Wednesday, November 02, 2005

novel beginning

I haven't decided on which book to write. This is foolish, of course, given the fact that NaNoWriMo began yesterday, but I'm quite ambivalent.

On one hand, I have the beginnings of an interstitial story that begins with a murder:
The dead woman in the tight leopard print dress balanced precariously on the hotel awning, her legs splayed somewhat immodestly, giving the stunned onlookers from the upper floors an unimpeded view of her white no-nonsense underpants. The few who were close enough to see the woman’s face noted an expression imprinted with a mélange of her final moment’s anger, shock and confusion: her jet black hair highlighted with caramel hues transformed into an gorgon-like profusion that writhed in early evening air.

On the seventeenth floor, beige curtains billowed gently out of the dead woman's last known location on earth, before she took to the sky with disastrous results. In that room, Mira Ruiz sobbed violently on the carpeted floor, surrounded by shattered glass, her mascara creating ebon trails down her cheeks. In her bleeding hands she clutched the letter that began and ended everything. About her, in disarray: two handbags purged of their contents, a dog-eared copy of the most dismal of Maya Angelou’s poetry collections, a universal remote smashed beyond repair, the ruins of a leatherette-covered reading chair, and a gorgeous fur coat that matched the dead woman’s dress.

Behind her stood a broad-shouldered man, his face still red from the whirlwind of violence. With trembling hands he fished out a cigarette from his jeans pocket and lit it, cupping the small flame generated by his yellow disposable lighter, protecting it from the errant breezes that wafted through the serrated frames of the broken balcony doors.

“We have to go,” Esteban Ruiz told his sister, ending his statement with an exhalation of grey smoke.


On the other hand, I have a craving to write a full-length novel set in Hinirang, telling the big story I wanted to tell a few years ago:
The first thing Ciri did when she reached Ciudad Meiora was to have her name read and analyzed by the most vocal and colorful of Namespeakers along the Encantó du Caminata. The mustachioed savant looked at the young girl, fixed her in place with a one-eyed stare and told her the meaning of her name.

"Loss," he told her breathlessly. "Your life is one long quest that will never end, your plans and ambitions will have bitter results, love will always elude you, and, given the duplication of vowels, your liver and kidneys will always be weak, leaving you vulnerable to skin eruptions, fatigue and occassional false visions of a happy future."

“What?” asked Ciri, looking up sharply.

“There's no avoiding fate,” he told her sadly, extending a gloved hand palm-up in her direction. “Sometimes parents are cruel and unthinking.”

Ciri swallowed her annoyance and gave him a centavo for the reading. As soon as she had walked five steps away from the Namespeaker’s booth, she spat in her hands and flecked the spittle off into the air, to avert whatever truth the savant had managed to auger.

We'll see what happens tonight. Gah. Already I'm behind schedule.

By the way, unlike last year's Salamanca, I'm not posting whatever I write as I write it. Frankly, I found the process too open - like I'm exposing myself before I'm ready. I was uncomfortable with everyone seeing me work - I kept wanting to apologize for the all the typos and in-progress errors of story/character logic I was making. At a certain point, it felt like performance writing, which, really, isn't my thing.

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