Sorry for the skip last week. I work nights and have a fair amount of unstructured time, so I usually write. However, last week work (and life) caught up on me a bit. Many apologies!
While I still didn’t meet my goals from two weeks ago, I have continued to chip away at my projects.
Over the last two weeks, most of my “choice” reading was jumping here and there in E.R. Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros. It’s a novel I’ve admired ever since I read it last summer for its unabashed vigor and love for archaic styling. The chapter I chose to focus on while revising my Jiharel chapter was “Koshtra Pivrarcha,” the story of how two Lords of Demonland, Juss and Brandoch Daha, climbed the greatest mountain in their world. It’s a spot in the story that really stuck in my memory, so I thought it worth going back and trying to figure out why.
Spoiler: I haven’t. I found myself sinking into Eddison’s prose as if I’d never left, but I’m still not sure what made this part of their adventure so memorable, so striking. A large chunk of it must be due to realism – Eddison was a climber, and draws heavily on his experiences in the Alps while describing the rock faces and the ravines and glaciers the Demons traverse – but my gut says there’s something about his language that I haven’t quite nailed down, yet. Something in the way the character’s lofty speeches interact with Eddison’s narration of the mountains. There’s a lot of things combining together here, and I don’t suspect I’ll untangle it for a long time.
Apart from re-reading sections of the Worm, I’ve also gotten back to my re-read of The Hobbit. I’ve shifted a bit more into reading for pleasure (leaving the Worm for analyzing), but trying to do so more slowly than is my wont, so that I pick up more of Tolkien’s rhythms and diction. Absorbing it, rather than studying it.
My reading goal for this week is going to be finishing The Hobbit. I’m fairly close. After that, I’m thinking to read the next book from my LeGuin anthology, Planet of Exiles, but really, we’ll just have to see what happens.
Once again, I’ve failed to write every day. I honestly didn’t keep track much the second week, but the first week I think I wrote five days once again. This is something that’s going on the “goals” list again. Writing seven days a week is something I can do, I just have to, y’know, do it.
However, I’m not going to be working on “Fisherman” this week.
As any of you who read this blog frequently might know, I enjoy tabletop games – things like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), Pathfinder, RuneQuest, and so on. While it’s not an area I’m terribly proficient in, I’d like to explore writing for game design at some point. I’m meeting up with some friends to run a long session of Pathfinder in a few weeks, and it seemed a great time to start working on a gaming setting based on Akhelas, the world Jiharel is set within.
I really like thinking about worldbuilding from the perspective of gaming, moreso than a novel. With a novel, you really only need to think about things which directly or indirectly impact the story. Games like Pathfinder, properly run, are like gigantic sandboxes where the players can run amok, exploring nooks and crannies of your imagination and generally getting themselves into trouble. You have to think in a different way, on a different scale, when designing worldspaces for tabletop players. You have to make extra contingencies – what if they go west instead of east? Get to the mountain and then say, “Nah, I don’t really want to climb that. Let’s find a new route.”
I’m inclined to think that a good, thoroughly designed gaming world has more reality than many novel worlds. (And, of course, as a fan of fictional worlds I just LOVE when authors have both gaming settings and novel settings interconnected.)
I’m placing this gaming setting a few hundred years before the events of Jiharel. The city of Jiharel exists, but the antagonist empire hasn’t formed yet. A few cities and towns haven’t been built, or re-named, and some haven’t been destroyed. Running this game ought to be a fun way to flesh out the history, landscape, and religions of Akhelas.
So, my writing goal for this week is going to be working on the Akhelas Pathfinder Setting every day.
Last Week: Well, two weeks ago, my goals were to write every day, and to finish revising my excerpt from Jiharel. I finished the revision – and managed to do some reading as well – but didn’t hit my writing goal.
This Week: I’m going to write every single freaking day, and I’m going to finish reading The Hobbit. I’d like to have moved on into another book as well, but we’ll see if that happens.