kaigou: have some tea with your round cake (3 tea and cake)
Welp, I took a break and read/listened to some really good advice about structuring and pacing things, and realized that tackling the first story changed things so much that the impact would filter down. So, rather than continue on with the 3rd story, I'm going back to the beginning and doing a major revision on the 1st story.

First chapter, y'all, hot off the keyboard.




The lion-dogs were playing in the clearing when Kini arrived at the shrine. The two rock-gray puppies tumbled through the drifts of early autumn leaves, more intent on chasing a red-winged flit than paying Kini any mind. Their thick curly manes were tangled with sticks and bits of leaves, and their pink tongues lolled. They weren’t much higher than her knees, about the size of small stone guardians.

That seemed fitting. It was a rather small shrine, after all.

Well, then. Her sister had said if the dogs were around, then the huokei would be, too. Kini shuffled through the rain-damp leaves, kicking them aside to find the stepping stones that marked the proper path. The shrine itself wasn't much bigger than the moss-eaten idol it housed, and it listed precariously to one side. Its roof-shingles were green from weeds taken root, and the carved doors hung askew on their rotting wooden hinges.

Behind and to one side lay the monk-house, now a jumble of rotting wood and broken roof-tiles. In the clearing's other corner stood the mountain-god’s home, a fancy term for little more than a hut on stilts. In Sizija, it was a mansion in its own right, three rooms only ever seen by the mountain-god and its attendants. Here, it was one room, maybe not even big enough for one person to sleep. No wonder the mountain-god had been so happy to move to the big shrine.

Huokei were shy, preferred solitude, and would play nasty tricks if they felt disrespected, but this huokei had been injured. The big shrine at Sizija would've given it proper hospitality, but that was two miles away. The two rooms in their house were already crammed with five children and three adults, so that wasn't an option, either. The only choice left was this forgotten shrine-yard, with the benefit that it was closer to where Sozu found the huokei. To Kini's mind, though, the shrine's solitude lay solely in being abandoned. She wasn't sure it qualified as being respectful to offer what no one else wanted.

Kini sighed. Now she was stuck delivering the offerings. )

kaigou: Roy Mustang, pondering mid-read. (1 pondering)
Was thinking I'd go with titles based on constellations*, which in turn have legends (in the story's world) that relate to a story's themes. So far I've got the following + the constellation's basic theme. Some of these have also already been referenced in drafts, though I was still solidifying what was where and the references/uses.

Short pondering behind the cut. )

I used to come up with names so much easier than I do now. I have no idea why it's gotten so hard.
kaigou: (6 Yuon)
Back from the writing retreat, and did get a bunch written (but did a lot more talking than writing, which was fine and very informative and whatnot). Here's one snippet written as 'homework', because our crit-leader was mean teacherly like that.

Khuojeung eased himself into the cushioned seat while Yuon's guard tested the tea. With a slight bow, the man backed away: not poisoned.

"Khuo, you've no decent reason to haul your ass out of that sick bed." Yuon poured tea for both of them and set the pot aside. "I could order you back to bed, you know."

"And I would have to go, of course, but then you'd miss the pleasure of my company."

"I'd also miss the guilt of knowing you weren't resting."

Khuojeung smiled and tried the tea. Dark, with hints of nutmeg and cardamon, the latest fashion in Huulqulku spiced tea. "I'm here for a reason."

"I didn't think you were here to discuss the tides." Yuon picked up her own cup and sat back, pushing her thick braid over her shoulder. Her hair held a few more strands of silver than she'd had the last time the cousins had seen each other, almost a year before. "You'd better not be here to discuss my littlest--" She halted at Khuojeung's smile, and set her cup down on the table hard enough to splash tea. "Oh, don't even. I've wasted enough time on him already."

Really? From what I've seen, you've done your best to forget he exists. )
kaigou: please hold. all muses are busy, but your inspiration is important to us. (3 all muses are busy)
"No one else came to serve us, and I didn't even see any sign of someone listening from the corridor," Nakayari said. "Why did you test the staff, then?"

"Oh, the staff certainly understood enough," Tsiu said. "Little grandmother taught me that people will always find something to talk about. Since I didn't want people talking about who we'd met for tea, or wondering why, then I needed to give them something of greater interest."

"That you might buy a tea house?"

"That'd I'd buy it for you," Tsiu corrected. "It's the kind of thing my mother would've done." And did, a few times, which was why Tsiu hadn't led Nakayari -- and the trailing Ozolekh and his wife -- to the more popular tea hall at the other end of the financial street. "Also, that you were less than enthused about the idea."

