@crocordile asked:

writing meme,

something that’s already happened, retold from another character’s perspective

At first, Ormod laughed it off. Giva, a witch? Just because some black-haired hag out of Nerocna said she was?


When he went to see her, he said, “You’re too dull to be a witch. Witches have demons to do their sums.”

She barely smiled. Her face was white, her eyes wide and staring unless he talked to her. So he talked. He talked and talked and talked until he hardly knew what he said. And when she slept, or Elfrida shooed him away, he crept into the little room overlooking the gardens, where neither his father nor Elfrida ever went. In his lap he held the case of jewels Bletsung had left behind. He’d never cared much about them; Elfrida made a better replacement for his mother than the cold stones.

He held up a necklace. In the sunshine, a blue stone and big white pearls gleamed with a bright clear light, like a waterfall. He could almost—not quite—hear his mother’s voice again, singing nonsense. He’d chanted the same nonsense at Giva after Mama died, made games out of it

On and on the clear stream goes, hop hop skip jump, on and on it brightly flows, last one to the stump has to sit beside Brother Edric—

Ormod dropped the necklace in the case and cried.

Writing advice of the day

Do not fear commas or the word “said.”

Further writing advice:

– vary sentence and paragraph structure.

– avoid re-using uncommon words (they stick out much more than the familiar ones).

– adjectives and adverbs are your frenemies–not always to be avoided, but dangerous, so handle with care.

– just because Austen or Shakespeare or whomever broke a rule doesn’t mean you should break it–at the very least, you should understand what it is and why it exists, and make a conscious decision.

– character! character! character!.

– sometimes “it’s cool” is a perfectly valid basis for authorial decisions, sometimes not–exercise judgment.

– don’t use words you aren’t familiar with; you should know the precise meaning of every word you use.

– when you do vary your dialogue tags, the new tag should still refer to speech: replied, whispered, shouted, etc, not smiled, chuckled, considered.

– realism and verisimilitude are not the same; whether something really happened or not is largely irrelevant to whether it seems realistic, and that’s what matters for the audience.

@manicpixiedreamwyn asked (long ago):

What is your main character’s favorite story?

Arceptra doesn’t really believe it—she’s agnostic leaning atheist—but she’s always loved the story of how Leiowyn, queen of the gods, forged the sun into existence with her giant hammer, and the lesser gods used her scraps to make the moon, earth, and stars.

Okay, it’s questionable as to which one of the four major characters is the “real” star. They each star in their own stories, but Arceptra’s and Giva’s stories are so intertwined that even in the current one, it’s a bit fuzzy. Giva’s the POV character and central consciousness, and the title refers to her, so it should probably be her. However, the only stories she cares about have become retroactively horrifying, so…

My friend @steinbecks once described the two basic writing approaches (care of George R. R. Martin) as “the gardener” and “the architect.” A gardener starts with seeds of the story and sees what takes root, constantly uprooting and replanting, until the work as a whole satisfies them. An architect, on the other hand, works it out beforehand, carefully detailing the necessary steps and components before ever laying down the actual foundations, with no more than small, necessary adjustments along the way.

She’s a gardener, with draft upon draft to show for it. And I’m, well … 

Three guesses and the first two don’t count. 😛