",,,accomplish the great task by a series of small acts."
Tao te Ching 63
After a week at home I think I'm over the jet-lag now and simmering down a little regarding the 'culture shock' issues. I spent a lot of time last week either dozing or grumbling and now it's time to move forward and get back into a creative spirit. Finally, too, the summer weather is here. It was a bit of a shock after all that Greek sun to come home to gray skies and chilly temperatures. But now the sun is shining in all its glory. Yesterday I even went to the beach!
We had a festive weekend of Canada Day celebrations and now that's over it's time to buckle down and get back into the groove. It's been awhile since I looked at "Shadow of the Lion" and as I made a promise to myself to try and finish it this summer, I couldn't delay another day. My usual way of resuming work after a long absence is to start by retyping some of the old chapters that are not on the computer. It happened that when I started the novel I was working on a word processor (in fact, my earliest drafts, when I thought to write it as a juvenile historical about Alexander's son, were written on a typewriter.) I was happy with the w.p. but eventually realized I must upgrade. By the time I got a computer, I'd already written the first three parts of the novel. "Shadow" will be approximately six parts, each following a time-line according to events beginning with Alexander the Great's death and the birth of his son, Alexander IV (called "Iskander" in my novel, Persian for "Alexander'), and the wars of the Successors which led to the eventual fall of Alexander's dynasty. The novel begins and ends with a Prologue and Epilogue in Ptolemy's voice. (No, I didn't copy the movie as I'd already written my P & E using Ptolemy as a strong thread throughout the story because of all the Successors his was the only dynasty that lasted.)
I have retyped the old manuscript up to midway of Part III. I'm now working on Part V and was making good headway before my departure for Greece. So now, to get started again, I'm doing more of the retypes and making editing notes as I go along. Each of the Parts so far are about the length of a short novel so there will be some major cutting needed when I do my final draft. I'm making note of where to cut and where to condense. There's quite a bit that can be cut because I often allowed my characters the luxury of going off on their own in order to thoroughly develop them. So I ask myself as I'm retyping "Is this forwarding the plot or is it just a little diversion indulging the character?" There's quite a lot I can cut, even though it might be interesting and enjoyable to read.
Yesterday as I was retyping, I ran across one particular scene, a boar hunt, which I'd done extensive research on. It's an interesting and high-tension scene but I realize when I reread it that it really didn't fit that well in that particular part of the novel. Mainly because the child, Iskander, is far too young at the time to have participated. (For some reason I've noted that in many places of the early chapters I have him behaving far too old for his age.) So I marked in the margin that it should be cut or moved, but wasn't sure what exactly to do. Should I just cut it altogether?
After my morning of writing 'work' I headed to the Park and beach. This is always a great way for me to quieten my mind and think over what I need to do, or come up with brilliant ideas.
I take the bus to the Park, have a pleasant stroll through the Park and rose gardens, along the Lagoon to the beach. It's an outdoor pool beach-side and so beautiful and refreshing. While I was floating in the water as usual, I get brilliant ideas, and this is when the Muse speaks to me.
I thought about that boar scene, what to do with it, and realized that it would work much better in a segment of Part VI as it would heighten tension of the events happening at that time and by then the boy is about ten and more likely to have participated.
That was just one small step for me, and I know if I keep on track this week I'll quickly move into the new chapters where I'd left off before my holidays.
Last night I went to "Word Whips", a literary event held every Wednesday in a cafe on the Drive, sponsored by the Pandora's Collective women. It's timed writings from prompts much like my class "Prompting the Muse". I participated in a few of the prompts, my brain still a bit foggy from exhaustion and clogged with other thoughts, but at least I started the creative juices flowing, so it was a good way to get back on track.
I have set myself a writing schedule, taking into account that now the weather is hot and sunny I don't want to deny myself some outdoor time during the day. This means rising early and writing in the morning (and perhaps in the evening) but allowing time to frolick in the sun during the afternoons. This is the opposite of when I spend time in Greece writing, as there my best writing time was 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. because that's the hottest part of the day and better to be indoors.
So I think I've made a good start this week and hope I can stick to it. Next is to reorganize the diet/exercise (Daisy knows about that!) and get back on to the W.W. program. I've stuffed myself with cinnamon rolls a couple of times this past week and ate a plate of nachos last night along with a beerm and that ain't good! (A little indulgence to combat the jet-lag and negative thoughts.)
Time to get serious! Back to work!
"Each moment is a precious God-given opportunity of good for me. New inspiration energizes me and leads me in a new and rewarding direction."
The Daily Word.