caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)
"...Son of Japhet," said John's girl,
Jenny's daughter, wood and water,
"Earth and breath would offer thee,
Blood of fire, a friendship free..."

From an unpublishable fragment in which a definite non-poet attempts to recount a part of the backstory which does not translate reasonably into prose, from a place where even the physics rhymes instead of repeating.

I don't know that I'll get any prose out of this excursion myself, but I did get some enlightenment on one of the Kateverse's wilder mysteries.

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)

Three Katherines of Allingdale: Further donkeywork on the geography, governance, and demographics of the Northdales has been required, in order to make Lord Evil's plot make sense.  That part of it is coming on fine - in Allingdale. 

Extending this attention to Langdale reveals an unexpected snag: the Enemy Earl appears on closer analysis to be an idiot.  He is not supposed to be a very impressive character in any way.  He is, however, supposed to be able to find his own arse when he has both hands free and several minutes in which to perform the operation.

I'm going to have to go back into the history, and set up some way of chasing him back into the hog-pen where I'd stuck him at the beginning of the Rising.  I begin to wonder whether the specific fubarity of Langdale isn't at least partly to be blamed on the Good Guys at court, and an apparently exemplary decision they made following their counter-coup a generation ago.  Whoops, here comes Mister Blood-Pudding!

Ow Caro ow Stockworth ow Kit's story encroaching on the Told Tale again.

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: First pass on the horsey stuff, of which I know very little. I went through looking for major errors/ideas with the aid of Judith Tarr's extremely helpful Writing Horses, and her Horseblogging posts at Book View Cafe, both of which I can highly recommend. I don't seem to have committed any of the truly classic horrors, but several things could be a lot better, including:

Noticing how much horses pervade my characters' society in comparison to my own. )

And the little details will be legion, but I knew that already, and that's for correction in the fine edit.

For horse people reading these posts: what most annoys you about the presentation of horses in fantasy when it's wrong, or pleases you when it's right? Who gives you a real sense that their characters are riding horses, instead of bicycles, cavalry canines or daydreams?

For non-horsey folk: what horse-related stuff throws you out of the story, or draws you in?

In other news, my home Internet was on the blink again this morning, so communications may or may not get irregular presently.
caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: Finished reviewing the plotline I'd been avoiding - the tale of the Young Duke, and his better and worse counsellors. Ngh. This may be the one in need of most work.

Not hard to see why - of all the elements in the tale, this one had the worst wellspring: neither a lively part of the original vision, nor a spontaneous outgrowth of the story's unfolding, but a rather passive and cartoony set of antagonists in the original plot, designed more to be important in their circumstances than in themselves. That changed rapidly from the moment the Duke himself burst onto the stage, but the changes are somewhat late-grafted and inconsistent, as I flailed around to make the matter come alive without completely disrupting the logic of the story. So now I'm going to have to go back and retro-fit the lords of Northdales as I came to know them, with the way they are on their first appearance.

Lordly behaviours, the diplomatic dance, and questions of malice and mammon. )
caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)
I caught one! Right at the beginning of Katy Elflocks, before I knew or thought I'd need to care about the details of the wider kingdom, I had Luke's father give him his ridiculously destructive magic sword as a parting gift - and it is explicitly the case that the old king has borne it into battle and knows what it's like, albeit clearly he doesn't think it's that useful a treasure for a modern monarch. But in the light of the way the worldbuilding subsequently develops, this is slightly more out of context than Henry VII's handing over his invincible Excalibur to his frisky younger son Hal.  I shall have to revisit this, one way or another.

Went through the Puffin Superior's plotline before bedtime. Huge amounts of detail there which will never make the story, but give me a better handle on and a better set of questions about that enigmatical and seriously pivotal character in the latter chapters of Kate. Since I didn't foresee her in Katy, and used her Sisterhood only as a background detail in another context, that's going to be one important place for me to work on foreshadowing and incluing in the earlier story. Also, major worldbuilding chore: finally sorting out to my own reasonable satisfaction how the wider local religion works, both officially and in practice. That turns out to be another matter on which my ideas have changed considerably during the telling.

From last night's belated birthday treat, the memory of a large and luscious Chez Gérard steak followed by pear in red wine syrup is still suffusing me with feelings of tenderness and bounty towards the wide world.

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 460 words.   The Widow scene concludes.  Another aspect of the Kateverse really came out in this conversation.  Our own pre-modern Europe was stuck enough on the idea of  'as above, so below', and the direct connection between the divinely inspired orders of Nature and of human society.  How much more firmly would people - especially the governing people - cling to this notion when faced with the blatant existence of Elfland, with its perverse enchantments, incomprehensible royalty, and frequent casual abuse of space, time, faith, and reason?

