Monday, April 2, 2007

Thought experiment for today

If you had an unusual form of arthritis that caused your joints to swell and stiffen randomly, how would you tell whether you had injured yourself?
Yesterday my right knee was stiff. I attributed this to the ravages of age, and to sitting and typing for a few hours. Walk it off, I said, in the voice of an internalised PE coach. It remained stiff, though more flexible when I exercised it gently. I could achieve almost the full range of motion--but not simultaneously with putting weight on the joint. Oh well, can't have everything.
Today it's swollen and resists motion, though I can move it slowly. Going up and down stairs (which I do often at home) has gone all Christopher Robin-ish. I only need a Pooh-bear to thump down the stairs head-down behind me. At least I'm not reduced to doing it on my bum like a toddler; given my present dimensions and the narrowness of some of the steps, perhaps riskier than walking.
I don't know. Perhaps I've really injured myself and should right now be sitting in the walk-in clinic, waiting 3 hours for a doctor to probe my knee and tell me to take an anti-inflammatory (which I can't, because I am).

Just finished reading The Silence of the Langford, by Dave Langford, with introduction by TNH. I bought it at Potlatch, and was barely 1/3 into it when it was swiped by my husband, along with He Do the Time Police in Different Voices. This deprivation did allow me to get some writing done undistracted. When Silence (was) returned, my productivity dropped, because I kept picking the damned book up and reading another selection. "Trillion Year Sneer" and "Inside Outside" in particular, though I rejoiced in every poke at Stephen R. Donaldson, having been unable to get more than a couple of chapters into White Gold Wielder (if that was the first one).
But it's finished now, and I'm only distracted by the question of what did happen after Harry Harrison introduced Langford to Donaldson?

Writing: the alleged raison d'etre of this blog
So I had my main character up a tree, and the current baddies were poking torches at the tree to set it on fire. The rescued princess was stashed in a somewhat skimpy hiding place all too nearby, and the transformed brother had buggered off somewhere. It was dark, with a waning moon.
The tree, for no particular reason, was on a low mound (okay, it was so it wouldn't set the whole forest on fire if it burnt) with the remains of a stone circle lopsidedly around it. There wasn't much cover, other than some brambles and bracken. The princess was under brambles at the base of the only really standing stone.
How to get them out of this? I was torn.
On the one hand, I'd been recently listening to a couple of versions of the King Orfeo ballad, and was drawn to the idea of having the stone turn out to be one of the gates to the fairy mound, and the princess being taken under the Hill, saved from the robbers, but possibly under the spell of the Fair Folk, and Myl having to rescue her again--would she even want to be rescued this time?--with potential uncertainty later whether she had brought back the mortal princess, or a changeling?
The debit side is that I'm wordcount-wise on the final lap, and this risks bringing in a major subplot and changing the emphasis of the novel. The credit side is that it's just very cool, is all.
The alternative was to bring back the dark shape that had menaced Myl and Sefina during their watch through the night over the guard's corpse. I'd put that in to keep things from getting sleepy and dull, but had lately been thinking it might be the same as the bear that attacks Myl in the spring. If Tyl had run off to find the shape (not yet identified as bear) and goaded it to chase him back into the midst of the robbers, that would remove the immediate threat without overweighting the story elements. Potentially, another rule of three or triad: once to be seen, once to help, once to harm. As uncertain and equivocal as the forest, both danger and shelter.But darn, the fairy hill idea was cool.
So I asked for opinions on the Furtive Scribblers thread, and Holly agreed that the fairy hill was cool, but also agreed that the bear-shape would fit more tidily in the story. Yay Holly!
After that I figured out a way to still hint at the changeling idea.
The Willow Knot stands at 72k, and I have all the court intrigue still to cover, and the Lurv subplot to flesh out, and a trial to write. In 8k, and that's including the slop factor I've left myself. Damn plotty stuff, it never fits in the space it's supposed to.


Grimmtooth said...

Snicker. /White Gold Wielder/ is actually the *sixth* book in the series, or the third in the second series, depending on how you view it.

That ... might affect your reading experience.

batgirl said...

It was definitely the first book, because The Leper of Ultimate Angst had only just gotten into The Land of Generic Fantasy. I've blanked on the title (the mind is merciful at times), and delving back into the fungoid growth of the series to discover it is...failing to appeal to me.
Anyway, while reading it I said to myself, "One more, just one more pseudo-Germanic name construction and I drop this book on the floor."
Fortunately my feet were out of the way when I turned the page.

avo said...

I think Lord Foul's Bane is the first book in the series. But Donaldson is yet another corner of the canon missing from my education.

Ah, my misspent youth. Misspent reading, I don't know, Agatha Christie novels or something like that, which really don't put up with much angst. Poirot may have been vain, but he wasn't much of a whiner.

batgirl said...

Oddly, we've been discussing Dame Agatha over on the ABE book forums. Poirot won, with Miss Marple trailing behind because of her special-pleading method of deduction and her appalling snobbery. Tommy and Tuppence were sentimental favourites.
I think reading popular fiction from the 20s-50s is good for one's style. Buchan and Sayers and Allingham and so on, they made good prose. And they didn't usually use words of whose meaning they were uncertain. Unlike certain long-winded fantasy authors.