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Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!

I didn’t write as much on Vivian’s Last Cigarette as I wanted to over the three-day weekend, but I still got the new chapter six from zero to almost 2,700 words. I’m really happy with how it is shaping-up.

The chapter opens in medias res, with a horde of skinheads hot on Viv and Gronk’s heels. I’ve wanted to write crazy foot-chase for a long time, and it was great to finally get to do one! As a kid that was bullied and chased more than once by large groups seeking to do me harm, I was able to channel some of that experience into the scenes. It was cathartic in a way. One of those moments of true magic in writing, when you can take something sad or painful from your past and make it end the way it should have.

In this case, that meant writing a great escape.

I wrote those orcs getting chased halfway across town. Through the woods, over backroads, into a middle-class neighborhood, across someone’s backyard, and finally into an apple orchard. Finally, Viv and Gronk reached a sanctuary… well, a kinda-sorta sanctuary, anyways.

They also got to bump heads with a couple of new minor antagonists: Oliver and his kid brother, Oi-Boy. Both are introduced in a few lines and paragraphs and without a lot of fanfare in chapter five, but in chapter six they come into their own.

Oliver is a thuggish sergeant in the local Hammerfist gang that’s caused so much trouble for our orcy protagonists from the start of the book. He’s the houndsman leading this pursuit, and is effective enough in that regard, but he’s not particularly colorful. In comparison, his thirteen-year old brother Oi-Boy is garishly colorful like a graffiti covered wall…  and was ridiculously fun to write! ;-)

Oi-Boy is more of a hanger-on with the gang and its scrappy mascot than a full member. I invented him as a simple filler mook with some catchy flair when I polished chapter five into a second draft. The image of him in my mind was very strong right off the bat though, and after I wrote his appearance it was clear I had a good character that shouldn’t be wasted.

I was fortunate enough to need his talents in chapter six to reignite the chase just when Viv and Gronk felt they were home free. He gave that part theme and direction, and I wrote the scene on the fly riffing on Oi-Boy’s strong characteristics as a guide. Because of that, I created a nice bridge to the later half of the chase. It also became a really funny bit that had me laughing out loud. There’s just something about a nigh-psychopathic skater brat in a Rat Bones t-shirt giving orcs a seriously hard time that’s comedy gold. ;-)

And no sooner have Viv and Gronk dealt with Oi-Boy, then none other than Brian Kane returns to block their escape with his 1982 Subaru BRAT…

Faced with such an intimidating vehicle, the action picks up and things get even more interesting from there. ;-)

All-in-all, chapter six seems to be off to a good start! The weekend found me doing other things too: I edited chapter five into a second draft, then sent it along with chapter four to my second reader, Lauren. And projects related to my blog-social media and the upcoming PortCon also needed and received attention.

Another thing that detracted from my available time to write was that the cover creation process for Viv’s started last Thursday. Seeing the cover art come together is super-exciting! I shared the rough sketches the artist sent me of the possible directions the cover could go in with my betas, and took stock of their opinions.

This was really helpful. As the author, what I find appealing in art based off my book is tainted by the intimate knowledge I have of the story. What a cover needs to do is grab the attention of someone that has no knowledge of the story altogether, and I can’t judge that fully with my own eyes. So my betas, most of whom haven’t read the story yet, really helped me make a choice that I’m confident in. Their opinions were quite lopsidedly in favor of one piece in particular, and I chose to go with that one. It was one that I liked as well, and I think it will be a fantastic cover!

The month of June in general will find me shifting my focus away from the novel for at least a few weeks. The reason for this will be to finish creating the RPG sessions I’ll be running for PortCon, which takes place from June 22nd to the 25th. That task could take several or all of my upcoming weekends leading up to the event. And as I have a guest visiting on the weekend before the convention, in truth I only have two full weekends to get that work done.

So expect my next few WIP-it Wednesdays to focus on my games for the con, like what I did last year. :-) As much as I want to finish the book additions, revisions, and editing… a break will likely do me some good, too. If things wrap-up faster than expected, you can bet that I’ll be squeezing in what work I can on Viv’s before the convention itself. But then there’ll be another break for four solid days of fun! :-D

Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!

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