In a Mood to Organize

Poignantly uncreative right now. But in the mood to put things in neat lists and graphs… So, I figure I’ll do some tallying here too, for the hell of it.

Since this blog is supposed to be mainly writing-related, I’ve decided to make a neat list of the stories that I’m most likely to have something to say about here. That is, here are the stories that I currently consider “active.”

The long stuff:

1. The Journeyman: a, err, “hard” fantasy story about a world where the “magic” is dying, rather violently, and about the people who get drawn into figuring out why, and what to do about it.

2. Broken Circles: a fantasy story about a group of young friends who get torn apart when they become involved in the events that promise to be the fall of a realm.

3. Castles of Sand and Stones: a “hard” fantasy story without magic, in which a bastard child becomes the catalyst for the rebirth of a fallen empire.

4. Dead Men’s Stand: a “hard” fantasy story about two groups of warriors that band together in an attempt to slow the expansion of an empire.

5. All Things Made of Shadows: a soft-y sci-fi meets fantasy story (technically, a science fantasy story) about a hi-tech army officer who befriends a low-tech sorcerer, in order to guarantee the safe return of her squad to their home world.

6. Dancing with Demons: a mushy-soft space opera about two mercenaries getting to the bottom of a conspiracy to topple over the current government in their piece of space.

7. Gargoyle II: an adventure sci-fi story about a 25th century crew of a relativistic spacecraft ending up in a rather intolerant 29th century.

8. Sake of the Pack: a sci-fi story about a man who gets involved with upsetting the balance between the two governments vying for control of several stellar systems in a part of space that, until recently, was isolated due to a technological disaster.

9. Brief Horizons: a sci-fi story with military and hard sci-fi elements, about a team of mercenaries drawn into the Solar System-wide conflict between two distinct branches of humanity.

The short stuff:

1. Linking Rings: a “hard” fantasy story about two men who “switch sides” and are pitted against each other in a mission that each has reasons to hesitate completing.

2. Gain of a Man Less: a near-future sci-fi story about a police detective forced to work with technology he distrusts, to solve a crime that might change the way the world perceives this technology.

The stuff with undecided length:

1. Turn of the Wilds: a science/folk fantasy story about humanity attempting to rebuild after it has lost a war against nature.

2. Crossing Roads: a fantasy story about a man cursed to an eternal life of compulsion to protect a country that’s long ago disappeared from the world map, and his encounter with a group that might be finally able to free him from his curse.

I guess this list also serves to show how scatterbrained I am. (Mind you, this is not a list of all my stories — just the ones I’m currently ”working” on, and each is at a various stages of completion, starting from just 1.5K words for Gain of a Man Less, to 90K words for Broken Circles)

So, welcome to the wonderful writing world of Rilan White.

Back From the Great Industrial Wilds of Asia

So, I’m back, in one piece.

This was an interesting trip, both work-related (which I can’t discuss here, and wouldn’t even if I could) and general culture-wise.

For one, my perception of China changed quite a bit. Until this trip, I had traveled to only a couple of Chinese provinces, both with a long history as trading/industrial centers. For many reasons, these places are greatly polluted and overpopulated.

I hold a special love for Hong Kong – I’m a HK action flicks addict and the place feels like an (n+1)th home to me — and, considering Hong Kong’s history, I have a hard time thinking of it as part of China. But I’ve been to several other cities in the Guangdong province, and they’ve been pretty depressing to me. I experienced about the same thing in Shanghai and its outskirts.

But on this trip, I visited a central China city (an aerospace and metallurgy center for China) — and, boy, what a difference. This was probably one of the best maintained large cities I’ve seen in my whole life. Sure, traffic was as bad as anywhere else in China (and that’s pretty bad), but, otherwise, it was a different — and very clean — world. I was impressed. Also, I had a chance to visit some cultural spots there, including an active archeological dig, and I was also pretty glad to see a respect and pride in history.

So, all in all, very interesting trip.

On the writing side, I didn’t do much. I had very little downtime on this trip. And, to my surprise, most of it went into developing a “written script” for my “Common” language for one of my fantasy worlds (All Things Made Of Shadows and Broken Circles take place in this world). It’s a silly, fairly pointless exercise (mostly for the sake of brainsturbation), but it turned out to be incredibly fun.

So, now the “Common” language has grown to have a set grammar, an about 100-word vocabulary, and a written script that needs a little more ironing out, but I’m generally happy with.

I’m not doing it for a specific purpose (if any of the stories of this world get published, you won’t be seeing actual Common appearing in them — except that in one place, I use the Common grammar with English to show one of the characters mixing up foreign — to them – languages). Way back when, the whole thing started as a vague idea for a puzzle in a game module. The game module idea has since gone into the closet, buried under hundreds others like it, but I’ve found that occasionally playing with the language is fun. And fun things don’t die in my world.

I don’t know if I’ll share more of the language here or on my website. I’m often tempted to make some of my story background processes or “fun” activities public (even if the traffic through this blog and my website is tiny and consists mostly of spambots). I usually resist the temptation – because, after all, what’s the point — but, who knows. I occasionally get organizational and presentational impulses, so maybe one day, I’ll publish the Common vocabulary or script, for the hell of it.

Most importantly, I’m back. Yey!