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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

writing, teeth, and shopping

Kimmie, still in the throes of the cold (cough phase had moved in), was off work again today. Tomorrow her vacation days start for Christmas, so there we are: a strange week.

With errands to do later, I jumped on my project first thing. I thought about the situation in my current chapter, and came up with a few more ideas. It's almost like waiting for the arrival of keepable ideas, and accumulating these in a little pile until I have enough. Today was good because I started feeling some flares of excitement for my chapter: possibility. Could this be dramatic? Fun? Have something interesting and diverting to say?

Each chapter is a big stretch from the outlines: the short outline, which gives about six sentences' worth of material; and the detailed outline, which, in this case, gives even fewer--four (the reason being that I didn't really have anything more to say about the action when I created the detailed outline). Those few sentences I have to expand to about 6,000 words of dramatic action. The results have to happen unexpectedly, through conflict. It's a tall order. The only thing the outline more or less assures me of is that if I can make those events happen, then this chapter will fit in with the rest of my story and indeed make the rest of my story possible.

The material this morning had me doing some cultural research, which quickly started sparking ideas. Reading about Jewish marriage contracts and bride-price negotiations got me thinking of things, happily.

Then: off to the dentist in Vancouver for teeth-cleaning, and then some attempted Christmas shopping, mostly a bust due to the appalling parking problems. Under the gun in the warm rain, I decided to bail on finding a spot downtown and went to Park Royal in West Van, where I was almost rammed by a woman cutting in front of me to get what she thought was about to be an empty parking stall. Depressed at what has become of humanity, I left that mall and did a couple of final errands in North Van, close to home. I bought two things.

According to our Western Canada Wilderness Committee calendar, the winter solstice is tomorrow at 10:45 a.m. local time (I just checked that against my American Ephemeris for the 21st Century 2001 to 2050, using a rough calculation--it checks out). The sun will kiss the Tropic of Capricorn and make its way north for the next six months.

Now the days are dark. And so are my thoughts, rather.


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