"I'd hardly know what to do with such a place," Nakayari muttered. "I don't even know how to make the tea you have here. It comes in little bricks. What do I do with that?"

"Steep it." Tsiu considered several other things to say, and settled for honesty. "You're from Nasoyunukona. You may be more subtle than most, with your short-sword under your robe instead of over it, but the reputation of your fellow countrymen precedes you. The last thing anyone would expect you to want, or care about, would be some tea hall. It's not a Nasoyunukona kind of business."

Nakayari looked mystified. "Then what is?"

"War." Tsiu looked down the street to the financial hall, where Sozu and Sindhu waited, trailed by Kini and the under-consorts. "Business is complete, I see. Let's see if anyone wants to eat now, before we head back to the palace."
kaigou: (1 olivia is not impressed)
For those unfamiliar, the culture I've been writing about is one with five genders. The first four are male or female gender-types; the fifth gender is neither all-male nor all-female. The neutral pronoun is used for agender, all-gender, and children until puberty. The awkwardness rests in the fact that I'm contrasting one language -- that lacks a neutral -- with another language that has a neutral... and all of it's written in English, which (duh) lacks an official/widespread neutral. Ugh. Not sure how it reads.



"Afakh wants to end the consort-alliance," Tsiu said, in quiet Nasoyunukona-yen, layered with a Ujira accent. "Afakh's talked this over plenty with Afakh's Second Brother. That's Ozolekh," Tsiu added. Nakayari wondered if Tsiu intended to make it harder for Ozolekh to understand; the man's head was up, eyes sharp, the look of a man who understood at least some of what was being said. "Afakh is third-soul, and wants to enter the temple." Before Nakayari or Kini could reply, Tsiu straightened up and switched to Heichunha. "Thoughts?"

Sindhu brought her hands to her waist, then dropped them to her lap again. "We can't, Tsiu-jhayu," she murmured. "The consort agreement has been sealed---" The rest of what she said got lost, too many unfamiliar words. Tsiu flicked the end of his fan, glancing Nakayari's way. Sindhu nodded, turned to Nakayari, and held out her hand. With a too-ticklish fingertip, she sketched the words she'd just spoken on Nakayari's palm.

"It's a breach of contract," Nakayari told Kini.

"You'll need to translate better than that," Kini retorted, under her breath.

Read more... )
kaigou: Happy typing on mac. (1 Hyperbole and a half)
That aren't even complete, but have sat in your head just waiting for when you'll finally get around to them. Or maybe it's just that I'm so tired of dramas where everyone's hanging all their hopes on the young master, or the daughter finding a husband, won't someone save the family, oh noes, yet they ignore the perfectly capable daughter or wife who's standing right there, who's been doing the work of saving, all along. This scene's been waiting to be written, if only because I'm tired of waiting to see it in a drama.

We've got shipyards in every port, and another dozen here in Tzeucha. If you think we cared at all about your family's shipyard, you're as stupid as your father. )



Weeee.
kaigou: Roy Mustang, pondering mid-read. (1 pondering)
Last week Aliette de Bodard posted A Few Thoughts on Other Cultures and Diversity in SFF over at tor.com. It's been open on my rss reader since, as I've re-read and contemplated. Among her many good pieces of advice, she had this bit to say:

I have lost count of how many narratives on China featured ... over-formality between members of the same family (because everyone knows that Chinese is a formal language! Guess what. Most communications within the family are brutally simple, because the respect is already implicit in the relationship itself); use of broken English (because all immigrants/foreigners speak bad English!)...

Between trying to learn new work-stuff as fast as I can (with go-live date looming large and only just now behind me, yay), and doing lots more research on economics, monetary systems, the beginnings of international trade, the transition from debt-bondage to outright slavery, and so on... I've been letting the next book(s) simmer. The story's taking mental shape, but I keep coming back to this point from de Bodard.

I've posted before about how English-language authors will represent the speakers of another language. Unlike Ludlum (see link), I have read authors who use broken-English to indicate when a character is speaking an unfamiliar/unlearned language. That doesn't bother me, so long as the character speaks fluently in their own language (albeit translated into English as well, for the sake of the book). The tl;dr of Ludlum is that he didn't do this; his non-white characters speak in broken English even when they're supposedly speaking their native tongue.

