And now you all suffer.
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Because, you see, I was struck by the brilliant idea of reading occasional bedtime stories to my friends on the Internets. And so, I've recorded the world's most amateurish podcast of "The Chains That You Refuse," and here it is.
Right click to download, please, and save my bandwidth.
And don't say I never gave you anything!
I wrote a story about that a while back.
It's published in The Chains That You Refuse, but today seems like a good day to give away some fiction. And yanno. There's 20 more like it in the book, if it entertains you....
by Elizabeth Bear( Prague. 1601.Collapse )
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And Anne-my-editor told me I could:
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The first chapter of Carnival.
It's the final manuscript version, so please bear with me if there's a typo or five or a comma out of place.
All right. This book doesn't actually belong to anybody yet, and it'll probably morph even more by the time its done, so I am not too worried about doing this. What follows is the first two chapters of the revision of By The Mountain Bound in its rough draft form. I still have some work to do with Strifbjorn's voice in places (bone-dry Norwegian sense of humor is very hard to do in print, I gotta tell ya.), and it's not the book I would write today, of course, but you can never step in the same river twice.
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This novel is set in the same world as All the Windwracked Stars and The Sea thy Mistress, and it takes place some 2300 years before that first one. Or, more precisely, it ends on the same day that AtWS begins. But then there's a two-millennium gap between the first chapter and the second chapter.
This whole thing is known collectively as "The Edda of Burdens." (I often refer to it as The Norse Noir Steampunk Cyberfantasy. Except BtMB is heroic fantasy, if it's anything, while AtWS takes place in a postapocalyptic feudal city under the rule of a heroic Technomancer.
It's Norse-ish, but it's not Midgard.
In fact, Midgard is five hundred years ash and ice by the time our story commences....
( this contains some grown-up stuff. fair warning. if you are not a grown-up, read something else.Collapse )
Chapter Three of Blood & Iron is available online now.
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And that will be the last one until the book comes out, about a month and a half from now.
I've posted Chapter 2 of Blood and Iron.
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But first ye'll let the black gae by,
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And then ye'll let the brown;
Then I'll ride on a milk-white steed,
You'll pull me to the ground.
--Tam Lin, Child Ballad version #39C
So, Liz has given me permission to post the first three chapters of Blood and Iron online. Stealing an idea from truepenny, I'll be posting one chapter this month, one in April, and a final one in May. The book comes out June 27th, to compete as directly as possible with truepenny and scott_lynch, among others.
So, here's chapter one of Blood and Iron, in the more or less final form.
Happy Ides of March.
(If this intrigues you, you might also like to check out the goings-on at elaine_andraste. Because everybody has a livejournal, these days.)
This is a very brief, spoiler-free (unless you count character development) cut scene from near the end of Worldwired. Since it was removed from the book for reasons of length, I am pleased to post it here.
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( 13:00 hours, Friday, 15 August 2064Collapse )
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No real spoilers in this bit, unless you count the name of one character who survives Blood & Iron.
( This one got replaced by a paragraph of exposition. Life is so sad, sometimes.Collapse )
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Breaking a long silence, let me say, hullo!
I see some new faces out there. This is a fiction-only journal; the actual day to day muttering takes place over at matociquala.
Today's post is a scene cut from about a third of the way through Whiskey & Water for reasons of length and insufficient returns on the plot. It contains some minor spoilers for Blood & Iron and Whiskey & Water, but since B&I won't be out until next July and W&W is probably slated for 2007, you'll have forgotten all about it by then.
In it, two creatures of Faerie have journeyed to New York City for the express purpose of slaughtering a human Mage. And they're having dinner now.
The book's in omniscient. Fair warning.
I hope you enjoy.
( without further adoCollapse )
Oo, look. Content!
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First, an older, unpublished story that I've trunked. Then, an explanation of why I've trunked it. Wheee!
( High IronCollapse )
( And here's why it's trunked:Collapse )
In the interests of not letting this journal die off completely, and for the amusement and appetite-whetting of my friends and fans, here's a draft scene from One-Eyed Jack. This is, of course, a work in progress, and prone to changes without notice, but I think it gives an idea of the flavor of the book.
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( The Russian and the American. Somewhere on the Island of Manhattan, 1964.Collapse )
That's chapter fourteen of AtWS up. This somewhere close to two thirds of the way through the MS--maybe a little less--and what struck me revising this articular chapter is how plainly I can see that it's the chapter where all the dominos I've been running around setting up start to tip over. The end, as it were, of the Dreaded Middle of the Book.
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It's always kind of a magic moment for me. When I'm in the process of cobbling a novel together, at the beginning of the book I've very alert to the characters and the clues they're throwing at me. By the time I get to the end of the first third, I generally know how the book ends, and the middle of the book becomes an exercise in picking up all those threads, weaving them together, and getting everybody into position so they'll be where I need them to be when I kick the table over and start the crisis, the flux point, that leads into the climax and the final third of book.
