Update on My Writing...
Since you're no doubt tired of all my writing posts being called "Productivity Updates," I think I'll come up with a different title for this one.
*Battle for the Wastelands
*Son of Grendel
*"The Past is Ashes"
*Other Wastelands projects
I've had Battle complete for a bit now. After spending a couple of weeks going over the manuscript, marking changes, and then marathon computer sessions revising it, I've sent it out to some of my friends who've expressed interest in it. I suggested they have it back to me within a month to six weeks. Then I'll revise it and get it to my Kennesaw writing group sometime in early July for a complete look-over. That's why I haven't been blogging as much this month.
(Early comments are positive. One of my readers, an Iraq vet who has read the first half, said I did a good job handling protagonist Andrew Sutter's transformation from a hunter into a killer of men and my tactics are good. That's good to hear, considering how I've never served in the military.)
Though I've finished Battle, I've done very little with Escape. I brainstormed a small scene at a recent work conference, but that's about it. When I was in elementary school, I read a novel called Turn Homeward, Hannalee about a Georgia mill girl taken prisoner by Union soldiers in the Civil War and sent North. One of the visuals I can remember close to 20 years later is the protagonist seeing a battle in the distance. She cannot hear it, but she can see the distant light of the fires and the flashing of the guns.
I've been tinkering with the timeline and military strategies of Escape. Protagonist Andrew Sutter and his unit won't be part of the initial assault on the old Merrill capital, but I will have them join the fun (if you consider a steampunk Stalingrad fun) later on. The scene I wrote features the march to the Merrill capital and the first thing they see is the glow from the burning city.
I also wrote a little bit of text for a later Wastelands book featuring Falki Grendelsson brooding at one of his father's monuments. Odd, writing text for the sixth or seventh book in the series before the second is finished or the first one is sold, but the Muse comes when it does.
Speaking of Falki, I completed the first two chapters of the novella Son of Grendel that I hope to sell alongside Battle. I actually finished the second chapter first and was up so late completing the first chapter Sunday that I didn't even submit it to my writing group until Monday morning despite the deadline being Sunday. Hopefully they won't be too upset with me.
Although the basic technology level of this world is Civil War plus or minus, the combat scenes have a tendency to resemble World War I in terms of the importance of defense and artillery and the massive bloodletting. This isn't problematic--later Civil War battles like Cold Harbor resembled WWI, complete with trench warfare and horrifically bloody frontal assaults. The "Old World" (read: modern) weapons deployed by Grendel's elite Obsidian Guard should tip the balance back in favor of attackers, especially if their enemies don't have them. In the first chapter of Son of Grendel this does not happen, but that can be explained away by the number of guardsmen being relatively low and the terrain not being in their favor. And they do a hell of a lot of damage anyway.
The third chapter of Son of Grendel looks like it'll be fairly short, unless I merge it with the fourth chapter. Both of them have got a fair bit of material already written. I might be able to get this done more quickly than I planned.
Still haven't done much with "The Past Is Ashes," although I could probably finish that one fairly quickly. I haven't submitted any short fiction anywhere in quite some time. I've also got the two stories I sold in 2008 but were never published I can send out as well. I did add the additional material about what exactly the home invaders in "Needs Must" want though.
Over the last few days, I've done a lot of general brainstorming but hadn't had a chance to add the results to my Word documents. Basically a lot of geography and history for the Wastelands world, general military strategy, etc. That's something I'll need to set some time aside for.