Asaric Tales e-book Update #7

Wow! May has been such a productive month for me; so much achieved. I’m feeling quite energised. But, whoa, I leap ahead, for there is something nasty waiting to trip me …

Asaric Tales update 7

Asaric Lies: Amend, Revise, Rewrite

Introduction to Kerrid’s world

Pointless putting your work out to beta-readers if you then take no notice of their comments. My beta-readers were unanimous in that I didn’t allow them time to become acquainted with the story world and the main characters before moving the story on.

No excuses on my part. Enough to say that a search through ancient files yielded three deleted chapters that, now reinstated, take the reader more slowly into the culture.

That culture was the next problem, at least for some readers.

Ancient Cultures: Patriarchal v. Matriarchal

We are so used to our Western Culture’s close approach to gender equality that we forget how recently this was achieved, and that even today it is far from universal. We forget the oppression of our grandmothers, and their grandmothers, gloss over it, pretend it wasn’t so, highlight the lives of the privileged few and claim it the norm for everyone. But fact is, fathers did have control over their daughters and who they would marry, especially high-status men.  And once married a woman did belong to her husband, to be beaten, or killed, at will. And though rape wasn’t condoned, it was the raped woman who was punished—in some cultures, stoned to death; the father/husband received recompense from the rapist.

From which you might guess that Asaric Lies is set in a patriarchal society.  Indeed, Kerrid marries into an even stronger patriarchal system.

I admit this is a potential anachronism. It is generally thought that patriarchy arose with civilisation, i.e. the city states of e.g. Mesopotamia, with their civil service and wars requiring standing armies. Before that, it’s believed the socirty amongst the early Neolithic horticulturalists was probably matriarchal. Apparenlty, women lost control when men invented the plough.

Asaric Lies is set earlier still, in a hunter-gatherer-fisher Mesolithic culture. Bands were small, culture grown and evolved to fit their individual needs. So here we might find any and all possible systems.

I chose to make Kerrid’s culture patriarchal for a reason. At the end of Book One (SPOILER ALERT), she is tasked with turning her people from their male dominated worship of the Ancestors and Sky Man, to that of the (female) Spinner. The resultant Cult of the Spinner plays a vital role in Books 3, 4 and 5.

Asars and Asaric Tricks

Several traits separate the Asar from his/her siblings. One is their ‘exudation’, an energy exuded by the Asaric body which, in its simplest form, is seen (but only by other Asars) as a light. This energy and its light is emotion-responsive. But, note, not all Asars exude the same colour and type of light. This I needed to get across to the reader.

Likewise, I needed for my readers to understand the Asar’s ability to hear thoughts. This is not an active ‘trick’. Like it or not, the Asar hears everyone’s thoughts, even animals—until they learn to block them. So, to know what a person is thinking isn’t an intentional invasion of privacy. Indeed, it could be said that it’s the Asar who suffers the intrusion.

But I do admit, some Asars might use this ability to force the person’s thoughts into more desirable channels, and thus might actively ‘mind-read’.

A consequence of this might be coercion, where the Asar ‘persuades’ the person to obey his/her wishes, a bit like hypnotic suggestion. However, whether the Asars will one day develop this ‘trick’, as yet they can’t hold that coercion for more than a few minutes. I need to stress this as one reader suggested Kerrid could readily overcome her opponents by use of this Asaric trick. No, she could not.

Part of the revision has been to ensure that potention readers understand all this.

The third distinguishing feature of an Asar is his/her self-healing body. But that healing is dependant upon severity of injury. A cut, no matter how deep, might be quickly sealed, as too with bones. But as Kerrid frets, she doubts her body would heal if torn and eaten by a cat (leopard, tiger), because part of her would be in the cat’s belly. Speed and success of healing depends upon the damage done. For example, there would be no healing in the case of decapitation. This becomes a feature in later books where it seen that body parts once lost do not regrow.

Transitions—of status, of location, of customs

Oh dear, I’d done it again: deleted scenes that would have guided my readers from one culture to the next, from one set of characters to another, from one life-stage to the next.

I have replaced two chapters, again anciently deleted. Not only do they help to tie the two halves of the story together, but also supply interesting information regards those confusing Asaric abilities; and allow a glimpse into the psyche of Kerrid’s ‘significant other’.

From Replaced Chapters to Deleted Scenes

When I put Asaric Lies out to readers I was aware that something wasn’t ‘right’. Something to do with the pacing. Considering Kerrid has a problem that’s sending her near-insane, she dawdles over its resolution. While there is a reason for that delay (it’s called the antagonist), that delay must have infuriated the readers; it annoyed me.

