2015 Clarion West Write-A-Thon: Week One Update

Current Project: Untitled Fantasy/Murder Mystery Novel
Current Pitch: Pinocchio meets In the Heat of The Night. Plus Practical Magic.

Epic Romance: Begins on page 1
First Death: 17 pages in
Exposition Fairy: Busy as a motherfucker

Song From Current Project Playlist: “Simon’s Sleeping” – Pretty Balanced

Goal Met: Yes

Well, we’re one week in, and I’m already having writer’s regret. So, that’s healthy.

So far, I have one prologue and one (pretty short) chapter completed. The prologue doesn’t count for anything — I wrote the first draft of that months ago and polished it up a bit last week. And the prologue’s actually longer than the first chapter, which probably isn’t a great sign. Then again, the first chapter is really just a short introduction and a handful of exposition before a dead body pops up to kick off the mystery. You probably don’t want that chapter to be too long, right? Right?

Here’s what I’ve determined/reaffirmed this week:

A. Opening sentences are bullshit.

B. I really hated describing scenery, so I absolutely went the right direction by choosing to write a second-world fantasy.

C. I’m drawing from a lot — a lot — of fairy tales and fairy tale tropes, but I don’t particularly want my world to resemble, like, Medieval Europe (or worse, Hollywood’s all white, all the time Medieval Europe). Partially because 90% of fantasy looks like that anyway, and partially because my voice is rather, well, distinct — and part of that distinction is the fact that I’m pretty American. I can cut some of the Californian if I work at it (even though a sentence clearly isn’t a sentence at all if it doesn’t have at least one ‘like’ in it), but if I try to thee and thou it, I’m done. So instead, I’m trying to work with the American, not just in language but in geography and government and religion. I don’t know if I want states, but I’m interested in territories. I definitely want dragons, but I’m not so sure about castles. I want to play with melting pot/salad bowl theory without being a total clueless asshole. It’s a work in progress.

D. I haven’t quite figured out my detective’s voice yet, but I figure I’ll get there. Probably before I figure out how to describe a sunset, anyway. (It’s, like, pretty? There are colors and stuff? Godamn scenery.)

Finally, your moment of zen random line from Chapter One:

“Fire couldn’t melt stone. It had to work hard to crack glass, but paper — paper surrendered. Paper crumpled to ash.”

(Please don’t comment to tell me that stone can be melted at a high enough temperature. I know. I can’t remember a damn thing I learned in any of my science classes, but I can still Google like a pro.)

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