The World Of Cinders

Eagle eyed readers may have noticed a new menu item at the top of this page. Of course, those reading via a feed reader or seeing this excerpt on another page may be looking around for a while before they see this. Come to the main page and all shall be explained.

As I get further into my writing project I find that there is more and more that I want to tell people about it. I want to share excerpts and early drafts of chapters. I want to give design updates and my thoughts on publishing. I want to write really short stories in that universe that can be one-offs for my early readers. And most of all I want all that separate from my personal blog as there will be people who eventually come looking for this stuff and they will only be interested in the stories, not the man who wrote them.

So I’ve started a new blog dedicated to the World of Cinders project and will be updating that with all of the things I mentioned above as time goes on. Both of these blogs are identically laid out for the time being and share a theme so that the entries can appear as if on one webpage, but the menu entries and addresses keep them separated. I’ve yet to find a blogging platform that allows two separate blogs on the same page address unfortunately so that is the best I can do.

While I will no doubt mention the writing project I embarked on here in the future, most of the detailed posts on that will be found on the other blog for the sake of completion.

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21 thoughts on “The World Of Cinders

  1. Very cool.

    I would be really interested in reading some of the short stories, when they’re posted. 😀 I don’t even have much time until I graduate to read many full novels, with all the school work, but short stories are good to squeeze in now and then 🙂

    • I should clarify short stories as being shorter than a book. The shortest complete one is just under forty pages depending on font size and page measurements. I’ve got another at around fifty pages that I’m editing now and keeps getting bigger. Three more in the works that will probably end up around the same size, and a couple of much smaller tasters that will probably come in at ten pages more or less. That’s it for the first phase but there are more to come in the second and third.

    • Sweet. I would prolly be more interested in the smaller bits, but once I get out of uni, I would like to take a crack at the bigger ones 😀 How long is the actual book, I’m curious.

      • At the current count, around three hundred pages. Again this depends on the font size and page formatting. I tried to match the regular paperback formatting.

    • Yeah, I know… It’s always changing. I’m honestly not too sure how to make a Word doc into something that represents how much would fit on a legit page. I usually go by word count. I’m personally about up to 30,000, but have not had a chance to write all semester 😦

    • What I did was set the page at five width by eight height. That ends up around the right size for a paperback and any PDF from that fits perfectly in a book reader. For the font, I used twelve point Gentium Book Basic for regular text and sixteen point for chapter headings. Chapter headings were centred and start a little down the page. That ends you up with a page that looks like the one in this post and that is equivalent to a basic paperback. Without titles it comes in at around thirty-three lines to a page, and about fifty characters to a line.

      That’s what I’m using to figure out the number of pages in my stories and books. I did start using exact measurements for the pages (4.85 width for example) but that got fiddly rather quickly. I’m too much of a progress hog not to compile the whole thing after each session to see in real terms how many pages I’ve added. Realising that I’d hit a hundred on the book when it started out as a short story that was aiming for six pages was staggering and actually set me back a little with the shock.

    • Haha!!! I love to see the progress, too. Sometimes I cover the page numbers with stickies so I can’t see them until the end. It makes it all the more exciting for the final count.

      Also, that was smart– Doing it that way. That must be pretty exact, too. I honestly don’t know anyone else who’s figured out to just literally measure our a book and try that. People around here always coplain they have no idea how many pages it’ll be.

    • I have to say that all this about word count and how many pages sounds strange to me. Of all the different professional writers I have known over the years I have never heard any express worries about word count. You should not count your words at all. Writing is not a machine. It is not mathematics either. Write as much or as less as you feel like. Structures and measurements, phases and any sort of rule or line will stress the free flow of creativity. Being concerned about wordcount… It’s just rediculous. It’s not the quantity but the quality of what you write that is important. It is not the result but the process. Keep math where math is useful. Writing is a creative process, it’s not math. Then again, I was born and raised in an age with no computers, so if we wanted to count the words of the texts we wrote we’d had to do it manually. That might be the reason why we oldschoolers don’t care about it. Hell, I even hand write. What I am saying is that it’s not how we do it but what we do, that matters. Fuck wordcount.

    • Well put. The main reason I use it is because, as a rule of thumb, people generally say a “regular full-length novel” is about 80,000-100,000 and I use it as a guide for figuring out how much more plot I should add, and whether I may be going too fast.

