Tuesday, February 01, 2011

1 + 3/2 = 9?

According to mathematics, no. According to literature, yes. More specifically, it is my literature (if you can call if that) that says so. I have just completed Chapter Nine of The Lullaby. The scene that occurs in this chapter is basically the same scene at the end of chapter one of the first draft. With this knowledge, you can safely say that the first nine chapters of the rewrite equal the first chapter (and prologue) of the first draft. I just turned 3,048 words into 13,371. That's an added 10,323 words!

To be fair, I did use pieces of chapters two, five, and nine (that's what the 3/2 stands for) for inspiration. Those excerpts equaled 1,682 words. This makes the total added 8,641. The number isn't as big but it's still pretty impressive if I do say so myself. Hopefully this amount of inflation will continue to happen and I can reach my goal of 70,000 words since this is an added requirement to my first ledge.

As I mentioned earlier, I have just completed Chapter Nine. I've finished four chapters since the year started. That is the good news. The bad news is I had trouble writing the last two. Chapter Eight took me forever; I just wasn't feeling it. At the end, however, I felt satisfied. The same thing happened with Chapter Nine except it only took me two days to write. The first day started out well then I started to doubt whether I was doing good, whether the chapter was important. Lizzie's always telling me that when I start to doubt myself is when things go bad. So I stopped. Today went much better and, again, I feel satisfied with the results.

I seem to have this problem a lot. The only way I can seem to cure it is to reread what I've written. I can also have others read what I've written and hope that they say it's fine. That is what I'm going to do now. So enjoy these two excerpts.

Chapter Eight excerpt
Tilo blushed and looked away from her. He mumbled something about ‘his mother said’.

“If your mother’s so important to you, why aren’t you with her?” her voice went south, becoming ice cold. The whole room flinched; mothers were an almost forbidden topic.

At first Cassie thought Tilo wasn’t going to answer and then he simply said, “She didn’t trust me. She thought I would end up here, among your kind.”

Cassie assumed that by ‘your kind’ he meant street rats. “So, how did you end up here, among our kind. Where are you from?”

“It is a place you have never heard of,” he examined his hands, avoiding her eyes.

“Try me.”

A sigh escaped his huge lungs, “I am from a place called Syng.”

Cassie glanced out Acorn out of the corner of her eye. She shook her head; she hadn’t heard of it either. “Okay, you’ve got me. Where is it?”

“I do not know where it is from here.”

“Which continent is it on? Africa, Europe, Asia, any of this sounding familiar?” Her interest was spiking now.

Tilo just stared at her blankly, “I told you, I am from Syng. Not any of those other places.”

“What is Syng? A city? A country?”

He looked up at the ceiling, resting his chin in his hands, “It is many things but the word you are searching for is universe. Syng was the first universe created by Tam; this place we are now, it is the second.”

They all stared at him. Mitch was the only one of them who seemed to appreciate the story; the rest stared in disbelief. Cassie didn’t say anything. She knew of things like this. The boy was making up a story to cope with his life.

He continued, “Before Tam created Syng, there was nothing. Just complete black emptiness. Then Tam began to sing; the high notes were for mountains and the low ones for valleys. He made everything: rivers, trees, the wind, through his voice. With his last few notes, he crafted himself a wonderful, brilliant body of stars.

“Tam took care of his world, making it more beautiful and diverse. He began to feel lonely; the grass could not speak. Deciding he wanted someone he could sing with, he created ten beings. They were the Giants. He made them immortal and large, like himself. He gave them their names: Tela, Thorn, Tess, Temp, Tick, Tock, Tina, Telle, Teresa, and Timo. They gave him a name too, the one he has now, Tam.”

Tilo’s eyes had turned glassy as he told the story. Mitch gazed up at him in wonder; he wore the same expression he got when Acorn told him fairy tales. At Tilo’s pause, Mitch darted in a question, “You weren’t in the story. Ain’t you a Giant, Tilo?”

The statement caused the other boy to flinch. Again he scanned the room. Cassie did too, wondering how bad it looked to an outsider. She had been meaning to work on removing the shambles to the surface.

“Tam made many other things besides the Giants,” Tilo’s voice sounded scratchy now, as if he was emotional. “He loved creating new things. The Dwarves, the Elves, the Dryads, the Nymphs, the Sea Serpents were just a few of his projects. One day he got a new idea; an idea that itched at him, that wouldn’t leave him alone.

“He gathered the Giants for, being his first companionable creations, they were still his favorites. His farewell speech did not reveal all of his intentions. He told them he was going to make a new world, a new universe. He promised to make passageways between the two places so they could still see and meet with him. After carrying out this promise he left.

