Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chapter Three started

Yay, me! Chapter three! It begins with a description of the town and environs wherein the first act of the tale is set. The protagonist's accomplice then goes to lunch at a tavern. He may have a whiskey while he's there. Later, he will meet with The Merchants at a manor house and hijinks will ensue. Possibly rum-drinking and card-playing. I know: excitement! Contain yourselves, do.

Edit to add at 10:47 pm: Mutton, beer and whiskey consumed! Meeting with The Merchants to take place next! Wordcount: 6461!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chapter Two Finished

Yay, me! Wordcount: 5339!

Chapter Three ("The Merchants") may have another POV shift. I haven't decided. Do we see through the eyes of Cocke, the merchant, or the merchant's wife? We'll see, though at this point in time, my money's on the merchant. I believe that there may be one or two sentences of what could be considered by some to be backstory in this chapter, but I don't know yet. If there is, it's the last of the backstory and the book can just move forward forward forward on its own momentum.

Not Writing-Related

I post here only to show that even though I live in Seattle and it's the rainy season (known elsewhere as "Fall" or "Winter" or "Spring"), some days we have sunshine and it's warm enough to go outdoors. Below is breakfast in the back yard on Saturday. The cat in the photo is Madame Gradka, ruler-in-exile of the Kingdom of Myxolydia, seated on her portable throne.

More alarming than visiting royalty was the appearance yesterday afternoon of a peregrine falcon in the back yard. He swooped in between the trees, landing in the cherry tree with some smaller bird in his talons. Possibly he caught one of our dark-eyed juncos in mid-air, but I didn't see that. We did see drops of blood and feathers on the ground beneath the tree after we chased him out of the yard. It wouldn't do for our back yard to become a regular feeding ground for raptors.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One does not dress for private company as for a publick ball

"By my rambling Digressions I perceive my self to be grown old. I us'd to write more methodically...'Tis perhaps only Negligence."
--Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Friday, October 23, 2009

Update and a Confession of the Author's Hypocrisy

I continue to work on Chapter Two of "Cocke & Bull." I like what I'm doing, but I find that I am apparently violating rules that I hand out over at the Literary Lab. Maybe. Lately I've been claiming that I'm looking to traditional storytelling for inspiration, which is in one way true because the prose style touchstones right now appear to be Melville, Dickens and Hemingway. But I am also breaking a lot of alleged rules like shifting point-of-view during a scene (which means that my 3rd-person limited omniscient is more like 3rd-person unlimited omniscient), shifting tense during a scene (I jump from past to present to tell, oddly enough, about an event in the story past), and making Chapter Two essentially all backstory, though it all goes to character. So I'm going off half-cocked and doing as I like.

But I remind you that this is just a first draft, and at some point I have to go back and revise all of this and make it work as a coherant narrative structure, so all the thrashing about I'm doing right now could well disappear and find itself more well behaved down the road.

Wordcountometer: about 4600!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chapter Two at last

Over lunch today I began writing the second chapter of my new book, "Cocke & Bull." I did not churn out a lot of words (a few hundred, I think), but what words I did scribble down are interesting. This chapter will have a bit of backstory, but I'm not telling it like backstory so much as I'm telling it as...well, I'm not quite sure what. There's an event from a month or so before the book begins that I'm relating in sort of reverse order, using images from the event to tell about the protagonist's character. It's not "this is what happened" so much as "this is how my character thinks and how he views himself." I won't go into any detail about the actual writing, I don't think, but I'm constructing this passage in a way that's new for me, and I am intrigued by the results. So that's all good.

Also good is that I've figured out how some of the characters should talk. My research into Colonial American prose is paying off. "Law me, ain't that gent?" Oh yes, it is.

Edited to add: Current wordcountometer(tm) reading: 3606!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Still Outlining, Researching and Writing

I'm awfully sure that I'm done enough with my first chapter to move on to chapter two. I hesitate to write much more now, because my Grande Outline of the Novel(tm) remains unfinished; I've got notes for only about five of the 24 planned chapters, and even though I know the story in broad strokes, I don't want to get too much prose down on the page before I become even more familiar with it. Also, I'm getting deep into Writerly Research Mode(tm) which will pull me away from the writing for a while, though last time I managed to keep scribbling while doing some book larnin' and maybe that's how I'll work this time, too. Which means that my book-in-progress will become festooned with sticky notes and odd scraps of paper reminding me to change the bits about the farmer's hat or the cost of oats or whatever when my research turns up things I've written that are historically wrong.

But progress does continue, however slowly, on the outline. Yesterday I made some good notes about chapter 17 or something like, and I'm really pleased with the ideas for that bit. It gave me insight into the protagonist to see him down the road, as it were, interacting with some minor characters. The best way to learn who your characters are, you know, is to have them do things and interact with other people. Like little children they learn to walk and we sit back, their proud parents. Yes, even if they also learn to pick up guns and shoot people, we remain proud of them. It's the way of writing.

Anyway, I'm collecting characters and locations and scenes and themes still, and I continue to believe that "Cocke & Bull" is going to be a Really Amazing Book(tm).

WordCountMeter(tm): 2,606