Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Keeping the Flame Hot

No, this isn't a post about erotica.

Thanks to real life (evil bastard) I haven't been on track with TGTD. Oh, sure, I'm sitting over 60k now, but that's more to do with tuning out my relatives than any real intensity on my part. Today, however, the wheels are turning. I rediscovered my drive for the story and I think it's coming along fine.

Did I mention that I managed over 50k in 11 days? I'm a little smug, yes, but there are others who wrote more than I did.

I've noticed that my writing is a lot sharper these days. I eliminate most of my grammatical penchants before I make them. Even the comma count is down, which is a good thing. (don't crit my blog, damnit--it's where commas are allowed to roam freely without fear of molestation--and adverbs too so nyaaaaaaah.)

At any rate, it is hard sometimes to get past the first few chapters when you start a new project. I am not a compulsive planner when I write; I have an idea of where the story will end, but how I get there and most of the plot turns are accidental. Usually I stall and sputter (remember Requiem?) until I figure out how best to get the story moving along. Terella has a fairly straightforward plot intention, but the road is twisted and gnarly and oh so deliciously indecent! My heroine begins as fairly sweet and naive and morphs through the story until she takes over the page and stomps all over it.

Killing superfluous dialogue tags as she goes.

For example, this is how we meet Aleira:

Aleira liked the rain. It slanted from the thickening sky as slashes of lavender. Overall it was, particularly at this time of year, a beautiful and relaxing thing to watch. She had heard rumors that in places across the great Mneosta Sea the rain was as silvery as the clouds that brought it. She didn’t necessarily believe it. For her, it was incomprehensible that rain could be anything other than the watery purple-hued streaks she loved. She let the hood fall back from her face, glorying in the feel of the water against her skin. For a girl with many problems, the rain was a wonderful thing.

Aleira was alone. She liked being alone. For as long as she could remember,it had always been thus. No matter what town she walked through, or what inn she entered in search of food and drink, she was the lone person in her life. It wasn’t very bad; it gave her time to think. Most of that thinking time she spent asking herself the selfsame question repeatedly.

Who am I?

She knew her name. She retained that one thing from ‘before.’ “Before’ referred to the time of darkness. ‘After’ referred to now. ‘After’ began when Aleira opened her eyes a month ago and found herself standing alone in the middle of a large field. She knew absolutely nothing about her origins: where she’d come from, who her family was, what she was doing or where she was going. The only clues she had were her name and the few possessions she owned.

Later on, she's more like this:

“Tell me, Rudianos,” she began softly, as the king stiffened into renewed fury at her use of his name. “Do you think I can’t see that makings of your past? Your father was a cruel man too, was he not? Didn’t he torture you and your younger sister, to mould you into what he thought royalty should be? Wasn’t it difficult for you as a child? All you wanted to do was run to your mother and weep, but you couldn’t because then he’d beat her too.”

The words came faster now, brought up from some well of information that she’d never known she possessed. “I always wonder what the product of emotional cruelty was. I see it now, enthroned and enriched by the suffering of those who don’t even know they are your victims. Your son stands behind me. He is a good man, a patient and gentle man who you ignored when he was growing. You had two older sons; he was unimportant. This son you left alone, spared the incessant brutality you spent upon his brothers as you tried to make them in your image. When they died, you
were left with him. He’d grown up in a different fashion, left to his tutors and beneath your notice. Now you’re frustrated because he isn’t as easy to shape as your other, maltreated, bestial offspring. He has a mind of his own, and prowess that you fear. Tell me, Rudianos: when you lie in your cold bed at night, whose face do you see before you go to sleep? Is it your own face, wreathed in glory and might? Or, is it the face of your son, above a sword that whistles for your throat?”

She smiled again, a sweet, innocent smile that belied the harsh impact of her words. “I know what it is you see. I know what it is that you fear. It is the usual thing for mortals to fear their own mortality. I will say this and no more: the death you receive, King of Vegoia, will be the death you have earned.”

It took her about 75 pages to reach that point. And just afterwards, she finds herself caught up in a war that she cannot stop. It's then that her atheism is confirmed; nothing quite like a moral crisis to give a girl doubts about the gods whoever they are. Oh, yes. And Ugarit? Poor fellow. I torture him in my inimitable mean fashion, but he keeps coming up the stronger for it.


I may have to kill him to prove a point. Wouldn't that be a nice twist?

That's one of the great things about keeping the flame of your story hot--taking out your frustrations (or your joys) upon a helpless character who lives and dies by the power of your pen. Wow. What a feeling! It gives me the goosebumps just thinking about it.

I think a nice, prolonged, lovely death scene is just the ticket. Excuse me while I run to the thesaurus to find more synonyms for blood, guts, and disembowelment. This may be more fun than torturing Elves.