Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chapter 11, Part II

In its entirety:

PART TWO: BALANCE

CHAPTER ELEVEN
Call to Adventure

Gaea, 2008 C.E. An abandoned tenement in San Francisco.

Caked with dust and cockroach excrement, cobwebs mocking the tapestries from the Moirae’s loom and strewn over old furniture, water-stained paintings, and forsaken baby toys, a basement room—inhabited by darkness for far too long—sat empty, keeping company with rodents and spiders, Echidna’s clutch in miniature. Mildew, pungent perfume of neglect and desertion, saturated the air. A window near the ceiling, opaque with dust and spider webs consented to allow pale moonlight in, a desiccated shell of a spider hanging from a thread in the glow, an austere reminder of Arachne’s fate. Against the far wall, a wooden staircase ran, a few of the rotted treads having disintegrated.

Light cascaded down the stairs like a rushing cataract over a cliff when the upper door opened to the alley, a dozen cloaked individuals descending into this diminutive Tartaros, barely disturbing the dust. The first one carried two torches, and the second one cradled a leathern book. December winds brought a Borean chill, diluting the heady scent of decay, and from beneath the hoods, frosty, serpentine breaths escaped. Wraith-like, they hovered across the soiled cement floor to a large wooden table, warped from age and moisture, and draped with a black cloth. Like the Siren song heard by Odysseus, the frigid air whistled as it squeezed through cracks in the window casing.

The thick leather-bound tome was placed on the table, and it opened to a specific page by itself. From the folds of the cloaks, each removed a black candle and placed it on the table. The book bearer’s voice, as deep as the underworld, took control of the silence.

“The time has come.”

Twelve shrouded ones joined hands. The leader touched the book and then pointed to the center of the table. Each candle ignited, invading the darkness. As they joined hands, he recited the words on the page before him.

“O Hekate Klêidouchos, Key Bearer, hear our plea. Show us that you are among us.”

Cold, piercing wind splintered the windows, but the flames only shivered.

“According to the ancient text, we have assembled—twelve in the service of the goddess of death—to bring forth that which will save us,” continued the speaker, his voice raised over the whistling bluster. “We swear our fealty to you. We are yours to command.”

Moonlight filled the room and, beneath the cowls of the cloaks, the eyes of the assembled smoldered like fire. As they allowed the spirit of Hekate to fill them, the leader began his chant in ancient Greek. According to the ritual, he repeated it twelve times and the others repeated it with him until their voices became one.

“By Tartaros, dark Erebos, and Thanatos, we, the chosen of Hekate, summon the power of the Netherworld. Set the Sacred Twelve free!”

As the incantation grew louder, darkness festered like algae in bloom until all that could be seen was an eerie glow from the book. Even the candles and torchlight were absorbed by the all-consuming obscurity. By the twelfth invocation, their voices were in perfect unison and the earth began to tremble. The citizens of San Francisco would think it was one of the many earthquakes that struck their state, unaware of its preternatural source. Seconds later, the quaking stopped. All returned to normal and the ebony entity dissipated. The magister, or leader of the coven, released his hands, closed the book, and the other eleven suddenly began to convulse, some spitting up blood and bile, falling to the floor, dead. The sole remaining supplicant, the magister seethed at the apparent assassination of his cohorts. Without the complete circle, the spell lost some of its potency. Eleven deceased bodies shriveled, turned to dust, and vanished within the earthen floor. The remaining man smirked.

“You may have taken my coven, Zeus Kolastes, but the spell is cast. I will rebuild, bringing with me the sons and daughters of Gaea and Ouranos who will claim the sacred mountain as their own.”

A desperate, last burst of energy reaching from a distant shrouded mountaintop surged through the cloaked man who started to shake uncontrollably and heave blood through his nose and mouth. Falling to the floor a quivering mass of bodily fluids and skin, Gaea claimed the body, leaving the black cloth behind. Millennia ago, Hermes would have escorted the soul to the underworld, but the necromancer had none—the price he paid for his devotion to Hekate. Despite Zeus’ revenge, however, the deed was complete, and the Protogenoi would need to have mercy on all Mankind.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PART I IS DONE!

Yes, after the long summer of editing, Part I of the novel (200+ pages) is finally finished being edited.

Next week, I will begin the edit of Part II, with the PLAN I can get it done by Thanksgiving Break (+/-).

So, stay tuned for more updates about the second half of the novel. Maybe some more sneak peaks will be posted, too ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

A scene from the latest chapter...

Demetrios goes into Tartaros:

Again the darkness yielded to an unnatural light, and Demetrios heard a soothing voice slither into his ears.

“Come, my child, come,” said the voice, honey to his ears. “Find me in the dark. Find me in your heart.”

