Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So far....

That's Zaphod with a Plot Bunny Problem. (grin)

The writing is going really well, despite a round of general annoyances here at home. Russ hasn't been home since the first week of November. Because it's winter, that means I haven't been any farther than the house next door since then. It's hard to get excited about anything when it seems like the work is just one round after another of the same things -- the same walls, the same food, even the same cats. I am making changes in my own ways. New stories, of course -- and those are going well. I'm back to reading the Great Books of the Western World, too -- mainly because they are so outside my usual things that it really does make a difference in what I'm doing.

On the good side, I've been working well on Draw the Line and Glory, plus some background work on a new fantasy novel and editing Such Gifts. I've been writing 3k a day, which is what I'd like to do for the entire year, but I doubt it will happen. The rewrite of Glory is just going so well that it almost makes me bouncy. The little nuances that I can add in now that I see the whole, the rewording of sections that are not as clear as I thought they were when I first wrote them -- it's all going very well. I'm about half way through the book, and I am just amazed at how much I am enjoying it.

I am doing something entirely different with Draw the Line, the new sf novel. I am only allowing myself to write 500 words a day on it, and those are the first 500 words I do when I come to the computer. No emails, no checking websites -- nothing until those words are done. Wow, what a difference that makes, too, especially in my attitude. I feel like I've accomplished something important right away! Most days the writing flows very well, but there are others where it's a fight and might take me an hour to get them done. But I do them, with the reminder of something that I started a while back and then let go:


I suspect that at some point I'll not be able to hold myself back and I'll run with Draw the Line. But it's been fun to work this way because it's different for me. There that is again -- the need to do things differently when so much else of my life is trapped into this little house.

So, I'm happy with the writing side so far this year. I think, despite the frustration of the first couple days after the New Year started, I finally got things working better. It's going far better now, even on days like today when I can't seem to focus well on anything.

Here is a bit of Glory. This is an urban fantasy set in the near future after... well, after things changed for one reason or another. Glory, Talis and JB have just escaped a burning building. Things are about to get odd.

Snippet from Glory:

"I don't -- things happened," JB said. He still gasped. Then he put his head to Talis's chest.

That scared her enough to bring her back to her feet. But he lifted his head and nodded. "Heartbeat is erratic but strong. I don't know what happened there, Glory. Things weren't right --"

He stopped, looking past her toward the end of the building --

She spun. Mrs. Clan, silhouetted by the fire, stood by the wall. She had something in her hand and brought it up -- a weapon. Glory grabbed at her shoulder bag, reaching for her gun while her eyes focused on the enemy. Bow. Arrow. Fired as JB shouted and brought his gun up.

Arrow. Wood.

Glory grabbed her tyet in one hand and shouted for power as she reached to shove the arrow away from Talis. It didn't want to obey, already under a geas from Amam to seek out his enemy. She used her magic to thrust as hard as she could, but the arrow still came close enough to tear into Talis's shoulder.

He screamed with the pain. She hadn't expected it, not from the man who had taken so much abuse already with hardly a sound at all. JB grabbed him with one arm, fired toward Mrs. Clan with the other --

But she wasn't quite Mrs. Clan any more. The arms had lengthened, and the shape of the head mutated. Changing -- which meant the real Mrs. Clan had finally died.

"Oh shit," JB said. "Oh hell -- what --"

Glory wanted to grab Talis who whimpered and moaned, senseless now to what was going on around him. She wanted to comfort him, to help him. Instead, she brought the tyet up, whispered more words to call Eset to them, and let the red light brighten the world around her.

Aman knew what that symbol meant and took the hint. He turned and ran, dropping to four feet --

"I --" JB said. She could see his face in the bright red light. Wide-eyed, stunned. He seemed to want to speak, but she doubted he had quite found the words he needed yet. She remembered that feeling when the world had suddenly changed so drastically for her. "I -- Astu?"

Someone moved behind her. Glory spun back around, her hand lifting the tyet again.

"Me," Astu said. For some reason she even believed him -- that he was not the enemy returned in another form. "Arrow -- not good. New wood from a very old tree."

"I gathered that," she said. She looked up. Clouds suddenly raced in over the smoke-filled sky. Lighting flashed.

Astu looked up as well. "Yes, his. You need to draw the arrow and the poison out, Glory. I will talk to the spirit of the tree and maybe get her to understand. Hold him JB. This is going to be difficult."

JB nodded, plainly realizing this had gone far beyond his understanding. He didn't even try to ask any questions as he gently helped Talis lie down to the grass. Astu began to chant in his own language, his fingers brushing close to the arrow. Even though he didn't touch it, Talis still shuddered each time the fingers moved.

Talis coughed once, and blood leaked from the corner of his mouth. The storm raged overhead, but no rain fell. She feared that was very bad.

"When I pull it out, you must take the poison from him as quickly as you can. Your goddess has a gift for that."

"Yes, she does," Glory said, forcing herself to find calm again. She didn't look at the fire raging nearby. She laid her fingers on the medallion. "That's a gift she gave me. I can do it without calling her. We use it to clean up the pollution -- poisons -- in various places."

"Be quick or we will lose him. If the poison goes to his heart, there is no hope."

She nodded, her mouth gone dry.

"Sprit of the great white pine," Astu whispered. "Be kind to this creature of nature. Come gently."

He put his hand on the arrow. JB had trouble holding Talis. The wind howled around them, the fire flaring in the blasts. Glory felt his fever in that wind -- warmth that grew, and the surges that came as raggedly as his breath.

They had to help him. She feared that each breath would be the last --

But as she watched, another hand -- leaf colored, delicate -- wrapped over Astu's fingers. In the next moment the arrow came up and out.

Glory pushed her fingers over the bloody wound, ignoring Talis's shudder and gasp of pain, ignoring the blood that welled up, warm and tingling with magical power, around her hand. Glory whispered to Eset again and concentrated on the magic until she could feel the poison, black and burning within Talis. She caught it, her eyes closed as she felt out the invasion that spread through his blood. It burnt even her, but she pulled at the darkness, drawing the strings of it back out of his body. Somewhere beyond the concentration of her work, she became faintly aware that he had started to calm. Glory pulled more, and a little more, until she could not find enough to grab, though she felt a few specs, still rushing through his blood stream.

Astu put a hand on hers. "It is good. He will survive."

She drew her hand back, shaken now that she had done the work, and too aware of how close they came to losing Talis. Astu whispered words, closing the wound with a gentle touch of his hand.

Talis took a shuttering breath. Color returned to his face, and it started to rain. Good.

Glory sat back on the ground, heedless of the blazing fire that had consumed nearly the entire building. She looked at JB who glanced from her to Astu, and then to Talis, and then back at her again.

"You know, I am beginning to think that there's a hell of a lot more going on in the world than I really want to know about," he said.
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