Above all, those who live within a day's ride of the dubious borderlands?  I am coming to understand Golden Kate and her kind just a little bit better.

This is going to add a whole new spice to Luke's interaction with the apocalyptic Saturn-preachers in the lowland towns, our only direct glimpse of which I now need to grant before turning Kate homewards, and the chapter towards its close.  I should like to get this one finished before I stroll off for my holiday!

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Lob Lazy at the House of Silence: 480 words, writing the ritualistic fairy-tale linkage between eucatastrophe and dénouement while it's hot. Or, in this case, while pleasantly crisp and chill.

This has been giving me some interesting insights, not only into the Kateverse's alt-Scandinavian cultures, but into the things they know that maybe I don't. This linkage stuff, for instance, strikes a seam in their folklore that... well. There are Deep Mysteries in this world that Katy Elflocks knows about, and the gods and the Elvish Court and suchlike; but here's plain proof that at least one other mortal once learned them too. Likely in more detail than Katy, who has other cares and interests she considers much more wholesome.

I wonder now who this world's Woden-figure really was. If he wasn't exactly Mercury after all, but knew something of the god's ways... and didn't mind screwing around with some heavy necromantic crap... Oho!  He could be my ultimate source, and plenty more.   I wonder whether I'll ever get to develop any of that. Not in anything I'm writing at present, either way.

And here, as a special bonus because it is gibbering away in my head, is a little riddle-chant those healthy hearty Nordic nannies like to teach their children.

Old King Dead, his drink is red:
He'll sup you up from your sleepy bed.
Old Queen Rot, she's on your slot:
She'll suck you down to her creepy grot.
Young King Cold is stark and bold:
He'll stoop for steel and spurn at gold.
Young Queen Clay is fair as day:
She'll steal the gallant and the gay.
Dead or Rot or Cold or Clay,
Who will take your time away?
Rich or Low or Rude or High -
Who will have your soul for aye?
There is probably a reason that all the Nordic-descended cultures seem to have drifted towards bland mainstream neo-Olympianism.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Lazy Lob at the House of Silence: 2,000 words.  Took down Thuggish First Son, and good riddance.  Cunning Second Son is not only smarter, but - since even in a fairy-tale, I don't see any point in using ritual repetitions just to repeat myself - he's turning out to be simply more sympathetic, to the point where his necessary failure threatens to be almost tragic.  It's not that he's a bad man, only that he isn't good enough.  He's just discovered that his brother set off somewhere inadvisable.

I've received my first lessons during this as to how Norse-type cultures work in the Kateverse, where there are the Olympians, and other religions fail the reality test even when they are more sensible.  (There are two major antitheistic religions  I know about - the Northern Titanolatric one and the Southern transcendental one - but neither is in much doubt as to Whom it's supposed to be anti-.)  Making the Odin figure really Mercury with another funny hat on... changes the Nordic dynamic quite a bit, even when it's completely in the background.

The Northmen's take on Hades proved particularly entertaining when I smacked into it.

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

230 words this morning of a scene I hadn't the hardiness for yesterday after work - wherefore I fled to put the last coat of varnish on the new door instead, and pursue its various sequels.

This passage is actually part of a celebration, and done with goodwill on all parts.  But it's a mediaevaloid country custom, in a hard and dangerous place, albeit an unusually kind and free community.  When I saw how roughly the mock battle for the New Year was going to play out  ("She wouldn't know she'd won if she'd not spent blood nor tears on it," says the canny seamstress-witch Ciss Cross-Stitch in the back of my head, advising the Founder of Fairfields as to why it isn't always sensible to persuade people to behave sensibly), all my sensibilities both old-fashioned and new-fangled positively cringed.  Even my court-reared characters winced.

Which suggests to me that I have at least something right about the tone.  If a community of medieval peasant-pioneers on the ragged edge of Elfland thought and acted inside my modern comfort zone, I would certainly be getting them wrong.

Of course, too far outside the consensus modern comfort zone, and that's a potential problem for the reader.

What I'm trying to do, whether this particular scene survives the final cut or not, is to conjure a place in some ways rawly uncomfortable, and in others warm and welcoming - so that the whole should be seamless, and at best dearly desirable for the reader to visit, or at worst wholeheartedly believable in the way it speaks to my tumbleweed protagonists of 'home'.

Elsewhere, I am still being wormed, and Edward Lessingham has just turned up with wood and tools and interminably described ornamentation to fix up his half-cocked frame story.


caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

August 2015

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