Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gift from the Gods

In Ancient times, back when I was a lad, we used to be polytheistic. Back in those halcyon days when you were encouraged to slaughter your goat in front of your kids for the sake of some good fortune, there was always a likely chance for the gods to smile on you.

Not these days.

The muse is a fickle creature, and personally, I believe that since she is a figment of antiquity she fears God might smite her for being a part of that whole polytheism movement - you know, worshipping multiple gods! How pagan is that?

Anyhoo, she comes and she goes, and I'm getting rather fed up with it all. T'other week I was being commended for my screenplay pitch and the opening to my new novel, and today I'm battling with the first couple of hundred words of my YA/Children's novel - which I keep returning to with renewed (and failing vigour)... and it's killing me.

It's not like I've met the main narrative yet. I'm still playing around with the tone, a swift one/two page opening to set the scene of what is going on behind the scenes - though I don't want it to be long, because I have to leap into the narrative proper.

So, here I am, going round in circles, wondering to myself what's important in this description? The reader has to understand: there is a book in a room with no doors. The book is made from stone. The pages turn on their own and something unnatural and unseen is scoring words into the book. That the room is cylindrical, that books line the walls, stacked upwards, and there is no ceiling. Just a light that glares down from infinity far, far above. Sounds easy doesn't it?

I've spent 8 hours on this, and here's where I stand, 238 words of exhaustion:
… and the page shivers.

A sliver of polished stone, the width and breadth of a man’s chest, floats up from the book and curls over. Paper-thin, as if paper is all it is. In the half light the movement is barely visible. And no sooner has the page smoothed itself in place than the scoring starts anew, the screech of a dagger dragging through stone.

Nothing appears to move.

The book, fashioned from basalt like an ornament upon a tomb, lies open at its middle. It is clasped in obsidian claws that protrude on an arm of volcanic rock from the cobbled floor. Reptilian talons of black ice. Surrounding both book and pedestal is a single, unbroken wall of book-shaped bricks, a tower that stretches up to a circle of moonlight high above. An oubliette without entry or exit.

There is no one here to turn the page; no one to scratch the noise into the chill air. Yet, it sounds as if someone is doing just that. Something unseen is chiselling at the book. And, inscribed into those stone pages the words flow ceaselessly…

… stands the witch, Penthera Discordia. She pulls the iridescent, feather-bound book from beneath her robes and bears it before her. Her lips move and the incense thickens as a spell forms in her throat. And then she tears open the book as she might her own ribcage to free her heart…


esruel said...

Jeez, Rich, how you've grown as a writer. I wish you'd wrtten thousands of words on this, so I could have read them!
I do have a reservation, that you are posting original work here, and very good, original work it is, too. But unpublished, therefore you're giving your ideas away. Call me a cynic, but I really do feel you should keep this to yourself until it is 'sendable' to an agent, or 'postable' on LWC. I'd love to post my latest work on my blog, but don't dare - natural paranoia!
Getting abck to your writing, what you've done will require a huge amount of thought in order to get it to expand into a full work. Of course, you can do it. I certainly hope so!

R1X said...

Thanks Es. You're right... but how would I know if people thought my writing was getting better ;)

esruel said...

PC, Solvey, Sonnam, Maria, Osc, Pylea, and a whole bunch of people at LWC could tell ya for sure! They wouldn't argue about this latest piece, that's for sure :-)

esruel said...

Might I add that you are at a level that enables you to judge for yourself, before other opinions confirm it!