Write-a-thon Week 2 Update

Write-a-thon Week 2 Update

The reason for the lack of updates this week is that I hadn’t been writing much (due mainly to work and such) but I knew that this week’s chapter wasn’t going to be very long so I felt okay about waiting.  Last night, when I was very tired and wanted to sleep, I had a revelation about the chapter, switched my protagonist from female to male, and wrote it all in one sitting.  It’s only around 1000 words and isn’t likely to get much longer in revision, so I guess I have room for a longer chapter somewhere else.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,335 / 53,000

Since I’m done early this week, I’m going to pause for more research. I just got a book on Egypt by Margaret Murray, one of the few early female Egyptologists, and I’m looking forward to seeing her take on different aspects of the culture and history.



I’m hitting a strange wall in writing this novel now in that I have not nailed down the cosmology of the culture, therefore I can’t write the interstitial bits between the chapters explaining what the purpose of the different neighborhoods are, which all depend on the cosmology.  This does not completely stop me from writing the chapters because I can work around it, come back and change, etc.  But having that nailed down would really help me figure out what needs to happen in some of the pivotal parts.

When I first conceived of the city, I put it in an alternate universe of dynastic Egypt where certain stupidities did not happen.  But now I’m waffling — I’m not sure if I want the timeframe to be dynastic Egypt or pre-dynastic.  And I don’t know if I want my gods and goddesses to be actual deities or closer to the indigenous concept of NTRs (the word some Egyptologists translate as gods) as senses or aspects of consciousness.  The reason for all this waffling is that I’m reading some books by alternative Egyptologists, some of which I’ve read before (but it’s becoming obvious to me that I’ve forgotten a fair bit of the info), and they keep presenting theories that make me want to rework the cosmology and some parts of the culture to fit them.  At the same time, I feel like if I tried to incorporate all of this stuff, I’ll end up with a culture so alien and strange no one will be able to relate.  And then there’s the stuff that would also totally mess up my overall plot, which I cannot have.  But… it’s all so interesting!

Right now I’m resolved to finish the books, then try to sort out all the ideas and such in my head.  I obviously need a cosmology and culture that feels real nd thought-out, but I am afraid of too much complexity overwhelming the story.

And the final thing I am trying to keep in mind is that I’m writing a novel and not a historical essay.  I’m not even writing a historical novel, but a fantasy novel set in a fantasy world that is based on an actual historical period.  And therefore I am allowed to make stuff up.  I actually do need to remind myself of this when I go into Writing Egypt mode because I’ve done so much research on this stuff and I love the real history and culture and want to be true to those things I love.  Still, it’s my novel, I am allowed to make shit up.


Keeping Count

Keeping Count

A little while ago I calculated how long the novel would be based on the number of chapters averaging about 4K each.  I also have a prologue and suspect an epilogue, neither of them longer than 2K.  That comes out to about 55K total.  It’s low, but when I go through and edit i’ll probably add at least a thousand words to each chapter filling in sensory detail and what stuff looks like, since I tend to leave that out the first time through.  Other people take out words, I have to shove them in!

So right now my goal is 55K, and thus I got one of these cute little progress things:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,388 / 55,000

I’m not counting the prologue I wrote since it needs to be rewritten… a lot.  Still, it’s a good start.

Shall I take a day off or get started on the next chapter?  Decisions, decisions…

Week 1/Chapter 1 Progress

Week 1/Chapter 1 Progress

Wrote 1,029 words today.  My goal has been to write at least 1K every day since I’m aiming for the chapters to be between 3 and 5,000 or so.  So far, I’m meeting that goal and I have a little over 4,000 total.  I have probably one or two scenes to go and then I need to write the interstitial/intro thingy, which will be 500-1,000 words.  In other words I’m still on track to finish by Sunday.  Yeah!

I spent a lot of time today pondering if I want to tackle the story that inspired this novel and get it in shape for an urban fantasy anthology I want to submit to.  I don’t know if I can write it in such a way that it will work as a chapter for the novel… we’ll see.

Moving Right Along

Moving Right Along

Over 1,000 words today on chapter 1.  I completed a difficult exposition-heavy scene and am satisfied with the expositionyness of it.  Tomorrow I take my girls to the temple of Nebt-hut and they get to talk to a goddess and possibly throw down!

I’ll probably finish by Saturday.  Friday if I shirk work, which I should not do…

I’m amazed at the ease of writing this chapter now that I know exactly what happens.  Let’s hope this trend continues for the next six weeks.  That, of course, depends on me knowing what happens in 5 other chapters, which could prove an issue.

In other news, one of my stories was rejected the other day and I’ve completely run out of markets for it.  It’s a difficult match because it’s around 11,000 words and not many markets take stuff that long.  It’s one of my older stories and there’s not much hope of making it shorter, so I suppose I’ll just have to trunk it or put it up on the blog or something.  It makes me sad, as I absolutely love this story… sigh.

Write-a-thon Begins!

Write-a-thon Begins!

I’m not the only person who was so busy yesterday that I forgot to mention that the Write-a-thon started.  I was actually at a writing retreat since last Thursday and we came back down from the mountains yesterday.  Still, I got a decent start on the first chapter of the novel and some ideas to use for the upcoming ones.

It’s only Tuesday and I’m sure I’ll make this week’s goal!  That’s an excellent start.

The Clarion West kids have probably finished up their first crit session by now.  I’m so jealous!  Good luck guys and gals and others.  I hope CW is as awesome as it was my year.

In other Write-a-thon news, I now have $820 in pledged money.  Yay!  However, I am $180 short of my goal.  It is NOT too late to get in on this.  Even if you can only afford $5/week, that is still very helpful.  Join the ranks of the generous people who sponsored me!  Just email: sponsorkt, which is a gmail address.

And on a related note, Sunday was Octavia Butler’s birthday.  It coincided this year with the arrival of the new CW class, and I know Leslie, Neile, and Kate (amongst many others) are missing her particularly now.

Part of why I am so motivated to raise money in this write-a-thon is because half of it goes to the Butler Memorial Scholarship.  It’s one way I honor Octavia’s memory — by helping writers of color attend Clarion and Clarion West, something that made a big difference in her life, and mine, too.

And last, I’ll show you a small snippet of the chapter I’m working on:

All of the shrines and [temples] in –ward were built along the wall that separated the City from the outside. It was so high and so thick that the citizens rarely heard sounds from the greater world. Every [god] had a small house here, but the houses of Nebt-hut, Anpuu and Heqat stood above them all, Nebt-hut’s columns reaching almost the height of the wall.

The girls waited impatiently for their mother to catch up before walking on to the [temple] of Heqat. They made to rush into the birthing room, but Tian called them back.

“You have to be clean before you can go in. To keep Akana and the baby safe.”

While they washed their hands, arms, and feet, their mother dressed them in blue Heqat shifts that smelled of myrrh and chamomile. She prepared herself, slipping on a jeweled headband that marked her as high [priestess].

“Now we can go in.”

Kamisi took Miu’s hand and they entered quietly, the atmosphere of the room transforming their excitement into reverence. They were about to witness their first birth.