They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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Big Things Working Themselves Out

There are three kinds of word counts:
-- Raw word count -- necessary to have enough bulk for a story or a novel. This is where you try to pour your brain and overactive imagination, and maybe your enthusiasm, onto the page. This is where you are given permission to write crap. Words which can be cut, drawn, quartered and sent to the four corners of the kingdom never to be spoken again. Words which are more seeds of what might come. And of course the brilliant stuff. Isn't that all everyone writes? (grin)

-- Quality word count -- this is where the grace and glory of the story comes from. Also, sometimes, your darlings you have to murder. Either way, whether it makes it to the final story, these words are most definitely not crap. They are the ones which define the story. There will be less of these than raw word count. Focus only on numbers and days of quality words can look discouraging. A good writing day, however, isn't just numbers.

-- Edit word count -- the payoff. Sometimes it's tweaking a word or two. Or stomping on those damned typos which can date back MONTHS and you've reread many times. Stupid typos. Some days you can fly through the pages. Sometimes you can spend all day working on one section. And then there inevitable I am sure I wrote this because I can see this plainly in my mind what do you mean I never actually wrote this whole scene down but just a placeholder or the opening and ending lines?

Eventually you have a completed, readable draft. And usually the process starts all over again. Another inevitability is that if this is really going to go forward, someday you have to release the story or novel to your beta readers. Or in the case of a short story, just ship it to some market and go on to the next story until you get this one back.

Until you've released the story into the wild, or least to beta, writing is just a solitary entertainment.

I've been able to take some pressure off this phase with my YA trilogy project, because I released online two chapters at Christmas and New Year's, and read from the opening to a nearly empty room at ConFusion in mid-January. Not as much feedback as I'd like, but I wasn't pelted with rotted vegetables either. And I've been keeping myself honest by obliquely talking about my progress here on these blog pages.

In the wee hours of Wednesday though, between 2 and 3am, a nagging problem suddenly earned its solution. And even better, it was in the correct context for the novel. I even dumped a quick triumphant crow about it on Facebook:
Philip Edward Kaldon
March 18 at 3:03am

Ooh, I am so thrilled. There been this issue in my YA novel which has bugged me from the start -- and tonight, when I tried to map it out for real, I discovered I didn't have to. The problem literally was written away, in the context of the story. Perfect.

In the words of Colonel Hannibal of the A-Team, "I love it when a plan comes together."

Dr. Phil
It is no secret that The Lost Kingdom YA trilogy is about a secret kingdom. Nor is it a secret that it in Scandinavia -- I mean, Vikings and all those Research notes about Norway and Denmark. But from the start I've had to resolve two competing issues:

(1) The desire to make this story as "photo realistic" as I can.

(2) The need to co-opt a piece of the coast of Norway just above the Arctic Circle to locate my Lost Kingdom.

Have you ever really looked at the coast of Norway? I mean, REALLY looked at it? As in zoom in Google Maps looked at it?
"Look at me - I design coastlines ... I got an award for Norway ... I've been doing fjords all my life ... for a fleeting moment they become fashionable and I get a major award."

-- Slartibartfast (planet designer)
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams
It's not just the fjords, it's all these treacherous little rocks and islands off the coast.

I looked and looked, and there just wasn't anything like I wanted where I needed it. Either I needed to structurally change Norway -- a difficult thing to do when you are trying to write photo-realistic fiction -- or I had to radically change my precious story. NO! MY PRECIOUS!

And then it hit me.


Ever look at ancient and old maps? You can laugh at how far they diverge from reality, yet still seem to contain some of the right features. And then there's the old cartographer's trick of deliberately mislabeling or moving minor things around, in order to establish copyright violations. Rand McNally certainly has done this. Even, as I understand it, with the atlas of the lunar surface. Don't steal from the big boys.

So what if the maps... are just wrong? The Lost Kingdom is secret. They've been protecting their secrets for 1550 years. They started out as Romans and early Vikings. You don't just walk into the kingdom without an invite and expect to get out alive. So why should they advertise where they are? The maps you see online, why hardly anyone lives there and who would notice? And if you had a whole vast chunk of miles of tiny islands and jagged rocks sticking out of the sea with strong currents -- the strongest current in the world's seas is near here in real life -- would you risk taking a boat into there? The map screams, Stay Away.

