It’s been 19 days…

Since my last post. Long time. Lotta ground covered between then and now. Proverbially.

With less than two weeks left till my deadline, here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • Revised / tweaked Odin’s plot and, hopefully, improved his character arc.
  • Frigg’s plot & character have been adjusted, too, but that’s not quite finished. I’m currently adding a few scenes that introduce her daughter (Hermod) earlier in the book which means I also have to drip Hermod in throughout the book so she doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. She gets a POV in Book 2, so it’s for a cause beyond BK1 alone. I’m also giving Baldr a “save the cat” moment…which is probably too “on the nose” as they say.
  • Hyrrokin’s been ripped out, aside from a couple mentions. Her POV has been taken over by Vafthrudnir’s to the extent it made sense.
  • Having given Vafthrudnir a more active role I’ve been able to shed more light on how the Jotunn approach magic (as compared to the Aesir, Vanir and Alvar).
    • I’ve also introduced a new non-POV character named Keila. She’s a shaman who Vafthrudnir’s taken under his wing. She seemed to write herself as I fleshed out Vaft.
    • I expect Keila will have a role to play moving forward, but I’ve no detailed idea what it’ll be. Stupid subconscious.
  • Vafthrudnir appeared in several scenes along with Loki and the Skrymir. That’s no longer the case, as Vaft’s arc requires him elsewhere. As a result, I’ve been able to tweak about half of Loki’s arc and much of the Skrymir’s (since I was working in those scenes already). Now Loki’s plot is better intertwined with the Jotunn’s plan.
  • Vidar’s also been removed from multiple early-middle scenes. I’ve yet to dive into tweaking his entire plot; but there’s not that much to do there (relatively speaking).
  • When I can’t focus on a particular POV, I’ve jumped around making other changes — mostly stylistic (word usage, phrasing, etc.).

I’ve also been reviewing covers with my illustrator. I rejected his first attempt b/c it was absolutely terrible. His second attempt pretty much nailed it, I think (and a few folks have confirmed it). For me, the whole point of the cover is twofold:

  1. Make a promise to the reader — this is the kinda book you’re gonna get if you click
  2. Be cool enough visually to get the reader to click.

I think (hope/pray) my cover will do that. I may post it when I own it.

Other than providing good direction to my artist, my marketing-/cover-related challenges have been writing the blurb, bio and coming up with a title. All three are really, really tough. It’s sales copy, basically. It’s goal is to deliver on the cover’s visual promise and get the “clicker” to click again–downloading a sample, borrowing it (KU*) or buying it.

So, by Dec 5, 9 am, I have to:

  • Finalize the cover, title, blurb and bio (I may have more time than 2 weeks on this)
  • Finish Frigg’s arc off
  • Tweak Vidar’s arc
  • Go through each & every scene at least once to address tone, continuity, etc., so that the book both reads better and there are no glaring snags. Once the line edit comes back, I’ll be doing all of that again, of course, but writing is rewriting and my goal is perfection…to the extent possible given my burgeoning skills.

When I was writing papers in college all those many (many) winters ago, I knew I was done when just the thought of another rewrite turned my stomach. I’m nearly there now.

 

 

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* Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited

Myth & fantasy fiction

This morning (when I should’ve been writing) I was instead reading this article. The author (Dr. Karl Seigfried) runs this site. And on his site, he has this transcript of a radio interview–which is also a good read (I only read his section).

One of the many points that Seigfried makes is that myth should not be interpreted literally.

Which is exactly what I’m doing. Mostly.

In my books, all of the following has happened (backstory), is happening (current events) or will happen (future). Which, coincidentally, is what each of the Norns represents: Urd, Verdandi and Skuld–but not in our linear conception of time. Much like many “early” peoples, the Norse had a cyclical view of time. Which reminds me of something the Cylons kept saying in the new Battlestar Galactica. And yes, that is how my mind works. Sad & scary.

Anyway.

Picking up the thought from above, “all of the following” includes (but isn’t limited to ;)):

  • Tyr sticking his hand in Fenrir’s mouth: deception or sacrifice? Humans/Aesir see it as sacrifice, but Loki and his family? Trickery. Deception. Who’s “evil” here? Who’s sympathetic? Tyr, the wolf or those threatened by the wolf (us)?
  • Odin sacrificing his eye at the Well of Mimir: Literally, that’s a gigantic ouch. Symbolically? Isn’t that what a “god” should be doing?
  • Odin, Vili and Ve murdering Ymir and creating the world from the bits & pieces. So, yeah, that’s not possible. But think about what it symbolizes. This is an example of where I did not literally interpret the myths, because my Aesir are not the gods we know (and my “earth” is not ours”).

As an author who’s taken on the (fun) burden of faithfully abiding by what happens in Norse myth, I’ve regularly backed myself into multiple different corners which all have a common theme: How do I inject motivation into the actions of the major players?

For some, it’s easy. Tyr sticking his hand in Fenrir’s mouth is a good example since that action can be interpreted in different ways by multiple POV characters. For Loki, it’s deception. For the Aesir, what Tyr did is heroic.

What’s tougher is Odin sacrificing his own eye. I basically have two “meta” choices–hand-wave it away as backstory or include it as current events. If the latter, then I have to get Odin into a mindset where he would believe that cutting out his own eye makes sense. And, while doing that, I gotta sell it to the reader — along with the whole shebang.