A Flicker-Flame of a Party

Here are the third set of questions for Katiebug's Actually Finishing Something July program.  There is only one week left and only one more set of questions to look forward to.  I really enjoyed this and I hate seeing it end.  Maybe I can convince her to do Actually Finishing Something August...

week three questions

You've little less than a week left in the challenge.  Now that the end is in sight, do you think you'll reach your goal?

Unless something unexpected arises in the scene, yes, I think so.  At this point it is pretty heavily dialogue-driven, which can be very tricky as I am juggling so many brains, I cannot always think all their thoughts very quickly to keep the writing process flowing smoothly. 

For me (Katie), the last week and a half has been so chaotic that I've hardly had the time to sit down, let alone write.  How have you balanced life with your writing goals?  Late night writing?  Scribbling down a few lines while waiting in the grocery check-out line?

My life hasn't been chaotic, but this is the busiest time of the year for the office in which I work so the real world has been needing my presence more than usual.  But I still have time in my schedule to sit down and write, either in the mornings or in the evenings.

Have you written mostly in computer programs such as Word, or do you prefer scribbling in notebooks?

I think I have written almost exclusively, if not entirely exclusively, in my Word document.  I do keep a notebook - several, in fact - but as this scene follows along the chronological path of the manuscript I find it better to write in the main document with the whole manuscript back of me rather than floating out in space in a notebook or a separate document.  The psychosis run deep in this one.

Have any new characters jumped out of your story?  If so, tell us about them!

Yes, two, at most three.  By necessity I must have Gabriel, Skander Rime's huntsman, who had not previously impacted Margaret's sphere at all; there is also, by reference, a man named Charlock, and his son, who makes a bloodied appearance in the scene. Gabriel may, perhaps, make further appearances in the story, but I cannot speak for the other two.

Share a snippet of your recent writing.

Through the ringing in her ears Margaret realized it was Aikin Ironside himself who was speaking, his dark auburn hair a mess with leaves and his face rather pale so that, looking up, she realized he had two stark brown freckles on his left cheekbone. But the tawny of his eyes was laughing and his smile flashed white with a companionable triumph which made Margaret warm where the boar’s tusk would have hit her.

Sometimes the most mundane, simple of things can spark one's creativity.  Have you come across anything, simple yet special, about your daily life, inspiring you to write?

To be truthful, my showers are probably the most inspiring parts of my life.  I think many people find this to be the case as well: I hammered out a significant part of Plenilune's plot (which has nothing to do with this immediate scene) while I was in the shower only a few nights ago, and otherwise I find it very easy to get lost in my plot and rattle about with ideas, hampered by nothing more than having to remember to condition my hair.

Are there any pictures or images inspiring bits of your story?

Not really; it's usually the other way around.  I did sign up for a Pinterest account and I have had fun locating pictures that accurately portray parts of my story.  At this point I do not remember which came first - I think it was the idea for the scene - but four months ago I finished a book on medieval hunting as research for Plenilune and I really enjoyed that.  It has been a great help, it has given me gobs of otherwise useless factoids, and I just frankly liked it.

Introduce us to the antagonist of your story and tell us his favourite dessert.

Oh, you know him.  That's Rupert de la Mare, of course.  I know I have said it before, but it just keeps growing more fascinating.  The man is amazing.  I like him in an analogous way to how much I like the portrayal of Loki in the Avengers movies.  He is complex, he is conflicted, he is firmly convinced in his own mind that he is, not only right, but good.  He sees the world clearly out of the eyes of his paradigm and it is a lot of fun to discover and work with that paradigm and see the way Rupert lives. 

She looked hard into his cool, unblinking eyes. “Really? Not even Malbrey? not even Bloodburn?” 

“Them less than most, because they will do what I ask—and yet for that very reason I strangely loathe them.” He pulled down his brows and his smile, which had been bitter and mirthless, ran from his face as he turned to look about him at the people in the room. “They are all little to me, silver- and sanguine-coloured, petty in their finery like chanticleers in their barnyard runs. They have little thought for ought else. They have their pride. They have their stubborn self-wills which I will break—” 

“But you will loathe them all the more because they break,” Margaret finished, finding, with a curious mingled horror and pity, that she understood. 

“Yes,” he said, a sudden melancholy catching at his brows. “I will loathe them because of that.”

Pick, from all of your July writing, your favourite three lines said by your characters.

"Someone kill it, please.  She's all right, only tumbled a bit."
Aikin Ironside

"So.  You have been told.  You are one, I suppose, to know that we are not all mask and gala here."

"I think it would curdle your food either way, coz."
Rupert de la Mare

Any advice for your fellow writers as we reach the final stretch of this challenge?

Shoo, not really!  Everyone's life is so varied and different, the best I could say is to keep writing when you can - and keep reading when you can, because a good dose of someone else's work often helps keep your own creativity flowing.

“To think,” she remarked in her old familiar, steady voice, “I was concerned that there might be wolf-hunts in these parts.” 

4 ripostes:

  1. Splendid, of course. That goes without saying. :) Your second excerpt is spot-on ("But you will loathe them all the more because they break" . . . "Yes . . . I will loathe them because of that.”), and I love your individual quotes so much. How do you manage to squeeze so much brilliance into just a few words? Very like C.S. Lewis, I must say.

    I had to laugh out loud when I came to the part about showers being inspiring, because I do the same exact thing all the time. And I always thought I was the only one. It may sound odd, but it's amazing how many scenes can pop into your head while shampooing and conditioning. Perhaps it's because there are no other distractions?

    — Elizabeth Rose

  2. This was lovely, Jenny - your writing is brilliant! It sounds so descriptive, so real. But like Elizabeth Rose said in her comment, I also laughed out loud when I read that your showers provide you with inspiration. It's the same for me as well - except for it's mostly baths in my case. I agree, Elizabeth Rose: "it's amazing how many scenes can pop into your head while shampooing and conditioning." For while, I also thought I was the only one! LOL! Non-writers must think we're an odd set: receiving writing inspiration while shampooing our tresses!

    From one writer to another,


  3. Oh my goodness, so I'm not the only one who gets inspiration while I shower?? I guess it's because the world is blocked out, and you are alone with your thoughts. And water is inspiring? I don't know...:)

    I'm really liking what I know of Rupert de la Mer. He just sounds...intriguing. :)


  4. Jenny, I find it horrible to come at a tail end of a blog conversation, because really all that I would have liked to say, has usually been said already, and a lot more aptly at times!

    Me too! I often get inspiration while shampooing my tresses. I used to even more, when my hair was waist-length... now that gave me enough "private" time to really come up with inspiration. To be totally frank, my time in the shower is usually the best time to think of really serious, and deep things... things no one will catch me thinking anywhere else!

    Enough of that... Rupert de la Mer is the kind of antagonists I like, the kind that really sound REAL.

    I feasted on your astounding snippets with as much relish as always, and I cannot agree with Elizabeth Rose more when she said "How do you manage to squeeze so much brilliance into just a few words? Very like C.S. Lewis, I must say."

    Well, without anymore "ado", I just really loved this post!