The nice thing about writing a blog that doesn’t get a lot of traffic is that the blogger can put up all sorts of nonsense without fear of reprisals.
With that mindset, and a bow to Conan Doyle, I herewith offer:
The Ballad of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes was canny
And his observations many
And he had a nose for sniffing out the facts.
Not until some nasty villain
Had surrendered, meek and willing,
Could our great detective sit down and relax.
But the villains, they were many
And poor Sherlock wasn’t plenty
Even if we counted Watson – which we won’t.
And it seemed that every morning
Brought a different case a-borning
Till The Great Detective screamed and shouted “Don’t!”
Doctor Watson was a-staring
As poor Sherlock started swearing
And he wrote down in his notebook ‘Mania!’
Sherlock saw him and he snorted,
“My career will be aborted!
Friend, I need some rest or I’ll go ‘Zani-a!'”
Watson beamed with inspiration
And he said, with hesitation,
“Holmes, you ought to go and visit Baskerville! –
Why, the prospect isn’t daunting,
And he has some lovely hunting!”
“Capital, dear Watson – yes, I think I will!”
But Lord Baskerville had trouble
And the trouble seemed to double
In the eerie shape of one gigantic hound.
And poor Holmes – he started crying
As he saw his ‘rest trip’ dying,
And he wished he hadn’t thought to come around.
There’s a moral to this story:
If you do not want to worry
You can take as good solution this alone:
If customers with their hist’ries
Want to tell you all their myst’ries –
You can tell them that you simply are not Holmes!
|This had problems; the original was worse|
Not a lot to complain of, except that the main character featured on the cover was a man, without a doubt, and the kohl around the eyes and the truly bizarre hair – even to those like me who are somewhat familiar with the society makes you doubt it.
I had wanted it to be moving, the tears in the eyes – the story arises from a bereavement – but while I liked the composition and the color, I had to admit to myself (at the very least) that this was wretched and needed to be adjusted.
I liked the colors and the composition, and, as with the other designs in the cycle, I liked using statuary (in this case a bas-relief) that had some connection with the characters.
The hair was problematic, and there were several reasons why I was dissatisfied.
|An improvement, but needs work…|
Tonight I sat down, thought things through, and worked for severael hours. I had an idea for a way to fix things. Doing the hair differently, for starters.
|The final version|
Better hair. It looks better. I may lift his chin a little, though he is mourning (hence the title…)
I adjusted it a little this morning and then the connection failed. I’ll upload the ‘final’ version this evening. I made the man larger on the page, and raised his chin, as I had intended.
…and here is the final version. I also removed the hand from the frame, whihc reduced the ‘noise.
One more step taken. *Sigh*. I will miss this story.
September 6, 2015:
I am editing this to show the final cover. I scrapped the cover image, which I realized was not up to par, and composed a different one completely:
Dorothy Sayers wrote an excellent and fascinating book with the title The Mind of the Maker. It is actually a treatise on the theology of the Trinity – but since it is told from the focus of a writer, specifically, it is a wonderful read. You can find it HERE on Amazon.
She talks of the three parts to a work – the Idea behind the work, the Energy involved in creating the work, and the Power that arises from the work – the reaction that readers have to it, and the way it changes them. My copy is hopelessly marked up.
One of the most enjoyable discussions (for me) is her talk about the nature of characters, and how they have to arise out of a plot and be firmly centered in the plot to have any reality. She gives as an example a passage from Writing Aloud by J D Beresford in which he tells about his attempt to write a book based on a character that he dreamed up. It was a shambles. The minute he put this character into a story, other characters, arising from the story itself, and conceived of as being in a situation took over. They were immensely more powerful and more compelling.
Interesting, I thought all those years ago. Something to mull over and marvel at.
And then it happened in my writing.
Pharaoh’s Son takes its title for the literal translation of the Egyptian term for ‘Prince’. It is ‘King’s Son’, or ‘Pharaoh’s Son’. Since the book involves a number of princes, I thought it appropriate.
The main character is a son of Ramesses the Great, well-attested in history with a character that comes through clearly across the centuries. Historically, he was a scholar and was credited with being the first archaeologist in history. He served as High Priest of Ptah and Governor of Memphis, and was Crown Prince at the end of his life. He fulfilled these roles with such distinction that he was remembered as a wise man for centuries after his death.
With these attributes, how can such a character help but be splendid?
Well, my would-be main character was overshadowed by his brother, the Crown Prince of Egypt, who stepped into the story as a quasi-villain, had a turnaround, and ended up stealing the show. A character in a situation, he was far more powerful than his brother, far more interesting…
The original hero ended up holding his own, and we had two main characters. It worked.
And it provided for me a very good illustration of Beresford’s situation.
I will be releasing Mourningtide in six weeks – April 30, to be precise. I am posting the current cover, but I have a newer design that will be posted a little closer to release.
It has been an enjoyable story to write. I am often sad when I finish a project like this. I will be seeing a favorite character for the last time – he appears only as a memory in the next installment. And at the end of the next one I will be saying good-bye to my favorite character, ever.
Here is the older cover:
Sample chapters are HERE
(folks, I don’t know why the date says March 7. I posted this at 12:10am eastern US time on March 8…)
Years ago, when I was in college, my friends and I had one of those ‘what would you do if…’ discussions. You know the sort of thing:
What would you do if you knew you were going to die tomorrow?
|Why don’t men dress like this any more?|
If you could only go on one date this year, where would you go, and with whom?
|Can you smell the lavender?|
|It’s the sun that gives the lovely scent…|
|This is Barbados. I’ll take Kauai.|
|Who needs sugar with these?|
|She does have sweet-smelling fur…|
|The tea room is in the windowed, lit area on the front of the photo. A wonderful view!|
That was always a wonderful time – high tea (your choice of tea) perfect little sandwiches of egg salad, or smoked salmon, or date nut bread and cream cheese… Devonshire cream, jam and scones… All in a lovely atmosphere.
Years ago, while reading about the American Civil War, I came across an item that I found very interesting even for that heartbreaking, fascinating time. I retired soldier, living on a government pension and in a home for retired veterans, had been discovered to be a woman rather than a man. This soldier had fought during the war, had suffered all the privations that were experienced by soldiers in that time, and had been mustered out at the end with an honorable discharge.
...one writing step at a time
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