Reworking “Sun Glass” Into “The Demons in the Dark”

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I’ve spent the past two days tweaking “Sun Glass” and turning it from a secondary world story into something closer to sci fi, to space opera. Oh and nixing 1250 words. I got it down from 9250 down to just under 8k. I also renamed the story as this isn’t the same tale anymore. I’m currently going with “The Demons in the Dark”.

The World of Three Moons has long been a haven for humanity, for the last survivors of a Chinese ship called the Hubei. Yet it is also a strange world, inhabited by more than just humans. Demons stalk the darkness, shadows with gemstones for eyes, who tear all those they come across into pieces and devour their unlived days. They are also becoming more powerful and no one knows why.

Hu Xia is living a double life, pretending to be her dead brother Jin. Now a master glassweaver, she is tasked with serving her village, creating a magical momument out of moon glass which will protect them through the long nights.

Then a mandarin steps into her life and changes it forever.

Lin Cui is convinced the demons’ rise in power is connected with his distant ancestress, the first glassweaver, Shao Jian. He is convinced Shao Jian lies buried in the a village deep in the forest, forgotten and abandoned, and that with her corpse lies the ability to  ward off the demons permenantly.

Together Xia and Cui will discover the truth about their history and the glass magic that stops the demons in their tracks—and Xia will find out precisely what happened when her brother was devoured.

There’s a particular place I want to send this, as my previous story died in its tracks. I’ve run it through speech in Scrivener, I’ve tried to catch any errors and I’m hoping, once I’ve done a final pass, it’ll be good to send out. I just hope it passes muster and is the right kind of story for the anthology I want to submit it to.

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The Problem with Words, Visual Impairment and Bipolar Medication

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I’ve just finished a massive project and despite going through it, I’m mortified to find it still riddled with errors. Some of this is down to my inner editor (my brain is adept at replacing blurry images with best guesses) and the rest is simply due to how close I am to the text.

Previously this would never be a problem, when I was working for magazines there were editors to proof-read, plus my vision was much better. Now I’ve hit my thirties, it’s deteriorated at a rapid rate, even if I can still see ‘more’ than most of my friends. I’m still blind and have noticed it’s becoming increasingly difficult.

My vision is breaking down, my eyes hurt and I’m getting more eyestrain-related migraines than I used to. I know I could simply cut down on my time on a computer but … well, no, that’s never going to happen. It’s particularly hard when you only have a half-working eye to begin with.

Worse, my medication has wrecked my memory, meaning my previously pristine grammar is now tarnished. I can’t remember the basics and often get the simplest things, like it’s and its, mixed up. My brain is flagging it up and an error and I no longer know which is right.

Now I’m not so sure and it’s embarrassing.

I started using Grammarly a couple of months ago, mainly for little things like blog posts and Facebook. Now I’m running documents through. Yesterday I realised I’ve spent the last week mixing up ‘alliteration’ with ‘iteration’ and I hung my head in shame. Words and meanings, that’s my thing, the only thing I can do well. I used to be able to spell anything …

Unfortunately my bipolar medication doesn’t come with useful notes on specific side effects like ‘may find understanding of grammar and spelling is reduced’. It’s not a great mix, especially when I make more efforts than most to go through my text and nix any errors. There will always be a couple that escape the net but it doesn’t make me feel any better.

All I can do is find my way around it, such as feeling chunks into online checkers and seeing what gets spat out.

*sighs*

 

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Happy Spring!

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As the days get warmer, as the sun comes out, I inevitably start feeling better, both mentally and physically. I’m commuting most of the week and spending large amounts of time with The Naked Dog (I can’t really call her my Furball as she’s been shawn for the spring) in Starbucks working. I’m still on a short story streak (Asha really does like them) and have been working on a particularly emotional story called “Constructed Mind, Reforged Soul” that I sent off to an anthology call yesterday.

Oh and I’ve watching Dark Souls III playthroughs, doing Zumba and napping.

So, as today is Good Friday (aka the One Bank Holiday which isn’t on a Monday), I went into the city for breakfast with my BFF, Mhairi and her guide dog, Bramble (the one whose hugs are like dog valium). Then I bought a hat.

Apparently all I needed to complete my transformation into Asha was a hat. Who knew?

(BTW this is not a selfie; Mhairi took it. Not bad attempt either.)

We’d finished breakfast and were heading for coffee but, as it’s Easter, there was this market just by Cafe Rouge selling things like food, bread, jewellery, crepes (CREPES … and I had no room left). Oh and hats.

Funny story: I only found out what a milliner is a couple of months ago. I was in Mary Robinette Kowal’s class and she was brainstorming ideas. She came up with something like ‘a milliner who assassinates people with oranges’ and I was mentally going: WTF? A word I don’t know??? (and I know many just not this one). I actually had to google the definition and discovered milliners are the name for people who make hats. I related this story to Mhairi and the stall owner as I tried on hats, who reminded me of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. That bit I knew: he was a hat maker who went mad from the mercury used to make hats.

But he’s never called a milliner.

I pointed this out. Mhairi laughed at me. Nicely.

I ended up buying this rather nice hate (and mentally swearing at the expense). Lots of people have told me it suits me and I really think it does, even if it means I’m going to have to wear my hair either braided or bound back out of my face. Normally I wear headbands and those get in the way of the hat sits.

This afternoon I finally sat down and edited “One Quiet Night”. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been putting it off, apparently—regardless of my name—I still hate editing. It’s like pulling teeth and actually, I’d put it off so long I had to get the file re-sent as it had expired. That’s just embarrassing. Anyway, I cracked my knuckles, spoke to Shannon and then engaged the Kung Fu Panda 3 OST (it’s a freaking awesome movie BTW). I think it took me two hours to do and, as usual, once you start things don’t feel quite as difficult. I’m sitting on the draft overnight and will then send it off with the blurb I’ve not yet written.

Actually, let’s do that now:

It only takes one quiet night for humanity to die …

Everyone expects zombies and nuclear fire to herald the destruction of the Earth but the end, at least in this tale, comes much more quietly. Your daughter is sick, the entire world is dying, and there’s nothing you can do.

Yes, you.

Step into the shoes of a single mother whose daughter doesn’t just have a simple bug but is one of millions afflicting with a terrifying virus which is quietly decimating humanity.

And you’re not the only one watching her die.

I like it.

Also, hey, on the fly! Go me!

In other news I’ve had a couple of rejections, which is fine. I’m sending out stories as fast as I can and trying to revise the last few in my ‘to revise’ pile. I also have about five which need finishing, particularly as there are at least two anthology calls coming up I want to respond to. I’m now treating said rejections as excuses to, occasionally, rework a story and as a badge of honour, not a negative thing. Rejections make you stronger and I’m now at the point where I get to call C.C. Finlay of F&SF ‘Charlie’ after he’s rejected like four of my stories.

This is a major thing, if my other writer friends are to be believed.

And yeah, I’m still sending him stories.

One day he will accept one, I know it.

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