Several people have recently, or semi-recently, brought up the lack of posts on Scribbles. You know, seven months' worth of no posts. Here at the end of summer, though, I thought I would write an update - and give you all some snippets of Wordcrafter.
Although I finished with the spring semester back in early May and completed a stand-alone, three-week class in early June, the last few months have still been taken up almost entirely with academic stuff. I've been spending the summer working on a research project with one of my history professors, the goal of which is to produce a "sourcebook" of original documents from the English civil war period [Suzannah: think this Crusades reader, but probably not as big]. The specific subject? Popular works, especially cheap eight-page pamphlets, that deal with witchcraft, comets, apparitions, monsters, and other such supernatural "prodigies." Oh, it's very cheerful. In fact I have really enjoyed myself - except while reading the accounts of witch-trials, which are universally depressing.
Since we made substantial headway in June and July, the work has let up a bit in the past couple of weeks as we approach the beginning of the fall semester. In a vain attempt to fill up the excess time on my hands, I've been digging in, sometimes with relish and most times with a grim will, to that continued project that is the rewrite of Wordcrafter. I'm not precisely sure where I was in the story at the end of the school year, but I think I've added about 20,000 words since May: not a whole lot for a story that promises to be another large one, but not too shabby, either. We're departing faster and faster from the course of the original story, and I believe the scene I'm working on now is something of a watershed, after which the territory will be almost entirely new. Thus, although I originally thought I could get along fine with just the structure of the first draft(s) in my head, I'm now beginning to think it would be wise to actually construct an outline. (I write outlines for a three-page reflection essay. I am not a pantser, people. Outlines are gold.)
Her clothing was rich, the nose- and mouth-covering heavy with embroidery and a layer of gold mesh, three medallions hanging from her turban across her forehead: even I, who had little acquaintance with Tera and none at all with the Gypsies, had no difficulty recognizing high rank. But my eye was drawn chiefly to her right hand and the weapon in it, for I had never yet seen a firearm here in Ethan’s world. It was no automatic; flintlock was more like it, the barrel and handle cased in wood, the hammer under her thumb fashioned, I thought, like a dragon. She had its twin buckled to her left hip, almost lost in her clothes, and it took me a moment to reconcile myself to the oddity.
“I thought you were dead,” I said rudely.
...I was too bleary-headed to pay much attention to details, but as we came down the hill between the towering pagan stones I was conscious, almost as keenly as in that moment when I came through the shack, of a change in the world around me. It was as though I had physically passed out of the Tera I had come to know, the Tera of the Horsemen and the villa and a Mediterranean summer, and come instead into the setting of a Grimm’s fairytale.
“Well, I call that fine!” Ash cried warmly, pounding me on the back in momentary forgetfulness of my crime. “You’re not much of a fighter, but sure and you can take a hit!”
Funny how black the night seemed, here where there were no electric lights. Silent, too: my mind strained unconsciously for the sound of a car, of a train out in the distance, of voices or music on a radio, but there was nothing. Here on the threshold of the villa the world fanned out from us in layers of darkness, and it was as imperturbable and unnerving as the ocean on a night with no moon.
When we ducked in Threshing Floor had just backed into Sure Repulse, a big red creature with a hell of a temper, and the boys were hurrying en masse to put down the fracas. It was mayhem, and I stood against one of the empty stable boxes and squinted around me with a certain amount of smug satisfaction.
“I could have stayed in bed a bit longer, apparently,” I observed.
Her talk was of Marah and Our Good Fortune, of hunts here at the waning of the summer and of legends of great hunters from millennia ago who had fought monsters rather than deer and boar: easy, uncontentious conversation, light as the yellow wine her father had served us.
“I’d like to think Ash’s big mouth will get him into trouble one day,” he said, “but unfortunately he’s the sort of fellow who always manages to dodge trouble by the skin of his teeth."