For this month, my svn updates will be supplanted by NaNoWriMo updates. Because I can only concentrate on so much… work and my bipolar/PTSD has really been knocking my word count down. I’m supposed to be at around 13k words, but have only managed a little over half of that. I’m going to have to try to catch up over the weekend—should be easier without oncall to worry about.
So far, I’ve discovered that I’m writing scenes out of order. I’ll discover that I needed another scene for transition, as an example, or that I’ve ended up writing a few thousand words of backstory that will likely never appear in the final work. I think I can’t even call it backstory; it’s so different from how the rest of the world is turning out. So far that’s… three actual story scenes, and five back-story ones (a total of 3.6k words lost in getting a feel for the world).
I’m also taking an entirely different approach from the last NaNoWriMo, and writing without an outline (which also slows me down quite a bit). I’m finding this to work for me better, in terms of writing expanded scenes that actually move at a pace that fits what’s currently going on; in particular, not moving too quickly, a problem for me in the previous NaNoWriMo.
So anyways, this year’s NaNoWriMo is going to be for one book, which I’m going to finish to the end (even if it’s after NaNoWriMo; certainly it’s going to go through revisions before being released in January 2012). The working title is pretty damn obvious: College of the Gods. Gods approach this concept rather differently from how humans would, although some aspects will likely be surprisingly familiar. So far the roster of characters are:
Lisao, a rather minor hearth goddess (or rather, kami) with a believer count of 1 until just before the beginning of the story, and now she has none. This presents an existence problem for deities. It’s a severe change in status quo, and thus why I knew the story truly started here and not during the other 3k words.
The old man, Lisao’s single believer. He does get a name (though it needs to be changed), because nameless significant tertiary characters are annoying and make your protagonist or antagonist less believable.
The Lady of Owls. I’ll let her explain herself a bit later in this post. She’s based on Babylonian mythology.
The Lon Derr, a city deity. The city is her incarnation.
Psann, whose sealskin gloves and coat are not actually animal cruelty. Inuit mythology.
Euanth, an annoying Draco Malfoy who happens to wield lightning. At a college of gods, where supervision is… less… this will become more than annoying. Based on a future Roman pantheon, in what I imagine to be its snotty years just after defeating their abusive father. They’re no darlings themselves.
Gerd, who hails from Norse myth.
Haikil, who must deal with Euanth. He’s not Euanth’s lackey, but isn’t kind. He also wields lightning. They’re from two different pantheons, and Haikil hails from Hawaiian myth.
I’ve twisted the pantheons, and they’re both alike and non-alike to the real-world ones. This story occurs far away and long ahead.
I also have a vague idea of back stories for all these characters, and for the gods… let’s just say that very few pantheons play happy families, if any.
The last time I did NaNoWriMo, I included the first and last sentences where I started and left off each night. So I’d like to continue that tradition with, out of context, near beginning and near last paragraphs of what appear to be finished scenes that actually will show up—probably in some altered form or another.
One grey morning, the goddess Lisao roused to find that no candles had been lit for her in the old farmer’s private temple. It was nothing more than a ramshackle shelter, not even with a door, built around a small rock on which he had discovered a burning blue fire, and since then had cared for it in his own strange way. That way was lighting small tea candles floating in a simple earthenware bowl, saying a small prayer of thanks for the continued minor prosperity of the farm, and then departing until the next day. She took the name Lisao from his prayers. She had no idea why he had named her, nor the reason behind the choice of name. She entertained the possibility that the name had not even been directed at her, but instead to an ancestral relative, or perhaps a more recently dead loved one.
And now that comforting routine had been disturbed. She felt frightened, suddenly, and very alone.
“I am the Lady of Owls. I am the caretaker of boundaries, the goddess of beginnings and endings, of birth and death. They also call me Lie-slayer, and many other names besides.”
As the sun set, burning the sky orange-red, the stars came out, twinkling and shifting in the enveloping night sky. This, now, Lisao had glanced from the doorway of her small hut, but never had she experienced the blanket of darkness that now settled around them, broken by stars. Dominating the blackness above was the cusp of the galaxy, a band of brightness like a wide river, flowing slowly and moving gradually in the sky as their flight continued—slower now, as though the Lady of Owls also admired the lonely beauty of being suspended against the dome of stars.
“Find your wings, child, or you will indeed become a goddess of nothing.”
With the approach of the Lady of Owls, a sudden silence fell around them, as gods and goddesses alike uncomfortably nodded towards the Lady and her charge, and shifted away, giving them a wide berth. Lisao rather wished that they had stayed; she had gotten a glance at human and animal forms, even a mix between, and there were… other… forms as well. There were no other pots of fire, however.
“Are you certain that she wishes to leave with us? For that matter, are you certain I’d join you?”
Psann bowed. “My apologies to m’lady. I humbly ask for your audience. We misfits should conspire to stay together. I beg your pardon if I call you misfit, which is not a label to be ashamed of at all, if the paragons of society are like our acquaintance Euanth. Why else would you have saved me from my folly?”
Gerd looked out to the milling gods, most in groups roughly by pantheon or by prospective society. “Because I have a misguided softness for fools. Very well. I see a quiet corner over there.” She pointed with a golden spear.
I want to find out what happens next. But I have to sleep now. Sigh.