But this is March 2015. We not only have Google Maps, we have Satellite View! Gotcha there, sucker! Don't we? Uh, no. Roman conquerors, Viking raiders, 18th century pirates -- what would be your kingdom's business model in 2015? That's right. The dark net. Hackers. Satellite View has been hacked to match the fake maps. Oh sure, a few countries know from their military satellites, and Norway is rather pissed to have These People stuck like a pimple on their coastline, but otherwise, who would know?

It's a neat solution and I am very happy about it. Rather than forcing me to rewrite the story, it gives me MORE story. And that's how I know that this thing is really working and firing on all cylinders.

Wednesday I drove into my office at WMU and got my Lonely Planet guides to Norway and Denmark from Amazon. And quite frankly, the Norway guide has already paid for itself within the first five pages I looked at last night. My senior princess's college roommate is from Holland MI, which provides some nice humor between the Michigan Holland and the European Holland. And from LP Norway, there on the Nordland map is a little town on the coast of Norway near the Arctic Circle called Holand. You can't make this stuff up. (That and most of the online maps with detail, and Google Maps I'm looking at you, do NOT bother to show you where the damned Arctic Circle is. So LP Norway is very much appreciated.)

New Researches: The Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade is the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day, as needed. Always starts at noon. Erin go Bragh is an English corruption of the phrase Éirinn go Brách in the Irish language. In 1095, Pope Urban II proclaimed the First Crusade with the stated goal of restoring Christian access to holy places in and near Jerusalem. The canonization of Saint Udalric, Bishop of Augsburg, by Pope John XV in 993 is the first undoubted example of a papal canonization of a saint from outside Rome; some historians maintain that the first such canonization was that of Saint Swibert by Pope Leo III in 804. Pope Formosus (c. 816 – 4 April 896) was Pope from 6 October 891 to his death in 896. His brief reign as Pope was troubled, and his remains were exhumed and put on trial in the notorious Cadaver Synod. Twice. Norway employs a weak form of mandatory military service for women and men. While 63,841 men and women were called in for the examination of persons liable for military service in 2012 (mandatory for men), 9265 were conscripted. Catholic baptism and infant Communion. Odin (Old Norse Óðinn), the chief god of Norse mythology, was referred to by more than 200 names in the skaldic and Eddic traditions. Alföðr Alfodr Allfather, Father of All. In Norse mythology, Ask and Embla (from Old Norse Askr ok Embla)—male and female respectively—were the first two humans, created by the Gods. Phantom of the Opera staged at the Det Ny Theater, Copenhagen (2000–2001, 2003–2004, 2009). Sequel Love Never Dies, 2013. 2005 Mercedes S500 4MATIC AWD sedan. Noma, one of the top restaurants in the world in Copenhagen, is located in an old fish warehouse on a wharf. Twice they've closed to take their whole kitchen staff to pop up restaurants, first in London and then in Tokyo. Nasjonal sikkerhetsmyndighet is the Norwegian security agency, established in 2013. Christmastide and the Twelve Days of Christmas, liturgically. Bodø, located just north of the Arctic Circle, and Mo i Rana, just south of the Arctic Circle. The three largest communities north of the Arctic Circle are situated in Russia and Norway: Murmansk (population 307,257), Norilsk (175,365), and Tromsø (71,295). Rovaniemi (in Finland), which lies slightly south of the line, has a population of approximately 60,000, making it the largest settlement located in the immediate vicinity of the Arctic Circle. The largest North American community north of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut (Greenland), has approximately 5,000 inhabitants. Of the Canadian and United States Arctic communities, Barrow, Alaska is the largest settlement with about 4,000 inhabitants. Greensushi in Copenhagen. Mercedes-Benz GLS 350d 7-passenger diesel SUV. Kongens Nytorv, King's New Square, is a cobble-stoned square in Copenhagen dating to 1907, containing a royal equestrian statue of Christian V. The Politiet is the Danish police agency.

Got the plot all figured out in your mind yet?

The shiny counters are up to:

Book 1 Page Edits (Pass 1)

The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.10 (03-20-15 Fr, 1108 pages)

These weekly updates get written to Dreamwidth, crossposted to LiveJournal and linked in Facebook. Most of my blog readers probably see things via Facebook. Alas, FB is notorious for deciding what things you should be allowed to see. When I made the FB post shown above, I had one of my friends from WOTF XXIV comment "I did not even know you were writing a YA! Where have I been? So cool!"

So, for all of you who need to catch up on what I'm doing:

You can follow the tags to this posting or use this handy link to The Lost Kingdom tag...

... and the first entry here. These links also include the Christmas 2016 and New Year's 2017 entries.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
Tags: dr phil stories, hidden history, secret history, the lost kingdom, writing

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