Ay, ay! A first half of the prologue would make sense. But, alack, I am too lazy, and I get caught up in the details of things. Which is bad; should focus on covering ground instead of small stretches at a time. Bad lama, me!
Anyways, I decided, suddenly, to quite simply post what I'm working on. I've gone through a few drafts already, but it's a scene which is rather important for the character Gideon.
Some background, first. The relevant story of Gideon so far - not all of it told, explicitly - is as follows.
About a decade ago he and his sister Ilana lived in Nazra, and Gideon was totally hooked up with a girl named Nadia. But, Ilana turned sick and Gideon travelled with her to Chakazia to seek a cure. Instead he watched his sister rot away and, alone in a far-away country turned to rough living, most likely serving as a mercenary of some sort for a long while. He became quite good at this trade, while not particularly much enjoying it, (or, come to it, any other part of his life). A month or so before the written account begins he returned to Nazra and became a fisherman. As the weeks of high summer and autumn passed he nurtured a drug addiction through which his never-healed wounds of Ilana's passing were torn wide open and bleeding. Still, being an effective (and, when it comes to it, extremely dedicated and single-minded) man, his little fishing venture thrived until he buys a larger boat and expand his operation. In part, this decision is funded and driven by Salaino, a merchant who also supplies Gideon with his drugs: Gideon himself has little ambition or particular interest in fishing. Along with the fishing dhow Salaino has provided for Gideon comes also a girl named Rena, Salaino's niece, the "help" Salaino provides Gideon in the venture (which, increasingly, seems to be a ploy by Salaino to bring Gideon and his considerable, if currently squandered, skills under Salaino's direct control. A small theme going on about "just because you're good at something don't mean you should do it").
Most of all that is, at best, hinted at in the written version. Consider it a first draft, or stuff to be brought into light in future chapters. Anyways, speeding up:
At this point, Nadia (now a mother, burdened with children and a husband - Jona - who, although popular, has achieved none of the success Gideon so easily attained) comes to ask for Gideon's help. The family is on the brink of poverty and, earlier that day, was unable to pay the mandated Tribute to the Radiant Lord. Jona - promising to go to sea and bring back enough to pay their debts - has not been seen since, and a storm is brewing. Gideon, accustomed to solace, is flustered by Nadia's presence, but - feeling it to be his duty - decides to mount a rescue expedition at once. Nadia and Rena comes along on the dhow, and also a sack of vials containing Gideon's drugs. As the storm worsens around them, Gideon slowly thaws to Nadia's presence.
The scene I'm working on now is important - I'll not go into the bigger scheme of things just now, but suffice to say Gideon has a bit of an epiphany regarding the hollow, moribound life he's been living and (should) fall head over heels in love with Nadia once more. He combats the duty of rescuing Jona while succumbing to his drug withdrawal, loving Nadia while "staying true" to his sister Ilana. In the end, in a rather sprawling tie-together of threads, he unifies all these desires with an overarching death drive and longing for Ilana, then becomes briefly self-aware of this and reaffirms his love for Nadia and life, finally having it all crash down when Jona is, at long last, recovered. Oh yeah, and it's storming up like a hurricane.
And this is just the beginning. His "twice-failed" relationship with Nadia and guilt/envy of Jona will haunt him throughout. So I try to get it right, even if I know it's all just a first draft...
Anyways, here it is, with notes and half-rewrites and all chucked in wherever:
moral right av att love a married woman ... and abandoning Ilana in the end, combines death drive for all (drugs, Ilana, Nadia, Jona) but becomes briefly self-aware of this
Reaction scene: reaction (more to the wind, Nadia's speech), more focused dilemma, Nadia or other, and his decision in the end further pronounced - choose it all: want it all, to end, to die. But regrets even this. Making the right choice and regretting it
Obstacles in beginning; sail at first salvageable. Better escalation and focus on common struggle. After midpoint, drugs more sneaky, more about struggle and drugs and Nadia more pronounced obstacles which subvert his original decision.
Grey roiling clouds churned far above, turning, spinning, the world spinning, churning with them. Gideon blinked salt from his eyes, raised bruised limbs. Rena was calling his name, and farther away, Nadia was crying. It was the same as that last night they had shared, years ago, before he went with Ilana to Chakazia. Her tears had not changed.
A piece of sail - proud, torn banner ripped loose - rode a gust of wind and was blown into the gray distances. Light rain pattered down. Like that lost banner Gideon saw himself floating, hopeless and unbound as he had been ever since Ilana’s death, and he said nothing, did nothing. Let us die here.
Rena’s tousled hair came into view.
She took hold of his hand and pulled him upright.
