Monday, December 26, 2011

Roaring Camels

This morning the camels are roaring. That's the only word for the infernal racket they're making. Well, actually, I think it's just one camel making all the noise.

Two doors down from me, on the corner, is a camel stable. They sell camel rides to tourists. On camelback would be a pleasant way to see the west bank of the Nile here. I didn't try it yet. Although I have ridden a camel twice before. Once out a short way into the Sahara desert in Tunisia. Once out into the edges of the rocky Sinai desert.

In my novel-in-progress, I refer to camels bellowing. When I arrived in this neighborhood, I was pleased to find that this is as close as I'm going to get to representing their noise. But this morning the camel isn't bellowing. Well, he or she doesn't sound exactly like a lion either. But the closest representation of the noise is roaring. And it gives me another word to use for camel sounds, to give some descriptive variety. Onward & upward! All grist for the mill.

I was out walking my dog yesterday. We passed a camel which was loose, ambling along the Nileside path. It was a young camel. Not the full-grown height, and with hair that is still a little curly and fuzzy. Later we passed it calmly waiting outside the stable. Not tethered. I guess camels aren't always recalcitrant. Maybe it was mealtime!

Still hoping to finish first revision by Coptic Christmas. On a little hiatus. I'm past the crisis and its immediate aftermath, but I have a feeling I'll have to revisit this section before moving on. After all, I can't see where I'm going if I don't see where I've been. Which is part of the reason for studying history, and for writing or reading historical fiction!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Crisis: Gateway of Opportunity

Gateway at Dendera temple (photo by author)
Remember Victorian novels? There's the severe fever, and then the terrible midnight moment when the doctor says, "This is the crisis." And you know that the outcome of this moment will be life or death.

I'm in a crisis! Because my book revision has reached the crisis (or climax). The terrible confrontation, the moment of truth and shame. Where my hero protagonist acts despicably.

Precisely, my challenge is writing the unwinding or unraveling after the crisis. The denouement, we called this, in English class.

For my character, this unraveling could lead to madness or death—already his constant fears. Will the outcome be negative or positive? [Clue: title of this blog post!]

My protagonist represses his feelings, but now he's up against a wall. Under pressure, he must express some interior activity. But how much, and where?

Then there's the sequence and number of  confrontations/conversations after the crisis point. I need to delineate damaged relationships and their slow healing (to the extent that they do heal). As I reread my draft, I realize that the relationships heal  too quickly and effortlessly.

I've started a blank page for reworking this material. I'll throw up a skeleton of events, and then see which thoughts and feelings weave themselves into this skeleton as a kind of connective tissue, and which are unnecessary or uncharacteristic or should remain unexpressed.

The first 8500 words of revision of part 3 went pretty smoothly. And now—aargh! But if I nail this section, it's my opportunity to make the book shine!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Laugh for Everyone

Still not putting up a serious post. Focused on getting first revision done by Coptic Christmas, Jan. 7th--inch'Allah.

Meanwhile, here's a fun one, which I found via Nathan's blog:
Some hilarious Amazon product reviews. OK, that's ambiguous. Both the products and the reviews are pretty funny. If you don't get a laugh out of something here, I'll give you something free--I just haven't decided what, yet. (Brooklyn Bridge, maybe?!)

What's your favorite product/review? Please comment!

Just enjoyed browsing through these crazy reviews again. Which is good, because I'm in a bad mood today. Partly, or mainly, because I'm up to the section of the book where my protagonist acts despicably (about one-third of the way through the 3rd & last part). Right at the very beginning, before I knew that these ideas were going to be a novel, I was shocked when I realized that the "hero" acted this way. He did it just once, but that was enough. To me, this is the only logical conclusion, based on the historical record we have.

I am planning to do some posts on various ancient Egyptian temples, etc. Thanks to blog readers who requested more local color. I'll try and put something together soon for you.

In case you're wondering, the Yemen trivia does relate to my novel. My hero spends some time in western Yemen or southwestern Arabia, snow-capped mountains & all. Snow on the Arabian peninsula. Who knew?
And here's another Yemeni photo for you, courtesy of Wiki: A typical city.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Worst Book Plus Trivia Answer

OK, y'all, it's about time I did a serious post.

Meanwhile, I couldn't resist this funny one, which I found via Nathan's blog.
The "reviews"--LOL!

By the way, the answer to both our recent trivia questions is--Yemen!
So now you know that Yemen has high mountains, and ancient bridges, and green fields.

On a map of the Arabian peninsula, you'll see that there's a mountain range running parallel to the west coast and then turning and running parallel to the south coast. Inland of this mountain range is the infamous desert, the Empty Quarter.