This was a really tough month for me, in a number of ways that all seemed to interfere with reviewing and adding to “Chapter 21 – South to Colmaria” of “Tishta the Crystal Orb.” It’s no coincidence that I started having a lot of distractions after I finished the previous chapter on January 20. That was the day a majority of the distractions started—and they haven’t let up, I’ve just learned to integrate them into my life and manage them. It’s not that I haven’t been reading—a lot—or writing. It’s just that the reading hasn’t been of SciFi or Fantasy—although a lot of what has been going on seems much like dystopian SciFi—and the writing has been either in Facebook posts—mostly in private or secret groups—or on my personal blog, or in my new diary.
It has taken a lot of effort to assimilate the goings on of the new administration without normalizing it—because, it is not normal. I suppose it could be considered fodder for future writings. I have to look on the bright side.
Along the way, I tried to write. The first week was a total loss. I was a deer in the headlights. I went to marches and rallies, I called my congress people, and I read and read and read. I learned which news sources I think I can trust, which ones lean left and right, and how far. I used up all the free views on all the major newspaper feeds—The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Seattle Times, to name just a few—and discovered other, online-only sources including Dan Rather’s Facebook feed and another one called News And Guts. Entirely too much information to ingest in such a short period of time.
The second week, I closed the Facebook tab on my browser except during meals. That weaned me from the addiction. I didn’t want to shut it out completely because it has become my primary source of news, and there has been a lot to keep up with. I am still using that as a tactic when I start spending too much time there. I thought Twitter was an equal issue, but found I don’t need to close that tab. I use its Trends to key me into what might be interesting, but it isn’t near the draw that my Facebook newsfeed is.
I started spending more time writing. My writing. On Tishta. It turned out that I had a lot to add to the previous chapter, as well as this new one. I didn’t have anything about Toran and Gillan’s handoff of Gentu to Maglin in the first draft—Maglin was just a character Criften talked about occasionally, and Gentu just disappeared after he left the group. After I added the second witch, Inla, it gave me the opportunity to resolve an issue I wasn’t sure about—how and when Gentu would end up in Mondar—and Inla being close to the border makes that easier now.
I also didn’t deal with the grief of Contara’s death in the first draft and I added some more about that to both chapters, including a new scene between Malcan and Brant where the boy asks what happens after someone dies. I showed—instead of telling about—Coltan’s grief at Gentu leaving, including his distraction while teaching the children and his not paying attention to how tired the other adults were becoming. Some of the descriptions I added, especially about the magics Criften uses to stabilize Gentu, I am quite pleased with. When I read the new scene that exposes this at Two Hour Transport last week, I got a good response from the audience, and comments afterward. I think I got that one right.
Overall, I am adding a lot more interactions between characters, and showing their increasing concern for each other. I like this part of writing. It exposes more about the characters and allows their little community to grow stronger as they help each other through some pretty tough times. They are going to need that strong bonding to get them through what is to come.
Although I still have outstanding notes on this chapter I will need to resolve, I’m ready to call it good enough for now, and to move on to the next chapter. I will definitely come back to this one to make some additions, but I need to see what happens next with some of the characters to better understand what those additions should be. I hope the next chapter doesn’t take a month to finish, or this is going to be a much longer slog than I was expecting. Wish me luck.
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