“Ugh,” he managed, standing unsteadily.
Rena grabbed hold of him, aiming adolescent eyes into his.
“What’s wrong with you? You hurt?”
“Have you taken any of the stuff Mark gave you?”
“No! Mind yourself, kid-”
“Then get a hold of yourself! We’re in a lull now but the sea is going bad fast. I’m barely keeping us floating as it is, much less moving towards that friend of yours. When the storm comes back...”
He shrugged her off.
The spinning, spinning skies hummed a dark low tune, a funereal march insistent and slow. He spun around, searching the floor for the sack of vials - escape - and came instead upon Nadia propped against the aft gunwale of the dhow, blocking the sack’s hiding spot. Water - cold, her skin whitening - covered her up to the shins, her dark clothes soaked, clinging to her, the outline of her familiar form rising in its soft swells and rises-
“Hey,” he said, crouching before her. “How you keeping up?”
Red-rimmed eyes rose to his. Self-conciously she wiped her running nose and smiled her lopsided smile.
“Well, I’ve killed us all, but other than that I seem to be fine.”
I love you, he didn’t say, nor did he match her grin like he used to, like he wanted to. Haltingly, all he said was:
“This was my choice.”
She looked away. Wayward gusts of wind lifted strands of her hair, plastered against her head, and cast them about as snakes hissing against the sky.
“Maybe… we should go back. It’s not right that you and Rena are risking your lives for someone like him.”
She met his startled gaze: defiant, challenging him to challenge her over the venom in her voice.
He stumbled back.
The hunger roared high within him, the rumbling thunder of vials and clouds and waves all together tolling their promise - come away with us, they said: be with her together, forever, together like you should have been, before the rot consumed her body, her face, her mind and left you adrift and halved-
Gideon tore away from the creature crouched before him.
“We’ve gotten this far,” he managed.
Silence, save the wind, waves crashing and creaking wood.
“You’re a good man, Gi.”
He fled the warmth and adoration in that voice, spinning around and to the dhow’s bow where Rena, picking through the wreckage of their mast and sail, cursed the fates.
“Arbiter above,” she was spitting. The wind whipped away the strength of her words, transforming them into a whisper, faint and distant. “It’s gone. We’ll not get up any new sail, and we’re drifting!”
moving forward is an issue, they’re stalled - wind picking up, drifting
Stepping up on the last seat, Gideon scanned the waters ahead - spray showering him but he was already soaked through, nothing to do about that - and in the thunderous lighting he could see the black patch of the coracle and (with some imagination) a form slumped on top of it, not half a mile distant. It seemed the waters were calmer there, but before that the waves rode higher, black in the afternoon midnight. Land was a forgotten memory lost behind walls of towering rain.
can’t really get anywhere anyway, can’t see - storm getting worse ahead. oh poor Nadia I miss you, we should be together, stay together
There’s no one there. No one to save. Go home. And the glass, the glass chimed and clattered and crashed, his mind all but caving in and instead of the apocalypse ahead there was only her, her in the last days-
He turned and faced the women’s expectant faces, wind whipping their wet-plastered hair. wrenched mind into the gear he knew it was expected to go, where it didn’t want to… no morality here, just forced into it, no real heart. not got any morals left.
despite drugs keep going: wilful effort to fight it off, focus on Jona, what they came here for (where’s the morality of leading them into their deaths?)
“We’ll have to paddle on with the oars we have left! Rena, you keep scooping out water and steer us right.”
“Ay ay!” she quipped.
“Nadia, come with me. We’ll get the extra paddles from the aft.”
One step, two steps - over the middle seats - and a third step. “Go on,” he motioned Nadia, pointing towards the spare paddles stowed under the seatings.
need to work but effort expended makes him weak: still checks drugs and slips one out, has to hide Turning his back towards her, sheltering him from sight - Rena’s hunched back labored over her task already - he reached down and felt the glass. Slowly, surreptiously he slid out a flask, gasping almost at its dull gleam in his hand.
“What I said before…” Nadia spoke behind him, and he started, slipping the vial into a pocket in his trousers.
“Nevermind that now,” he choked out, mind blank with hunger. “We’ve both changed much.”
They settled into the paddle-strokes, a fool’s quest against the torrent ahead.
handling vial and paddle and working with Nadia, animosity has returned - still churning, he’s pro-Jona and Nadia bad woman, abandoning her children: there are values! how did we/she come to this?
