Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Cocke & Bull"

I am now 1500 words into my next book, "Cocke & Bull." Don't ask me about the title; it came to me in a dream so I'm going with it. Anyway, I am pleased with most of my 1500 shiny words. They do pretty much what I want them to do, and the chapter is unfolding in a satisfying way. Though I keep feeling the narrative trying to get away from me, which is why my next step is not to write more prose, but to sit down and write up an outline more detailed than my single-paragraph synopsis. A list of events and scenes is what I need, and soon. I also need to do a great lot of reading for research purposes. This story is set in 1749 in the American Colonies (Maryland, north of Baltimore on the shores of Chesapeake Bay to be precise), and I realized that I just don't know enough about the times to get the depth of character that I want. Though I have found a dictionary of criminal slang for that time period, and that should be a lot of fun for me.


  1. It's great that you've got words you're happy with.

    Do you not like it when your characters get away from you? I thought most people liked that.

    That dictionary sounds absolutely fantastic! What's it called? It sounds like something I would easily spend my afternoon exploring.

  2. It'll be interesting seeing a work from you progress from the begining. I hope you choose to share how it evolves.

  3. Awesome. Nice touch making the Euro-Disney Romeo and Juliet vampire story a period piece. Take that, Puritans!

  4. Damn it, will you please stop inspiring me to do research and to make outlines?! I'm trying to write over here.

  5. Dominique: I like it when my characters spring to life, but I don't like it when they start having boring conversations and slowing down the action.

    The dictionary is "The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" by Francis Grose, published in 1811 but actually based on the 1736 dictionary of Theiving Slang by Nathan Bailey, so the period is close enough to what I'm doing. It's available on Project Gutenberg's website, which is where I got it.

    Charlie: I'll give progress reports when I have progress to report! I'll also try to talk about any problems and solutions I stumble upon.

    Ben: I should've made them Pilgrims, so that they could drink turkey blood. Wait: it's still not too late to make that change!

    Davin: Research! Outline! Though I do have some scenes already imagined that I'm going to outline around. Character is going to drive plot from the beginning this time around, damn it. John Cocke is a great character; I likes him already. William Bull I don't know yet. The Widow Abigail has possibilities. A woman named Hope will arrive soon, followed by a platoon of English soldiers. What larks! Later, there will be a hurricane. And possibly a Martian invasion, but also possibly not.

  6. I also look forward to reading about this project from beginning to end.

    I think stopping-to-outline-along-the way is what I will do during NaNoWriMo next month. My novels always get away from me in the most boring and horrible ways. The characters say, "Now what should we do?"
    "I don't know. Want to go over there?"
    "Sure. Hey, let's discuss for the 12th time a scene that happened 50 pages ago."

  7. This sounds like it's coming along swimmingly, Scott! I stop so often to research along the way that it feels like I do more research than writing. That's probably a good thing. Maybe.