Ack, I forgot to pre-write this! *cough*
I find myself in pretty much the same place I was last month, with not getting much done on my re-write and desperately hoping I’ll finish it before NaNoWriMo starts. Only it’s not just slow going because I’m having trouble motivating myself to get working on it. It’s also slow because my class work picked up. It’s been a while since I was in a really heavy-duty class (doesn’t help that I didn’t take a class last semester), and this one is turning out to be particularly intensive. Like, one week the professor assigned us a thousand pages of reading and didn’t see what was wrong with that. Even though she knows most of the students are either working full time or are taking multiple other graduate level courses. Argh.
Speaking of “argh,” I had a strange dilemma come up a few days ago as I was working on the re-write. The way this level of the re-write is going, I’m tending to copy-and-paste anything that doesn’t need to be changed to accommodate the new version of one of my leads, right? (Because further refining those scenes can wait until the next draft.) So in pursuing one of the radically, radically, radically different sequences, I had been so eager to move ahead (because it was just fresh composition, rather than trying to tell the same basic sequence of events with a different character) that I had skipped over a “cut-away” scene to show what some of the less prominent characters were up to. After I realized that, and went in and put it in place, I remembered that at the last Camp NaNo session, I had written another “cut-away” scene to show what one of the antagonists was up to, and it had to go sometime in front of the previous one. Then….
…..okay, let me start over with a few more details so it won’t get too confusing. The main antagonist of this book is the prince of the country it takes place in, who is also the ex-boyfriend of one of the main leads. However, the main antagonist of the series (yes, this is book one of a series) is the king, not the prince. And although I talked a lot about the king in all the earlier drafts, he never once showed up. So I had written a scene where the king is having a fit and orders his son to go hunt down that pernicious ex-boyfriend of his. This was to lead into the “cut-away” scene I already had, where the prince goes to the bad-ass lady sky pirate and asks her help in approaching his ex-boyfriend. So what happened the other day is that after putting in the scene with the lady pirate, I remembered the other scene, went to read it and figure out where best to insert it into the draft…and found out that I had written it in such a way that it was required to go after a battle against the Royal Navy that hadn’t happened yet.
Honestly, the worst part about that is that it meant that the entire writing session (most days I only manage to write in the interim between breakfast and leaving for work) turned out to be wasted, because everything I had done had to be undone because it was in the wrong place.
Delays like that are one of the main reasons I’m worried I won’t get the re-write done before November. My class is the other reason, because I’m supposed to be spending October doing research for my final paper…not that she’s letting up with the heavy assigned reading for a second. Ugh. I am so ready to graduate that I can’t stand it. (But I definitely need to take one more class after this, which really sucks.)
I’ve had some thoughts about my NaNo project, too.
My plan is to write out some of the myths of the world of this novel, because I keep having characters refer to their gods without my having a very firm idea of who those gods are or how they function in their societies. One of the characters in the novel (in the new draft, anyway) is a scholar, so I just decided to set him up as more of a folklorist/mythologist instead of a historian, so he’s going to be the “author” of this book in-world, and that way I don’t have to worry about trying to change narrative voices between cultures. And I think I may have said all that last month? Well, anyway, my plans have narrowed and focused a bit since then. Originally, I wanted to write every culture’s main myths, but since I want them all inspired by real cultures, that would require a lot more research than I have time for. Instead, I’m going to just do the three cultures my three leads come from. (If I finish all that and still have time, I might address the two cultures that are going to come up in the next book, one based on Nordic/Teutonic myth, and the other…uh…I have no idea what to base it on. I need to research what little we know about Gaulish myth…but I fear it was not much different from the Celtic myths of the British Isles…)
So I’m going to write the main myths of three cultures, one inspired by Celtic, one inspired by Greek and one inspired by Roman myths. Once I’ve done the basic mythic background material, then I’m going to do that character’s “paraphrases” of the major mythic cycles. And that’s where it’s going to get tricky, because a large part of the plot of the series is that a thousand years before the action of the books, a mystical doodad was used to erase all knowledge and memory of war from the minds of the human race. It began to wear off after about nine hundred years, so there’s war again in the present, but there can’t be any wars or knowledge of war left in their myths…
…and that means I have to write myths that have obvious places where there used to be war, but it’s been removed and/or replaced. The Celtic mythic cycle will be easiest in that respect: I plan on it being about a character who’s basically a fusion of Cu Chulainn and King Arthur, so I can replace wars with jousts and tournaments. (And it’s not like personal violence between individuals went away along with wars…) But the Greek and Roman mythic cycles? How do you tell a “based on the Trojan War” story in a world without the concept of war? Actually, the Roman one will be easier, since the major mythic cycle that the Romans don’t share with the Greeks is the journey of Aeneas (only important post-Vergil, of course) and the foundation of Rome, and I can always have their culture hero fleeing his distant home because of a natural disaster instead of it being destroyed in war. But for the Greeks, it’ll be trickier. All the more so because I’m flouting the typical thing and my based-on-ancient-Greece culture isn’t based on our modern idealized vision of Athens (because let’s face it, the real thing was not such a pretty, erudite democracy) but instead based on the horrible, slave-powered reality of ancient Sparta. Which means their favorite god wasn’t the noble Athene but the brutal Ares. Athene can be reworked easily without the war part (some people probably forget she’s a goddess of war as well as of wisdom) but Ares? Without war, all he’s got is sleeping with Aphrodite and hiding in bronze jars when Olympos is invaded by giants. It’s going to be a real challenge to reinvent him both without war and yet while making it clear that he’s supposed to be a god of war. (I may have to make him a god of martial arts, as it were, but even that doesn’t work because “martial” is still a reference to war…)
Anyway, strangely, despite that it sounds like I’m filled with worries for my writing, my main writing worry is…okay, actually, I have two. One, I feel like I’m gonna flip out if I can’t write some fanfic soon and let out all my crazy new fantasies about my current OTP, but I don’t want to do that before I finish my rewrite, because I don’t want to contaminate the characters, and my brain is slow to change over between sets of characters in my writing. The second — and bigger — thing is that I seem to have totally lost my blogging habit. (I don’t even want to think about how far behind I am in reading blogs, either…) I think it’s because I started work on the review of a book I really didn’t like, and the idea of finishing it feels oppressive. Maybe I should just write a preface and post it as an “abandoned” review…?
I did actually have a good idea for how to start blogging again, though. One that should help with my writing, even. I just can’t act on it yet. Among the altogether too many things I’ve backed on Kickstarter have been some card-based party games that I plan to use as writing prompts rather than games. For example, one of them is called “Pitch Storm” (I think), and you get a set of cards suggesting ridiculous movie premises, complete with asinine notes from an incompetent executive, and you’re supposed to pitch the movie that would result. So, what I plan to do instead is to write a brief story (or possibly detailed summary) based on the cards. And I thought I’d post that to my blog. But the game hasn’t been produced and shipped yet, so I can’t do that yet. (There’s one or two others I plan on using for writing prompts, too. I actually have one of them already, but it’s going to be the hardest to use for the purpose, it turns out, and I haven’t had a chance to try yet.)