charamei: Books. Best weapons in the world. (DW10: Books)
I signed up for A Round of Words in 80 Days at the end of NaNo. The intention then was to turn Miasma from a very extended, very bad outline into an actual novel, but as it gets closer, I'm having doubts. And it's not as if I don't have other choices...

LOTS of other choices. )

Most of these are back-burner projects that get occasional poking. Regan & Meredith and Chester Snitterfield are the two closest to being ready; Regan & Meredith are the ones that I want to write right now, and it really is about time that I got any of these onto paper. But, argh. Should be doing Miasma.

What to write, what to write...


The Continuing Adventures of Bad History Writer )

Well, SOD.

Nov. 12th, 2010 07:41 pm
charamei: Critical failure! (Rolled a 1)
Lost my memory stick, and with it, the 1,000 words I wrote last night after backing up to Dropbox. You know, the 1,000 words where the hero tells me what the fuck is going on in my novel.

Also, everything else that existed only on that stick, which wasn't much but was enough to be irritating.

Also, I don't understand how. I distinctly remember taking it out of my USB hub and putting it into my bag to take to work. My bag with the deep, solid pockets. Which at no point turned upside-down. When I got on the train and went to plug it into my netbook, it wasn't there, so either it somehow jumped six inches out of my bag pocket, cleverly bypassing the flap as it did so, or it fucking dematerialised.

(Yes, I am sweary today. It's been an aggravating one all around and this is just the icing on top.)

Sod sod sod sod SOD.

(Bright side! I didn't lose any of the new batch of First Steps, just Miasma. And, you know, every other fucking thing from before I started using Dropbox.)

Moodtheme!Unam is unsuitable. I am past 'Unam' levels of pissed-off and straight into FALLEN MEREDITH PSYCHOTIC RAGE at myself right now.

I just... I have no idea how I lost it. There was no logistical point between 'put stick in bag' and 'retrieve stick on train' where it could have fallen out.
charamei: NaNoWriMo: The plot thickens (NaNoWriMo: The Plot Thickens)


17380 / 50000 words. 35% done!

First Steps:

15405 / 20000 words. 77% done!

Yesterday, I completely redid my plot outline to accommodate certain epiphanies regarding the nature of the book I'm writing, and actually wrote maybe 500 words of Miasma and 1167 of First Steps.

Today, my hero barged into the king archon's office, sat down, and... recapped the plot in an epic 1,000-word speech of epicness. Which was extremely useful of him, since (a) I now know what happened in the ideal first draft of this novel up to the point I'm now at, and (b) while he was at it I got some interesting insights into his motivation and filled in a couple of remaining logic holes.

(Meanwhile, in First Steps land, wow, that 1,100 words feels good, and so does breaking the original 15k aim. I might even finish it this month!)
charamei: Being terrible is a first draft's sovereign right. (NaNoWriMo: Terrible first drafts)
...Ohhh, that's what this novel's about!

Okay. Could've told me I was writing a ghost story nine days ago, subconscious, I've been labouring under the misapprehension that I was writing a fantasy crime/political thingummy.

Still! I have a plot now. An actual one, with a beginning, a middle and an end, which is just as well because I'm basically at the beginning of the middle now. I need to work out which of the scenes I've already written shouldn't have happened yet, but basically, this might start making sense soon.

And if not, at least we're getting to the part where the unquiet dead turn up and start attacking people.

(In retrospect, why did it take me so long to realise I was writing a ghost story...?)

Also, a NaNoism! Courtesy of Timandra, the thirty-five year old, highly-educated, intelligent and (Greek-)traditionally feminine female protagonist:
... today there were no arguments; there could be no question that shit had got real.

I don't know if Athens had a ghetto or not, but I do know she's not from it.
charamei: NaNoWriMo: The plot thickens (NaNoWriMo: The Plot Thickens)

5005 / 50000 words. 10% done!

I also killed off my protagonists' son in one of the driest pieces of prose ever written, and someone has said the vital line, "I'unno, it all just seemed wrong."

The Plot has begun. By the end of tomorrow, Epicles will probably be doing CSI Prehellenic Megara while Timandra does, er, something.

By the end of the week, I might even have shown something rather than told it! (I am having, to put it nicely, troubles getting back into writing long-form. The advantage of this is that it really condenses the words, so while I might end up with nothing more than a bare-bones outline on which to hang bells and whistles like 'spelling', 'historical accuracy' and 'good storytelling', I should at least have a finished bare-bones outline.)

Day One

Nov. 1st, 2010 08:29 pm
charamei: Start writing and keep writing! (NaNoWriMo: Start Writing and Keep Writin)

1736 / 50000 words. 3% done!

500 words in: "This is all utter crap, WTF happened to my writing - ohhh, yeah, wait, this happens every time I begin writing anything. Keep going, fix it later..."

900 words in: "Did I really just spend 400 words expositing on the fact that it's unseasonably foggy?"

1200 words in: "Epicles, if you keep patronising your wife like that I'm going to end up hating you. You're my protagonist; I'd rather avoid this eventuality."

1300 words in: "Well, you're likeable now, but why do you two sound so posh? ...and is it just me, or have I accidentally skipped a scene that could give me a couple of thousand words? Ehhh. SECOND DRAFT."

1400 words in: "You're likeable, but now you look like an idiot next to your wife. Stop that."

1600 words in: "Er... hold on, wasn't Slave 1 the one who was with the wrecked expedition? Did he teleport? it was Slave 3. Sure, whatever, it's not like they have names or personalities yet anyway."

1700 words in: "Hold on, when did I break 1700...?"

