Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A day made for plotting

The house is quiet. All of the cats are napping, save for the kitten. She's trying her darnedest to find a way up. Her favorite pastime is sitting in an open window and yelling at birds.

Usually, when I settle in like this it's with a pot of coffee (I keep the coffee maker on my desk) and whatever survival supplies I think I might need. But today is special. Today I have the house all to myself. No one will be here to bother me. I can luxuriate in the calming environment of my study, smelling the season's first gurgles of heat as they rise from the just-lit-today furnace, and I can plot.

Plotting is what I do best. It is my passion. Sometimes I think the only reason I write is to find out how the plot is going to work out. Some of my plots are so convoluted I have to track the plots twists on butcher paper on my walls. (One of my editors last year sent me a frustrated email: "Celina, for Christ's sake this is supposed to be a NOVELLA. You don't NEED five plot twists in a NOVELLA. The only reason you need two characters is because it's erotica. Stop trying to be literary and just write the goddamned thing.") I have at this moment 12 completely distinct world already built--historied, peopled, with religions and maps and characters who live there. Every once in a while, a day comes like today. Then I take out my world building files and I ponder.

And plot.

Today, I kept hot water in my coffee maker so that I could make tea. My semi-annual allergy hell has struck again and those of us in The Great Tea Debacle have been talking so much about tea that I now have a taste for it. So, teacup in hand, I opened the folder and this fell into my lap.

A whole new world. No Darkshifters (who are about to wend their merry way through the Big Apple) and no Elves (I think I killed them all)--it's different from the other long fiction that I've written. I got the idea when I read TH White's Bestiary--a sourcebook that still remains on my desk--about two years ago and haven't thought about it for a while. It's White's translation of a 12th century bestiary written in Latin. As a sort of preface, he quoted Paradise Lost by Milton:

The Earth obey'd and straight
op'ning her fertile womb teem'd at a birth
Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms,
Limb'd and full-grown...
The grassy clods now calv'd; now half appear'd
The tawny lion, pawing to get free
His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds
And rampant shades his brindled mane; the ounce
The libbard and the tiger...
Paradise Lost,vii, 453

That particular section started me. I actually took PL back and reread it. I must admit to a passing fondness for old Milton. I always enjoyed being the only kid in the class who 'got it'. So when I began building this particular world, it was with the thoughts of creation foremost in my mind. After all, what could be more fun than building a world for a world that hasn't been created yet?

Then again, I could go with something easier. Something along the lines of this. But for some reason this particular world has gotten the wheels a'turning again. My muse and I are having a long heart-to-heart chat. I've already ripped down all of the Darkshifters plot charts that are resolved and have started to pin up the ones for Terella.

*sigh* Usually when I get this excited about a project it turns out badly for my word count. *evil grin* You believe that right? Right?

Terella--dark fantasy--projected word count 150k before I weep and wail and cut it. Oh, and the first sentence? That much I've already written and I'm just going to stew on it until midnight on Halloween.

"The Void was a pleasant place to be as long as your expectations weren't high..."