Zoe Update (2)

Zoe in the snow
Zoe in the snow

Just a quick update. Zoe is moving a bit more today, though definitely still experiencing nausea and dizziness, based on the drunken way she’s walking (it would be funny if it weren’t so depressing). Her vet called to say the first batch of tests came back negative (yay!), and to give some recommendations on what to feed her (she hadn’t taken a bite since Friday, though this morning she relented and ate some bread). For now we’re just waiting to see what the second set of tests have to say. Assuming they’re negative as well, we’ll keep her downstairs and under observation until she goes back to the vet in two weeks. Thanks everyone that replied, much appreciated. Zoe’s been a part of our family for over ten years and played no small part in the initial parenting of at least one of our children, and an integral part in all three’s first years. What can I say? She’s family, and its painful to see someone who is usually such a vivid, active companion to suddenly be reduced like this.

And Another Week Goes By [Part 2]

And then, there’s the writing update. I considered making this one long blog post, but then I considered you, the reader. And you, the reader reading over the reader’s shoulder. Some will care more for part 1 than part 2; others won’t care for either and just never updated your RSS feeds when I left Gentoo. These things happen.

The good news [quick summary of Part 1 – had a flu/fever combo for a week, last week was spent recovering from the recovery] is the fire still burns bright on this story. I think it has really helped that I spent all of that time working on outlines and such – I have enough material to remind me of where I was going, what I was doing, and what I intended to do, plus a week (really two) of fermentation for it to blossom in my head. Granted, the new addition to our family household (XBOX) is a true lure away from the keyboard, but I did manage to knock out a few thousand words between epic battles in Star Ocean this weekend.

One thing that has really helped with this, that I began back at the start of April, was I started interviewing myself. I’m sure this is a documented technique somewhere, but to be frank, I just made it up as I was going. The gist is simple: ask myself questions as if the novel was in its final draft, and see what kind of answers I come up with. I must still be feeling a little light headed, because I’m going to paste a bit of that here so you can see how it works (and how vague I can be even answering myself). I suggest that this is just book one in this quote, but I’ve since reconsidered that – now I just want to see where it goes, try and encompass the whole story in one novel, and if I need to cut it up later, so be it. I ended up pasting more below than I had intended to start off with, but one paste demanded another. This isn’t all of it, but it gives you an idea of my thoughts so far on the novel.

So, one of the concepts for this book is the idea that there are seasons of magic (Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn), so I asked myself:

What’s the result of the coming season of magic?

One answer to this is that object and places that had lain dormant for thousands of years come back to life. Almost like after a black out – you get used to the silence, the darkness, the lack of light, then suddenly the world starts making noise again, the white noise is back, lights are blinking. My thought is that there are a few hints of this, and then pow, Winter is over. But I’d like to give a few chapters of life in Winter before turning the power on.

Another thing to ponder is besides the gadgets and powers, what lay dormant without the magic? The Pools of Dreaming have survived on their backup power for thousands of years. What do they usher in now? I have a notion of an Old Enemy awakening, but that’s almost trite. Everyone has the Ancient Enemy suddenly returned. But is that staple of fantasy a bad thing? Maybe they slumber between the seasons. Horrific creatures, terrors in the night kind of thing. No elven clan for this lot; no, these are pure creatures of consumption and destruction. A horror novel burried in the middle of this fantasy. Going with that thought, expanded a little in the section above about the Sceptered Sword, treat this as book 1 of a potential series. Our intrepid heroes fight back this plague of terror, this awakening of ancient evils and horrors long forgotten. But this is only Spring. What comes with Summer??? And what about the residents of the homeland?

And what else came to life?

What, really, are the Dreaming Pools? And how do they fit in as the climax of the novel?

Well, the Dreaming Pools are like these batteries, storing “magical” energy during the Winter season. Contact with the skin of an Oracle gives the Oracle the ability to prophesize, but they are more than that. In the Spring season, they draw the terrors to them.

What about the terrors of Spring?

In the Winter, these horrific creatures lay dormant in slumber, hibernating if you will. They are mindless, single purpose creations. They rent the flesh of the living, but their hunger is only put to rest by consuming magic. The Dreaming Pools draw them – in ancient times, they were drawn to the Pools. They can only breed at places like the Pools – hint that there are other Dreaming Pools, this is just the closest one to our cast.

