sábado, 15 de março de 2008


Writing can be immensely frustrating at times.

Dragon's Blood will need a far deeper revision than I had anticipated. It will make it a better book, but it's a bit frightening. I had a finished book, now I don't anymore. So I've been procrastinating a bit. Or a lot.

I guess part of my frustration also comes form the fact that I've been establishing my working routine. It's a trial and error process and it sometimes feels infinitely long. I have learnt a lot about the way I write, about what I need to be at my most productive, but sometimes I just feel like screaming, throw whatever I'm working on out the window and give the whole darned thing up.

One of the things I've had a hard time accepting is that I can't work on more than one project at a time. I wish I could do what some people do and work on three projects on different stages: doing research and outlining one; writing the first draft of another; editing a third, all at the same time. Sounds very productive, but not for me.

So, it's Dragon's Blood and Dragon's Blood alone from now on and until it's finished. The ideas for the changes it needs have been coming steadily, I also had some ideas for the sequels in the mean time, so I'm rolling with it. Afterwards I'll get working on finishing The Starlight Ring's first draft. I thought I could do both at once, but I wasn't doing either, so better this way.

And my muse doesn't help, always dropping great ideas in my brain at the worst possible times. Just added a new one today to the Future Projects folder.

segunda-feira, 3 de março de 2008

Sangue de Dragão/Dragon's Blood

A little over a week, another one of mySangue de Dragão submissions was returned. This made me ponder my options not only for this book but for my career.

I reread the book this weekend, marking the bits that need some improvement. ~It's been a year, maybe more since I last read it. It's a good book: the story is solid, the narrative is well structured (except for a few minor flaws). It made me laugh at some moments, and brough tears to my eyes at others, despite the fact that I already knew the story.

However, it's becoming obvious that it will not be published by a Portuguese house. Also, it occurrs to me that, if I want to be a full-time writer, the Portuguese market isn't the answer. The international market might not be either, I'm not delusional about it, but the odds are certainly much better.

So, starting today, I'll be making the corrections I found necessary to the book and translating it into English. I really believe it is the best to do at the moment.

domingo, 17 de fevereiro de 2008

Planning and Outlining

I'm not an organic writer. I cannot just sit down and start writing and pull off a novel that way. I've tried a couple of times, generally for NaNoWriMo. It just doesn't work. The text gets to 5000 to 10000 words and then I just don't know where to go. I need structure to make my writing function; I need an outline, and I need a timetable, otherwise, the writing process just drags on and on and I end up losing interest.

I try not to overplot. Generally, my outlines are more like a telling of the story in the Present, a kind of draft zero. I tend to use the phase outline I picked up on Lazette Gifford's book Nano For The New And The Insane, slightly modified according to the project.

And mostly it works well; it gives me the guide line I need, without stiffling my creativity too. Also, the phase method allows me to plan my work better. If I want to finish a first draft by a certain date, I just calculate the number of phases I need to do a day.

The outlines have another advantage: for me, it's much easier to rearrange events and spot missing scenes while still in outline form than once you have the whole book written.

Sometimes, though, I'll be so excited about a project that I'll start writing it before the outline is completely finished. That's what I did with Mountains to Climb. I had an outline, of sorts. The story started by being a script; when I decided that I wanted to turn it into a novel, I needed to expand the original outline, but I thought I could start working on the first draft right away. It was a big mistake.

The writing has become increasingly difficult. I've been chalking it up to insecurity: if it's not finished, no one can tell you it stinks. Yesterday, though, I was forced to confront the fact that the problem might be another altogether.

I was trying to do a synopsys to put in the site. I did do one, but it's weak, inadequate and unappealing. And the thing that has been nibbling at the back of my brain just stepped up to the front: there are problems with the outline, there are some great bits of story there, but the whole doesn't feel like a whole, and there are some points that are simply bullshit. And if I, the writer, think they're bullshit, how are the readers going to react?

I had planned to finish the first draft of MTC a little before the end of March and then start working on The Starlight Ring, so that I had the first draft of that one finished sometime around the end of April, beginning of May. Clearly that is no longer an option, so I had to reevaluate my plans.

The conclusion I came to was that I should leave MTC alone and start working on TSR immediately. By my calculations, I should have it finished sometime in mid March. By that time, I should've gained some distance from MTC and be able to make a better assessment of what is wrongt and what I can do to fix it.

domingo, 3 de fevereiro de 2008

Being a writer

A few months back, someone at one of the fora I go to regularly asked the question "Why do you write?". The answers were many and varied, and generally quite long too. All I could come up with was:

I write because not writing simply isn't an option.

Today I was again made aware of how true this is, of how much writing is ingrained into me.

I was watching some documentary on Borneo. The usual: elephants, monkeys and apes, bugs aplenty. And there was also a group of people climbing a plateau in the middle of the jungle to study the unique ecosystem at the top.

The leader was going on about how they had to be careful about loose rocks, not only because they risked losing their balance, but mostly because of the danger of making one of those rocks fall on the head of the people coming behind. My immediate thought was: if you were a climber, and there was someone in the group whom you didn't like, that would be a good way of doing away with them and making it look like an accident.

I was reminded of the old joke about the woman whose husband ran away with the maid and her first reaction was turning it into a story. Not writing is not an option, see.

I'm always writing. Even when I'm not actually sitting down at the computer, or with a notebook and pen, I'm still writing, because putting the words on paper is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, basically, when you're a writer, there are no off hours. The writing is in every thing, it's always there, even if you're not aware of it. It's a rather strange symbiosis in a way: the writing takes over your life and gives you 1000 lives in return. Certainly a good deal.

The dowside? If you're not writing, you hardly feel alive at all.

segunda-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2008

Sangue de Dragão

A Synopsis and three excerpts from my fantasy novel Sangue de Dragão (Dragon's Blood) have been added to the Projects page of my website. The excerpts are in Portuguese. A translation of all three will be available at a later time.

sexta-feira, 18 de janeiro de 2008


This is the English Version of my blog.

The website is finally up. There are, however, still a few details to sort out that should be taken care of some time during next week.