Tishta the Crystal Orb: Only One Chapter to Go in Part Three

I’m feeling accomplished. Even though it was the holiday week, I was able to edit chapters seventeen and eighteen, “The Sun Felt Wonderful” and “Rescue.” While they were mostly edits of existing writing—to bring them up to my current standards—I also connected chapter seventeen to the additions in chapter sixteen, added more battle details and included a new scene with the new bad guys I introduced earlier in this draft of the book.

The most challenging thing right now is keeping track of the new parts of the story arcs and making sure the original story still makes sense. I’ve also been trying to keep the moon in phase, so parts of this battle needed modification to be consistent with that. I’m still not certain it’s all lined up with the next chapter, but I’ll go back to that as I continue with the story.

I was recently out with my friend, Katie, whose work is building corporate teams. She had some good advice for me. A tragedy happens during these two chapters. Katie told me, “this is where people’s values come shining through and cause conflict. We should learn something different about everyone by how they respond to this tragedy.”

I’ve really taken this to heart. In the original draft, there was a little bit of grief, but then everyone continued as normal (which was already a little too congenial—I’ve been working on that, in general). In chapter seventeen, I expanded a scene to have Gillan lash out at Coltan. In the next chapter, I’ll be showing more of the reaction of the group. I’m happy with this change and excited to figure it all out in chapter eighteen, starting today.

One of my favorite additions was adding a description of the field tent Criften goes into to talk to Lord Trandar. Not only did I describe the material the tent was made of—and how large is was—and the field desk Trandar was sitting at, I added an odor. Mold. Of course, the tent would be moldy. It’s canvas, after all, and people wouldn’t have had good cleansers to kill the mold. This very likely came out of a leak in my basement that I discovered last week. A bunch of stuff got moldy, and it was definitely on my mind. I like applying things that happen to me, to my writing. I think it makes it more believable to me, and, hopefully, to my readers as well.

The next chapter needs a new title, but that won’t be its most challenging part—I knew I would be writing quite a lot of new scenes before Katie helped me discover the opportunity to delve into my characters’ grief and how they handle it as a team. I was planning to be finished with Part 3 by the end of the year. It’s going to be tight. I still have lots of social and work obligations between now and New Year’s Eve. I’ll give it my best shot.

Copyright ©2014-16 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.


Tishta the Crystal Orb: Two More Chapters This Week

As the holidays approach, my free time to write is being squeezed by invitations to be with friends and family. All good things. Regardless, I’ve been making good forward progress, finishing chapters 15 and 16, “Recovering” and “Passion Punished” this week. It has been enjoyable to go back through these scenes—I still love my story, so I guess that’s good.

The content of “Recovering” didn’t change a lot, although I combined short, related scenes, brought the writing itself up to my current standard, and added some text to round out some of the interactions. It didn’t need a lot of work, but I am forever vigilant about keeping things consistent as plot changes happen.

I moved “Passion Punished” from Part 2 into Part 3. I did this to split up the body snatching that Rahl does—I had them back-to-back before. In this revision, I have added some limitations on the wizards, where practicing their magics can leave them weak for a while. Baldru’s need to recover went into my decision to move the chapter, as well. I’ve been fleshing out my mythology around wizards, witches and demons, which is a really good thing, and this idea of recovery time came up. I didn’t change much of the storyline, except at the end, where I added two new scenes.

The new scenes in “Passion Punished” added transition of time to get to the next big battle in Trandilon. Now that I’ve been keeping better track of time passages—and adding content to occupy the time between these battle scenes—I’ve also been keeping close track of the lunar phase, especially since so much of the story takes place at night. Sometimes the light—or lack, thereof—of the moon is important to the scene. Full, bright moon; pale moonlight from a quarter or even crescent moon; no moonlight whatsoever. The moon became a character in the story, much like the wagon has.

I took advantage of one of the new scenes to introduce a character, a witch—I want more women in the story, and it seemed like a good opportunity. I’m not sure yet if she will come into play in this book, but I want her for The Final Battle (in what is currently Book Four: The Golden Key). She and Maglin meet—via amulet—in this scene. It will give Maglin another witch to collaborate with. It might change the story up a little bit when Gentu goes off with Maglin in couple of more chapters. Of course, that leave wide open the possibility that I’ll revisit this chapter in the not too distant future.

I have been making Gillan be more vocally in charge of the warriors and, in the scene “Gentu’s Trauma,” she pushes back at Coltan for not standing his share of watches—he spent all day and night with the injured Gentu. With both of them off the watch roster, I realized it would be difficult for the four remaining warriors to pair up on watches—they would each get only four hours of sleep during the night.

I need to give Toran more responsibility as well—right now, besides being an entirely adequate warrior, his only talent seems to be locating safe, suitable places for the group to camp at night, well, beyond being a good lover to Gillan, although I don’t tend to be a voyeur with them like I am with Coltan and Gentu. I might have to go there, just for balance.

In terms of making my goal of finishing Part 3: Travels and Battles, by the end of the year, I might still make it. But the holidays can be strange times. Wish me luck with that.

Copyright ©2014-16 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

Tishta the Crystal Orb: It Happened Again!