A niche in the cave, carved by her teeth and illuminated by a flaming brazier of wrought adamantine, opened before him, and when his eyes adjusted, both wonder and fear ensnared him. His eyes followed the end of a serpent’s tail, coiled around a dilapidated pillar of stone, to where scales merged into the flesh of a female torso, laden with breasts. Her arms, open to accept him, ended in talon-like hands, but her face in the soft glow of the flames reminded him of Alkinoë. In his mind, he knew who she was, but he didn’t fear her, even though many heroes had encountered her offspring in their own tests of valor. Herakles had bested her son, the Lernæan Hydra, with torches to his severed heads, and had wrestled with Cerberos, the Kuna tou Aidou, or Hound of Hades. Bellerophon had choked her son, the Khimaera, with molten lead dripping from a spearhead. Her daughter, the Sphinx, outdone when Oedipus solved her riddle, cast herself off a cliff. But, Gaea’s daughter by Tartaros would not be brought down; in fact, she would bring forth new progeny to go up against heroes of every generation, monsters more inconceivable than those who had come before. Ekhidna would prevail.

Collapsing into her serpentine embrace, he suckled at one of her nipples, taking nourishment from her milk, the same milk that had fed her grotesque brood for eons. He had respect for her and those she birthed, however, as a daughter of Gaea, and humbled himself in her coils. As she fed him, the tip of her tail cautiously moved toward the sword, slinking from the tip of the sheath toward the pommel. Her scales brushed against the hilt, curling around it, caressing it, but then releasing it. She had no designs on the blade itself; her mother forged it, and she wished to touch its grandeur.

Hypnos and his son, Morpheos, came from the darkness, touching Demetrios’ brow and brought him some of the peace he needed to continue his journey because the next task would be the hardest. Zeus’ request would be fulfilled.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A bit of an update...

Well, I am finishing up the edit of the first half of TFG: FB, and I have to say I am quite pleased with the result. I've had to write some new stuff to fix some continuity problems I found, but I love the story. The first half of the book leads up to and catalogues the life and experiences of Apollo, the Olympæan¹ sun god, who has chosen a human (not mortal) existence alongside his Arkadæan queen, Alkinoë. Zeus has concerns about their son, Demetrios, who—aside from being prophesied to hold a position of power on Olympos at some point in his future—is a hemitheos (demigod) with strong ties to Gaea and another Protogenos. As Demetrios establishes himself not only as Arkadæa's eventual monarch, holding no desire to be an Olympæan in any way, but also as a young warrior whose future holds many challenges, he will not have foreseen one of them.

As the timeline unfolds, askew since the destruction of the Hieron Talanton², what should originally have been is not, and what is... well, that continues to be a mystery.

Part II brings the story forward to the 21st century, where the past crashes into the present in ways that even the Moirae could never predicted. :)

¹I change words ending in -ian (like Olympian and Arkadian) to Olympæan and Arkadæan.
²See the summary for this.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chapter 8 is slightly...

maddening! It's so close to the end of Part I of the book, but it's becoming a tangled web of sentences which need to be unwound for it to make sense with earlier parts (things I had to change recently). This is fun for me, yes, but can be frustrating. I can't force motivation. :)

I'll be working more on it tonight, so if you see a post starting with "AAAAAAAAH!", you'll know how I feel.

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled program.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

*Doing the dance of joy!*

Chapter 7, perhaps the hardest chapter to edit (so far) is

DONE!

With all the tweaking I had to do thus far, this chapter required the most work. Plus, I had to do some research into Greek customs and rituals to make it work. I'm still in Part I of the book, but I think this will help set up some other adjustments later. I have to define one character (who was simply going to be mentioned, but now needs some definition... just a little). ;-)

I trudged along in this one, folks. For as much as I like redefining elements of the Greek mythological world, I find it can sometimes be a bit arduous to develop these concepts.

So, now I am on to Ch. 8 -- let's see what kind of challenge this provides for me. After Ch. 7, all I can say is...

BRING IT ON!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So, I've been thinking...

Chapter 7 has proven to be the most difficult to end because the final scene is so important to the build up for the remaining chapters of Part I. Well, and it effects Part II in some ways. Anyway. I had a revelation while I was burning up calories on the elliptical yesterday. It was something that I should have realized a loooooong time ago when I first developed these characters, but the clarity brought on by sweating out my body weight in water helped clear a pathway for this information.

The problem is that I can't say anything about it just yet. It's a major element of Part II, and it sets up an interesting triangle, but not in the way you might think. If I told you, I'd have to kill you.

Seriously. You don't want that.

The reason why I mention it at all is that it means I have to rework some ideas I have when I get to that point of the book. It weaves in an element of mystery that will provide some tension with a few characters. I'm excited to explore this aspect of the relationship of these three individuals, and I'm also introducing a concept I have never seen before in any fantasy novel based in Greek mythology.

I'll be getting to The Edit soon, but first I have to grab some food and go to my summer job.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ch. 7 ALMOST done...

As I near the middle of the book (well, closer than I have been), I am hoping that everything that comes from this editing works. I've worked on making plot threads dangle when necessary, and tie some off, too. I've also received some advice from those whom I respect as writers and friends. With this being my first novel, it does become almost all-consuming of my day when I have to edit, tweak, chisel, cut, and blend ideas. It's possible that I might consider this becoming a graphic novel (or more than one) at some point, but that's so far down the road, it's not even in my sights yet.

