Saturday, May 7, 2011

Roles and Research

The danger in my commissioning habit, really, is that it tends to inspire me to write things I shouldn't. I mean, I asked for these pictures of Tess, Lavinia and Wills in order to keep my mind on The Juniper Bones, but as I then ended up with the sketches of Círa and Otho I've got Greywater on the brain...but hilariously, when I came home from work for lunch yesterday, I found Natalia had sent me the lineart of Tess and Lavinia. And my brain is rebelling. Hard.

Now, the thing is, this is in theory an impossible picture; Tess and Lavinia can't meet. They're separated by about five hundred years. It's just that Eliot can't help but think of Lavinia whenever he looks at Tess, even though they're physically similar in only the most superficial sense. Their personalities aren't that close, either, though they have things in common -- it's more the sense of life inside them. Maybe a kind of joie de vivre? Whatever you what to name that quality, they share it. Therefore a lot of Eliot's instinctive need/desire to help/be around Tess comes from his memory of Lavinia. So, I wanted a picture of the two of them together. And the lineart...oh, god, I just want them to meet now, even though it's completely impossible. They will be BFFs, I just know it. And ironically, they'd even be able to communicate easily enough because while Lavinia speaks fifteenth-century Italian, Tess is a classically trained opera singer and therefore is a dab enough hand at differing forms of Italian. I just can't help but be reminded of an episode of a quiz show hosted by Jimmy Carr I once watched one New Year's; Russell Brand and Noel Fielding got bored of being known as the less-intelligent team and therefore decided to start planning their own tv show called The Goth Detectives. And somehow, I can just see Lavinia and Tess doing a similar thing. Not as goth detectives, mind you. But even as the opera singer and the Renaissance contessa, THEY FIGHT CRIME. I said, my brain, it is a rebel. Argh.

But aside from that, I had been contemplating Greywater yesterday and trying to align the characters and their actual contributions to the story. And I finally remembered why I had kept Andorin and Cydrac in there; Cydrac is Otho's predecessor, and Andorin is what is known as his Second. Otho's led to believe that while Cydrac and Círa got along perfectly fine, the reason Cydrac left the position was not because he wasn't doing his job -- although he wasn't -- it was because Círa had taken a disliking to Andorin. It's not that simple, and I've just remembered why. I'd actually forgotten, as I'd never written it down. -__-;; Yes, I am just that stupid. But it gives me another way of explaining the theme of the story, so it's all good.

Still, aside from sorting out the characters and their thematic roles, I also came to the terrible realisation that I am going to have to do some research. This is because while I'd always known that Otho was a major, I figured because he was on a kind of compassionate leave I wouldn't have to go too deeply into military tactics or battles or whatever. I've since realised that the end of the novel is going to call for me to send him back to the front, and...well, as Dr. Horrible so aptly put it at the end of the first episode of his sing-along blog: balls.

I don't know a lot about the military, in any shape or form. In general, I'm just not interested. The only things I've read over the last year or so in that thread, at least voluntarily, has been various works about Alexander the Great. Er. The technology and culture Otho's time period is more closely twinned with the Western world in the late 1700s. Bugger, bugger, bugger. And yet last night, while I was punishing myself with an hour-long ride on my stationary bike, I found on one of the boxes a comic book collection. They're comics from the fifties, about the Second World War. I devoured three stories in that hour, and even though it's still not really the best time period for me to be referring to, it's still research of a kind? But yeah, I am quite cross about that. I tried to talk Círa and Otho out of ending their story in that way, but they both rolled their eyes and pointed at Ryenn.

And I don't have the guts to argue with him about anything.


So, I suppose I should go back to not being in control of the voices in my head and try to write a little something. It's Saturday, of course, but I've spent most of it driving between Invercargill and Cromwell. I actually have a terrible headache and probably ought to just sleep, but...the voices. Can't argue when the muse has got a whip to hand, huh? And I suppose it doesn't help that the commissioning gives them an even stronger mental image in my mind. Ah, the dangers of authorhood...

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