Writing As Weaving

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So the first draft of the sequel to Rider’s Revenge is done and sitting for a while so I can come back to it fresh, hate everything about it (or maybe just half of it), tear it apart, fix it, and send it out to my betas for a reaction.

It’s hard to write a sequel, because I know that anyone who reads it will be coming from Rider’s Revenge and expect some continuity and a smooth flow from the first story.  Which means I can’t exactly rip the book apart and go off in some completely new direction.  There is an issue that needs to be resolved and that has to be the focus of the book.

While the draft is sitting, it’s by no means fully out of my mind.  I keep thinking about the story lines and how they flow and work with one another.  (SPOILERY TALK FOLLOWS)

Like Badru.  He’s lost everything now.  His entire identity is gone.  And he has to deal with that.

But at the same time K’lrsa is moving forward because she needs to save her family.

And then there’s the politics running through the story.  Just because K’lrsa can see the harm that comes from trading with the Daliphana doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with her.  Some think that the benefits of trade–like medicines and metals–outweigh the decay in their old way of life.

And then there’s Herin and Lodie seeing one another for the first time since Herin sent Lodie away.

And K’lrsa’s mother and brother reacting to her taking off with no word about where she was going or why.  (Turns out maybe it wasn’t as obvious to them what happened…)

All these separate threads have to come together to make a cohesive whole.

Every time I write a novel I think of it as weaving the various story threads together.  If you think of them as different colors, then there has to be a balance between the different threads.  You can’t have a batch of blue in the top left and then never see it again.

But at the same time the colors all have to work together to form something beautiful and worth reading.  So not only must there be balance but they also all have to create a whole that is more than each individual piece.

So as I sit here waiting for enough time to pass until the next draft, I mentally weave the different threads of story together in my head and ask myself if I like what they create.  After a first draft, the answer is almost always no.  But that’s what revision is for.

Rider’s Revenge Now in KU

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For any Kindle Unlimited subscribers out there, Rider’s Revenge will be available through KU for the next three months.  So if you haven’t read it and want to borrow it, now’s your chance.

And if you aren’t a KU member, might be worth checking out.  There are a ton of great speculative fiction books available.  You can see some of them by checking out this promo:81149b3d-38c5-4807-b5aa-a2c03ccca808

She runs them once a month if you want to sign up and see what she comes up with each month.  She’s also running a free first in series promo on Kobo this month.

Both promos includes links if you don’t have the Kobo app or haven’t signed up for KU yet.

Plenty of good books to read while you’re waiting for the sequel to Rider’s Revenge…

Kobo Sale 30% Off

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I am happy to report that Rider’s Revenge is part of the December Kobo 30% off sale going on now through December 7th.  All you have to do is enter the code DEC30 at checkout.

I realize the holidays are a busy time and not everyone reacts to stress by reading voraciously like I do, but you can always pick it up now and read it when things settle down in January…

Just a thought.  🙂

And don’t think that you have to have a Kobo e-reader to take advantage of the deal.  You can download the Kobo app and read from your computer, tablet, or phone.  Here’s the link for that: https://www.kobo.com/apps

And here’s the link to Rider’s Revenge in the U.S. store.

(I would provide the Canadian, Australian, and UK links because my readers in those countries ROCK, but I can’t figure out how to do it.  Every time I get to the Canadian Kobo store it redirects me back to the U.S. store.  Anyone reading this who happens to live in one of those countries will have my eternal gratitude if you provide a link in the comments section.)

Also, in the U.S. at least, Rider’s Revenge is listed on the first page for the December promo under Captivating Sci-Fi and Fantasy so you can just go to the main Kobo page, click on the promo banner, and it’s right there.  Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

This is probably the best price you’ll get on Rider’s Revenge for a while, so pick it up cheap while you can.

Writing A Complex Older Female Character

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I’ll confess something before I start this post: There’s a part of me that hates to talk about my own writing.  It seems so pretentious somehow to try to tell readers what they’re reading.  Sure, I wrote the book, but once it’s written it’s really up to each individual reader how they interpret it and see the world I created.

But I’m going to talk about my writing, because, well, it seems to be the thing you do as a writer with a blog geared towards your readers.

And today’s topic is going to be about writing an older female character who is complicated and nuanced and real.

Now, when I was writing Rider’s Revenge I didn’t think to myself, “I should include a strong older female character because there isn’t enough diverse representation of older female characters in literature and I want to address that.”  Didn’t cross my mind that it was a good thing to do at all.

I’m a pantser as a writer, meaning I’m not even sure what’s going to happen next until the words hit the page.  (Those two big twists at the end of the book?  Had no clue they were coming until they happened.  The one you probably saw coming about halfway through the book?  That one I did know about going in.  Funny how that works.)

So Herin was just there when I reached that point in the story.  (And she’s actually not the only strong older female character, is she?  K’lrsa’s mom and Lodie would qualify as well.)  Without giving away too much of the story Herin is a woman with power in a society that denies all women power.  And she does it despite the fact that she was basically captive for twenty-five years and is missing the first joint on each of her fingers and her thumbs.

