I have no personal experience of war, but every time I hear “age shall not weary them” it touches me. There’s something haunting about the lines and their being followed by the Last Post.
The Ode of Remembrance draws from a longer First World War poem called For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon and, while often you only hear the 4th stanza, I like it when you hear the 3rd and 4th:
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Last book club was fun for all of us chatting previous and about up coming travel plans and the fact we’d all had a bit of a chuckle from the book, which was Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I have to say it struck me as typically Prachett; quirky and absurd with a dash of surreal.
What caught my writer’s eye though, was the point in the text at which a crazy number of strands suddenly converged into one narrative. Up until then it was either intriguing or annoying depending on how you react as a reader to the constant and isolated introduction of new characters!
The bookclubbers were a bit divided depending on whether they’d made it past that point or not, and not everyone found it as funny as I did. Though they did all have a laugh at me as I retold the scene where a big, nasty hell-hound turns into a tiny, jack russell type dog, complete with inside-out ear and chuckled a lot.
Woot! PAR’s 1st draft is done! Got to the end last night and it felt goooood.
I’m also finding it bit cool that what felt like a 120K story idea came in at 110K. Close! (We won’t mention the thousands that didn’t make the cut.) I’m guessing it’ll get bigger in the 2nd draft because – as always – there are a couple of spots that don’t have nearly enough setting. Still, the fact this is a good first draft and not a scratch draft or a draft zero has me a-smiling!
Weirdly, I enjoyed this one right to the end. Yes there were the odd tricky bits and holes to be stepped in, but I was even a little sad today as my brain had no excuse to be in that world. I suspect my protag will be glad it’s over though… my goodness did I do nasty things to the poor guy.
A few weeks back I had to move all the furniture in my lounge room and this led me to deciding I might as well rearrange it as I put it back. The biggest part of this was moving the bookcase and – naturally – all the books.
I have a lot of books on the shelves that I rarely read. Particularly books I’ve kept from when I was a kid. This includes what you’d expect in fiction for young readers, but it also includes poetry. Lots of poetry.
From when I was about 9 I frequented a second hand bookshop which had a great selection of poetry and, with my meager pocket money, I started a small and eclectic collection. I should say, I’d already had a love of rhyme and so had quite a few books of ‘childrens’ verse’, but this shop allowed me to expand into other areas. I kept buying poetry there until I was well into my 20s.
The thing is; I stopped reading (and writing) poetry in my late 20s. This means I’ve had all these poetry books on my shelves for a long time just collecting dust. In fact the only one I still regularly read is a volume I stole from my dad! It feeds my addiction to John Donne, Lord Byron and Christina Rossetti. Less often I break out my dedicated books of Blake or Donne and, likewise, books of Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson for an Australian fix.
I suspect those will be the last poetry books to suffer being culled, but every time I do a rearrangement a few more go to the charity shop.
I’ve been off writing – still on the PAR – and it’s progressed well! I’m about to hit 90k of decent words (we won’t talk about what’s been thrown out) and I think I’m about 15K from the end. We’ll see.
What’s been amazing to me and the daemon about all this wordage is that I’ve averaged 7k a week since the start of December(!) and while that’s probably only 5k a week on working weeks, I’m pleased. I’m also still in love with the story which is remarkable. Possibly means I will come to hate it in the editing stage, but that’s fine. It’s nice to still be excited and looking forward to picking up the pen each day.
Weirdly I’m still long-handing most of it too. And is it wrong that I can completely see a movie version in my head? I don’t know.
Okay, with a work in progress nicknamed ‘the PAR’ it was inevitable I would make that joke some time… 🙂
But yes, it is running to form for a novel of mine right now. I’m so far into the story that I’m having trouble remembering what I did in earlier chapters! Which is usually the point at which I start to create a chapter map.
I’m not sure if it’s partly because I’m back to working in a straight word-processor for this, but in reality that can only be a contributing factor; all my novels have reached a stage where it’s too big to fit in my head. Of course, because of my pantser ways, I can never be entirely sure which version of a chapter/scene I ended up doing!
Side note on being a pantser: Apparently Lee Childs is one. This gives me a weird sense of… community. It’s a bit lonely out here on the pure-panter edge, as most of my writer peeps are either pure planners or planner-side-of-the-scale plantsers.
I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s been on my mind again after some of my bookclubbers asked me where the idea for the PAR came from. Considering my recent wordage was my excuse for not having read the book this time (!) I felt like I owed them a good answer. Luckily when it comes to the PAR the answer is easy…
I was watching a movie with a martial arts instructor who was a really interesting character, in love with a student, and I thought “that’s the kind of relationship I’d like to write”. This was partly his character in the movie, partly the idea of a relationship between two fighters and partly the extreme coolness of martial arts (I’m a teeny bit of a fan).
So my instructor became a sword fighter (because swords = cool). Then he needed something to be using the swords for (to fight beasties). Then he needed people to train (people surviving in a somewhat post-apocalyptic future earth). Then he needed a love interest I felt he’d fall crazy in love with (a highly experienced beastie fighter). Then I had to decide what kind of beasties and where they’d come from (accidental side effect of some research). Then I had to decide what the research was in aid of (finding a cure for a disease). Then I had to pick a disease and work out if it had caused the apocalypse or the beasties had (50/50). And then – the most fun part – I had to build an entire version of our Earth around the idea of an apocalypse with beasties.
Sounds simple when you lay it out like that, huh?
Funny thing is, Blurty had a similar start – a movie I was watching – but a totally different path and now it’s hard to see the origin point at all!