Astarte, book cover by Thomas Canty
Thomas Canty is one of my favorite fantasy artists. I love the book covers he does. I find them evocative and inspiring, and his technique of capturing texture and fabric blows my mind. Whole worlds are contained in a single cover illustration by Canty.
I’m in a tizzy about A Fall of Diamonds, the new fantasy historical mystery romance I’m planning. Just looking at “fantasy historical mystery romance” is enough of an indication. Maybe drop “historical” and go with “fantasy mystery romance.” That gives the genre and cross-genre, and it seems less a mess. There is an intriguing mystery and a strong romance, but the romance isn’t the focus so maybe I shouldn’t say “romance.” That leaves “fantasy mystery.” Much cleaner. Well…we’ll see.
I’ve got it partly outlined. I need an outline for this novel because I want to know what I’m going to write, and with a mystery storyline and a romance storyline and the two of them crossing and intersecting, my head needs to be clear, the brain can’t be in a blither.
Right now I’m in the planning stage, and I don’t want to start writing until I feel the story coming together. When I hear the characters’ voices and have keyed into their thoughts, I’m close to ready. But not yet.
So my brain is spinning. Will spend today in planning hell–you know coming up with ideas and developing them into a compelling story is the hard part. All that thinking makes my head hurt and puts me in a tizzy.
December is the face to face month, the month when I look myself in the eye and ask “What have you done for me lately?” meaning how did the writing go this year? I’m in the middle of preparing my assessment for the end of year accountability. My writing progress is much like the weather–cloudy with a little sunshine one day; overcast with occasional rainfall on another day; hot and sunny on some days. Each year I aim for hot and sunny.
La Muse is drifting about with her hands in her pockets, pretending like she doesn’t care if she gets credit for the successes, casting sneaky looks my way. Honestly. What does she expect me to do?
There are a few sparkles: finishing Shadow Walk (again), and then shelving it, and completing Broken for NANO. And returning to work on A Lamentation of Swans, I’ve made considerable progress on Sleight of Hand, which is now at 10,360 words. I probably shouldn’t tot up the failures, but can’t help doing that. Besides, the unfinished fictions are not really failures (not really dead), just in the first stages of growth–seed and bud, no leaves or flowers just yet, and their day in the sun will come.
It’s been a discombobulated year and I hope I have it more together–writing-wise–in 2014.
Meanwhile, Thanksgiving was wonderful, went to my sister’s. My nieces are a kick–all three of them are witty with a great sense of humor. I spent a lot of time laughing in between happily stuffing myself on my sister’s mouthwatering turkey, eggplant stuffing, potatoes and gravy, cheesy biscuits, and I contributed a favorite–cranberry-tangerine relish, which my sister expects at Thanksgiving and Christmas. And then there was pie–pumpkin and pecan, earthquake cake, and ice cream. I confined myself to pie.
We usually go to the movies after dinner, but this year we stayed in and watched a double feature from my sister’s dvd collection: The Wolverine and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Enjoyed both, particularly liked The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. It made me want to buy the books. Friday I joined a friend for sushi lunch and another movie: Philomena. Very good. Recommended. Dame Judy Dench is a marvel.
It was wonderful to take a break from writing, and reconnect with the energy of just plain living.
Mädchen im Profil mit Schwarzer Mantille, Fredrich von Amerling
45,372 NANO YA. I’ve been lax in keeping the word count at pendrifter, but the final week is coming up. It’s been fun and crazy and aggravating as usual. I bought myself a bottle of Fetzer cabernet sauvignon 2010 to celebrate…well had to do a little celebrating beforehand too, but there’s plenty left for the official celebrating!
The manuscript has leprechaun’s pot of good ideas that I hope to develop into a really good story later.
Meanwhile, yesterday, I worked on A Lamentation of Swans (the Mira version). It’s at 5,632 words (Scrivener count). Word gives me a different count–5,559. Don’t understand why I get two different counts.
Writer’s group meeting today. Read from Sleight of Hand and also the first 8 pages of the untitled NANO manuscript–just for fun. Received good comments on both and suggested fixes from the group. The NANO manuscript will go into the file for a while–until it stops steaming–and then I’ll have another go at it. Sleight of Hand–hope to finish it soon.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Baron Arild Rosenkrantz
Yesterday I started a scene to introduce the antagonist of The Foreigner, Thabe-Baht, Fanh-Daole’s husband. I thought I was off to a good start with him, but soon realized he was flat when I needed him to be fully rounded. I’ve got a nice detailed sketch of him in my notes, a good sense of him in my head, but he dies on the page. Something’s not working.
I was thinking he and Marius Saul, the protagonist, must interact, although that’s not the scene I was writing yesterday. I know that when Marius meets Thabe-Baht, he’ll think him a decent man and take him at face value, but Thabe-Baht has a hidden vicious quality. That first impression has to convey both his charm and give a sense of what it hides.
There are a number of ways to go:
- Gestures and mannerisms
- Setting, tastes, interests
- The opinion of others
- Narrative voice
Of these choices, I want to use the one or a combination that best conveys Thabe-Baht’s character. Don’t know if I’ll get any new words down today.
Torino printaniere, Giorgio de Chirico
Cool morning, the sky a cavernous matting of cloud from last night’s rain. Thinking about Shadow Walk, today’s writing. Worried it’ll fall to pieces and I’ll have nothing, but must remember the November novel is just to get a useful draft; it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Trail of Shadows has me in a tizzy too. Thought of additional characters, but the story, what there is of it, is changing shape, not quite coming together. Don’t know what to do with it. Don’t know how to attack the problem I’m having. Not sure what it is, but I guess it comes down to plotting what happens. Ought to relax, just follow along. See what the characters do without imposing anything, without trying to hand feed the narrative.
Decisive Pink, Wassily Kandinsky
The weekend was glorious weather-wise; Sunday was all sparkling blue sea and floods of golden sunshine, a midsummer day in November!–yeah some cliches are hard to get away from, and on a day like yesterday, no need to reinvent the wheel; the whole weekend was golden. I was busy, busy, but made myself take the time to just STOP, and spend some time in the sunshine.
I took a fantabulous photo (with my iPhone) of a sun-washed Bird of Paradise (did it close-up so it’s nearly an abstract), but can’t get it to post here! Darn it! So we’ve got Kandinsky, a favorite.
Saturday was Writing Saturday with my best friend–we meet on the first Saturday of each month, have lunch, and spend the afternoon writing. Sunday morning I ran around crazily, getting stuff done. By noon, I had stuff done with other stuff lined up–my tedious commute keeps me from doing anything during the week, but it was too beautiful a day to spend it all inside or running around like a headless chicken too caught up in the mundanities to see the beauty of the day. Off to the bluff I went, sat in the sunshine and stared at the sea for while, trying not to think about anything. Took my journal, did some scribbling.
And when I was home again–I painted another wall. I’ve been redoing my place, painting, redecorating, taking my time about it, but I’m nearing the end–well, hope to have everything I want done finished by March 2013. I’ve been working on the place since I got back from Europe. Think I started in July, after my birthday. I’ve painted, bought new bedroom furniture, put up a new bookshelf–once you start redecorating, the whole plan grows!
Shadow Walk is at 5,972 words, and I’m also reviewing and making edit notes for a contemporary sweet romance I started some years ago, nearly finished it, but didn’t, got all tangled up in trying to write it perfectly –that never goes well and I fell right off Perfection Mountain. The story is good, the writing isn’t shabby, but it needs lots of work.