Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tail of Two Scions: An Update

As some of you may know, I am halfwy through writing (what I intend to be) a trilogy. Entitled "Lemurs (A Saga)" it follows the adventures of Aurelia, a mostly Silky Sifaka who is orphaned and fostered by ringtailed lemurs, in Ifaty on the west coast of Madagascar. It is an (or hopefully will be) epic fantasy novel, with lemurs. The lemurs have a culture that is a hybrid between that of real-world lemurs, the Malagasy people and a healthy dose of pure imagination. I blogged extensively a few years ago, when I wrote the first draft of "Fellowship of the Ringtails" (book one) for the Southern Cross Novel Challenge in 2011.

I am pleased to say that, despite my rather negative posts towards the end of June 2011, "Fellowship of the Ringtails" DID have a future and HAS been published. Even if no one has bought a single copy in any of the formats.
If you wish to actually buy a copy, here's where you can acquire it from:
Amazon (in paperback and ebook format)
Kobo (epub format, with the illustrations in COLOUR)

Anyhow, more because I want to than because I feel anyone will want to read it, I am working on book two: "Tail of Two Scions". I wrote the first draft for this back in NaNo 2011, and blogged about that too but then ended up deleting the entirity of Aurelia's side of the story (although I am still really very fond of Rakoto's, and shall keep that).

Essentially, the storyline of book two follows two characters -  Aurelia, the true (albeit illegitimate) heir to the royal throne and Rakoto, not a true heir, but by Madigaska rule, the official heir to the royal throne. Hence the "two scions" of the title. Rakoto's story is set entirely (so far) in Narivo, the capital city whereas Aurelia's needs to be set in Bemaraha, the grand tsingy, where she has joined a scholarly collective of lemurs that call themselves the Karazana.

Here the problem lay. I did not really have a good grasp on where Aurelia lived, and what she could be doing there. Obviously she needed to be doing something vaguely interesting - as I am sure that the reader would not be particularly enthused about hearing everything about her daily lessons, but that if I just skipped all that and got straight to the bloodbath* climax, then the reader would feel cheated too. So, I experimented. In the original plot, she went off with a bunch of other lemurs and travelled through the tsingy and rode on a hippopotamus, got captured by a mandrill and a bunch of other stuff which seemed like a good idea at the time, but in retrospect seemed kinda silly and took the plot off on a wild-mad and completely unnecessary (excepting for wordcount) tangent. Then I dilly-dallied around with some other stuff in which nothing much happened.

Finally, the problem occured to me - I needed to better understand how the Karazana worked.
So, I got myself a personal wiki via TiddlyWiki and then I popped along to TiddlyToddler to learn how to use it properly. And I started brainstorming. That worked pretty well - I wrote out a timetable for the Karazana Novices, I made a list of Rules, I worked out different Punishments and then started writing. First goal - to see how many rules Aurelia could break in the first few pages (only about three, but they were pretty serious ones, and she's currently up to eight, including breaking some twice).

This has worked out rather better. In fact, I'm starting to get into a sort of fairy-tale mash up now in which there are elements of Billy Goats Gruff, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and the Beast and maybe a touch of King Kong thrown in for good measure. I might be able to manage Arabian Nights as well.

I intended to work on this side of the novel for SocNoc 2013, but due to various other events (ie: finishing the final edit on book 1) I did not get started writing properly until the 15th June. Halfway through. Therefore I am attempting what they call "HalfNoc" (25k). It is still feasible that I could write 50,000 words in the remaining 8 days of this month, but it seems unlikely.

Word count when I started: 32,096

Words written since 15th June: 15,454

So far Aurelia has: climbed a stone spire to steal an eagle's egg, fallen and given herself a concussion, been assigned "dung duty" (exactly what it sounds like) as her punishment, befriended an antelope calf (actually, it's a goat, but the lemurs don't quite have my knowledge of taxonomy), rescued antelope calf from a "troll" and now been captured by aforementioned troll.

The troll is a mandrill, the antelope calf is an aoudad, or barbary goat and Aurelia is going to be in a whole lot of trouble... with any luck, these events will work to be tied in with later events. We shall see. Otherwise, I guess I'll just cut them out again and relegate them to another "removed story" text file.

* This ain't Game of Thrones

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