Progress Blog, Day 5, actually almost 3 in the morning after it ended.
61,695 at the end of chapter 12. Or, 40,612 words during March Novel Writing Madness. Not a Three Day sprint, since I had four effective days to do it in, but a good run. A very good run. I'm reeling about it, in part because the pressure of the sprint got me writing reasonably well too. I'm fairly happy with the contents. The ideas are there. The plot is solid. The quest - oh, for epic questing it is such a strange little thing because it fused with a couple of out-genre ideas.
Marathoning creates an atmosphere of taut, time-based intensity, the bomb has to be defused by 0800 on the second day or it will take out the city, the information must reach the Allies before the weapon reaches the Nazi high command, the submarine will be out of air within 12 hours if they don't find a way to surface.
Magic when applied with any military sense will, like any military innovation, make its own rules. I laid an unofficial 'you have two days advantage' into the chess-game aspect of the book. I will need to google on castles and castle sites and military history when this is over, to find a quote I remember but not accurately. Something to the effect that a castle is a military machine. Karactis, the main opponent, was just about winning and the heroes are snatching victory or at least stalemate from the jaws of defeat. Karactis almost had it all in the bag. That's the arc. That means it could go farther and this novel could be 'the first battle that turned the tide' or it could tie up in the destruction of Karactis as a stand alone that would need a few centuries for the world to steep and cough up another evil that grand. I don't know yet which it's going to be. I do know that the great race is under constant magical bombardment and the objective is going home and rallying defense against Karactis, effectively.
I know that whether the book actually all takes place in just two days, or a decent military minded reader could just tell 'those two days made the difference' isn't a problem. On that level it works and it's not just travelogue at all. What's hilarious is that I really am bouncing off of Tolkein.
I'm just not bouncing off of some of the obvious Tolkein things that usually get knocked around as 'cheesy imitation Tolkein product' - it's not just that there are elves. What I took away with me from Lord of the Rings, what really endured for me, was a small scene in Mordor when the hobbits were working their way in on their commando mission. It was the two scared orc sentries talking about elves and seeing elves as terrifying and their lit swords as frightening equipment. It was those two little drafted guys who got stuck with Sauron for government and being born of a race that a race with shining swords thought was evil that really stuck, and some of the slanted descriptions of the orcs were - descriptions of poverty and oppression. I felt for the orcs as a bunch of little guys a lot like hobbits themselves, but stuck in a bad situation where they'd be looking up to the life of a Welsh coal miner as a real boost to standard of living. Not that they were nice guys. They bullied each other and picked on each other too and were mired in the kind of meanness that poverty encourages. But they were real and they moved me. And how they felt about the War of the Ring was the difference between Tolkein and the imitations (or the rather playable computer and role playing games loosely based on Tolkein that give rise to the legend of Imitation Tolkein, in which moral considerations generally give way to Experience Points and Better Equipment and Higher Levels on the way to Win Screens). Tolkein's world was dark. Tolkein's world didn't have the blood repainted a pinkish vermilion in neat little streaks and the bodies smelled bad on those battlefields. Tolkein's world wasn't spiffed up and romanticized.
So when I finally set out to write a 'classic quest' it turned into - too much background reading on the middle ages, too much detail of medieval life not to show it with a bit of grittiness. It's getting gritty again this next chapter, I know what the next chapter is. Among other realities of medieval life, barons do not always support their kings and wave the mug in cheery loyalty because the True King returned to the land. Even if he's got mages with him and he's splashing about a bit of magic now and then. Barons by and large prefer kings that won't levy too much on them and won't inquire too closely into their local affairs at all. Reformers are generally dangerous to barons unless the baron's a reformer in the king's faction and thus really cheering him on. Ugly stuff, medieval politics.
Which is to say instead of swiping anything in particular from Tolkein, when I look at Tolkein I'm looking at some techniques and brush strokes and 'how do you render a cow in the distance in the background' more than what breed of cow. I'm happy with the book.
I'm a little brain-cheezed from writing marathon pace for five days too! Fun to just blather and blunder! Purr@you...
Robert and Ari >^..^<