Friday, April 20, 2012

Tea with a Necromancer

Necromancer: Hello

I look up from my computer as she places a tea tray between us. Hints of cinnamon and orange lift into the air. There are two cups and a large bowl of sugar cubes. The Necromancer is the size of a petite 13-year-old girl. Where she is from, she is several thousand years old. Hairless with paper white skin, her cheekbones and chin have sharp angels; she has no ears, no visible nose. She is otherworldly. Against her sternum a large lavender stone pulses with her life force. Her eyes are lavender and gold. Although her body is humanoid in appearance, she is not bothered with modesty. She wears only a breast plate of woven gold. Her extra-long, slender fingers grasp the sides of the white tea pot instead of the handle. Her movements are precise, but the tea splatters everywhere but the cups.

Necromancer: What are you doing? 

Me: I was going to start working on book two of my trilogy.

But now that she's here I can't think of anything else. Finally two cups of tea are filled. She slides one across the table. She adds seven sugar cubes to her cup; each cube pushes a little more tea over the sides. Soon her tea is mostly sugar. Her pupils grow as she takes in our surroundings.

Necromancer: Where are we?

Me: My dining room.  

We are actually everywhere: work, home, in the shower, at the gym, driving home, driving to work, driving to the gym, talking with Sister, editing, reading, falling asleep.... She follows me everywhere. I close my laptop and push it aside.

Me: Why are you here?

Necromancer: You've been thinking about me. A lot. And about Andy.

A 10-year-old boy appears. He's struggling under the weight of a heavy green backpack. His dark brown hair falls across his forehead, framing a slight unibrow over one blue eye and one green eye.  His green and yellow striped polo is loose around his chest and snug around the belly. Beneath the hem of his shorts, his knees and legs are covered in dirt, scrapes, and old sleepwalking scars. His blue sneakers are untied. He has a sprinkling of freckles across his nose.

Andy: Hello!

As he smiles, his hair turns three shades darker. His green eye turns lavender, then brown, then back to green again. His blue eye turns green and then back to blue. I frown. He was better before. His hair lightens. Finally, his features settle to what they were. He and the Necromancer are whispering. They are best friends.

Andy: What are we doing?

Me: I was going to work on my series, but now...

Andy nods in understanding.

Andy: You're going to write about us. Are you going to write about the first time I sleepwalked into the other world? Or the "three pulses"?

Necromancer: Perhaps she will name me.

Me: No, I'm not writing about either of you. I'm going to finish this project.

I open my laptop.

Necromancer: We're to easier write.

Me: No....

Necromancer: Yes. In that other series, you have to write two more novels, which will be at least 1000 or more pages (times 8 or 9, depending how many edits you do). You must also complete three complete story arches, and don't forget the big problem: a few readers haven't liked your main character. And even after the last edit, you're still not sure if she's any good. With Andy and myself, and some pre-ploting and outlining, our story could be complete in twenty-five fifteen-page chapters.

Andy (eating sugar cubes): Are we a series?

Me: I don't know what the hell you are. And you're not any easier to write. Right now you're just a human boy and a Necromancer creature who have popped into my head. I don't know anything else about you. Plus, I'll have to create a whole new world, research what's already out there about necromancers, and decide just what the hell the story is about.

Andy: That always comes last for you.

The Necromancer blinks, bored. Her tea is untouched. She doesn't eat or drink human food.

Andy: Didn't you figure out the story purpose in the car today? An ordinary human boy in a not-so ordinary world, discovers that being the last full-blooded human boy makes him extraordinary after all.

My shoulders droop. 
Me: That sucks.

The Necromancer nods. 

Me: I have to figure everything out. You're just a distraction. I know what I need to do.

Necromancer: Go to Target?

Me: Yes! Let's do that. Let's go to Target.

And... that's just a taste of my life procrastinating. It's not uncommon for me to think of new projects to work on when I'm in the midst of another project that feels impossible. In truth, I have a lot of work to do on my SPIRIT KEEPER series. A lot. And I just don't want to do it. I'm not over the project. I think it's a great concept and a decently strong story, I just feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it.

Like all things that seem insurmountable in my life (such as losing 100 lbs or paying off $100K in college and life debt), I tend to shut down and put things off. Take losing weight. My mindset has always been: "Ehh, lets do that tomorrow." (This wasn't about laziness, I've discovered. It's completely a mental thing.) Fast forward 18 years (give or take), now that I'm making a very strong effort to hit the gym and eat right the scale moves like a snail, and again it feels like I missed the boat. I can't help but wonder where I'd be today if I started this journey years ago. I didn't know myself years ago.

I've since learned that I'm a cycler. Five months of hard exercise and eating well, two years of not trying, five months of working out and Weight Watchers, three years of sitting around boo-hooing. This year is about shattering this cycle. I just broke through my first major hurtle (well, it's still lingering, but I'm almost got my other leg over): I'm nearing month 6. No quitting... On November 10th, I will it a year mark, and hopefully by that time my health cycle will be shattered.

But, I digress. Back to writing...

My last edit of THE SPIRIT KEEPER was completed in early February (I think). I haven't even tried to send it out anymore. And I certainly haven't worked on book two in several months. It's easier to think about new projects. New ideas are fun. First drafts are fun. I'm not sure what spurred my imagination to the necromancer idea. I'm not even sure how I know what a necromancer is. Wait... maybe the idea germinated several years ago when I was actively reading Laurell K. Hamilton novels? My idea (a type of alien/other dimensional race of beings) is a little different than a human having necromancy powers. Anyway, Andy and the yet-to-be-named Necromancer really have taken over my brain. It does seem easier to focus on that, but it'll likely be the same amount of work. At least I have some vague idea of where the trilogy is going.

I need to finish what I started--I put a lot of work into that first novel and I want to see it through.

Like all things that are difficult in my life, it's starting that's the hardest part. I need to figure out how to start and how to fit it into my routine. Maybe it's opening the Word file? Maybe it's looking at the outline? Maybe it's working on something new... I don't know.

Maybe I do need to go to Target.


Jammi said...

I keep meaning to slide on pass this post because I am a strong supporter of embracing the shiny. Especially if you already have a basic plot and the main characters, lmao.

Of course, this is why it takes me years to finish a story.

Because like you mentioned,it might seem easier at first but it will definitely be the same amount of work, possibly more since the actual world isn't created yet, just a rough idea of it.

And that's not taking into account the snags you'll run into, the rewrites because something doesn't flow and then the actual editing.

But I really do like the idea, or at least, the glimpse we've seen here. Like the Necromancer putting sugar into the cup even though she doesn't eat human food and Andy eating the sugar cubes by themselves.

Good luck with the cycle! I read something about creating a habit to destroy a habit, so if you keep it up you'll be set. And maybe if you get that feeling where you want to give up, switch to an actual fitness class or hot yoga or something that can make it feel new.

I have no idea how to fit something into a routine though, I'm still struggling to write while not inspired, lol.

Tanya said...

Yeah, you know... after writing this post I kinda stopped thinking about those characters. Sometimes jotting down notes is all it takes for me to move past an idea. But, they're still there a little bit :). I could have fun with them, but it really is so much work!

I do think I need to start taking a few classes. My normal cardio workout is becoming boring. I did sign up for tennis classes, but they don't start until June.


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