(Might go back and write that ENTIRE SCENE that I skipped before bed, but for now, free time.)


Oct. 27th, 2010 07:55 pm
charamei: Dark clouds gather. Caption: "Yup, those are my ominous clouds." (NaNoWriMo: Ominous Clouds)
Okay, so I've finally got around to working out the date my novel starts on:
  1. Rolled a d10 for the prytany. 4th prytany; we'll say the first day because that's easiest.

  2. First day of the fourth prytany = 108 days after Hekatombion 1, the start of both Athenian calendars. This translates to roughly Boedromion 19 in the Athenian religious calendar.

  3. From the late fifth century BC onwards, Hekatombion 1 fell on the Julian calendar's July 1, so Boedromion 19 translates to October 16*.

  4. Add thirteen days to make up the discrepancy between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and that's... October 28, 396 BCE.
Which is tomorrow. Like I said: spooky.

It's also about halfway through the ten-day celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which is Very Interesting Indeed. I had a feeling those were going to play some part; now I've got some new ideas as to exactly what part they play.

Mostly, though, I'm a little creeped out by the idea that my novel starts tomorrow XD

* Beeewaaaare the Iiiiides of Octoooober...!
charamei: Dark clouds gather. Caption: "Yup, those are my ominous clouds." (NaNoWriMo: Ominous Clouds)

Where did those Spartans come from? I don't know anything about Sparta, besides the obvious 'all gay, helots, diarchic, laconic wits'. And I haven't even finished reading up on Athens yet.

So much fact-checking, so little time.

(Two days later)


...fine. Corinth = hostile to Athens, has a famous Temple to Aphrodite which contains many sacred prostitutes, and white clay. I have no idea what any of this has to do with my plot (the political aspect is, umm, the E-plot or F-plot at least), but if that's what I've got then that's what's going in.

By contrast, the Spartans are being quite well-behaved... my hero might get mugged by teenagers, though, and OH THAT'S HOW HE MEETS THE RANDOM SPARTAN WOMAN. She now has a broom and knows how to use it.

(He also goes through Megara, but Megara is conspicuous by its boringness. Well, if you were sandwiched between Athens and Corinth while they engaged in a centuries-long pissing contest, you'd make yourself boring too...)
charamei: Dark clouds gather. Caption: "Yup, those are my ominous clouds." (NaNoWriMo: Ominous Clouds)
I had a brainwave last night.

My plot (a) has very strong symbolic ties to the underworld and (b) needed some in-your-face threats to go along with the background stuff of people dying from disease, famine etc. And I already knew we were going to have one ghost, of a minor character who gets murdered early on.

As of last night, I have a whole subtheme of 'the city is being pulled into the Underworld', and while that's fantastic, it does mean... the walking dead. Ghosts, mainly - zombies aren't very Greek - but oh, deary deary me. I'm writing an undead story for NaNo.

I feel so cliched.

(On the other hand, the ghostly/illusory Charon waiting patiently on the Eridanos in the Agora (or possibly somewhere else depending on how big that river was, my research is incomplete... it'd also work in the harbour at Piraeus) is delightfully creepy.
charamei: NaNoWriMo: I research more for this than I ever did for my thesis. (NaNoWriMo: I Research)
So while fact-checking for NaNoWriMo, I stumbled across the random tidbit that Socrates and Alcibiades were lovers while both were adults (generally frowned upon in Athens).

Which raises all sorts of interesting questions, most notably: WARNING: CLASSICS NERDERY AHEAD )

(Oh, and at some point along the way I misread 'love of boys' as 'love of buoys' and became extremely confused.)
charamei: NaNoWriMo: I research more for this than I ever did for my thesis. (NaNoWriMo: I Research)
The birth of this year's NaNovel, a ten-step process:

  1. Ugh, another humid summer. Yuck. Humidity is evil.

  2. Some subconscious connection between 'humidity', 'fog', 'pollution' and the Greek μιασμα, which means pollution in a moral sense but has included in that definition a sense of pervading doom hanging over a person/family/city. The House of Atreus has a μιασμα, for example.

  3. Evil Ancient Greek humidity! Clearly I am a genius.

  4. Need a protagonist... oh, hello, protagonist. I shall call you Hero. Here, have a Mentor. He's a philosopher and probably also bumming you, this being classical Greece and all.

  5. Wonder what's causing the fog...?

  6. Volcanoes? There must have been an Athenian colony on a volcanic island by the height of the Delian league, right? *researches*

  7., Hero, your Athenian-style democracy does not have a king, and he is certainly not doing his own mother. You moron. Why are you the Hero again?


  9. Ohhh! My three alternate plots all join up into one coherent narrative if I just sort of do that instead of this...

  10. Hero, you are boring and an idiot and shall henceforth be relegated to Support Bumsex. Mentor, you have been promoted.

Actual words written before I decided to do this for NaNo: 34 (will not be counted in November)
Current first words: 'Rosy-fingered dawn'
First word should be: 'Fog'. The first word of ancient poetry is always the most important, after all*
Number of people likely to interact with a wine-dark sea: Three, currently
Arming sequences: Prooobably none
Number of times I have confused [personal profile] humble_yoghurt by rambling incoherently about Greeks and evil fog: 3
Number of words in English for fog: About ten, maybe twenty if you stretch your definitions a bit
Number of words in Greek for fog: One (ομιχλη)

*Iliad: 'wrath'. Odyssey: 'man'. Aeneid: 'arms' (in the sense of 'weaponry'). Propertius, elegy: 'Cynthia'. Ovid, elegy: er, 'arms' again. Insert fangirling of Ovid's wilful and intentional subversion of the literary conventions of his time here.


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