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Story-Scribbling Sunday – January 29, 2012

January 30, 2012

Hm. Two SSS posts in a row – I should probably find something else to post about. Which would be easier if I stopped burying myself in books and stupid online jigsaw puzzles.

But as far as the story-scribbling goes, it’s been a good week. OK, I did lose a day on Friday, which was my grandfather’s 80th birthday – I was sure I’d have time to sit and write in the evening while the rest of the family watched TV, or if the worst came to the worst, after everyone else had gone to bed – how was I to know there would be live accordion music, courtesy of a neighbour family, and my grandfather would feel up to sitting up and talking with us until way past midnight? (And I’m grateful that he did, seeing him so much more awake than he has been in a long time was definitely worth missing a day of writing.)

But on the other six days, I’ve been moving the plot of “Goblins” along quite a bit. It’s an odd feeling – suddenly I’m out of the part that I’d so carefully planned out, and while I’m now finally getting to the parts that the story is about, I’m also feeling a little lost. I do have a rough timeline, but there’s a lot that I have to make up as I go.

Still, I’m happy with how it’s turning out. Julius is getting closer to taking responsibility for his son, and I’m figuring out his motivations for it, and Theresa has found herself in a convenient place to observe one of the turning points of Tokrean history, the Kivailo riots that are spreading across the south of the country, the army stepping in, and the Kivailo getting carted off to what amounts to concentration camps. Considering that I wrote that part in the middle of the night, I’m quite happy with how it turned out. (You’ll have to forgive me the mish-mash of real and imaginary history. That’s just what the Kivailo world is like.)

When she thought back to this day later, Theresa wondered if this was what 9/11 had been like. She hadn’t heard about it until the evening, when she got back from work, and even then she had not thought much of it. She’d barely even known what the World Trade Center was. It wasn’t until the next day, listening to her colleagues talking that she began to realize the magnitude of it.
She had spent the four anniversaries since then at university and in dorms, listening to the other students sharing stories of being glued to the TV, watching the twin towers fall, of the horror and disbelief. And yet… it had always been distant, half a world away, something that didn’t affect her life.
Now she could imagine what it must have been like to live in America, in New York even. What it must have been like to watch a pillar of your world crumble and fall.
Her own world didn’t go down in rubble and dust. No planes, no falling people. No heroes, no cameras.
Her world went down in angry shouts and fearful silence. In running footsteps and the sound of breaking glass. In fires and tear gas. With soldiers marching in the heart of Förhäf.

In non-“Goblins” news, I’ve finally started to unpack the box of story-stuff that’s spent most of the past year in my living room.

Some of the stuff I’ve found so far:

  • print-outs of several old stories, including a couple of Kivailo legends that I do not have on the computer
  • old Tosacy dictionaries
  • the handwritten parts of my NaNo novels
  • my writing journals
  • 3 or 4 ragged notebooks of the kind I always carry with me, containing anything from story-notes to shopping lists
  • notes from the Dutch classes I took last year
  • an application with which I might get some financial support for the classes (which I finally filled out and mailed.)
  • dozens of post-its and scraps of paper with old shopping lists, recipes, notes for blog posts, story ideas, things to look up for work, and some completely incomprehensible notes
  • some empty writing paper
  • a bag of snap pea seeds
  • hundreds of index cards about all my characters… oh the joys of pre-computer times!
  • stacks of notebooks with old handwritten stories
  • a massive binder full of several years’ worth of notes on the Kivailo world

I was really glad to find the print-outs of those legends – I’d have been seriously grumpy if I’d lost them. I still remembered the general plot, so I could have written something similar again, but one of them contained a couple of riddles, and I’d have had a hard time coming up with new ones.

The binder of notes, on the other hand, is a little daunting. I need to look at every sheet and scrap of paper in it, to decide what to keep and what’s just too stupid to be of any use, and then I have to organize the useful notes and force silly nostalgic self to actually toss the rubbish. The throwing-away part is the most difficult thing about unpacking this box, anyway. But I simply don’t need outdated, handwritten versions of the Tosacy dictionary, and I’m not going to drag them through another move, and I doubt I’ll turn into a second Tolkien, so anyone would want to study the development of Tosacy grammar.

With all this diving into the past of my own story-world, the temptation to rework “Larin and Liria” becomes stronger and stronger. So many ideas swirling through my head! It would be a very different story now – ten years ago, I was too soft-hearted to kill my characters. I still don’t like it, but if it’s necessary, I’ll do it. And it would be necessary, if I ever rewrite this story.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2012 19:41

    Oh, I’d love to rummage through all those notes of your world… and character index cards? I don’t even know what that is. 😛

    Since you’re writing (and I’m writing too), it might be nice to have another meeting soon!

  2. January 31, 2012 20:06

    I’m generally free during the weekends, and usually hanging out with Ravaari (who’s still writing, too) on Saturdays anyway, so let me know when you’re in the area and have time!


  1. Story-Scribbling Sunday – March 25, 2012 « Letters & Leaves

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