Lost in a Lava Tube – Silverwood Chronicles Book Three Update

Chapter nine is progressing nicely.  While I have to admit I’m not flying through it quite like I did with chapter eight, it is progressing nicely.  Especially considering our adventurers are traveling down a seemingly dried up lava tube turned treasure vault.  Now I know what you must be saying, “What in the world are they doing in a lava tube, and what is a lava tube anyway?”

We’ll take the second part of your question first.  A lava tube is essentially a cascading tunnel in the ground that was originally forged by flowing lava.   Our adventurers currently find themselves in the Outerlands.  Part of this region of Taradandra is littered covered with lava pits.  Some of these lava pits have been dormant for sometime and therefore the pit and its source has since been emptied.  What causes this?  I’m a writer not a geologist.  Quick for 1,000 points, what famous Sci-Fi character does that sound like.

Now to the first part of your two part question.  Our cast has a need for an audience with a very important dragon.  Currently, this dragon has a desire for a treasure that has been out of his reach.  Meaning, he’s to big to fit in one of these lava tubes and he hasn’t found anybody willing or desperate enough to go find this treasure up until now.  Thus starts a pseudo-classic dungeon crawl.   While trying to include all of the essential elements of a dungeon crawl, I’ve really gotten an opportunity to explore a couple of the new characters that are currently working with our cast.  Throw in some foreshadowing for a future story and chapter nine should be complete in another 2 – 3k words.

Today I broke the 42k word mark and over 100 MS Word pages.  If I can stay focused and minimize distractions chapter nine should be complete later this week, which means I’m almost through what I consider the most difficult part of any book — for me anyways.  The first third of a book is usually pretty easy for me as is the last third, but that middle third is tough.  Just a minute, front, back middle, okay I got it all.  I was worried I had missed a third.

I’m still working on a couple of events that I might be attending later this fall, but my contacts have not returned my inquiries.  Maybe they’re on vacation.

Chel & Riley Returns – Live!

Last week, Chel & Riley made a return visit to the place where it all began a little over fifteen years ago.  After almost a five year absence, my good friend Chel invited me — Riley — to tell our adventure in the haunted house.  We covered just the highlights of the adventure during our three night event and left the kids with a bit of a cliffhanger.  Any child that comes back to the start of AWANA will received an autographed copy of Chel & Riley’s Haunted House Adventure compliments of Morgantown Baptist Church.

I must say I was very nervous on the first night.  It had been what seemed like forever since we’d last performed.  But once we got on stage and in character, the old chemistry came roaring back — at least that’s what I felt, you’ll have to ask the children if they felt the magic.  I forgot how much energy it takes to perform even a short sketch such as these.  At the end of each evening, I was very encouraged, but I was also very tired.

A special thanks goes out to my friends Brian and Ben for putting together a nifty set.  Chel & Riley usually don’t get to work with a real, honest-to-goodness set.  Thanks also to Scott for stepping in as Chel & Riley’s pal Sagon and for the spooking the children with the sound effects.  And finally, a warm, humble thanks goes out to my good friend Julie aka Chel for putting together this reunion.

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Ten Thousand Squirrels

I wanted to post an update tonight about the positive progress I’ve been making on the manuscript for book three.  Normally, I write my post and then I try to find an interesting little clip art or image to go with my post. I’ve found that if you don’t post a picture no one pays any attention to what you have to say.

In this case, the image I selected actually warrants its own post.  Normally when I write, I have a picture in my imagination of the scene that the characters are in and then I do my best to describe it and paint it with words.  The image attached to this post is the exact opposite.  It really has very little to do with my book, but I so want to set down and write a story around this picture.  Its both cute and intriguing at the same time.  Possibly a scene in a later chapter or book in this series.  Who knows?

Back to the topic at hand.  I love a good dungeon crawl.  Having grown up in the early days of role playing games, the concept of a band of friends delving deep into the earth on a quest for treasure just gives me the warm-fuzzies.  While the Silverwood Chronicles are themselves fantasy, there has not really been a good point in the story where I could weave in a real, old-fashioned, dungeon crawl.  Turn to chapter nine.  Well, over a year ago, me and my creative consultant planned a dungeon crawl for our fantasy family.  Keep in mind, my creative consultant doesn’t have the background in such things as I have, but never the less, she gets the concept because of the number of video games she’s played.