“That is when he made this universe. You humans call it Earth. He decided to stay here, to watch. Separating out his body, he made what is now your night sky. No one has heard from him since. When he made the tunnels, he did not remember the Giants’ ever growing size. Soon the way was too small for my kind. The other creatures did not know where to look; he told only the Giants of his plans.”
There was another pause. This time it was Cassie who asked the question, “What does any of this have to do with you or us? You haven’t been in the story at all. We’re supposed to be getting to know you, to know if we can trust you not some Teca or whatever her name was.”

Tilo glared at her, “Tela is my mother. I am the only Giant not directly created by Tam. It was thought impossible for a Giant to give birth to another. I knew I was different but I thought they accepted me. I found out recently I was wrong.”

Everyone in the room seemed to be hanging on to his every word. “I still don’t get what the point is,” Cassie wasn’t falling for it.

“Syng is a pure place. We know how to take care of our land. There is no pollution. We would like to keep it that way. The other Giants believe, however, that I am going to bring humans to Syng and let them destroy it. They do not trust me. They never have. Do you get now why I had to leave?” He was angry; his words coming out through ground teeth.

“Not entirely. Why do they think we would destroy your world?” Cassie was playing along with the story, searching out what he was hiding.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Acorn answered before Tilo could. “He said there’s no pollution in Syng but Earth is an entirely different story. And do you know where it all comes from? Humans.”  She tapped herself on the chest matter-of-factly.
 Chapter Nine excerpt

She looked around, realizing that she was on her own except for a tropical bird that circled overheard. It surprised her; Sanders had been keeping a close eye on both her and Jyde. She scanned the horizon with a trained eye. There had been no time, or need according to Sanders, to explore away from the tunnels, but now that she had some free time, she might as well.

She found what she was looking for almost immediately. Taking one more quick glance toward the tunnel entrance, she started on her way. A breeze ruffled her hair, making her laugh out loud. She was tired of the stuffy, suffocating tunnel air. She was made for open spaces, high spaces, not dirty, confined ones.

Her walk became an uphill trudge soon enough. She was glad of the exercise and welcomed the aches on the back of her calves. Her laughter remained on her face in the form of a smile. It grew bigger when she reached the top of the cliff.

She peered over the edge, her toes almost hanging off. The rush made her dizzy, made her smile yet again. It reminded her of home, of the tall towering trees that supported most of her country’s towns, of where she wanted to be. She closed her eyes, tilting her head into the wind, imagining one of the towering beasts before her. It was another week before she would see one in person.

Why did her mother send her in her place? Another thing Prestelle could not seem to understand. It couldn’t be the sickness; Evaline was not one to let such humanly weakness stop her. When she had asked the question aloud to her mother, all the answer she got was, “We’ll just see how it turns out.”

Opening her eyes, she sighed. She couldn’t stay up here forever; they were going to notice she was gone soon. The thought of listening to Sanders complain about it made her nose wrinkle in distaste. She seriously hoped that her mother was not gypping for her to fall in love with one of the princes. It sounded exactly like something Evaline would do. She knew she meant well, but Prestelle hadn’t been able to stand Sanders since they were small children and Jyde, he just wasn’t her type.

With those heavy thoughts weighing her down, she took one more look beyond the cliff’s edge. A sharp intake of breathe made her teeter. She took a hasty step back as she evaluated the scene. The Prims stood there with Jyde and Sanders. One of them, she thought it might be Silence, turned his head suddenly, spinning his cat-like ears, as if he had heard her. Surely he couldn’t have; their hearing wasn’t that good.

The Prims appeared to be leaving. She watched as Juniper and the third Prim, Milos, shook hands with Sanders and Jyde. Silence simply nodded. The two humans stepped away, giving the Prims plenty of space for their take off. They wasted no time.

Their almost transparent cloaks made the Prims look more like bats than felines but they were very useful. They were extra sensitive to the wind, only needing a small wisp to keep the user airborne. Prestelle had learned about them through her schooling but she had never seen one used. The launching technique was strange; the Prims didn’t have to run or jump from a high place. Their powerful leg muscles were sufficient.
Prestelle watched as they leaped into the air, spreading their arms. The wind quickly caught them up. Her eyes followed them as they disappeared from the exact beach that the Giant had. She noticed a fourth speck in the sky; it was the bird from earlier. It followed the Prims out to sea.

When she could no longer see any of them, she turned to leave. Unconsciously she said her thoughts aloud, “So that’s how it’s going to be.”