I like what I write, but sometimes I find lines that make me happier than usual. I don't think they're the best lines ever written, but I do think they're good for me. Here's an example:

Adolescence had come upon her, with hormones and a maturity burgeoning within each cell, each sinew. Restraint was also new; she acted on impulse, like a thunderbolt gone astray.
It makes me happy, and that's what matters. I also like:

Lykaon inspected each hammered xiphos to where both sides of the steel could split a block of marble; each single-edged, curved makhaira could cleave skin from bone, and each kopis could sever a limb so cleanly, it would take a few moments for blood to flow—as close to perfection as they could be.

Well, the chapter is almost done, so I need to get back to it. I hope that what I write someday has an audience who will appreciate it; I know I do.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ch. 6... done!

The longest chapter so far, Ch. 6 has proven to be the one I had to tweak the most, not only in style, but content. Some of the earlier ideas would just not work. Now, I have some newness to incorporate which will make me MUCH happier.

So, 145 pages done. :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ch. 5... done.

The longest chapter, by far, has been completed. That contitutes about 78 pages thus far. I was able to move through this one much more quickly since it was a more in depth aspect of the story. I'm hoping that my flow keeps going like this... I may finish by the end of the summer.

We'll see. :-)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ch. 4... done.

Chapter 5 delves right into some major stuff, and it will be interesting to see how much of my style has truly changed as I get closer to the more current writing. I found that I was doing more "telling" in spots, probably when I was either tired or unclear where to go, but shortly after those spots, the story continues.

The more research I do, the more confident I feel about the work I am doing. I have had to locate terminology and names for Ch. 4 to work well, and it makes me happier to see things less vague. I probably won't reveal any more about the plot than I already have, too. As much as I would like to share with people, the more I feel like I am giving things away. I'm still working on this conundrum, and if I change my mind, I will post an excerpt. After what happened to Stephanie Meyer, I am reluctant.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The train is a-movin along...

I'm into Ch. 4, which is largely a background chapter about Delos, the once-god Apollo, who is being punished by Zeus because of his vast indiscretions with mortals and immortals alike, shaming Olympos. Having been stripped of his godhood, Delos (as he now is called), must serve a penance on Gaea until he truly understands the nature of what he has done wrong. Ever since the Scales were destroyed, the only thing keeping the balance of Order and Chaos, everything -- including the gods' behavior -- has changed to some degree from what it should be. So, I'm working to fine tune this chapter. This particular piece of the novel sets up much of what will happen in Part II, which takes place in the modern time. Delos' travels throughout the mortal world ultimately teach him about what that type of existence is like, and it will provide future characters with insights as well.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It has been a good week...

I have spent much of the week tweaking the first chapter, largely to make it flow better with my current style, but also to fix a few errors. I'll spent today on it more, and I'm usually good for 3 -4 hours of work on it before my mind becomes addled. :)

I've ripped out quite a bit of exposition from Chapter 1 because it simply retells a story already told by others (e.g. Edith Hamilton). I chose to begin in medias res because it makes more sense to jump into the story there and later put pieces of the original ms in there. It is said that the first five pages make or break a book, so I am hoping that mine make it work. The reader will have much to piece together as the story unfolds.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 1, continued...

Well, I went home to grab lunch around 2 p.m. and began working again on the chapter 1 edit. I had to redo a little piece of the beginning to make it fit better, which I think I did. I'll be continuing tomorrow, maybe at Panera, maybe not. The chairs are not that comfortable. My problem with working at home is that I have too many distractions.

But... I feel invigorated once again to keep going. One way or the other, this book will be edited. Then, I will seek out the next step. I might post a little piece here once I am comfortable enough with it, so stay tuned (all of you who are following me).

Day 1 - Panera

Panera's the best place to work, largely because it has free Internet, but also because I can get a reasonably healthy snack whenever I want. This morning will be largely about assessing the beginning of the novel and seeing if it has the **KAPOW** factor it should have. I have this blog to keep me honest, so those who have an interest in my book can keep up with my progress. I know I have been working on this novel for over 25 years, so it's about damn time I do something with it. I've had a level of frustration with it because I know how much time and energy it will take to get it publishable, and I sometimes wonder whether it's worth the effort. But, then I think about the 1100 pages I have already done and think, "You'd better publish it, no matter whether it sells 20 copies or 20,000 copies!" I make no claims to be as good as someone like Tolkein or as popular as other fantasy writers. Also, I expect my critics to be constructive.

Here I go...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

And so it begins...

Since much time has passed since its last edit, I will endeavor to edit the behemoth that is my manuscript (henceforth referred to as 'ms') so that it is not published posthumously. Since the beginning was written quite a while ago, I have to bring it up to the more modern style I have adopted in the past few years. While I won't be writing anything new (that's the plan), I will be tweaking, twisting, and kneading the words I have thus far into something fluid and relevant.

The edit begins Monday, June 23. Since it offers WiFi, Panera will more than likely be the place of choice to do the work (I can also eat while I am there, since I know my blood sugar would otherwise drop to catastrophic levels while I am crafting my words). I'll post sporadically just to keep myself on track, as well as to let anyone who cares know what I am doing, or how I am feeling throughout the process.

My goal is to finish editing the ms by the end of the summer. We'll see how I do.

Stay tuned.
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