Enter the surgeon’s scalpel. I have now removed some of the delaying material. I’m hoping the story reads better for it.

Two for One: a Sharper Ending

I have removed the last two chapters—intended as a hook to Book Two; these are now the opening chapter of the next book—and replaced them with yet another deleted chapter from way back when. With the addition of a little magic I’m fairly confident that I have produced an ending that both satisfies and kicks the reader into Book Two.

So, as I said, altogether, a productive month.

A New Critique for Asaric Lies?

Yesterday (26th May 2018) I uploaded  Asaric Lies Chapters 1-3 to Critters.org with a Request for Dedicated Reader for the novel in its entirety.

I thought all I need do now is to wait. Until I received an email from Critters later in the day to say because of the “GDPR” privacy laws that went into effect May 25th Critters will no longer accept members in the EU.

To say I’m gutted is an understatement. Two months of weekly critiques, sometimes more than the one: good experience, yes, but I do feel that’s time wasted, that I could have been ‘gaining’ the points elsewhere to ‘pay’ for the final critique. To which, I have to say, I think Critters could have alerted us EU residents earlier, and not left it until the very last day. Very disappointed with Critters. So now I look for another critique group, or a critique partner or …

A new beta-reader for Asaric Lies?

If you think you might like to read what I hope is the finished first book, and then to give feedback in whatever depth you feel able, please contact me (See contact form above)

Return to Asaric Axis, Book Two

Anyway, bright side again. I am now free to resume the revision done on Asaric Axis during April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. When complete, I will put out the call again for beta-readers. I’m guessing that will be at the end of next month (June).

In the meantime, I thank you for your interest, your support, your comments ……………

Next update, end of June.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About crimsonprose

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
This entry was posted in Asaric Tales, On Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Asaric Tales e-book Update #7

  1. Brian Bixby says:

    Some of these problems were invisible to me because I’d read explanatory material you’d posted on the web, or in response to my questions. I presume you’ve already tried to harvest all that. And I suspect that putting things in book form CHANGES the apparent pacing a good deal. I’ve found that to be so in my own thinking about rewrites of blogged stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      You, and Judy, were already familiar with the story world, from reading others of the Asaric stories. But others of the readers came new to it. If only 1 out of 10 struggles with it, that is 10% of potential readers. And word of mouth can have a devastating effect on sales. And so, I had to make sure. As to the additional material, that hadn’t seen the light of day (or a page) since 2009! Six new chapters. This book definitely needs another read through. I’ll kiss the feet of any volunteers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brian Bixby says:

        When, and what kind of feedback will you be looking for?

        Like

      • crimsonprose says:

        At it’s most simple, just a ‘yea, that reads fine.’ Or if it doesn’t. So&so chapter is a bit clunky. Or Oops, that’s illogical. No more than that.
        As to the when. I shall be calling for beta-readers for Book 2 soon. So, to be returned at the same time as Book 2 is returned, I guess.
        I doubt at this stage there’s anything in Book 1 that will affect contents of Book 2. And since I intend the entire quint to be passed as ok before I attempt to format to e-pub/kindle, there’s no great rush. I had been chugging ahead on the rewrite because of the arrangement I’d had with Joy, which has now fallen through. So . . . no hurry. (You just want me to kiss your feet, don’t you. Or am I jumping to the wrong conclusion? 🙂 )

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brian Bixby says:

        I don’t know — what have your feet been walking in lately?
        To make this work, the best plan I can think of is to have you send the revised book 1 to me when you send me the opening section of beta read book 2.

        Liked by 1 person

      • crimsonprose says:

        Brilliant, Brian. I owe you a slobbery kiss on the feet. Book 2 should be ready by end of June, but probably before. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you etc etc etc

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brian Bixby says:

        I’ll make sure to clear up that lingering fungal infection before you have a chance to. 😉

        Like

      • crimsonprose says:

        Oh good, I was a bit worried about that. And I don’t really like the taste of Tea Tree Oil.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brian Bixby says:

        Hmm . . . wonder if I can get a gig stomping blueberries for blueberry wine before you humble yourself before my big toe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • crimsonprose says:

        That’s what I like about you; you’re so thoughtful. Blueberries? Yea. My favourite berries. I could easily suck on that. Um, maybe better move the conversation along. ( I have told you about my foot fetish, haven’t I?)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brian Bixby says:

        Somehow I missed the foot fetish, though the episode between Kerrid and the polar bear should have tipped me off. Who knew one could have so much fun with that blue-black tongue of a polar bear?

