Monday, August 27, 2012

Route 27

Route 27
This is my route back to a regular writing schedule, because the 27th is the first day of school for the boys. (Cheesy, I know, but I liked the graphic.)

That means:

Freedom!!! I love my kids, but it's really time for them to go get an education.

It also means I will have hours and hours to revise, rework, and reinvent the worlds I'm spinning on both my manuscripts. Who knows what all this unfettered quiet time will lead to?

Here's what I'll be working on in MoK:

Deeper secondary characters - They are the "salt in the stew" - according to my crit group member, Brad Davidson.

World building expansions of summarized scenes- My first beta reader suggested a longer chase scene for chapter three, among other things.

A tighter, more comprehensive ending, so the ms can truly stand alone- WriteOnCon agents suggested they are tired of trilogies. I was only planning one "companion" book anyhow.

A more interesting hook for the beginning- Always the LAST thing to get done, isn't it?

For BA:

Reworking Haydon- Back to what I really want him to be - a cute/slightly nerdy biotech geek.

Toning down the fantasy- I got a revise and resubmit request in April, the dreaded "slow no". She  passed because the fantasy wasn't slow enough. Yet, I had a full request on the previous version and that agent passed because it was too slow. I need to find the middle ground.

Scheduled completion for all of this?

Your guess is as good as mine!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Istanbul in the Movies: This Fall

I love when Istanbul gets spotlighted in a film, and this fall, the city is the star in several movies. The streets have been busy, bustling with film crews and top actors. There are some specific locations that film directors seem to love - like the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar.

(That scene is getting old for me. Remember when Clive Owen did it in The International? )

I digress. Here are the trailers:

Taken 2, with Liam Neeson.

In the movie, his daughter runs across the rooftops of the grand bazaar. (Does she always have to be barely dressed?) Of course, I would have preferred if there were some good guys from the city too, but this film seems to get off the roofs and into the streets of today's Istanbul. I give lots of points for that.

Then there's the latest James Bond, Skyfall, where Daniel Craig falls off a bridge in Adana, and yet somehow ends up riding a motorbike on top of the grand bazaar. (Well, I love the bridge scene anyway.)

And lastly, Argo with Ben Affleck, which has scenes set in Iran that were actually filmed in Turkey. I'll actually have to watch this one to see if I recognize anything but the mosque in the trailer.

Here's hoping there are no scenes on the Grand Bazaar rooftops.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm over in the forums at WriteOnCon today.

The schedule this year is chock full of YA information. Ninja Agents are lurking in the forums already. If you haven't ever participated, try sitting in for a session or two. You might find something you like. ;)

I've posted both of my queries in the forums, for better or for worse:

If anyone is participating, I'd appreciate suggestions and/or pageviews so I can keep getting more feedback from others. I'd be happy to reciprocate.


Monday, August 6, 2012

The Houses of Harran

Last year, I picked up a paperback of DUNE for my son. It was on the 9th grade reading list, see. Plus I remembered something about giant sandworms, which I thought he might like. Yeah.
Last week, I finally dusted off my dear son's paperback shelf, and I read the book myself.

(For the record, sandworms are really cool. Movie bonus: Sting! (aka: that singer I'm obsesssed with) I added the extended edition to my Netflix queue, and it can't get here fast enough.)

The surprise of DUNE, for me, was the middle eastern inspired desert culture of the Fremen, and the mysticism throughout. The expansive ecology and elaborate system of water capture of the planet Arrakis made me sit up and pay attention. Yep. DUNE is epic. But you knew that.

I'm not trying to be epic, but I do want to incorporate realistic culture/ecology into my own work, so this thread goes back to my musings on Hattusa. And Harran.

Harran is not very close to Hattusa, but the lack of trees is bringing the two locations together in my head. My story is set in a semi-arid wilderness. Resources are precious.

Like my previous post on cow pies, I'm following the scarcity of wood, and the houses of Harran inspire for that reason alone. Their bricks are made with mud and hay. Not a single stick is used in the structure.The distinctive beehive rooftop design dates back something like 3000 years. 3000 years! The shape helps heat rise and keeps the people cool in the long, hot summer.

The houses are no longer in use -tourists excepted.

The people moved out to a more modern, flat-roofed village nearby, but they still maintain the same reverent use of resources. They twist hay into ropes and use it to make bales. Then they pile the bales in a (beehive-like) pyramid on top of each house, providing insulation and convenient fodder storage for the winter.

I'm just not sure how they tie everything down so the wolf doesn't blow it away.


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