’m getting there guys.

So, It’s a Merry Christmas from me, Danni, Alix & the rest of the crew.   Merry Tuile from Star, Krystal, Shallone and Devon, and a Happy Fyayian Fire Festival from Koltan and Calliope.

Thank you for buckling up and joining me on this epic journey.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride so far and I hope to see you all again in the New Year.

Stay safe and warm in the Northern Hemisphere, and safe and cool in the Southern.

check out my new website as well.  http://www.amberfyre.com

A Rose by any other name

A Rose by any other name

I originally posted this on my other site, however, since it got hacked, now is a good time to post it again 🙂

I was on twitter the other night, chatting about character names with another writer. She had a very, what seemed to me, strong, powerful name for her FMC. It was a 1 syllable First Name with a 1 Syllabled Surname. She was also considering changing the surname to a 2 syllable one.

To me, the new name flowed better. A softer edge to a hard exterior, which is what my friend was aiming for.

The resulting conversation got me thinking about, how we perceive names and people without ever seeing them. And I conducted a little test 🙂

The names I use on a regular basis are:

Boys: Alex, Kristobel, Nathaniel
Girls: Aria & Paige.

For me, Alex is Blond, blue eyed. Kristobel and Nathaniel are both Tall, Dark & Handsome. Nathaniel with a bit for of a sense of humour.
Aria, my feisty red-haired & Paige, the girly sidekick.

For my friend: Alex is Tall, Dark & Handsome, Nathaniel is either Tall, thin, cute and geeky or incredibly creepy, Kristobel – a princess (she thought this spelling was feminine and Christobel more masculine).
Aria – soft love interest
Paige – Red haired

Even as writers it appears we are not immune to preconceived ideas and judgements based on people we meet with those names. It can also work in reverse when you create a character then meet the person in Real Life.

Growing up I fell in love with the name Rainier & more specifically Prince Rainier of Monaco and Princess Grace. The name Rainier making a number of appearances as my MC’s. Including in StarDancer.

When my son was born, we named him Rainier (my writing may have influenced my husband’s acceptance of the name). It was about that time I picked up StarDancer which had been sitting in the Chapter 10 doldrums for a few years and started writing again.

I dusted Rainier off and rewrote the chapters, coming across his enemy Koltan.

My son started daycare/kindy when he was 1, and about 6 months in, he made a new friend. They were the best of buddy’s and did everything together. His name… Koltan spelt exactly the same way as my character.

I remember sitting on the floor with both of them crawling all over me thinking “You can’t be Koltan… you’re too sweet to be Koltan” (My Koltan is a Bounty Hunter and definitely not sweet).

It took a couple of years before I stopped seeing him as that … and it the meantime, Story Koltan took on a life of his own and changed slightly, becoming less obnoxious and developing his own personality.

A recent resurrection of a story resulted in me dusting off the name Westley.  After a few days of misspelling the name as Wesley, I remembered by I had chosen Westley and his subsequent nicknames… 10 points to which ever house you support if you can pick both references :).  Again another set of names with preconceived ideas, which suit the character I’ve created.

J.J Green asked a question on Facebook recently, asking for ideas on her name for her character.  The responses given were interesting, to say the least, and started an interesting facebook debate, along the same lines as this blog.  Even published authors are not immune to the preconceptions we all have.

The Evolution of the Dancer Series

The Evolution of the Dancer Series

I was playing hashtag games on Twitter, and a few months ago the theme for #1linewed  for the week was ALONE.  I posted a line about Star and his crystal

I am not alone. Star whispered. The lapis lazuli crystal with the heart of amethyst that lay in his hand was proof of that.

One of my readers posted that they loved the idea of the crystals, which got me thinking about when I first started this journey.

The story of StarDancer is over 20 years old… o.k its officially 27 years old. While the story itself has changed over the years and developed into a more coherent, flowing and expanding story, the core ideas I had way back when haven’t.  A comment was made that it would be interesting to see how the story has permutated and evolved over the intervening years/decades.

I still have my handwritten ideas stored away.  The writing is terrible (think 16-year-old angsty teenager terrible… it will never ever see the light of day LOL).  I went digging and so for @elusivestory, & @awheelerauthor here’s how the world of Stardancer began.

  • A doodle of 6 planets and a wayward wormhole
  • A boy with blond and blue hair overlooking a destroyed city, with a Raven haired girl with flame red tips beside/overlaying him. (Twins)
  • Twins would dress up as the other one to mess with people
  • Black Panther …
  • The residents of the planets have crystals embedded in their breastbones.  When you find your soul mate they break in half and can be fused together creating a soulbond.
  • An evil force capturing races to create the ultimate fighting force.  Destroying those that aren’t compatible.
  • Discovering the wormhole leads back to the Milky Way.
  • Finding out that’s where the bad guys come from
  • Destroying Earth

 

Not really much of story   but the ideas have stuck around for nearly 30 years and have evolved into something I can use and hopefully people will enjoy.

 

    • The universe now consists of 160 planets and I have a governmental/Military force in play
    • The 6 original planets are now called: Crystal (crystalline sky), Quiena-Mara (Rose Pink Sky), Erondarth (Lilac Sky), Phiarsep (Sapphire Blue Sky), Tolgas (Deep Purple/Amethyst Sky), Maldeer (Emerald Sky)
    • The blond/blue hair boy is now an adult.. and has been running from his past for decades
    • The Twins shapeshift… and there is a scientific reason behind it (Sorry it’s vague… but this is a major plot twist LOL)
    • Twins shift into Snow White Lynx, and Black Panther.
    • The crystals have remained as I imagined them originally, apart from the addition of a different coloured heart when you find your soulmate J.  Star’s crystal was lapis Lazuli… until he met Krystal, which is when it gained an amethyst spike up the middle.  Krystals’ crystal is Amethyst with a heart of Lapis Lazuli.  My favourite crystal at the moment is Shallone’s and Devons.  Malachite and Star Ruby
    • The crystals were gained in book one when Star and Shallone’s ultimate ancestor discovered the planet’s heart crystal and I have recently discovered the purpose of the crystals
    • The wormhole still leads back to Earth, and the bad guys still come from there.  But their mission has altered slightly as has the motivation of my two Antags.
    • Earth needs to be destroyed, but it also holds the answers to free Star and Shallone.

 

Way back when I started this journey, it was only 1 book and a half thought out dusty storyline.  Now, 6 books in the making (plus a badly written fan fic – which is probably another blog post all of its own), a galaxy that keeps expanding everything I turn around, characters that haunt me in my sleep, make me laugh and cry and a large group of readers that want me to hurry up and finish this… which I intend to do … eventually.

I love what this story has evolved into and can’t wait to see what other ideas are added and changed as the journey continues.