Thus, my preliminary hypothesis: do not have 'broken speaking' for any characters speaking their native tongue. Broken speaking should only indicate when someone is speaking an unfamiliar or new language (and, as the character learns, the broken-ness should slowly fade). Okay. Onward with more thinky thoughts about language and othering. )
kaigou: sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness. (2 flamethrowers)
Recently I read a post about writing a relationship between an ace (asexual) and a heterosexual. One of the points made was that asexuality wasn't really defined/specified as a way of being until relatively recently in history; previously an asexual woman would've been raised to a) not even think of sex because Good Girls Don't and b) to expect that at some point, she'd find The One and then it would all just happen like everyone says. So asexuality could easily have been buried under the social assumptions, especially for women.

I mention that because the topic has been bubbling in my head since the early plotting stage of my current story, and now I'm at the point where the character (to whom this all applies) is on the page. She's not POV for other reasons (and not because I don't want to get into her head, just to make that clear), but I've slowly solidified my certainty that she's definitely asexual. I'm less sure that she's aromantic, but that's mostly because my impression is that "aromantic" means "neutral/lukewarm about falling in love" though I'm not sure I have that right. She does have immense capability to love, and would very much like a loving relationship (what others might call an abiding, deep, platonic friendship), and is probably quite affectionate with close friends. She's not standoffish in that sense, and she's about as far from "socially inept" as you can get. She also very, very much wants to be a mother, and would probably be an amazing, nurturing, instructive mother for whom her children are the central point of her life.

A few more notes about the character, general outline. Am I on the right track, or am I unwittingly writing a stereotype? )

(also, screening comments since this is a public post. if you're okay with your reply being public, just let me know.)
kaigou: Roy Mustang, pondering mid-read. (1 pondering)
This evening I ended up reading a long essay (originally a speech) which is currently the center of a shitstorm in Britain, wherein a renowned female author appears to criticize the Duchess of... whatever Kate Middleton's the duchess of. Read the whole thing here: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n04/hilary-mantel/royal-bodies

It's really a well-written and thought-provoking speech. A few parts jumped out at me:

ruminations on writing/understanding royalty when I haven't the faintest RL experience or much more than a vague clue. )
kaigou: Ginko reading by candlelight (1 Ginko reading)
In Tsiu's great-great-grandmother's time, navigators had mapped the entirety of Nasoyunukona's six mountainous islands. The southernmost island was roughly diamond-shaped, with a massive bay carving out a mouth from its southwestern corner. With countless atolls ringing the bay like ferocious fangs, some poetic navigator had been inspired to label the island the dragon's head. On a map large enough to include the Khoyokona archipelago, the poetry gained a sense of truth; the thousand islands of Khoyokona resembled a dragon's beard, running five hundred miles southward across the Jheu sea to end in a feathery tip a little over three hundred miles north of the Heichunh archipelago. Carrying the poetry to its logical end, Heichunh earned the label of the dragon's pearl. Frankly, Tsiu would have rather tossed the pearl over his shoulder and kept sailing.



I dropped anyone who didn't explicitly request to be kept on, but this is a double-check in case you just missed the post. (I probably should've followed up sooner, since I stated that no-response would be a polite "thanks, I'm full".) If you want back on or want a pdf of what you've missed, just ask. And if you haven't been on and are curious, you're welcome to read, too.
kaigou: Edward, losing it. (1 Edward conniption)
No, really.

family tree, arranged to indicate age-relationships as well )

I couldn't keep track any longer, not without taking notes.
kaigou: (6 festival god)
This isn't even my genre, but unlike most stories, this one's worked itself out. That is, it keeps itself on play and there's no third-quarter "and then stuff happens" blank. Strange. Maybe the trick is to let stories stay in my head for much longer than I had?

I'll go into it later, what I'm trying to approach/address, but short version is a world based loosely on the Ming-dynasty age of merchant-pirates. But since I don't want to get into a specific time frame, for now I'm coming at it as influenced by, but not strictly-based in. Same for languages, so names and whatnot are placeholders for now.




The lion-dogs were waiting at the shrine's gate when Kini arrived, and she wondered if her third trip might prove the first time she'd see the huokei for herself. It had rained on the mountain, the night before, and summer leaves lay scattered in wet drifts across the shrine's little dirt courtyard. Kini shuffled her way through the leaf piles, pausing to let the lion-dogs sniff her straw sandals. They were the size of regular dogs, but silver-gray like stone come to life, with thick manes that ringed their cheerful, lolling faces. After a moment's perusal, the two dogs ran off, tumbling and yipping like puppies. )




I'll keep the rest behind a lock out of politeness, so let me know if you want to keep reading. I just got to get this out, and then I can go back to wallowing in code.

whois

kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

September 2014

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