Is she a hag or witch like so many older women in literature? (Like this article discusses.)  There’s that aspect to her.  She didn’t reach the position she did by kissing babies and being all lovey-dovey to everyone around her.  And she does have certain unique skills.

But she’s not evil.  She’s not actively trying to harm those around her.  She’s just a woman who knows what matters to her and is willing to do what she must to make that happen or protect what she’s already accomplished.

She’s also more than her ambitions.  She loves very deeply and is loyal to the point of painfulness at times.  (At least I think so.)

Why did I write her that way?  Because that’s how people are.  They aren’t one thing.  They’re complicated and each has their own loves and losses, no matter their age or gender or ethnicity.

I like to think that every character in my novel is nuanced and a real person with multiple facets to their personality, just like all the people I know in my real life.

Did I pull it off?  I don’t know.  Only my readers can answer that question.  And I suspect that for each reader there is some particular aspect of the story that drew them in.  I probably have readers that didn’t even give Herin a second thought.

And that’s okay.  Because at the end of the day I write the story, but it’s the reader who makes the story come alive.

(I told you.  I am horrible at discussing my writing…)

50% Off On Kobo, 3 Days Only

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Looks like Kobo is running a 50% off sale on all of their KWL titles for three days only!  This should include Rider’s Revenge.  (Among 1.3 million other titles.)

So, act fast if you want to get Rider’s Revenge or any of those other titles for half off.  Starts today in the States, tomorrow in Canada, and Friday in the UK.

Click here for promo codes and date details.

What To Say?

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It turns out I am horrible at social media.  I have this blog and a twitter account for Alessandra Clarke, but I honestly don’t know what to say on them.  I spent hundreds of hours with Rider’s Revenge, what interests me about the book at this point is probably not what would interest my readers.

And, after a recent interaction with one of my writer heroes I can also say that how an author perceives a character may be very different from how a reader perceives that same character.

Which is my long-winded way of saying if there is anyone reading this blog who has read Rider’s Revenge and would like to see me talk about something in the book on the blog, please feel free to reach out and let me know.  Otherwise I’ll come up with random things to talk about that may make you shake your head.  Or think, “Was that really part of the book? How did I miss that?”

For example, as I was proofing the book that final time I kept wondering if the book was too feminist.  I’m not even sure what too feminist would even mean, but that’s writerly neurosis for you.  No one has mentioned a thing about it being the least bit feminist yet, so I think I’m actually safe on that score, but can you see now how writers sort of twist themselves up over the most obscure concerns and then can miss something really basic?

That’s me.  So, please, feel free to reach out and ask questions.  My email is aclarkewriter at gmail.  I’d love to hear from you.

 

Rider’s Revenge is Out!

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Okay, so it’s actually been out for almost a week now, but on launch day there wasn’t much to say other than, “hey, it’s out.”  But today was pretty cool, because John Scalzi included the paperback of the book in his photo of new books/ARCs.  And I’m in company with some of my writing heroes, like George RR Martin and Lois McMaster Bujold.

Sure, it’s really just because of timing and all, but STILL.  How cool is that?

Of course, the folks at New In Books did me an awesome turn, too.  They listed Rider’s Revenge as one of the best new fantasy books with female protagonists.  (If you haven’t subscribed to their lists yet, you should.  Those folks rock.  Also check out Bargainbooksy and Freeboosky if you’re not already subscribed.)

And I have my first review up on Amazon and it’s five-stars.  So, yay for that!

Of course, because of that review I now realize that the book maybe ends on more of a cliffhanger than I’d thought.  The main conflict that sets K’lrsa off on her journey IS resolved in this book. I promise you that.  It’s just that other events also happen right at the end that make readers want more.  And more WILL be coming.  I’m not going to name a date because I don’t want to jinx it, but should be in the first half of next year.

Finally, if anyone is going to be at the Sirens Conference this weekend, I’ll be there.  Track me down and say hi.  I’ll also be signing copies of Rider’s Revenge on Friday/Saturday.  They’ll have a few copies for sale in the bookstore at the conference if you don’t already have a copy.

And that’s that.  Book’s out and so far so good.  Grab a copy if you haven’t already.

OOPS!  Edited to add that I’m also doing a Goodreads giveaway starting midnight October 8th, ending on the 31st.  Open to anyone in the U.S. or Canada.  (If you can wait that long, enter!)

Two Days Until Release

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The release date for Rider’s Revenge is only two days away.  Wow.  That’s…scary.

I love this book.  I do.  Just look at this gorgeous cover:

Riders Revenge Proof Copy RR Proof2

But the thought of having my book baby out there in the world scares me to death.

Oh well.  This is part of the process, right?  I write something that appeals to me and then I send it out into the big bad world with the hope that it will appeal to others.  After that it’s out of my hands.  (Other than making some effort to get people to give it a shot, that is.)

Well, if nothing else, I know my mom liked it.  (And she’s not the type to hold back if she didn’t.)