Level Up

I got a light therapy lamp, and I know they’re supposed to be bright, but dear God when I turn the thing on my lips peel back and my hair ruffles like I’m an action-movie heroine on a motorcycle. Or, you know, a dog with its face out the car window. Plus, it makes some interesting noises as it heats up, creaking as the LEDs begin to spin the damned souls trapped inside to make them glow.1 We’ll see if it short-circuits the midafternoon sleepies.

Now that I don’t have to get up at five AM to get kids on schoolbuses, my writing patterns have shifted. It doesn’t help that this book is most definitely an afternoon book, and each scene requires thought and care, marinating and bubbling in the back of my head until it’s damn well good and ready to come out. That really isn’t so bad, except the book is a bloody monster and I’m behind, at 60K now and things are just getting started. The Muse has decided that since I’m in the habit of pushing my boundaries, she might as well dump a load of doorstop epic fantasy in my lap.

Today’s scene is an assassination attempt. It’s going to be halted by a real jerk of a character, a guy I dislike so thoroughly it’s a shame he’s a main character. He’s not evil or anything, and I understand exactly how he came to be the asshole he is, but I’ll be damned if I like him or his coping mechanisms. He’ll probably marry someone I like a good deal, and his arc is only slightly redemptive, so he’s going to be an asshole to the end. He might be a hero, but heroism comes with no guarantee of a healthy personality.

In fact, quite the opposite.

Anyway, there’s a feast and an attempt on the life of a prince, and said attempt will be foiled. This means I’ll need drums during my morning run, and probably have to block out some parts of the attack in my basement. (It’s too chilly to do outside just yet.) I might have to block it for a shortsword vs. spear, or knifework–I haven’t decided what would be most likely at this event. There’s acrobats with long poles, so a spear could be smuggled in, and I suppose I could even have Asshole Character unarmed and make him bleed a bit. Which would satisfy me, no doubt, but I’m not sure it would satisfy the story, and I might as well do it right the first time so I don’t have to go back and rip out all the stitches later.

I’ve also reached the point of doing a lot of initial editing in my head. It will take three tries at a sentence before I’m satisfied, and I’m spending a great deal of time sitting and staring while I write and discard them at lightning speed inside my skull. Some aspects of revision are being incorporated into the base creative run. It saves time later in revision, but it’s annoying as fuck to stumble-stagger through the zero draft with this going on. I’m choosing to take it as a sign that I’m leveling up–never a comfortable time, but plateauing is worse.

Now I’ve got to get out the door for a run. I’m twitchy all over and I need this scene to settle. Maybe I will make Asshole Character bleed a bit.

We’ll see what the Muse has planned.

Notes

  1. It’s this one, should you be interested.