Where did November go?
Oh, right, it went to NaNo and my final paper. Bummer.
Well, anyway, NaNo was good. I had a lot of fun writing out three sets of mythology, loosely inspired by Greek, Roman and Celtic, in that order. When I finished up with the Celtic (and a very abbreviated inspired-by-Arthurian-legends saga) I contemplated going on to one inspired by Norse/Teutonic myth, since the country based on 19th century Prussia/Bavaria is going to be in the next book and I actually know Norse myths (unlike whatever the heck I’m gonna base the mythic traditions of the France-like country on) but ended up not doing so because I didn’t have any names ready.
And why would that have stopped me, when I once very giddily wrote a sentence containing a character named “Derek Imtootiredtobethinkingupnames”? Well, because the naming process turned out to be super-important to the other three. I totally let the meaning of the names dictate how I used the associated characters, and I think that’s going to be really useful when I rewrite the first book (again) to work in all these new cultural details, because it’s let me separate the fictional countries from the real ones that inspired them. (Of course the France-like country’s revolution is still way too much like the French Revolution for comfort, but…yeah, I’ll figure that out later.)
A few things really stand out that I’m most proud of in writing these mythic structures, particularly for the Greece- and Rome-like countries:
- Unlike in reality, where there’s almost no difference between Greek and Roman myths other than the names of the gods, there’s almost nothing the same between the two sets of myths in my fictional world.
- Though for the most part I based the personalities of the gods on my perception of their real world counterparts (there are exceptions to that), their relationships to each other are different, to the extent that, for example, the equivalent of Apollo and Hermes are twins, instead of Apollo and Artemis. (Actually, though, Artemis still ended up having a twin, only it was Athene. That culture ended up with like three sets of twins among the gods.) The generational order is radically different from the real Greek and Roman one, which will help to let the reader see the countries as more than just Sparta and Rome under other names. (Especially important in the latter case, since the previous Imperator is very obviously Hadrian. Well, insofar as the whole Antinoos thing goes, anyway.)
- There are way more goddesses than gods. Like, to the extent that in the one based on classical Sparta, the equivalent of Hera thought she had given birth to a monster when she gave birth to the equivalent of Ares, because after so many daughters, she didn’t understand that a son was a possibility.
- There’s so much less sleeping around, particularly by the Zeus/Jupiter equivalents. (Although the lack of sleeping around is also kind of a problem, because the Aphrodite/Venus equivalents don’t do much of it, either. To the extent that there had to be a footnote explaining that the Venus-type was the goddess of love, despite that she pretty much only has the one lover. Who’s actually her sister. Sometimes in the form of a man. Because I thought Hermes/Mercury didn’t get to be enough of a trickster in the real myths, so I let the Mercury-type have transformation powers.)
Anyway, after I finished with the myths, I focused more on my paper (not that I wasn’t already working on it, mind you!), and in my off-minutes, I went back to a fanfic project I’d been working on in October…and ended up gutting and overhauling it mid-writing. Which is kind of a first for me, but the old version was so much a repeat of another fic I’d written before, so…it’s working out better now.
However, overall, I’ve become aware of a stagnation in my writing. I’m not sure if it’s because the fandom I’m currently obsessive over doesn’t allow much variety, or if there’s something else wrong, but I have a plan to fix it, which will coincidentally also fix my near-dead blog. (Hey, two for one special!)
I’ve backed a few games on Kickstarter that are supposed to be party games where everyone sort of improvs a story or parts of one or whatever, but I’m going to use them as writing prompts. This is especially the case for a game called “Pitchstorm” that arrived during November. The actual rules of the game are that you draw three cards, one for a character, one for a “plot” and one for really bad notes from studio executives, and then you pitch the movie they would add up to. What I’m going to do is to pull one of each of those types of cards, and then write a piece of brief fiction that answers those conditions as best I can. Possibly in some cases it would still be more of a summary than proper fiction, but…the idea’s to get the creative juices flowing, yeah? And I’m going to post the resulting stories to the blog.
And when will I start this creative new endeavor?
Not sure, actually. The pinched nerve in my shoulder has come back, along with what feels like a pulled muscle in my right arm, so now that NaNo and class are over, I need to try and let them rest. I’m trying to find time around work to go get a recliner I can sleep in, which should relieve some of the strain on the shoulder (I hope!) but I won’t even have an opportunity to go shopping for one until next week.
I’m also trying to hurry my way through a cheap-and-dirty finishing of this year’s goals on the Read Harder Challenge, and I’ll be posting capsule reviews for the rest of those books (or as many of them as I actually get through) at some point this month.
As soon as I post this (since it’s after midnight, I may as well just hit “publish” instead of scheduling it for a few hours from now, right?) I’m also going to see if I can change the title of my blog, because I don’t feel like it’s quite right for me anymore. I mean, yeah, I’m still a graduate student, but only for one more semester. (Finally, the end is in sight!) And, well, I dunno. It just doesn’t quite feel like “me” anymore.
Oh, but before I do! I mentioned my NaNo novel having footnotes without explaining. See, I was writing out those myths as part of a “book” on world mythology being written by a scholar who’s a character in the first novel in a series I’m working on. (Said first novel’s first draft having been last year’s NaNo project. Which I’ve probably said several times over the last few IWSG posts, but…) So said scholar turned out to be the type to write extensive informational footnotes. Because that let me add in all sorts of fun little details that weren’t part of the “symplified myth” narrative. (Things like how there’s an archaeological site purporting to be where a particular myth took place. Or historical details, especially the vast changes in the world situation between the first and second editions of the book. Stuff like that.)
I had quite the shock when I went to validate my win, though. My 57,575 word novel (yeah, I finished almost every day with a palindrome, because weird) went through the validation process and came out at about 49,500! My mind boggled at the idea that I had so many words connected by a double-dash that it would have dropped by 8k words. Until I suddenly realized that it wasn’t counting my footnotes. (Which, I should admit, were also the footnotes to the first draft of my paper, because I suck like that.) So I had to re-copy it into the validation box and then go in and manually copy every single footnote. Then it came out at like 57,300. And I then edited the total to what Word had told me it was.
I am, however, a bit shocked and appalled that I ended up with 8,000 words of footnotes.