Salt Winds: improved

06/01/2014 21:22

Just wrote 10000 words in an afternoon. I was walking back from the gym, had an idea, and…boom.


I haven’t really gone into depth about how magic works in the Green Sky series. It isn’t really relevant, and to be honest, it annoys the f*** out of me when writers spend a stack of time describing things like that. It works, somehow, now get on with the story!

But I started thinking “what if…” (which is always a bad idea, or at least it is for my wordcount). What if a Mage who does a lot of sailing, and gets to know the winds…would they be able to somehow use magic in a different element to the one they are used to? If a fire mage did a lot of sailing, what would happen if they suddenly found they had some slight wind talent?

And then thought, well, one of my other characters does exactly that. She approached it from a different direction, but she does the same thing. Yay, I get to bring other characters back!

I also developed one of my other characters. I didn’t really have an image of her in my mind, but she has now turned into a slightly Tauriel-figure – quick-tempered, but with an extra dose of proud and icy, and slightly less Elf-mystery. She’s quite fun to write, but the major challenge has been cutting off any suggestions of a love story. I think writing a platonic friendship is actually harder than writing a love story!

Anyway, all this probably made no sense whatsoever to anyone, but I didn’t sleep well last night and I suspect my brain is currently paying the price. Ho hum!


A tall ship and a star to steer her by…

22/10/2013 21:14

The nicest thing about writing is getting to write about things that I love. I’m currently working on Salt Winds (or Salt Water – the name seems to have stabilised as Salt Winds for the moment), and as the name may suggest, it features the sea quite strongly. I absolutely adore sailing; well, I love the feeling of sailing. I love the salt wind on my cheeks, the feeling of speed, the water and the sea and the air. What I absolutely hate is being stuck inside a small boat in horrible weather and rough seas. My worst fear is being trapped and drowning – so, I think understandably, I don’t entirely like confined spaces and rough weather. But give me the seaside and a wind, and I’m in absolute heaven.


Writing Obak is hard. He’s essentially selfish, rude, horrible and oblivious to everything else…but he does get to change. I’ve got various methods for the change, amongst which is a slap around the head from several people (all of which are quite theraputic to write), and another is sailing. He’s a complete novice to it, so it’s a bit of a challenge to myself to explain the jargon without being tedious. I also get to try to put all my feelings, all my love of wind and water, into words. I would say it’s a challenge, but it really isn’t – the words come quite easily!


Have a snippet:

“Push the tiller to the right a little.” Rhea said, and Obak could feel the wood strain against his hand. “That’s it, you should be able to feel the tension.”

                “I can.” Obak said, completely unaware that his voice was soft and gentle. He was so caught up in the movement, the wind and the water, the rushing of the breeze against his cheek and the faintest hint of salt spray on his lips, that he had almost forgotten everything else.

                “Go and sit in the bow, and we’ll do some tacks.” Rhea said after a while. Obak reluctantly relinquished the tiller, and crawled forward past the mast. There was a small hatch in the bow, and he realised that by sitting on it he could look over the bow. Swiftwings’ hull was cutting the water, sending white froth back in two white curves. In between, the water was a dark blue, but when Obak raised his eyes to look ahead of the bow, the water was a dull flat grey. How could it change colour so much?

                “Ready about.” Rhea’s voice said from behind him. “Sit down and hold on, we’re going to turn.”

                Obak quickly sat back down in the boat, and held on to the sides. But the turn was so gentle that he couldn’t believe that was all, and stayed in the bottom of the boat.

                Rhea laughed at him. “That’s it, Mage. We’re not going fast enough for a rough tack. You can sit back on the bow for a while if you want.”

                He stayed there for the next tack too, thrilled to feel the boat tilting and then recovering, picking up the wind again as it smoothly turned. The way the grey surface turned to deep blue and white spray fascinated him, but he couldn’t resist lifting his head to feel the wind and spray on his cheeks, sensing the speed despite the seemingly gentle pace at which Swiftwings covered the distance back towards the harbour.

(Another) new Greensky story

15/09/2013 08:50

Someone suggested that I write about my depression. I pointed out that it’s really hard without sounding cliched – and also unless you’ve been there, you find it hard to understand. It’s also fairly boring for a reader, as there’s only so much plot you can make about someone feeling down.

However, I have a character who was originally in Green Sky & Sparks. When I changed the story, I started it later in time and wrote him out; he now doesn’t get mentioned in it at all. But I wondered what happened to him.

He’s arrogant, self-centred, thoroughly annoying and thinks he knows everything. He’s so much better than everyone else and always knows the answers. He gets yelled at by Catter and then sent away by Anoe before they start a fight, and then the story in Greensky starts after that.

I was thinking about what would happen next. For someone who thinks they are perfect, who is always fighting a losing battle to prove themselves against the world, who depends on their carefully-constructed worldview to maintain their good opinion of themselves…

What would rejection do? What would happen next? How could they learn about themselves without me, as the writer, descending into cliche?

I think I’ve come up with a compromise that I like, and one which isn’t your boring lives-happily-ever-after once he actually becomes a “nice person”. The world doesn’t work like that. And it also lets me explore how depression works, how it affects people, and hopefully how you dig your way out of it.

So it’s plotted out, and I’m going to be writing it on and off – along with everything else, of course!

It’s tentatively titled “Salt Water”.

P.s. I finished and handed in my dissertation. I haven’t quite got used to not having to wrestle with statistics every evening, but I’m sure it will come.