Meditation on A Lamentation of Swans

Carnival of Harlequin.JoanMiro

Carnival of Harlequin, Joan Miro

I’ve got a monster in a box. It’s been in that box for several years and every so often I open the box and poke my head in, and then I pull it back all chewed and slobbered on, and close the box.

The head-chewing monster is my fantasy novel, A Lamentation of Swans. Every year I swear I’m going to get it written, but I don’t. I’ve worked on this book for a long time. It’s no longer the book I began originally, not quite the same, and I don’t really have a book yet. What I’ve got is a great premise poorly executed. The basic idea is good, but where to go with it? Where I’ve gone so far has led me nowhere. The book lies in a devastated country of words, its characters caught in a diaspora of failure.

I’ve decided to start over. Keep my main idea and develop it better. I’ll need more than one point of view. Two, I think, maybe three, though I’d rather keep it to the two characters who have the most going on–the inquisitor Rijjan Mira and the Chaelmaeca assassin, Ferrant. I’ve got a great premise, a fascinating society and compelling characters–how could I screw it up so badly?

Right now it’s confusing. Despite all that I’ve done, I still don’t know who the antagonists are nor what the big conflict is, nor the theme. I’ve got ideas, but nothing solid. Yet I’ve somehow managed to write 300+ pages. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

So I’m turning the box upside down and shaking the monster out into the light of day. No more head-chewing.