Monday, December 16, 2002

I haven't posted much here about my various writing projects lately, so a couple of updates:

:: The novel-in-progress (otherwise known as the damned book, or officially, The Promised King: The Welcomer) is proceeding apace, although I had to take four whacks at a certain scene last week. It's a scene where one of my main villains meets a person he has seriously wronged face-to-face for the first time in the work. These scenes are very hard to write without having them sound like the standard "James Bond meets the bad guy" type of thing. These characters have history that extends long before the events of the book, and the hard thing to execute is the sense that the villain genuinely believes himself to be the hero. There are contexts in which villains like the evil Queen in Disney's Sleeping Beauty can work ("You thought you could defeat the Queen of All Evil???") but my current work is not one of them. Villains have to have reasons for what it is they are doing, beyond "because it's the evil thing to do". The most interesting villains aren't the purely selfish ones; the most interesting villains are the ones who genuinely believe that the world will be a better place when their selfish goals are realized.

Now I'm on to my heroine's "mystic quest", which takes place outside the actions in the novel's "real world". This is where I can plug in a lot of the weirdness I've been saving from all of my readings into Celtic mythology. One item that has me waffling is whether or not to include a passage where she must successfully answer a riddle before she can proceed. I'm leaning toward including it, because riddles are part-and-parcel of Celtic myth and legend, but I also don't want the thing to end up reminiscent of The Hobbit.

:: My current short story (no title yet; I rarely have titles for my stories at the outset of writing) has been in cryogenic slumber for a while because I had reached the Third Act, and I had no idea what to do at that point. I don't outline, and in many cases I don't even figure out the ending of a story before I start writing it. It's usually been my experience that the ending will occur to me much earlier in the process, when I'm halfway done, perhaps. (And that's only in cases where I don't know the ending beforehand; sometimes I do.) But with this story, I was truly stumped.

But, yesterday I think I figured out where to go with it. The key, of course, is the famous bit of advice: Murder your darlings. Basically, I realized that one of my main characters dies in a rather nasty manner. The only thing bugging me is that I'm still undecided on what action my heroine will take once this particular character has expired. She can do one of two things, and the trouble is that both may be in character for her.

:: Three stories went out last week to various editors, for perusal and immediate rejection. Unless, of course, I manage to glom onto some of this guy's luck and actually sell a story for once.

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