        Liked by 1 person

      • crimsonprose says:

        I’m still puzzled of how you got hold of the polar bear cos that doesn’t happen until Book 2, with a culmination of that episode in Book 3, when she goes to the North Pole to refresh the fetish.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. grdtobin says:

    Patriarchy is alien to my family. My mother Constance (born 1922), her mother Ellen and her mother Rebecca, all ruled the roost.
    I’ve traced some lines back to the 11th century, when a wet-nurse, Orwen, demanded (sic) a reward from one of the most powerful men in England, Alan Rufus, and he caved, granting her a lordship at Sibton in Suffolk. On request, he gave her his Chamberlain Mainard for a husband.
    Alan’s family too had strong women: for example, in the following century a son was set aside so a daughter could inherit the Duchy.
    Orderic Vitalis much preferred wives to fight in the cavalry (like Elisabeth de Montfort) instead of looking pretty at home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      As I said, there have always been exceptions; those exceptions are often cited as evidence against patriarchy. But a society is more than the sum of the upper echelons.

      Like

  3. Lynn Love says:

    The development of the novel is really interesting, Crispina. I can see how Beta readers are being so helpful, especially when they all agree on a certain part that needs work – then you know which bit to rewrite! It’s so hard to judge how much/little explanation is needed until someone else reads the work. You know because the whole thing is laid out in your head, but communicating that on the page …
    I’m interested to know what was the issue with a patriarchal society. I mean, no woman wants that to be her reality these days, but as you say in the past women (especially noble women) were bought and sold for land, cash, for the sake of alliances. In the UK women still didn’t have rights over their own money or children until the late nineteenth century and rape within marriage only became a crime here in 1991. Patriarchy was the norm and I felt your story being set in that type of culture (although personally uncomfortable) was entirely believable and valid. It just makes Kerrid’s struggle all the more poignant.
    Hope the rest of the rewrites go well and well done for such a productive month

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      I thank you, doubly-trebly.
      What was the problem with the patriarchal culture? That Kerrid (who has certain persuasive powers) would accept the fate doled to her and not try to escape at the earliest chance. But along with patriarchy comes a strong sense of honour; something not always seen in today’s society, and that honour binds her. Of course, there’s also a creeped-out ‘villain’ stalking her; marriage offers safety from him.
      Why the progress reports? Long time ago, when I first started blogging, I thought it a good idea to record the creative process, blow by slow blow. But how often do we start writing a story, only to abandon it and try something different? I know I do. Last year I started and abandoned two. But Asaric Tales are already written. No going back. So this was the chance to record the process. I know there are lots of people who think about self-publishing, and are totally unaware of what’s involved. So . . . I don’t know, maybe this will help in some small way: inspire them or to put them off entirely.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lynn Love says:

        I didn’t question her living within her cultural boundaries (though from what little I’ve read, she tries to kick against the norm for women of her tribe best she can). Most of us live within such constraints and – unless in the rare case of revolution – change comes gradually and over generations. She’s a girl of her time, of her culture, but with more spunk than most, in the grand tradition of many heroines before her.
        Self publishing does sound like a daunting, punishing process and I suspect you have to have a sharp mind and the keenest eye, huge amounts of drive and determination to succeed ie not a woolly head like me! It’s a great thing you’re doing

        Liked by 1 person

      • crimsonprose says:

        We all need a retirement project. And I have few distractions these days (witness my monthly wordcount). I want to do it all. I’ve haven’t the money to pay for a copy-editor, haven’t the money to pay for a cover designer. But, hey, I want to art college for graphic design. Something of it lurks within me. And I’ve spent a while promoting shows and exhibitions etc, I ought to be able to promote myself, although I’ve not lost my contacts, too long away. As to determination: I once said, when I’m dying I want to honestly say, I have no regrets. And that means doing this. (Not that I’m intending on taking a fast exit for many years yet, but you never know when it’ll come.)

        Like

  4. Well done on such a productive month! It’s so interesting to read about your editing process. Your story sounds fascinating. If you need any more beta readers for book 1, I’m happy to volunteer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • crimsonprose says:

      May I bite your hand off? Do I have your email address? There’s a form on my ‘Contact Me’ page. With this time round I’m not looking for an indepth critique, just to read it, and to give fed-back by way of impressions. Like, yea, that works; or no, that doesn’t;, with perhaps a few words of why you think it doesn’t work. To report back at the end of each of the five Parts. I can nudge you, if you wish. Two weeks per part seems the average. Still interested? Send me your email address via the form on ‘Contact Me’ page (just in case I haven’t got it.0 Yey, all offers gratefully received.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Still very interested – it sounds like the type of book I enjoy reading.
        That’s all sounds fine to me – in fact I prefer that to in-depth critiquing because it allows me to get lost in and enjoy the storytelling :-).
        I’m heading over to the contact page now 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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