14 January, 2011

Kicking Dubric in the, um, knee. Yeah, knee.

My fabulous daughter, Laura, has been living with Dubric and Co. as long as I have. She's heard all the character backstories, all the unwritten forces pushing the plots forward, who's related to whom and how it all became such a tangled web. She knows the characters who haven't appeared on the page yet, the politics, the mage war, all that, almost as well as I do. Mostly because her mom is a bit neurotic and likes to talk things through, but also because she's genuinely interested. After all, I started writing Faldorrahn stories when she was just a toddler.

I am also blessed to have Sammie, my main pre-reader and good friend who is never afraid to tell me when I'm being a wuss and playing too nice (or letting my tenses slip like a loose bolt on a stepladder). She, too, knows all the layers of the Dubricverse, both written and unwritten. Sam's been with me since October of 2001. She's ruthless and just awesome. She's not as handy as Laura to brainstorm with - most of our conversations are via email - but she's always totally accurate and on the mark.

Anyway, I've been struggling with Stain of Corruption for a long time, since shortly after finishing Valley of the Soul - perhaps even long before that since I discussed some character development issues with my friend Stuart when he was visiting back before Valley had been published.

I guess what I'm saying is that this book has been stewing way too long. There are a few things I *need* to happen, a few select balls that have been put in motion that must hit hard, somewhere, and others that need to be caught and put to rest.

I've talked at length with Sammie and, the other night, Laura and I brainstormed the opening as I drove her to an old friend's place. I think, maybe, I've got it now, how to mesh the things that the overall storyline needs with enough punch of a plot to make a functional, riveting book.

I've written nine pages of a loose roadmap, and sent it to Sam for additional tweaks. Laura will likely take a look at it tonight. Feeling pretty good about this, I really am.

I've taken a bit of a different tack, in a way, while pre-planning some aspects of this story. Among them I've considered the fact that Ghosts in the Snow by far out-sold the other two novels. Why'd that happen? How can I make it happen again? As I considered this, it meshed really well with different aspects Sam and Laura have brought up and commented on as I struggled to get the characters' stories to fit into a tight, vicious plot.

So, if this version flies...

Dubric is fucked.
Lars is fucked.
Kia's fucked.
Dien's merely screwed. As is Serian. And Gilby.
Jess is shattered.
Otlee's broken.
Half the castle is destroyed.
At least one major character dies.
There is much carnage. And burning.
And tambo is happy. :)

Here's hoping this works.