Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I'm back behind the computer today with my coffee and music. I'm ready to get down to business. The first thing on the docket is to start working on notes for the revision of the first book in the Tattoo Artist series. I don't think the revisions are going to be too hard. I think my hardest revision so far has been to Burn the Night, but that was to be expected since it was the last book in the series.

Most of the notes that I received from my editor are relatively loose and open so that I have some room to maneuver. One problem is that my main character seems to figure things out too easily. I need to make it harder on him while raising the stakes as well. This is tricky because I am striving to keep from dragging him down the same path that Mira went down. Mira had a dark, violent side that she embraced and wasn't ashamed of. I don't want that for Gage. I guess I wouldn't mind for the potential to be there, but I like his easygoing nature and I don't want him to get too dark.

But before I start attacking plot, I need to work on the worldbuilding first. This part is crucial and I'm feeling a bit rusty. I didn't have to worry about worldbuilding in Dark Days by the time I had sold the series because I had spent a few years working on it and thinking about it. I had it all down by the time an editor was interested. Worldbuilding sets the setting, the rules of existence, and the boundaries of society. I need my rules, the tight box in which to work. It can actually help in plotting a lot if you know a great deal about the world in which you are writing. Of course, it can be a real pain in the butt when it comes to plotting as well. If you set up a rule in the beginning, you can't ever break it unless you have a very, very good reason. Breaking the rule is like breaking the trust of the reader. I've read books in which the writer has broken the rule and I've accepted it. But I have always been more impressed with the writer that can find either a loophole or a work-around when it comes to a certain rule.

But today, I'm examining the world in which my tattoo artists live. This will include just vague notes and even some essays written from the point of view of the characters. I imagine these notes and essays will eventually find their way to my website the same way they did for the Dark Days series.

While I was flying to Hawai'i, I started making a list of some of the questions that I needed to answer.

Has the world always been open?
Was there an event that opened the door?
Who is the dominant race? Or rather is there a race that has most of the power?
Is there an even integration?
Does religion have any bearing on this world?
What are the religions?
How does it impact the lives of the inhabitants of this world?
Have all the races survived?
Has any one of the races been wiped out in a war? Who? By who?
Who are highly valued in this world? Who are the artisans? The healers?
Is there someone that needs to be protected from the Ivory Towers?

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! I may answer all these questions in several long essays, but how will that translate into the book? Probably only a few random sentences. It only takes a few sentences to help set the tone and setting of a world, sometimes.

Also, before I forget, I did a 2-hour online interview/chat last week and it has been posted online. Here it is if you are interested in listening to me talk about the series. I don't think it is too spoilery if you haven't finished the last book.

Thanks! Have a great day.

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