For all of you Kozmaheads out there keeping track, I’m working again on KINGDOMS OF GOOD AND EVIL. It’s a fantasy novel, and I’m thinking of it as an adult novel (as opposed to the last two novels, both striving heartily for the young adult category). Here’s a link to the first Teaser Park I did for the novel.
When I write, I often set obstacles for myself in the writing. Okay, not quite obstacles, but challenges. It would be like the French author who wrote an entire novel without using the letter E (which was then translated into English by a death-defying translator who also absented the letter E from the book — which only makes sense, after all, but sounds like an arduous, thankless task, though he was thanked with an award), except not quite as challenging or constricting.
Mostly, my challenges have to do with pushing myself into writing in ways that I haven’t before. In the case of KINGDOMS OF GOOD AND EVIL, these challenges are as follows:
1. Very short chapters.
2. Chapters that are out of sequential order.
3. The plot is based around a murder mystery.
4. The characters are many AND
5. The social politics is Machiavellian.
As you might expect, writing the book is an exercise rife with opportunities for failure which is one reason why (after writing 15K words last summer, and breaking off from the writing to attend a writers’ conference) I’ve been afraid to tackle the novel again.
So wish me luck! Here’s chapter 25.
One aspect of the funeral that was different from my own was the viewing of the body. It wasn’t a choice, but a necessary part of the ritual. I was pretty numb during my own funeral, still convinced that, at the last moment, they’d decide to throw me in along with the corpse. It’s likely the ritual took place, but that having the living Vinian view the dead Vinian was considered bad form.
I wish that I could have escaped taking part this time, too.
There had been no attempt made to dress up the body. That’s not exactly true. The body was clothed in a beautiful black dress. What I mean is that there was no attempt made to conceal the injuries.
A modern day funeral parlor’s job is to take the deceased and make them presentable to the world. Wounds are smoothed over with putty, hair is carefully arrayed, missing limbs are recreated, blood is washed away, and the overall appearance is modified to make the dead body appear as though it’s simply sleeping.
Here I was presented with a body – except for the clothing, and I’m not even positive about that – left in the state it had been found. Knife wounds in the chest and arms gaped with surprise. One was broken and the hand hung limp as though from exhaustion. The face was a mass of bruises and shallow cuts, a clump of hair was torn from the scalp, and the eyes were wide open and outlined with crusted blood.
Now I saw the reason for the fasting.