I’ve started and re-started this blog post three times, and I keep running into trouble because my thoughts are insanely scattered and really, if I’m writing anything, I should be writing fiction. (The particular scatteredness of my brain indicates to me that now would be a good time for fiction.) But I’m stealing moments in between loading screens for the things I should be doing even more than writing, so… um. Anyway. Figure that it’s best to just distill all of the things my brain is running between.

I FINISHED THE NOVEL. Or at least I got to the end. YAY! I’m not going to declare the “writing pass” done until I’ve written my opening scene–as it turns out, my husband and I agreed weeks ago that I start the novel a little later than I ought to–but that’s one scene, and there’s something incredibly enchanting about writing THE END.

(Well, there may be as many as three scenes left to finish the “writing pass”–there’s a particular cult sabbath that needs to be extended, and my current opening scene is basically unusable at the moment. But I keep being torn between whether these are initial writing or editing, and thus when I should do them.)

THE FIRST SCENE IS INVOLVING A LOT OF COOL RESEARCH. It doesn’t come up much in the text, but one of the things that makes my main character appealing at all is that he’s this treasure hunter that’s explored the world looking for magical artifacts. (He doesn’t really understand that this is a draw. It’s based off of a guy I knew who devoted his entire outside-of-work life to restoring classic cars and somehow made it seem like the most boring thing in the universe because he was convinced other people wouldn’t care.) We decided the first scene needs to involve some of this treasure-hunting. Which means finding out everything I can about the Mustang Caves in Nepal.

It’s a bit of a balancing act to figure out how much work is appropriate to put into a single scene that doesn’t really mean anything in the long run… but it’s such an awesome place that I gotta admit I’m tempted to go overboard.

(Note: Yes, stealing cultural artifacts is bad. I figure the fact that I have him literally doing it on behalf of an evil blood cult means I don’t have to really go into this.)

I REALLY DIDN’T DO MUCH RESEARCH FOR THE REST OF THE BOOK. Modern-day story with a magic system I made up on the fly. (One of the things I’m going to have to put a hard eye to in editing is if I’m keeping it consistent.) Not much to look into, right? Well, more than I thought, in any case–it turns out I had no idea what happens when, say, a school faculty member runs away with one of the students. From school. After punching out the principal.

I don’t know how often this happens for everyone else writing, because while I was in the middle of tearing my hair out poring through Center for Missing and Exploited Children procedural guidelines for local police, and trying to apply their general, flexible standards to my specific situation… well. It turns out there was literally a nationwide manhunt going on for a teacher who ran off with a teenaged student. (Tad Cummins is the teacher, if you want to look it up yourself; I read through enough stories that I’m not even sure which ones were most useful anymore.)

They caught him two days after I started looking into the case, which means I got both the realtime reporting and the later-discovered information about how they actually managed during the manhunt. So. Blind luck handed me what I needed! Yay!

I CAME ACROSS A COMMENT REGARDING “THE CUTIE MAP” (MY LITTLE PONY EPISODE) THAT DESCRIBED STARLIGHT GLIMMER’S VILLAGE AS AN EXAMPLE OF RIGHT-WING CONFORMITY. Before I tell you precisely what I think about this, I’d like to show you the musical number from that self-same episode, just so you can have a background for what, in particular, I’m talking about.

Yyyyyeah. That’s, um. Totally a right-wing… communist utopia… for sure, man. Those right-wingers are all about knocking down the tall poppies to make sure no one is privileged to have an advantage over anyone else. You betcha. O_o

I HAVE BEEN FAILING UTTERLY TO DRAW ANYTHING I ENJOY. I’ve also been working from home–I tend to forget how much my whole… everything… relies on surroundings. (Also, the fact that my  daughter will try to help whenever she sees me drawing. She’s one. Hopefully by two I can just give her her own paper.)

But here’s a picture of Magica De Spell that came out less horribly than everything else.



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