17650 words. I know. I wrote David and His Shade faster than this. I guess this is the difference between when a man wakes from a particularly inspiring dream, and when a man wakes with nothing more than THIS MONTH I GOTTA WRITE. Something to think about.
I’ll only write about the project as I go, and not about my plans for said project. The biggest piece of writing advice I ever recieved came from a wonderful poet/professor (poetfessor?) who lives on the East Coast (and flies into Springfield, IL twice a month to teach). She said only talk about what you’ve written, and never what you’re going to write. In telling the story, you’ve already told it, and your inspiration has died.
I took it to heart. She knew so much about writing, I found her class one of the few true gems in a courseload of mediocrity. And to top it off, it was a critique roundtable where everyone tossed their work into the middle and everyone else talked about it. Whoda thought.
It’s steampunky, kinda. 30 pages in and I’ve still not revealed the steampunk of the thing. It’s time-travelly: a witch by the name of Lotus from the 1300’s, a “stolen goods acquierer,” Mr. Ward from the 1850’s, and some anachronistic survival tour guide, Michael, from the 2012’s come together to save the world from blowing up by a particularly devious man. The novel begins in 2014, where the man ignites Yosemite National Park’s Old Faithful, creating a two-mile-wide volcanic explosion.
Aggressive, I know. It destroys the world and the secret police of Alexandria must hastily recruit a new Jackdaw (Crow) for the job, since the other 5 blew up in the death of the world. Fun. Said earth-ender knows magic no living person understands but historically existed, and Lotus was the last practitioner of said magic. Mr. Ward was the last known owner of said book of magic practices. Which ties everything together.
Lotus’ personality is a detached loner style. She’s tied to the arcane in her own time, let alone the 1800’s, where she knows nothing and cares little for it. She’s all spines and danger and power, especially since the world she now walks is so foreign. She can kill a man with a look and the proper concentration, she’s a true multi-tasker (one hand draws a picture while the other holds a gun), and hates men. Or, their place in society. In general.
Mr. Ward is a low-key guy used to working through the underbelly of Boston. He’s a determined guy who doesn’t give a damn about much of anything, and spends most of his time hiding his scars, so to speak. He has a chivalrous heart, beneath it all, and wholly believes in his cause. Given he’s an artifact, and sometimes reliqual, collector, he’s developed a tough skin. Since they are forced to work in his time period, he is kind of the focus. He’s never relied on anyone before and isn’t about to start now. He feels more a babysitter to Michael than anything else.
Michael understands how important everything is, but knows nothing about magic. He’s a stumbling ex-surfer who prefers hiking and camping and proper diet to anything so active as saving the world. He’s adrift and is charged with learning as much as he can from the other two Jackdaws before they (the three of them) return to the present, 1 year before the slow, suffocating end of humanity. He turns out to be a scrappy guy, more interested in helping those he trusts than the Greater Good. He’s kinda MacGuyver-ish with his knowledge of basic physics, chemistry, anatomy, and mechanical engineering. He’s the everyman that doesn’t want to die as his prime motivator. He also loves ladies.
Anywho, I just finished writing a scene where Lotus tattoos Michael in a dream, all over his body, for protection. He’s tied to a torture device. I enjoy the idea that magic isn’t just an out-there idea, but a very real part of her world. Lotus is as fleshed as I can make her. It’s poor Mr. Ward I’m having trouble with.
So! I return to reading Angel of Darkness, a historian’s wet dream but casual reader’s nightmare. It is currently my Moby Dick. If he talks one more time about the sprawling cityscape of New York circa 1897, I’m going to scream. Yes, we know you knew where every church, yellow bumper, and mancover was. No, it’s not integral to the story.
Write on, friends.