Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

My prime concern about Journal of the Dead right now is the story-within-stories. These are interludes explaining how the individual spirits who travel with Rhiane ended up being sentenced to death. They're long for internal tales, but wouldn't be considered lengthy if taken as separate short works. There are five spirits and six stories: Ihseye's is broken into two somewhat shorter chunks.

One concern is they start fairly early into the journal. I waffle back and forth as to whether this is a problem since the reader will have just come out of third person (the chapter section), or whether it works better because it builds on that expectation.

Overall, I've decided that I'm justified having these interludes because:

1. They provide character flavor and color; rather than info-dumping the spirits' backgrounds, you really get to meet them AND (again) half of them turn out to have plot relevance. I hope the first time the reader runs into a reference to something they saw in the sidestories, they'll keep their eyes peeled for more.
2. There's precedent. I point to American Gods, which has long interludes, earlier in the book than my first digression -- not to mention that none of these interjections, while they are flavorful, have any direct bearing on the plot.

On a more cynical note, the interludes are far enough into the manuscript that by the time an editor sees them, they'll be looking at the whole tamale, and I don't think even if they ARE a problem, it's weak / significant enough to bring down the whole work.

In regards to Scylla and Charybdis, I am currently having some mental disconnect because I'm reading the fourth book of the Mabinogion Tetralogy - the one involving the mythological Gwydion - while writing about my Gwydion, and they couldn't be more different. The name was originally chosen as an homage; when I was writing the SaC short story, I wanted a mythological manly-man to contrast to my Amazons. I went for Welsh because ... I like Welsh. My intellectual decision-making for stories only goes so far!

I suppose I could have named him Pwyll.

I'm a trifle concerned about this warlord's assistant who is ... well, pursuing Anaea. His sudden attention feels a bit thin. On the other hand, it's a point I'm trying to illustrate about the society, that those at his level are accustomed to having what they want, and that leads to a fair number of frivolous impulses chased down with unnecessary intensity.

I finished the form story about dancing, btw. It is a universal not-hit - but it did get written.

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