Three days after my last progress posting, I finished another chapter. After I completed the new chapter, “Deltran,” I decided, at more than eight thousand words, its length was not proportional with the rest of the chapters in the book. I broke it in two, so the twelfth chapter is now called “Northeastern Colmarian Range” and the new thirteenth chapter is “Deltran.” That ended up kind of nice, since I didn’t have to write “Chapter 13” and moved right on to the fourteenth. At the same time, I had a chance to listen to my recordings of the scenes in these new chapters a few times, and made some changes based on what I was hearing. Hearing the story read to me is still the best way I have found to make sure it flows and sounds right.

I was excited to get into the next chapter, “Fire.” It is the first big battle scene and also one of the first ones I wrote. When I first started writing, I listened to music a lot—it seemed to help me let my mind go, and the writing just flowed out of my fingertips. During this scene, and many other battles, I mostly listened to the soundtrack from “Gladiator.” It is such an intense piece of music, and perfect for writing fight scenes. Remember that epic battle near the beginning of the film? Throw your warriors into that and watch how they perform.

After “Deltran,” I had not finished tying the end of “Part 2: Learning to Trust” to this battle that was previously at the beginning of “Part 3: Travels and Battles.” I had to write a couple of more scenes. It has been difficult for me to know how much to write. I don’t want the book to double in size from the first draft. I have been using these opportunities to include more interaction between the characters, and I think the amount of writing I have put into it is all right.

In the first scene, “Natural Obstacles,” as the group is descending from high in the mountains, I placed an incline, too steep for the draft horses to go down with the wagon. It gave me an entirely probably obstacle for the group to surmount. This scene and the next one, “Follow Us,” also allowed me to sprinkle in some exposition about Kano’s visions and Mar’s healing ability, not to mention give some background about how magic works in this world.

And then, I got to the battle scene, “Stay Close Together.” I was able to get through all five battle scenes really quickly. I needed to edit these to bring them up to my current writing style and standard, but I also added a lot more description and expanded the battle scenes. I included a new scene, “Very Strange,” where my second pair of antagonists have a conversation while the battle is taking place, which helps explain why some of the things happened to Coltan and the others.

I like where this chapter ended up and also how quickly it went. I think the next four chapters will be similar. The final chapter in this section is one that will need a fair amount of work. I think, at this point, I’ll set the goal of finishing Part 3 by the end of the year. I’ll be about three-quarters of the way through the book by then. I’m hoping to finish the editing by the end of February and get it off to my editor for review. I’ll be offering it to beta readers at that time, so if you’re interested in doing that, let me know.

Copyright ©2014-16 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.

Tishta the Crystal Orb: A Whole New Chapter

Well, I just looked and it’s been eighteen days since I finished “Part 2: Learning to Trust” of “Tishta the Crystal Orb.” The challenge I’ve been facing was tying the end of Part 2 to the beginning of what I have tentatively called “Part 3: Travels and Battles.” Originally, there was a time and space gap between the two, and I wanted to fill it in. Eighty-four hundred words later, it resulted in a completely new twelfth chapter, “Deltran.”

I enjoyed the opportunity to do some new writing. Up to this point in the editing of the first draft of Tishta, I haven’t done much except move events around and include lots of backstory, which was predominantly written when I first started the book, two years ago. I had a lot of editing to do to bring the writing up to my current standard, and while I did add a few new scenes, there wasn’t a lot of actual new writing.

In adding chapter twelve, I got to create some new places to connect the dots between Haliton and the battle Lord Deltar asks the group to join. It was fun to envision and describe a wasteland and travels up into the high mountains in the Northeastern part of Colmaria. It also gave me the opportunity to flesh out my characters some more and for them to have more interactions.

The group has to deal with very cold temperatures. I added to my vampire mythology by showing how tolerant of the cold a vampire can be. This ability leads Coltan to take on more responsibility and to start making decisions about the others, like when he tells Malcan, “Don’t stand more than a one-hour watch—none of you. When I get back I’ll stand watch the rest of the night.” Malcan’s ability with horses becomes even more apparent, as does Gillan’s leadership role. Mar experiments some more with her healing powers and someone finally tells her ‘no.’

Criften has a chance to relax, if only just a little, and interact with the children more—he teaches Kano a new skill. The chapter also has other sub-scenes where the children are treated more like children, with Toran carrying Mar, and Malcan holding Kano’s hand, through the crowded marketplace, and Toran ruffling Brant’s hair.

I was able to have Criften actually engage with people as a merchant—adopting this persona for him was an important part of the story about which I had never gone into any detail. It was his main reason for acquiring the wagon that becomes such an important fixture in the story. This chapter has him trading goods from the lowlands with merchants in a remote corner of the country who have rare and precious goods of their own to trade with him, although, some of the merchants are likely more than they appear to be.

The stay at the inn affords Toran and Gillan some private time together. And Gentu and Coltan, a lot of it—those two hardly come out of their room during the two days they stay there. During this story, I let them have their privacy.

This interlude between events allowed the group to give some thought to who has been dogging them. They start to put the pieces together, although they still have a lot to learn and to figure out.

I’m sure to come back to this chapter for more editing, but for now, I’m going to move on. I’ve been wanting to get to the next chapter. It’s one of the first battle scenes I wrote and is still one of my favorites. I remember listening to the score from “Gladiator “while writing it. I listened to that a lot while writing the battle scenes. Maybe I’ll put it on while I revise the chapter.

Copyright ©2014-16 Ramona Ridgewell. All rights reserved.