Audio Edition Coming Soon!
There’s a reason I’m not usually a pantser. Mostly it’s because I write myself into a corner. But it’s also because I hate feeling like I’m being inaccurate, even when it’s just the first draft. Or I just hate feeling like I’m floundering about, retreading old tropes, taking the easy way out.
Spells in Sepia (SiS) is tackling a lot of new ground for me, and it might be more than I can handle. I’m trying to just let go and write, but at the same time, I feel like I’m missing a lot of narrative opportunities, directions, and ideas because I don’t know enough about what I’m writing.
Unlike most of my other projects, this is an urban fantasy, so it’s supposed to take place in the real world. Our real world. For the most part, anyway. But there are a few hitches: Time, Place, and Character Career.
It isn’t modern day, but it also isn’t in Ye Olden Times or during the Regency Era, or anything super-historical. It’s supposed to be in the late 1980s, early 1990s. Only problem is, I was a little kid in the 1990s. I don’t remember the 80s and my characters would actually have to be born and influenced more by the 1960s and 1970s, maybe even the 1950s, depending on how old they are in SiS. And I have no idea what it was like growing up then, what the influences were. Those were my parents’ formative years.
On top of that, the main location is in a city, and I don’t know how it feels to live in a city because I hate them. And it’s not an American city in the 80s but Hong Kong. So a completely foreign place, a foreign culture, and I’m aiming for something as rich in feel as Harry Dresden’s Chicago or Matthew Swift’s London. Something tactile alongside the fantasy elements that are both well-integrated and realistic. Granted, it can probably be polished to that point in revisions, but I don’t feel like I’m even getting the groundwork laid out well.
On top of that, there are a lot of things that my character Karen is supposed to know, do, and/or love that I have a passing familiarity with, but nothing in-depth. So I don’t know a proper, logical sequence of events. How does one become a forensic photographer? How much experience do you need? What does the walk through the crime scene and then the lab look like? Hell, what type of camera has the elements I would need to adjust so she can take pictures of magical creatures? Especially when I’m already trying to set up a world where humans are the ones who can’t do magic because I’m a little tired of urban fantasy always featuring wizards. (Karen can see magic, but she can’t cast spells or anything like that.)
I clearly did not do enough research before NaNoWriMo started, and I’m barely managing to get my word count in for NaNo at the moment. I started off pretty good, but then I got sick and things got crazy at work and now I’m really behind. Like, six thousand words behind. And Week 3 is really hard, not just because NaNo is a long haul to begin with but, being female, I have to deal with my energy cycle being tied to my hormone fluctuations, which are dipping way low right now. It’s a normal thing, a natural part of one’s cycle, but very frustrating because it makes everything that much more difficult at a time when I really don’t need the extra stress. Not to mention I seem to be getting sick every weekend for the last two weeks.
Bottom line is that morale is low, I feel way under-prepared, and I’m trying to get this draft out with some semblance of a story that I can refine later.
To top it all off, I’m out of Dr. Pepper. T_T