Fortunately, there are those who disagree!
First of all, my inordinately talented fellow-author, Beth Cato, graciously interviewed me on her blog - and it was a GREAT time. Contained within: True Grit, ruminations on the anatomy of a great name, all the fun you can have with a dead skunk, and what is the deal with that Stuckey's out on I-40, anyhow?
(BTW, if you're thinking that you've heard of Beth Cato before, it's probably because she's the author of that one book about war-clerics and airship murders and cheese-eating cat-gremlins - you know, the one you can't possibly wait until September to get your hands on? It's called The Clockwork Dagger, and the first chapter should tell you everything you need to know about what's going on top of your TBR pile!)
I am also positively gibbering with gratitude, because John Scalzi, He of the Red Shirt, has loaned me the soapbox over on "The Big Idea." Watch as I recount the metamorphosis of my book from Full of Tropey Stereotypes to Hopefully Not That! Marvel at the concept of "culture magic" and communal X-Men powers! Thrill as I hide under the bed from the resulting slew of comments!
And from the Department of Something Totally Different:
My gracious hosts over at Loft.org (a.k.a. Hogwarts for Word-Wizards) kindly solicited me for a blog post - something about the craft of writing or writing techniques, that kind of thing. What just rolled hot off the press today is called Positions of Emphasis: the Funky Rhythm of Killer Prose - or in other words, how to structure your sentences, paragraphs, scenes, and chapters so that your words have maximum impact. (And if that sounds good, don't forget that my Loft class, "Perfecting Your Prose", is only six weeks away - and positions of emphasis are just the beginning of the great time we're gonna have!)
In the meantime, the inks on the map are just about done - which is appropriate, because while Elim's looking at the same town as Sil, he's seeing something completely different.
It had used to be a fort, once, and it seemed parts of it still were. Here and there, you could still see the sharpened peaks of the wooden stockade that must have originally run the whole way around. There was proof of at least one rightly-made house too – a big white mansion-sized one – and what looked to be a church-steeple tilting to the east, reaching for the civilization that had abandoned it.
The rest was an adobe abomination, rising at least three stories tall in the southeastern corner like a town-sized termite mound. Its clay fingers snaked all around and through even the wooden walls, as if the logs had to be cemented in place to keep from escaping.
But it was what couldn't be seen that choked the last of Elim's dwindling resolve. As he led his string onto the broad dirt path, he looked in vain for any sign of the farms and barns, the fences or road-markers or even the graves of those Brave settlers who had planted their fields and trees and outbuildings here in the time before. It was as if the earth had plain forgotten them, or resented the inquiry of strangers.
That was only proof of what Elim already knew: the outside world was vast, full of wildness and witchery and things that carried off calves in the night, and God promised no safety to anyone who strayed from the good and orderly home He had provided them.
Elim hardly needed the reminder.