And then the final third is me running alongside like hell, trying to make sure nothing falls off the cart so it's all still in place for the earth-shattering kaboom at the bottom.
This is the spot where the cart tips over the ridge, and I go from Sysiphus to Run Like Hell.
It's good to see this and be reminded of how it works, because I'm still in the careful bricklaying portion of One-Eyed Jack, and sometimes it's hard to remember that all that motion in the middle of the book is necessary.
Rubik's cubes, man. Rubik's cubes.
I need to make some more icons for this journal. It's all paid up and everything.
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As I'm editing this work for weblication, one of the things I'm noticing is the sentence-and-paragraph-level craft. I mentioned previously that my transitions are unsexy... or, at least, I hope to heck that they're sexier now.
The other thing I'm noticing is that the narrative--especially in the Muire first-POV bits, which were written as long ago as November, 2001--is unconfident, by my current standards. I don' think the writing is bad--certainly I've read published work that's at this level--but it's not what I've learned to do in the past three years.
Here's the real problem, I think: specifically, I didn't have a lot of auctorial trust in myself when I wrote the original drafts of All the Windwracked Stars and The Sea thy Mistress. I felt the need to shore up POV with a lot of scaffolding (He felt, I heard, she saw--) rather than just getting in there, getting into the character's head and showing what he felt, I heard, or she saw. I'm tidying as much of that as I can before posting. Some of it defeats me.
I also didn't trust myself to put a picture in the reader's head through main force of will and muscular language. This especially shows up in the stage directions, which are often over-refined and cluttered with prepositional phrases. Those darn prepositions. Drat them. *Zorch* See, these days, I'd just describe a boy as "a corpselike blond," say, and trust the reader to get that he looks like Richard O'Brien in Rocky Horror. Back in the day, I would have tried to make the reader see that.
I was also still thinking in terms of sentences having specific purposes (this is description, this is narrative, this is dialogue) because I hadn't yet achieved the synthesis where what every sentence does is move the story forward, usually in a few different ways at once. So a sentence of description doesn't really exist anymore, because that same sentence also advances action and maybe characterizes a little--
I couldn't do that when I wrote this book, and it's not the sort of thing I can fix, because the way my storytelling process works. I don't seem to be able to do the sort of white-paper rewriting truepenny manages; once I've told a story, I can *change* it--I can alter it to near-unrecognizability, including adding scenes, changing the plot, cutting charaters, adding POVs--but I can't actually write the same story again from white paper without it turning to dross. So while I can rearrange this thing structurally and polish and tighten and reword, I'm stuck with these monopurpose sentences, because that's how the book is.
Anyway. Real learning experience going on here. Hope it's good for you, too....
This is just a little bit shy of the first third of the book, by the way, for anybody who's wondering how much would still be left if you were reading it on the couch.
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It's very interesting for me, editing this and rereading it again. It's three years old, and my craft has come a very long way in that time. All the Windwracked Stars and its sister novel, The Sea thy Mistress, of which the current version of AtWS are constructed, with serious revisions and changes, really represent between them the emergence of my voice as a mature writer. I structure stories very differently from this now; I wasn't as confident or fluid in my transitions, and the prose is...
Well, I was learning, let's put it this way.
One thing I do notice about this book, reading it now with the sense that it's a stranger's work (That was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead) is that the characters still interest me. While I was much more transparent about their conflicts and damage and thought process than I am now--more unsubtle--and while they feel shallower to me than the characters I write today, perhaps because, at the time, I felt the need to make those details explicit rather than implicit, I do still like them and find them interesting as people.
Or, in one case, as big metal horses. But Kasimir is possibly the coolest thing I've ever come up with, so it's hard not to get a bit nostalgic about him.
Please feel free to chime in here, by the way, on your own experiences as a writer--or reader--with this book or with others. It's my idea that this will serve as a teaching tool for writers, as well as good old fashioned entertainment.
This is the novel version of the prologue that's been published in English and Polish as a short story, "Ice." It is not a professionally edited version; it's a final draft version. There may be typographical errors and other errata. I hope you will forgive me their presence.
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All the Windwracked Stars is my first novel. It's also my second novel, because the current draft of AtWS comprises a sort of Frankenstinean monster comprised of bits worried from the corpses of AtWS and its sequel, The Sea thy Mistress.
In its unified form, it's the first half of a not-a-duology (formerly a not-a-trilogy) collectively entitled The Edda of Burdens. As the name might hint, it's Norse Fantasy. It's also Cyberpunk. Sort of. And periApocalyptic science fiction.
It's not very much like Hammered at all.
It's my intent to serialize the novel here. I am not releasing my copyright, under creative commons or any other licensing procedure; what's posted here is for the enjoyment of my readers only, and is not for reproduction elsewhere, with the exception of small excerpts for the purpose of linking or commentary and other purposes covered under fair use.
I hope you enjoy it.
( All the Windwracked Stars -- PrologueCollapse )