      I actually keep notebooks and usually handwrite first and then re-work it all as I type… I guess for the purposes of trying to create a novel, I am a little stuck on word count because I want to make sure it is long enough. I could always work it as a series of short stories, but I want to make it an adventure, and until I feel satisfied with how much I’ve penned out, I just keeo the ideas coming. Does that make any kind of sense? I feel like, even though there technically should be no wrong way, I am prolly doing it wrong, but I like seeing where the story takes me.

    • I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘doing it wrong’. Unless you want to self-publish, your work will soon enough come under the knife, so most of the editing you could leave to those who know about it. If you self-publish, it’s a good idea to get somebody else to supervise; somebody you know and trust and preferably someone who knows the shit. When I look around at self-published ficition, I see lots of good things, but I also see a lot that should not have been published. I ask myself why, and I belive it is because there’s no in-between institution, no ‘buffer’ before it reaches the public. It’s a shame, because many of those ‘amateur’ writers surely have good things going and with just a little guidance or couching (I hate that word, so business-like, but even so) thjey could become real good writers. Also, self-learned writers often make everything too complicated. That’s what I mean with my above comment on wordcount. It’s not that complicated. All you need, basically, is a pen and some paper – go write! Eventually, you will find your own way, what works for you. It takes some practice, like everything else in this world, to find your own personal way. But it will come. I wish you all luck, Red!

    • My minor touches of OCD come into play when it comes to word count. The compiling software I use has both total word count and todays word count in the bottom left and, at the end of a session it’s interesting to see how much progress I’ve made. When editing I spend a lot of time tearing out sections and totally rewriting them, so it’s a victory to find I’m “in credit” by a few words here and there at the end. Also, as I write most of this on my phone it’s interesting to copy those sections from the smaller Evernote notes into the main narrative and find that the notes I made in the toilet have now added up to thirteen hundred words added to the novel. On a phone screen it’s easy to see a couple of lines as a huge paragraph or a regular paragraph as being too long and in need of cutting, so the word count is another way to see progress being made. Combine that with the fact that the last short story I wrote kept ending sections at exact multiples of ten words every single time I wrote, even when I finished in the middle of a section, and you have my OCD’s attention.

      One thing I do like about being able to see word count is the ability to make chapters more palatable for the casual reader. One of my aims here is to affect one person (just one, though any more would be a bonus) as much as I was affected by books as a kid. I want someone to fall in love with reading and feel that way for life. To that end I’m trying to make chapters no more than five thousand words at most, with an average of around two thousand. Those natural stopping off points should provide nicely spaced places for casual readers to put the book down rather than feeling the chapters drag on and I feel that is key to making the experience work for them where it may not have before.

      I dunno, you have to remember that most of those professional writers you’ve known were not going to be a part of the high score generation. 😉 We’re not making it complex, we’re having fun with it in new and videogame related ways.

      Red, know your characters and their world, and understand their situation. If the book you’ve written seems short, identify some places that could do with padding and see what your characters would do in that situation. I’ve started with a basic journey from A to B and that allows me to add new places and conversations into the mix as we go. Each one of those informs the characters more and makes their other interactions need some editing. Eventually the book was much bigger than I’d ever planned.

      Having said that, it is a pain to keep slotting things into a narrative that seems complete and you may well find that a lot of what you’ve added would be better served elsewhere. Each of the short stories I’ve started is mentioned or referred to in the main book, but I’ve simply left those mentions as things that are known about in the world rather than going into detail about them. Readers who want more can read the extra, those who don’t can skip it easily. Recently, for the shorter stories, I’ve been setting chapters aside and writing a small synopsis in each. Each one has about five small paragraphs that describe what I want to happen in that section. Then I write up each paragraph in reality, and usually find that each one or two can take the space I designated for the entire lot, so I move the extra ones down a scene. I don’t really know if that would work well for a full length novel (ask me when I move onto Phase 2 as I’ll be trying that then) but it works wonders for shorter stories.

    • First off– I actually have edited, numerous times… Both novels and articles and such, so I have some idea of what I’m doing. One of the novels I was the editor for is self-published and is even being used at some local college (which I think is pretty neat). My personal novel is not of a good enough caliber, yet, and I know it, but I just can’t help myself form rereading and editing when I come to an impasse. Does that sound logical? :/ It just feels like the right thing to do. Also, I am actually going to school for Writing and Rhetoric.. Not legit book writing/publishing, but that’s where I’d like to end up. Mine is more in terms of writing essays and mild prose… I’ve done a bit of short story writing and those come out better than my longer works– Is that it? You start with the short stories and they build steam over time? Also, are you a writer? And what can I call you, please?

