My ‘Absolute Must’ is that I must somehow, in some retrievable way, capture the idea, the snippet of speech, the scene setting, the plot twist. Thinking ‘I’ll remember this, certainly!’ doesn’t work. I speed-jotted a scene that I was delighted with in the manuscript that I am finishing up. Delighted – and I tried to tell a friend just what happened in the scene. Here’s what I said…
Gah! I’m telling it wrong.
Someone sent me a link to this presentation some years ago. It is a virtual tour of a Chinese landscape scroll ‘Along The River During the Ching-Ming Festival’. This is a theme and depiction that is considered a classic, and the Imperial Palace Museum has at least six similar scrolls.
This one has been digitized (if that’s a word) and the link will take you to a panorama of the scroll.
Move your mouse to the left and the scroll will unroll before you. You can control the speed. From time to time you will encounter an area enclosed by a square. If you click on it, the scene will open into a three-dimensional, animated vignette. It is very cleverly done, and too beautiful not to share.
Here is the link:
Along the River during the Ching-Ming Festival
…and here is a snapshot from the scroll:
- It helps to minimize the strange sense of grieving I suffer from when I’ve finished a story and am no longer dealing with a group of characters that I have come to love. I remember I received this advice years ago from an editor. “Never have only one work in the pipeline,” she told me. “It’ll help you cope with finishing a work.” I learned the hard way that she was right.
- It helps to minimize writer’s block. I think it’s sometimes the result of working too intensively on a specific project to the exclusion of everything else. It is an excellent way to burn out. Switch off to something fresh and you can catch your breath, and regain your stride.
- It will give you an excuse not to work on something. Actually, this isn’t a benefit.
At the moment I’m finishing the first draft of Mourningtide. I’m also working on Crowfut Gap, a novel set in Civil War Virginia, near the West Virginia border. There’s another Egyptian story, The Jubilee, which I started a few years back. It’s moving along slowly as things occur to me and I jot them down.
Lately I have been going back to a period that is slightly after A Killing Among the Dead. Ranefer is the last of his line, a family decimated by a systemic ailment that has killed them one after another, leaving only him, the third son of a king, the brother of two kings and the uncle of another. Egypt is crumbling; What is to be done if you are Lord of the Two Lands, and The Two Lands has forgotten that it has a Lord?
It is a bittersweet story (in its current shape) and puts an unusual twist on history as we know it.
The twist came to me as I was driving the three hundred odd miles home from Upstate New York. I think it may work. It might help if I stopped blogging and typed it, but I can mull it over a little more…
Only 6,800 words currently, but it should grow nicely – once I really start working on it.
El Alcazar de Segovia:
this is from a Flickr gallery with the title Castillos de Espana http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexhangdog/galleries/72157625736427028