I must admit, with the exception of the whole of book four, this is probably my next most looked forward to moment in this series.  While I’m terribly excited to get started on this chapter, I’m also terribly afraid.  Why?  You ask.  I realize on the outset that a dungeon crawl in itself does not necessarily make exciting reading.  I have to very aware of my characters and the end goal at all time.  As the story teller, I need to be careful that I do not allow myself to get lost in the dungeon.

Chapter eight was a stark difference for me from chapter seven.  While chapter seven was a real challenge to get through, chapter eight seemed to pour itself out.  I began chapter eight four days ago, and I completed it today.  Its been a long time, maybe since book two, since I’ve been able to pull together a chapter that quickly.  All told, chapter eight was a little over 5K words and it took me a little more than six hours to write.  Hopefully, I can keep this pace up throughout the rest of this project.  My goal is to finish a chapter a week, which means the rough draft should be complete in about seven weeks.

Anyway, feel free to share with me some of your favorite dungeon crawl experiences.  Some of you close to me will remember the event in which we were startled by ten thousand squirrels.  Of course it wasn’t quite as direct as that.  It was more like,

DM — You begin to hear a rumbling sound.

US — Stop and listen closely

DM — Yes, its definitly getting louder.  Whatever it is, you can start to actually feel the vibrations in the ground.

US — Ready our weapons.  Form up and everyone prepare for attack.

DM — The sound of feet scampering is growing louder now.

US — Do we see anything?

DM — Just a growing shadow, but its definitely heading your way.

US — As soon as it gets near we attack.

DM — You want to attack?

US — Yeah!  Go for it.

DM — Well as your party stares carefully at the approaching shadow you realize that it is in fact . . .

US — Yes

DM — Not one . . .

US — How many?

DM — Ten . . .

US — Ten what?

DM — Ten Thousand

US — AHHHHH run, run RUN!

DM  — squirrels

Laughter may now ensue.  It did for us.  One of the funniest moments in my Role Playing career.

Footnote:  Those of you who experienced “ten thousand squirrels”, may remember it differently or can add more details.  Tales grow taller as time goes by.

Book Three Update

Now that the Johnson County Fair is over, I can try to get back into a routine of writing once in a while.  My goal is to still have book three out around Christmas time, but based upon past experience, I may not be able to have it available to ship until the first of the year at this point.

I did complete a two thousand word stretch today between my lunch break and pre-dinner time.  Chapter seven is now complete and I’ll be starting on Chapter 8 soon.  This means we’re now officially past the halfway point in the book.

I’m up to just over 35K words, which is somewhere between book one and book two’s page count at the same point.  I’m still guessing that I’ll probably hit the 70-75k mark on this book, but some of the later chapters have a lot of action packed into them, which could make things stretch on a bit.  But you don’t care, so long as its exciting . . . right?

As you may or may not have heard, book one is now back in stock on the website, and I’ve already shipped out a couple.  I’m still waiting on feedback from some of my new readers, so as soon as you get through with the book, please leave me some feedback either on Facebook or at my website.

So, I heard of something new this week from a co-worker that I guess I wasn’t familiar with.  It’s called National Novel Writing in a Month or something like that.  All I know is its referred to as NaNoWriMo.  It’s in November and basically author’s are challenged to write 50k words in a month.  I laughed thinking that this would be a wasted challenge on me because it takes me around five or six months to get 60K words written.

But after giving it much thought, I just might try it if I can figure out a way to allocate one and a half to two hours a day in my schedule.  As it is, I write around 800 to 900 words per hour.  The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 1600 or so words a day, every day during the month of November.  It would be tough, especially with Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but I think it would be cool.

Now, the question is what to work on, because I should long since be done with Book Three.  Is it something I could try to start Book Four?  Maybe.  I’ve also thought about a spin-off series with Rift and his family, which you’ll learn more about in book three.  I’ve also thought about a new Chel & Riley Novel, but from the standpoint of them grown up.  I’ve got a great intro I’ve thought up, but where to go from there, I’m not sure.  I guess I have till November 1, at 12:00am to figure it out.