“Things never quite turn out like we hoped, Gi, do they?” And meeting her gaze his anger melted away, like she always had made it disappear, when he raged, when the disease first struck Ilana, when the world’s injustices became too great to bear she bore them-
The rythm, the repetetiveness of the task, the straining muscles, the nails of waterdrops shattering against sore, sensitive skin: and he knew, knew he could be released from it with just one quick tip of the flask, he could be-
rena is guiding them from ahead
wants ilana back, so much like old times, suddenly Jona bad idea
a crack in Jona-Nadia facade, in fact more so, she’s sad and it’s bad and it’s basically Gid’s duty to save her. all the while paddling into worse weather, rena shouting out as big waves hit them
“Jona means well, you know. But I never meant for it to go on for as long as it did. I guess I woke up one day and just… settled into it.”
He was staring at her now, limned in lighting-light, full and fierce and sharp and sly, and had to ask:
“Free,” he rasped out without thinking it. “You were meant to be free.”
drugs and thunder flashes, and big waves, and confusing Ilana for Nadia and drug-glass-face, too, reflections there
Nadia shied down. Shy, as always. “We said we’d see the world together, didn’t we? The wonders of… Havsgard, the Holy City… so long time you were gone! Where did you go?”
Waves crashed into the ship, higher, higher. There was a light ahead.
“The boy!” he cried, the darkness rising, swallowing the world once more. “His eyes - he’s mine, isn’t he?”
Her silence was all the answer he ever needed. The light grew, and grew-
they kiss, more mutual,
“I…” she began, and then she was in his arms, soft and yielding and their mouths met in the cold and wet and her warmth flowed into him. He held her, unbreathing, still, dead until she broke free at last, stepping back, wild-eyed and panting-
storm comes back, call in Rena. Regrets not going back earlier
we’re gonna die, I want to be with you. should have gone back!
I, eh, Gideon, you scaring me… nah? kissiekiss, crying, doom
howling death… Rena, huddled dog?
realizes he was deathwishing aa
is happy they are together at last, life or no; weather gets better yirr go back - no way Jona lives
Teheh. The last bit was tacked on after a bit of a think-through, but ay! That was what I was hoping for - insight and stuff, booyah! Alack and alas, been moving around and stuff, so delayed. But maybe tonight... or soonish... I will continue tinkering. Probably, just to make sure I never lose track, I will maybe perhaps, like, do a thing out of posting in this here thread at least once a day - hopefully with more written stuff, or at the very least, diary-like thoughts on the story. Hum, hum.
Garrglglglhh my fingers are falling off. Evil work. Evil. Bit of an intense spot here where I basically go to work and type stuff down for eight hours straight. Not particularly inspired to touch keyboards any more after that, eek. At least I'm reading the Idiot by Dostoevsky, so hey - literati, unite!
Ohoy! I know, right? Those books be classic, yo. All those good old guys. Cook sure knew how to make characters that stick with yah.
Also, it's fair to say I've probably let myself get caught up in details which don't reeeaaally matter to what it is I want to tell with Gideon's story. Or maybe they do. Probably kinda, but if I'd had a clear vision from the start I could have streamlined it all a great deal, but now it feels like I just gotta go traipsing down the path I've planned, lest things will be just weird. For Reasons Not To Be Spoiled (I don't believe in spoilers, except when it suits me) I wanna build up the whole Gideon-Nadia thing, give it time to grow, mature, and egads the whole "show don't tell" thing takes... words. But I really must ritually whip myself into typing a few words a day: aint no excuse for not meeting yer own goals, is there?
So anyways, wee finished bit posted and there's that for now.
Hmmm, or, maybe I'll cut down the rest of the bit a great deal: delete the middle, with the building up of tension and storm, and go straight for a timejump and the finale instead. Aint nothing worth saving if it can be cut out. Hmm.
For Reasons Not To Be Spoiled (I don't believe in spoilers, except when it suits me)
You slay me sir. With the jollies.
Your latest Gideon chapter, was, however, very good in terms of character development - in one paragraph in particular you make him choose between his love and his hunger. He's a very deep character, and I applaud you for it. Looking forward to your next instalment, at your own pace.
Sometimes, when I get stuck, I like to switch things up a bit. So I've spent a few nights making sketches of my characters for Shatterbridge, keeping a not-too-realistic style, with a notion in mind that I might draw portions of the story, graphic novel-style. Thought it was time to share!
Also, of course, after having spent all that time quite carefully designing and exploring those characters, I drew exactly one panel, one, before I decided to chuck the whole concept as "too cartoony". So now I'm back with text, for now, anyway. Though I did find my initial roughing-out of the story in images quite helpful, actually, so I might continue to do so. In fact, p2.jpg linked below is actually my rough draft for the next chapter... good luck interpreting it, though, hah! p1.jpg would be the little that actually was done on the previous chapter.