The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My thoughts are very scattered today:

1. I can't remember if I wrote on Friday or not; there was family stuff going on most of the day.

2. I know I didn't write yesterday, because I was planning to write for the entire day, but in the morning I tore a calf muscle trying to do sprints (I didn't even get to do one sprint) and since I had to ice it, I sat around reading something like ten books of Lone Wolf and Cub. I told myself I was only going to read a few, but then I went ahead and read through book 16, which is all I have.

3. I'd like to go back and compare how the stories in Lone Wolf and Cub are set up. Sometimes they start with Lone Wolf (who's an assassin for hire) getting his assignment, and then we watch him carry it out. Sometimes they start with setting or with a new story, then we see Lone Wolf wander onto the scene in the course of his travels, and deadly drama drops down on him out of nowhere. (When that happens, sometimes he's an innocent passerby, but other times we find out that he deliberately placed himself there to carry out an assassination.) Sometimes an entire short story about somebody we don't know unfolds, and Lone Wolf only enters near the middle or end, either woven into the story arc, or tying it up, or even just observing it.

And over all this is the backbone of the series: Lone Wolf's quest for revenge, the complications that arise, his complex backstory--and so far a mystery thread has also come up. Sometimes these pieces are pure stand-alones, but other times they're woven in as stories about other characters who quickly come and go.

Now that I think about it, it's like the Iliad because we are introduced to someone, quickly made to care about them--and then, as often as not, they're axed, usually in a spatter of blood. In the Iliad it seems like they pretty much always die, but in Lone Wolf they sometimes don't. Just enough to where I already know to try not to get too attached when somebody new shows up. Good guys and bad guys alike get sent to meet their maker, unlike with modern American books where we like the good guys to win in the end.*

4. Thinking about all this has me thinking about my swordfighting ms. I can't remember what I've said here recently, but I'm on the fence about whether to leave it as it is, revise with a non-linear time frame, or revise with alternating POVs. Now I'm wondering if maybe I should back off and forget about trying to produce a ms right now, but think bigger picture and pre-write and free-write bits of the larger story arc. Because in my head, this book is part of a larger story, like a GN series, where there are smaller arcs within the larger series arc. Maybe what I need is a firm footing on the big arc, and that will allow me to see smaller pieces of it with clearer eyes.

I think one reason I get mixed up is because I see all my books as snapshots of a time in the lives in the characters. I don't see a ms as a finite story, but as a piece of a continuum. I'm just pulling that piece out to look at separately. That's not how a storyteller thinks, probably.

5. Re. the former GN: I feel trouble coming on because of plotting issues. I'm telling the story as given in myth and legend (X happens, then Y, then Z), but it's not going to rise and build the way a book needs to unless I figure out how to sculpt it into doing so. I'm getting the pieces of it to rise and build slightly in the beginning, but pretty soon I need to really make it rise and build or it's going to sag and die. I've got to figure it out soon or the whole structure of the story (starting around page 50 or 60?--don't want to look) is going to collapse into a big blob of words. What it needs to do at that point is leap up and start running. So...must think.

*Unless it's Great Literatyoor, in which case there must be an unhappy ending. Even if the classic source on which it's based has a happy ending. Yes, I'm talking to you, Cold Mountain.

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