Stuff. Plus: other stuff.


I’ve been spending a lot of time sorting through the discussions and insights from the most recent meeting of my writer’s group.  I was in the hot-seat that time, with the current version of Book 5 (of which there is now about 25,000 words, since I had already surgically excised  a bunch of crap that Did Not Belong).

A lot of good and useful stuff was said,  and it all made sense at the time.  I certainly agreed with most of it, and it ought to have been very helpful indeed.

And yet…

I found myself dithering,  a lot.   It seemed that something was missing.

I tried hitting the new scenes from different angles, and got nowhere; then tried to get myself moving by all sorts of methods, eventually including sheer dogged determination — and I still just kept getting stuck.

Absolutely, something was missing, and it was something that, apparently, I could not do without.   And I had no idea what the hell it was.  Largely, I suspect, because it wasn’t there, and I therefore could not actually look at it.  Right?

In fact, (rather like Rowan in the dragon fields) I was looking for a hole.  And since a hole is only visible when the system is in motion, I had to make things move.

So, in sheer frustration I threw together a slap-dash of a scene (which I will not actually use in the book), in which three characters just argued with each other.   I just wound ’em up and let ’em go at it.

Eventually, one of them won the argument.

But it wasn’t the one I expected.

And that fact was the missing piece.   It made things so much more interesting…

So, now I’m all smugly self-satisfied, and sort of rubbing my hands together, gloating.  Heh.

You know, my sister once said to me, after reading something I’d written: “You don’t plot — you scheme.


In other news:

The temperature got up to, what, 60 some-odd last week?  (That’s 15 Celsius.)   Until it suddenly snowed.


A stream off of the mighty Quinnipiac, just outside my office.

Now it’s 17 F (-8.3C) outside.

And they’re saying another 8 to 10 inches on Wednesday.  Yow.

Fortunately, I live exactly two miles from my office.

9 Responses to “Stuff. Plus: other stuff.”

  • cathryn lyddon Says:

    Ha! I have gotten to know a few writers who have told me their characters literally hijack their script. I guess if you have created a world with its own rules and logic, and if you have fully formed complex characters then it is not surprising to find them come to life to participate in their own destiny’s.

  • Laurie Marks Says:

    Well of course that was the solution to the problem. When in doubt, ask the characters to tell you what the hell is going on. They’re as real as you are, right?

  • Mage Bailey Says:

    I stick to nonfiction. LOL

  • Mike Cross Says:

    10 days ago I was between books and trying to decide which book to read next. My decision was complicated by the fact that I was a bit apprehensive about an upcoming minor medical procedure, so I wanted something that would fully engage me to avoid thinking too much about what was to come. I picked the Steerswoman books as it had been quite a while since I last re-read them…. and they did the trick very well! I also, naturally, loved them as much as I do every time I read them.

    PS I posted a comment on your ‘Skipping Boskone’ entry a while ago but it shows as ‘Awaiting moderation’ when go to that entry’s comments page; did I include something I shouldn’t have done?

    PPS I forgot to mention in my comment that the Pete Atkin website has chords & transcriptions for many of the songs, in case you like any of them enough to want to play them.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Mike —

      I’m glad I could help divert you in your moments of apprehension!

      Sorry about your previous comment being stuck in moderation — WordPress automatically does that when it sees too many links in a comment and suspects it might be spam. It also sends me an email, so that I can check out the comment and approve or delete. But I’m sorry to say that I didn’t follow up immediately when I got the notice, after which it slipped my mind. Entirely my fault! Your comment is now live, with links intact, and thanks for the info.

  • Laura Spanier Says:

    So glad to see you’re hard at work on book five!!! I just reread books 1-4 and was, once again sad to actually finish! There is so much more I want to know about that world

    I first read the series a couple of years ago – now I see that you must have been right in the throes of chemo! Happy that you made it through and selfishly happy to think I might get to read more soon.

    Stay healthy and creatively inspired!

  • Klara Says:

    I’m so happy to read that you are working on book 5! I’ve only just discovered the Steerswoman series and read the first four books one after the other. I think Rowan might be my favourite character ever – though I was struck by how reasonable/intelligent nearly everyone is. I can’t remember a single scene where I thought “gosh, what an idiot” about anybody who took up a bit of space in the text. Well, I wasn’t too impressed by Gwen, but Steffie and Zenna were wonderful! Oh, and speaking of The Lost Steersman: Maybe I don’t read enough SF/Fantasy, but I was actually impressed that your extraterrestrial people do not in any way look like humans but are constructed completely different.

    It was an absolute delight to follow Rowan on her journey of discovering technology – it was all so logical and believable and made such a lot of sense! However, during The Language of Power I’ve begun to wonder: How did this strict separation between common folk and Krue come about? How could magic stay secret for (many?) hundreds of years? It would be nice to get an “origin story” for Rowan’s world.

    It would also be nice to hear a bit more about Rowan’s training – or the Academy in general (the next one, with Steffie participating?)

    Thanks a lot for the fun I’ve had reading your books! Do you have any plans for when no. 5 will be published?

    • Rosemary Says:

      Klara —

      Thanks for the enthusiasm! Now that you point it out, you’re right: I seem to have very few characters who are actual dopes. Some might be uneducated, so that they could seem at first not to be very bright, until you watch them in action for a while; and others might have character flaws that cause them to act in unpleasant ways (thinking of Gwen and the Spider Wife, here) — But almost everyone has some sort of working brain that they put to use as best they can.

      “Origin story”: when the series is finally done, I do have plans to write the prequel, where Much Will Be Explained.

      As for when Book 5 will be published: Um, sometime after I complete it. That’s the only answer I can reasonably supply, since much depends on whether I can find a publisher, or must self-publish. This year is all about getting the writing done, and my current desperate goal is to complete it by the end of the year.

  • curvywith Says:

    Just re-reading the Steerswoman series, which remains one of my all time favourites. I fully expect to be crying again when reading of Tan’s death. I can’t wait for the next book. Thanks again for such great writing. 🙂