Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tiles, loaves, and plots

You don’t mind if I carry over a topic from my other blog here do you? Thanks. My stollen I was baking yesterday when I wrote an entry in the other blog, turned out fairly well. Quite edible even if they didn’t close up around the filling. My wife says to reduce the amount of filling (sugar and cinnamon) and I think I might also double the amount of yeast, but not too bad a result from interpolating across two book recipes.

Having a busy writing life, you might be excused for wondering how I have time for such flights into the wild unknown. Well it’s all the fault of the tile setters. They were to come to lay tile in the bathroom on Wednesday . . . then it was Thursday . . . then. Well, they arrived this morning. With the threat of having to cross my legs for a whole day hanging over me I just couldn’t settle down to working on the next chapter of the novel in progress. I did manage some material in trial introductory chapters for the next novel in my Iskander series, but I’d been mulling that over for weeks – months even.

They are using Quick-set for the tiles and promise the whole job will be completed early this evening when they come back to grout. I had intended to tile the bathroom myself – even bought the tiles about ten years ago – but just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to start. Well, we’d laid about 500 sq ft ourselves some years before that and although everything came out well, it kinda dampened our enthusiasm for doing more. There still is more to do but what the heck, the house was built in 1984, so leaving a few jobs for later is a minor detail. I’d much rather be writing.

Talking about trial introductory chapters, you wouldn’t happen to know an early test to indicate whether a plot and scenario is going to work, do you? Each one of the three novels published or under contract for the series has a somewhat different dynamic. Deadly Enterprise, the first release has Gisel Matah my feisty security officer acting as a guy’s bodyguard, pursued by enemies as she takes him to an enemy city. (Think Frodo making for Rivendell.) The second, The Wildcat’s Victory, has her as a director of events when she leads troops into dangerous action. (Aragorn becomes the King of Gondor.) The third, Arrival, is a prequel when she’s a sixteen year old brat who grows up into this competent warrior over the course of an eventful five months. (Merry and Pippin coming of age.) For the next novel I want to show her in an executive position, military governor of a turbulent city, while she struggles to keep the lid on the plots of a host of enemies – and become a new mother at the same time. This time my protagonist doesn’t have an objective and a plan, other than to stay alive, while a number of antagonists assail her position as governor from all sides. It seems backwards from the general structure of hero struggling against outer forces to attain a goal, but perhaps its not too different to work.

Will close with season’s greetings to all.

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