Saturday, January 07, 2012

Project Report 6: Water/Stone/Light -- The Legend (and other work)

I'm starting to feel like an actor in a Monty Python piece:  Not dead yet!  It's not been the best start to a year for me.  Russ surprised me by coming home a day early (Christmas Day) and spent 8 days at home.  And I was miserably ill for most of them and could barely get out of bed most days.  Still, it was good to have him here to take care of the cats and stuff.  I was better when he left, but still not well.  Almost a week later, I am finally able to spend more than an hour or two sitting up.

While last year's total words were not adversely affected by that last week when I fought out 500 words a day (1,034,393 for the year), this has been the worst start to a year that I ever remember.  I am still barely getting 500 words a day.

That is going to end today. 

I started Water/Stone/Light on January 1 and I've been working a bit at it every day since then.  I wrote a short 'legend' to go with the story, which may or may not become part of the book itself when I'm done.  It was a way for me to deal with events far in the past and start the feel for the story itself:

A thousand years ago. . . .

. . . And over the high pass, though the place even then called The Barbarian Gate, came ten thousand invaders, and ten times as many following, intent on conquering the wide green lands of Tygen.  The king and the army stood their ground at the headwaters of the Habur River, knowing they could not win against such odds as came at them from the cold northern lands.

The messengers sent by the barbarian king laughed to see them so unsettled.  The king grew enraged and the four Prelates of the temples grew angry.  The Prelates lifted their magic and created out of the messengers dog-like things, and those went yipping back to their master.

The king could see no hope of survival except in the power of the Prelates, little though he trusted magic and would never deal with it until now.  He went too late to beseech their help and they could not turn back the army.
That night, while the others slept, the Prelate of the temple of Change reached forth and did the unthinkable; she spread her power against the mountain itself and brought it down, stone upon stone, burying the barbarian army and sealing the pass in stone and magic.

But it also sealed the headwaters of the Habur River and death spread as sand and dust from the destruction of the mountain swallowed the great cities along the river, so that in the win there was great loss.  Thousands died, unwitting sacrifice to the unnatural victory.  Overnight the land turned to wasteland, wide fertile plains lost forever to the desert.

The king retreated to his palace on the River of Life, and there he grew sore afraid of such magic power.  He ordered the Temple of Change destroyed; every priest and priestess killed, every temple and altar torn down and the power of The Temple of Change forgotten in all of Tygen.  The other three Prelates, as fearful of the power of Change as the king, retired to their temples, and lingered there, quiet through many generations.

Tygen remained safe, the only pass into the land destroyed, and no enemy came upon them again, generation upon generation, while the people thrived along the River of Life.

But legends never tell the whole story . . . and eventually all rock erodes and every magic fades. . . .

The story itself is moving slowly, but I don't care.  I have no reason to rush through the tale.  Now that I feel as though I have half a brain back to work with, I might have a better chance writing more, but that's not important.  I want it done right. The outline is wonderful -- the story should be as good, at least.

I have the final edits for Waiting for the Last Dance a contemporary YA mystery.  I started on them a few days ago . . . but I don't like the opening.  It needs cut back and more power in the first few lines.  I think it lacks the MC's 'voice' in that opening, too.  So, I'm picking at it, changing this and that until I get the feel I want.

I could not decide which book I wanted to work on for publication -- Xenation: Draw the Line (science fiction) or The Servant Girl (epic fantasy).  I have them both pulled out and I'll do the final edits on them a bit at a time and see which one finally takes off first.

No hurry.  That's what I have to keep reminding myself.  Having been so ill, I feel as though I need to rush to catch up.  That's not true.  Except for a few things I owe to other people (ACOA work and FM work), there is nothing I must do or do quickly.

(And there, moving away from Waiting for the Last Dance already helped.  I had a thought and redid the opening paragraph again.  Much better.)

What really makes me want to work faster is that I have so many things I want to share this year.  My sales are starting to pick up and I want to take advantage of that by putting out new items -- but not rush them.  No.  There is no hurry.  (Yes, I do have to keep reminding myself.)

So, welcome to 2012.  I'm a bit late with that, but here is hoping that we all find the stories we want to tell this year.  I think it's going to be an excellent writing year . . . well, once I really get moving with it.

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