Well, I guess now I'll go back through and fix the quotation marks and apostrophes on all the chapters I reposted yesterday.
I thought I had that resolved but apparently not. For those of you who wondered what I was bitching about a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned the problems with cross-platform file transfer -- take a look at the first chapter of Guard.
I'll get to it sometime in the next couple of days and we'll move onward and upward.
I tracked down the altered chapters of Always on Guard and I've posted the first 20 of them today. I'll post the remaining 12 chapters tomorrow (I hope).
There is very little change to the plot but I think it helps the reader understand the character of Denae a little better.
Denae's character was always intended to be self-involved -- but also self-deluded. The eavesdropping on conversation was the first hint I dropped. She likes to have the upper hand.
I tried to foreshadow her inner demons with her interactions with Queen Lorida. In the initial assessment, Lorida was the typical "evil stepmother." But by carving away layers, the reader recognizes that the initial interpretation was solely determined by point-of-view. She was opposing Denae, so she was the enemy (when the reader believed Denae to be a fairy tale princess).
I'll give you a preview to one of the quotes in Part II of the story. Jorgarn and Pernice are sitting and discussing Reyna and Denae. Jorgarn says (and this is not exact I don't think):
"I always pictured Denae and Rayna as two children playing dress up. Neither fully understood how life would truly be when it came time to wear the clothing for real."
The thing I think most of the complaint writers have overlooked is a simple truism of all teenaged females, be it in Emertland or in Nebraska: They are remarkably self-absorbed. To be a young woman who suddenly came to understand exactly how much power you possess would be an immense burden. Young woman throughout time and history have found power in their looks, in their sexuality and in their heritage. Most had to settle for only two of the three. But to suddenly, even if you had been groomed for a role your entire life, to suddenly find yourself with all three? I don't think the results would be pretty (and, if you would care to research European history from the Middle Ages, you will see that it was not).
I have shepherded one daughter through her teen years and now have another fully immersed in them. I have witnessed the excitement a young woman displays when she sees young men taking notice of her. I have born witness to young women using their wiles to get young men to do their bidding. I have have seen the sense of accomplishment that flashes across a young woman's face for the briefest of instances when they understand how they got their way and how to do it again.
That's Denae. A coddled child who has come to find herself immensely powerful and desirable. She had a virtually friendless childhood and now has admirers from the highest echelons of society. I wrote how I believe she would have reacted.
Despite the few critical emails I've received, I still believe that any young woman in her position would have behaved exactly as I've written.
I hope that you'll continue to enjoy the story.
Best wishes to all,
I wish to thank all the fine folks who have taken the time to write to me to express their dissatisfaction with the turn Always on Guard took in the last two chapters.
It took me a while but I finally pulled the files I'd posted. Chapters 31 and 32 were exactly as I remembered them. I was a bit puzzled at some of the e-mails I received.
So I went back through the other chapters I'd posted and my confusion eased immediately.
Sometime between finishing the story in 2009 and posting it in 2012, I revised several earlier chapters to recast Denae into what I consider a typical teenage girl. I distinctly remember rewriting large sections of first-person accounts to reflect her grown sense of invincibility, not only because she had a powerful man at her side but because she was immensely popular with the citizens.
The only problem is that I didn't bother to revised the text I sent out to my proofreader. I sent him the original files I received from BlackIrish (who I'm positive pointed out to me that Denae needed to be reworked at the front). ZoltanTheDuck does excellent work -- as the improvement of my stories since he signed on can attest. I rarely -- if ever -- check his work when it's returned. Oh, I might give the chapter a quick read but I don't pore over every comma and semicolon.
BlackIrish is a terrific editor -- and not only because he can parse through my ramblings to get from what I said to what I meant. He does a thorough job of pointing out inconsistencies in the characters and in the plot. He's saved me from myself a dozen times in each story he's looked over.
Then it comes to the author. He sometimes doesn't live up to his end of the bargain -- such as when he fails to notice for months on end that he's posted obsolete files. I am digging through my story files in an attempt to locate the versions that reflect the changes I made after it was edited but before it was proofed.
As soon as I locate them and clean up the copy, I'll post the revised chapters and let the readers know. I think it will make the story more enjoyable for the folks who have followed along since the outset.
Meanwhile, I hope you'll continue to follow along as Part 2 opens today.
The last two chapters of Part 1 of Always on Guard hit the queue this evening.
It might be a while before Part 2 goes up. We're having some issues with getting fiber optic lines run to the neighborhood. Now the storm has pushed the completion date back even farther in the distance.
My internet access has been intermittent and has consisted solely of dial up.
Then there is the whole Mac/PC thing with SOL.
I write on a Mac. If I post it straight away, the punctuation is OK. But my editor and proofreaders use PCs. So when I get the files back I have to take them to our family PC to fix things and get them to read correctly on SOL.
Right now, I don't have the PCs set up -- because neither of them even has a phone modem installed. So when I started to post these files last week, well, all the quotation marks and apostrophres were strange characters. I didn't get the chance to use a PC until today.
I've decided I'm not going to battle with dial-up just to post files with strange punctuation. So until I get everything up and running, I'm going to focus on editing "A Flawed Diamond," the sequel to "The Outsider" and writing a new story, "A Death in Emerald Cove."
So, that's where we are. Once I get things together here, I'll start posting again.
I thought I might take a minute or two to keep readers updated on where things stand with "Always on Guard" and my next story, the long-planned sequel to "The Outsider."
So here goes:
"Always on Guard" is taking far longer to post than I anticipated. I'm a little short on chapters back from the second set of eyes (I posted the last chapter I have on hand earlier today). So I face a quandary. Do I go forward and try to catch the niggling mistakes myself or do I hold off and let ZoltanTheDuck, who is far more than a proofreader, catch his breath?
Right now, I'm torn. Zoltan does excellent work (as any reader who compares the first 90 chapters of "Daze in the Valley" with the last 80 chapters can plainly see). At the same time, I would dearly love to get this story moving along.
We're not even a third of the way through the tale and I wanted to have it concluded by Christmas. At my current pace, I won't have it done until Christmas 2013! Still, real life takes precedence and I understand that as well as anyone.
I suppose I have until next Friday to figure it out.
In other news, I concluded the first draft of "The Outsider II" earlier in the week. It's 90 chapters so it will take a while for me to go through the entire story and make sure I didn't change character names halfway through (and yes, I've done that before).
I hope to send it off to my trusty editor, BlackIrish, in a couple of weeks. He had already done a skim of the first 70 chapters but I know he and I will have a lot to discuss before it's in its final version -- including picking a better title for the story.
Because of the setting, I have another accomplished SOL writer taking a read through, as well, to ensure that I have portrayed the scenes as realistically as possible. His comments have already made the story better.
Now I'm back to hunting and pecking at a few other stories I've started over the past decade and set aside for one reason or another. I'm not certain what will follow "The Outsider II" but it appears I'll have a couple of years to get something together.
My thanks to everyone who has taken the time to drop me an e-mail. Most of them include an allusion to posting more frequently, so I thought I'd save some time and offer an explanation here.
My best to all,