Interesting to note that my subconscious states that these creatures are creations. Because that suggests another question to ask myself:

What comes with Summer?

Summer brings with it great power for those that can wield it. But it also brings with it the creators of the Terrors. The Terrors were created to cleanse the world after a Winter’s sleep for the masters. The terrors are the ultimate biological weapon. These Masters need a name, by the way.

Is it really magic? What’s the system for the magic? Can anyone do it?

Magic is just a good place holder for it for now. It needs a real name, but all of the ones that come to mind are in turn borrowed from other series. I would lean towards the weave, but that’s too simple a name. It would be nifty if I could find a translation of weave or weaver in Sumerian or Sandskrit, something that has the same connotations but won’t be as readily obvious.

Taking the last question first, no, not anyone can do it. There are aids to being able to do it, artifacts created by past civilisations that enhance or focus an individuals power. But if you are completely unable to tap this power naturally, at all, no instrument can give you the power.

As for its nature? I’m thinking its more of like electricity. My original vision, and briefly touched on with the orrery in the scene I’ve written between Sidihar and the Master Practical, is that there are zones, if you will, in the Universe where the laws of physics are different. As the planet (hmmm…sidebar, what is the name of our planet?) orbits its star, and that star in turn orbits in its local cluster, it passes through one of these zones. Not yearly, but over the course of aeons it will pass in and out of the zone. Sometimes this is a quick transition, a brief season and then a return to “normal.” At other times, the zone that it passes through is huge and it takes centuries, even aeons, for the sun and our unnamed planet to pass completely through it. The zones themselves are not black and white, which is why we have seasons – Winter, there is no magic; Spring, we begin passing through the border of a zone and magic begins to work; Summer, full force magic is in effect; Autumn, passing through the border again. The biggest distinction between Spring and Autumn, in addition to some borders being “thinner” than others, is that after a Spring and Summer of magic, there is enough residual energy left in an Autumn that things that might not have worked in Spring will continue to function for a while. By the time we return to a full Winter, only those things that could retain their energy, like the Dreaming Pools, still have enough energy to be of use. Humans can channel (but can’t use that word, thanks to WOT) this energy, but don’t generally have the capacity to retain it in Winter. What then of the Oracles? Their key is in their tattoos, which are etched into the flesh with a solution of Dreaming Pool liquid – they literally etch the magic into their bodies.

[Adding on the commute home] This practice of creating tattoos using the liquid of the Dreaming Pools, I imagine, could be used against the Oracles by the terrors and their masters. Imagine, if these creatures are capable of the energy from a living creature with talent, what they would do to a person with power etched into their flesh? It’d be like catnip, beyond an aphrodisiac, a compelling and overwhelming lure.

Sure, there’s a bit of ego in interviewing yourself, but it seems to be a really good tool for fleshing out what’s hidden in your subconscious about a story. I didn’t realize I knew the answer to some of these questions until I started asking myself. Now, if only writing a novel came as easily as writing a blog post, I’d be all set 🙂

Blog Thoughts

So I was thinking to myself this morning, gee, wouldn’t it be cool if I could get a guest blogger on here? Someone that had some recognition and that wouldn’t mind lending a few minutes to spout off on a topic?

At which point it struck me that the biggest problem with that is that this blog has no direction or focus to make it worth it for someone to stop by and do a guest post. There are just as many posts on writing as on general life in the Cummings household, Gentoo (if you did enough, anyway), and a few other random tangents over the years. This almost suggests to my coffee induced mind that perhaps what’s needed is a new blog – but am I up to the task of maintaining two blogs when I can barely maintain this one?

Maybe.

Maybe, if I don’t treat it like a dumping ground for random videos and thoughts, but instead focus on it as a legitimate avenue to talk on a subject. Ye gads. That would mean organizing posts on subject, planning ahead, and having a deadline (new posts posted Sunday morning, for ex.). Is it worth that when there are so many other sites out there?

Something I’m pondering. Along with how to translate mental images of half visualized scenes into a coherent outline. You know. Minor stuff.