Monday, April 25, 2011

"If you give this man a ride sweet memory will die."

I thought I had best come back and make an update on my long weekend writathon. I didn't get done yesterday what I had intended, but I'm still very happy with what I managed. I wrote out the scene in Hibernaculum that had been in my mind for so long, but I didn't touch the one from The Juniper Bones much beyond the first couple of paragraphs while wailing along with Jim on Riders on the Storm. But it was all okay, because I ended up working on Hibernaculum quite a bit instead.

I'm not sure what the wordcount of the .docx was before I really got going, but I'm sure it was about 167k or thereabouts; currently it's sitting at nearer 175k. Still not finished, of course, but the good thing is? I'm beginning to understand a couple of the characters a lot better, and that's been one of my primary issues with finishing the manuscript. Which is quite ridiculous for a self-confessed "character" writer, I know, but there's a reason for it.

Hibernaculum is a slightly odd story -- then again, what do I write that isn't? -- and switches back and forth between the third-person POV of two characters who are variations on the theme of "those the gods love, they sorely try." Not that we can be sure it's love we're on about, here. But these two lead characters -- Luchandra and Aleksandr -- have been in my mind in one guise or another since I was thirteen, and naturally they've changed a lot since those days. Luchandra, for instance, likely as not changed her name by deed poll from "Mary-Sue" in the earliest days of her conception, and Aleksandr...well, to begin with, he was Five Man Band fodder. Although it was actually a Twelve Man Band, hence the abudance of cardboard cutouts towards the end of the novel (which was called The Pool of Reflection, by the by; yes, you may laugh; I was thirteen years old, and had I the manuscript to hand I'd type out some of the more florid prose for your personal amusement, too). So, given Luchandra was the original protagonist and Aleksandr was just scenery, it's quite ironic that this far into Hibernaculum? It's Aleksandr who's the real person, and Luchandra who's a shadow.

Much as I love Luchandra -- and I do; the only character I still write whom I've known longer is Julia de la Mare -- I ended up developing an obsession with Aleksandr and his relationship with Araben Ceynamaan. This really messed with the balance of the story, because it meant I didn't pay enough attention to Luchandra's grief or her slow descent into her avatar state; it left her portrayal very hollow, not to mention it completely dicked with Zurin's character development as well because his glittering image is totally dependant on her reflecting it truly. The only character who didn't suffer for this, it seems, was Kavaan -- in fact he kind of got to shine, because he's turned from a trope-laden angsty arrogant warrior elf thing into a wryly self-depracating son of a diplomat with a mouth like a tightly-wound corkscrew. And I adore him.

So, even though I did work a little on Araben and Aleksandr's side of the story, it was really Luchandra and Zurin who spoke to me yesterday. And it was a conversation we needed to have. So, the first draft of the ghost philharmonic exists now, and it was a beautiful and peculiar scene to write. It deals quite strongly in one of my own personal issues, in that Luchandra loves music, but realises she will never be able to give voice to it herself with any true talent. Zurin has that talent, but that's not the only reason she comes to love him. It's not only that, though; in essence it's a love scene, but while it's not true non-con the issues of consent in it? Are hazy at best. Neither character actually wants what is happening at that moment, though they will make the choice for themselves later. But I love the interaction between the two, anyway; it's probably irony in play there, given the mortals are communing on an entirely spiritual level while the immortals are reveling in the base, bestial needs of flesh and bone.

I think today, though, I will work on The Juniper Bones. We'll see what happens there, as there are a series of scenes I could fill in the gaps of, in order to inspire myself to really take the entire manuscript in hand. It probably helps that right now iTunes is reading my mind and playing me Lavinia. I think, sometimes, that I'm just as obsessed with her as Eliot is.


  1. So are you going to email me any of this stuff? ;)

  2. Ha ha, I have to work out what the hell is going on here first. I'm really not sure what you've already read; probably a good deal of the first third, because when I started NaNoWriMo last year I took up very close to the end of that first part and powered through to the beginning of the third. Huh. I'll get back to you on that one by the end of the day, hopefully. Right now Holly and Eliot are bothering me. With coffee. ...figures.