      Mik, that’s pretty cool, that it’s written mostly via mobile. I’ve been doing most of mine lately on the go. My mom bought me an iPad because my laptop is literally too thick to fit into my backpack, so I copy and paste when I get home. I always tend to write more than I think I have. It’s fascinating. I gripe about how little I’ve written all day when I’m out, but when I arrive home, it adds up and little by little I chip away at the stone.

      Hmmm…. You mean, we’re going to be bigger? (By the high-score metaphor, I kinda grasped it, but not perfectly.) Also, this is pretty presumptuous, but I want to strike people. Maybe help them, maybe my stuff will end up being pathetic, but I am trying to go where I have not yet seen books go– I am writing about the plight of the everyman. My book follows four older guys through their average lives and the decisions they make. I’ll have to tell you more, if you’re interested.. I’m not very good at describing my story…

      My book started out as a short story that I threw together for a class. It was a brainchild I’d been sitting on for a few years, now. It’s weird, but I’ve always got on well with older guys, and now that I am literally becoming a guy I realize we’re not so different. All of my friends from back home call me an old man, even my mom does. And I looked around and realized that maybe so many of them I know don’t bother reading because nothing is too relevant. At a certain age, you either have your life on par or it’s a mess, and the in-betweens seem scarce. I am trying to not write out an ending, yet, though, until I reach at least 50,000 words because I want it to meander its way to wherever it’s going. Partway through, you can realize something completely new just by reworking one small section. It’s so brilliant!!

      I saw Jodi Piccoult (a popular women’s American author) speak, once, and she said that you learn about your characters as you go along. One day, she woke up all stunned when she realized one of her characters didn’t know she was pregnant and she was all excited. Things can just come, and that’s the adventure of writing, to me.

      I am having trouble with drawing some sections out. One day I will feel like I’ve played it for all its worth, but then another day I feel like it didn’t take enough time with the details to make it seem real enough. Very frustrating, indeed.

      Lastly, I’d like to say that I think I’m gonna try your idea of writing short stories and incorporating them in. It looks like a solid strategy to me, and will prolly help with my current block.

      Also that was a lot sorry for babbling bye.

    • I actually find that the mobile editing routine works pretty well for me, better than trying to edit on the desktop anyway.

      What I’ve been doing is using a program called Sigil (follow the link for access) on Windows and copying my book chapters/story segments into that. You can save the results as an ePub that works in most modern ereaders. From there I load it onto my device (in your case the iPad) and read through a chapter at a time. Any mistakes or things that need changing stand out a bit more like that and you can use the ereaders highlight feature to mark those sections, usually with the ability to make notes about it. I’ve been using those notes to type in things that can replace what I’ve highlighted, from single words to add here and there (between the highlighted words) to full paragraphs and rewrites.

      You may find that the details sort themselves out in front of you with that routine, or you may not. I find it helpful to do it that way but everyone is different.

  2. @Red

    Just call me Martin. I know Furie from somewhere else, that’s why I act so familiar. Sorry if you felt like I just crashed in. Didn’t mean to. Didn’t mean to be patronising or condescending either. I believe it’s pretty obvious from what you said up there, that you do know what you are talking about. No offence intended.

    I am a Dane and live in Denmark, born in 1969. I used to be a journalist, primarily printed media. I sold my first newspaper story when I was 13, so it was pretty obvious where I was going. I was chief editor for a local monthly magazine, mostly cultural issues, investigative style, from ’92 till ’99, where I had to put everything away and change my life completely, because I had developed a severe alcohol problem. Goes with the newspaper territory, I’m afraid. I’m not the only one. Still do the odd freelance job, but I am retired from the media business. Over the years I have written and published several pieces of fiction, but never published a complete novel. Essays, poems, short stories, rock’n’roll lyrics (I play the drums), etc, I even wrote a couple of novels, but never published them. Not that anybody knows my name on a large nationwide scale or something. I had my time in the nineties, but my name went to oblivion many years ago. Last summer, I decided to get my you know what together and write that novel that has been boiling in my inner cauldrun.

    So, I’m “in the business” like you and Furie. So, let’s talk shop! 😉

    • Red’s another Operite from way back who has just come back into the fold. She’s my apprentice and will one day inherit the world I’ve been taking over if my younglings don’t rise up and devour you all.

      I’ll let her answer the rest but I will remind both parties that when you’re pretty new at something and someone comes along who doesn’t know that you do that thing (and so talks to you as they would any stranger, explaining things you wouldn’t otherwise know) hackles are regularly and unfairly raised when they shouldn’t be. Everyone’s still good though, just gotta get to know each other.

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