23 September, 2001

Yeah, I know. It has been a while since the last journal entry. There hasn't been much to talk about, and I didn't want this journal to turn into some kind of writer's block bitching and moaning session. The work has gone much slower than I expected. I started working on the prequel in June; it is now September, and I've only completed two scenes. Very depressing. It shouldn't be, but I tend to only think of my writing—fiction and music—in terms of the end product. I'm always kicking myself over this. The famous "why isn't it done yet" question is constantly going through my mind. Oh, well, it just goes to show that I have no sense of perspective.

A lot of good work has been done if only I would recognize it. It still amazes me how different this revision of the prequel is from all previous versions. There are times when I think that is part of what is causing the delay. The fact that I have to get my mind around how different things are going to be. I'll use Armada for an example. In her youth, she was a hellion, causing trouble and barely controlling her power. I've never been able to give this younger version of her justice before. Sure, everybody would talk about how wild she was, and I would occasionally be able to work flashes of this into the story. But, she always turned out calm and well-balanced. With this revision, I think I've finally gotten a handle on her. She is so alien, walking around with a really big cherry-red axe. I almost don't recognize her.

In older versions of the prequel, Armada didn't show up until the second or even the third chapter. This time she shows up in the second scene. Alexander hasn't even made his big entrance, yet. This shook me up. Tahrl encountering Armada before Alexander. When I was contemplating the scene, I got the sense that she was going to come very close to raping Tahrl, which is not something I liked at all. I have finally been able to write the scene, and I am proud of the restraint Armada showed.

This requires a digression. I don't really tell the gang what to do. They tell me or even act it out. All I can do is sit back and watch and try to offer suggestions. "Ah, Armada, do you really have to rip his pants and pull them down like that? Yeah, I know you can have any guy you want but could you please behave yourself just a little? Guys don't necessarily want it just because you are forcing yourself upon them. Okay, behave yourself. Just try and behave yourself. I swear I'm not in the mood to write a scene that gets that graphic."

She's doing it to shock me; I just know it.

Of course, Tahrl is showing his prejudice, too. As soon as he realizes that she is a Dryn, he starts thinking of her as an it and not as a person. He even thinks things like "it looks so much like a woman." He has told me that he is going to spend most if not all of the first chapter refusing to call her by name. He's going to say stuff like "hey, you Dryn." Of course, Armada has also informed me that she is not going to go out of her way to tell him her name. Yeah, they get through their entire first scene together without exchanging names. In fact, they don't say very much.

Spooky. They are doing this on purpose. They are torturing me like this because I am doing the revision. "You want different? Okay, we'll show you just how different we can be."

I have also been wrestling with matters of tone and voice. With the first two scenes written, I have been going back over them and twisting a word here and changing a sentence structure there. I want to find a good voice for this story. As much as I loved the language of The Magic Flute, I know how complex and dense it got. Entire chapters were written at the rate of one paragraph per day. That is how dense things got. How much time had to go into the crafting of each sentence. Of course, on the other extreme, we've got The Faire Folk of Gideon: Pin the Tail on the Donkey, which is composed mostly of sentence fragments. This is the extreme of informal language.

I want to find a balance between the two. I love the poetry of The Magic Flute and the flow of The Faire Folk of Gideon. There must be a hybrid of the two. I was looking back over the first two scenes of the prequel and found a lot of sentence fragments so I cleaned most of those up, keeping the ones that seemed most appropriate for the flow of the story. I think I've almost managed a style I like, and I'll keep refining it as the story progresses. We shall see what happens next.

copyright © 2001 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved
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