Anyway. There's a scene I need to add to Dawnrise, and I needed to see if I could find a spot to put it that actually existed. Verdict: not exactly, but I found several different features that I can composite into a whole. I needed a) a solid stretch of bank where a human being could stand without sinking knee-deep into mud, b) a steep or sheer drop from the hill down to said bank and c) for it to fall in the general area of the high sort-of-plateau between River Road and the actual Fraser River. I didn't exactly find all three of these things together, and the main reason is this: of all the places that, when I was ten, you could wander down to the river and dangle your feet in the water, only two of possibly six are still accessible by lowly peasants. All the rest have been bought out by idiots who built gigantic vinyl-sided monstrosities on them and cut off public access.
For example, the golf course used to allow the public to walk around the outer edges to access the bit of park on the riverbank side. No more, though. So we had to sort of imagine a lot of things. mik100 and I both agreed that the whole thing would have been much easier if we'd had a boat. Since the whole thing takes place in view of the river, taking pictures from a boat would have been ideal. But alas, no boat. We had to make do with walking up the train tracks, which made me all nostalgic for being eleven and building illicit bonfires in the bush near Port Haney. Yes, we were rebels, we were. We cooked hot dogs. *waggles fingers, menacingly*
To this day, I'm convinced I can build a fire not because of Girl Guides, but because of many summers building forts on the riverbank by Port Haney. Life skills, kids.
Unfortunately, all the places we used to build tree forts and campfires are now apparently prime camping spots for homeless people. The whole area was littered with, well, litter, and also what would seem to be an anachronistically high number of abandoned pairs of pants. Sort of wtf, especially since all those places are easy walking distance from the actual homeless shelter.
It was still, despite the unseasonably warm weather (and I admit that in these matters I'm a great big baby, having no tolerance at all for extreme temperatures), a pretty nice day. It was the good mix of sun/breeze/quiet that makes up the ideal summer's day - a little disorienting, all the same, since it's not actually summer yet. But despite lack of a boat, I got a lot of good pictures (will probably post some of them tomorrow), and I think I've worked out a general mental picture of the place I need to build. I'm going to have to indulge in some authorial cheating (in this case, magically-created artificial caves), but that's nothing new for this particular 'verse. I don't always need a real physical place to base things on when I write, but it's a hell of a lot easier to lend atmosphere to a place of which you have a visual record than a place you invent whole-cloth. With a few notable exceptions (Crystallis, for instance, though at least the idea of that is still based on at least mythological places), I set stuff either in real places, or in composites of real places (the smallish Fraser Valley town that could be any one of ten towns - this drove mik100 crazy, apparently). I've more or less written the scene, which will allow me to introduce backstory in a much more graceful way and pull a lot of the introductory world-building character-intro history-outline stuff from the first chapter of the book. Now I just have to go back and add all the science...
(...this will mean nothing to any of you, but - and I blame my mother for this one, at least partially - I'm getting thinky-thoughts about a possible sequel to Riverwend. This is good and bad: bad, because I haven't actually edited Riverwend itself into an acceptable shape yet, but good, because a lot of the things about the sequel suggest ways to fix the problems in the first book. Some of the things make me all shivery when I think about them at night. Since this is a young-YA sort of book, this could be good, or it could be bad.)
A third thing that's skating the good/bad line: I started a new children's book. Legitimately a children's book, not a YA, though it is urban fantasy. This is not a big thing, obviously, as I start new books roughly every five weeks. No, the big thing is that I've decided to write this one longhand. I even went out and bought a book to write it in, as I am shallow where stationery is concerned and I always do more and better work when I have pretty, pretty things to work in. Seriously, if you're in a hurry, don't let me anywhere near an office supply store. I can zone out for twenty minutes perusing the stationery selection at Real Canadian Superstore. I suppose that for some people this could be a problem, but I can't see myself ever working in any field where inappropriate love of stationery will prove a hindrance to job performance.
Since I haven't written anything of considerable length longhand in, oh, eleven years, this is going to be an experiment. At the moment I've got three pages. It could really go either way. I'm quite fond of the story already, though, and I always find children's and YA so much easier to write than stuff for grown-ups. My original stuff's split roughly 2/3 to 1/3 in favour of YA, not counting fanfiction.
Also, before I run off and write some more sgabigbang (I passed 20k! I'm past the halfway mark! Go me!), I rattled off a ficlet this morning, and I'm not entirely sure of why. It's sort of in line with one of the challenges I wrote recently but the tone is a little different. I didn't actually... mean to. So. Yeah. This compulsion may have something to do with the approximately thirty books-in-progress vs. two completed, really. I just opened a window to jot down this one image - Rodney doesn't want to get out of bed, doesn't want John to get up either, so he grabs John's arm, limpet-like, and hangs stubbornly on, still not quite awake - and ten minutes later, I had 445 words. So, um, surprise! *throws up hands*
It's mornings like this that John almost wishes he'd never gotten Rodney used to sleeping in. Because it is his fault, no matter how much he likes to deny it when Rodney accuses him of contagious laziness. Before this, before them, Rodney went to sleep only as a last resort, begrudging the lost time, time that could be better used.
But it seems all Rodney ever needed was incentive, and John only almost wishes. He doesn't, really.
All the same, he kind of needs to get up.
"Rodney," he whispers, persuasively, "c'mon. I need to go."
Rodney, who has his arm slung over John's middle - his very heavy, surprisingly strong arm - makes a face. His eyes are still closed. "Don't have to," he mumbles, and nobody else would be able to translate Rodney mumbling half into a pillow, but John's had plenty of practice.
He leans down, whispers with his lips just brushing Rodney's ear. This tactic is a little cruel, and runs the risk of waking Rodney all the way, which he doesn't want to do. He just wants to get to the mess hall and secure two servings of waffles - waffles are something that doesn't happen often - before they're all gone. He wants to do something nice, here, but Rodney's not co-operating. "Hey, Rodney. The city's sinking."
That almost works - Rodney's whole body goes momentarily rigid with some precursor to adrenaline - but it only lasts a second. Rodney opens one blue eye, looking distinctly unimpressed, brow furrowed. He inspects John for a heartbeat, and then closes it again, replacing the arm with a leg, wound around one of John's, linking both his arms through John's right one, cinched tight. "Nope," mumbles Rodney firmly, and pushes his nose into John's neck. "You're a liar."
John makes one last token attempt at pulling free, and then sighs and falls back into bed, the covers still warm and inviting and hey, there will be waffles again. Some day. He looks down at Rodney, almost asleep again if not asleep already. John would suffer a lot of painful indignity before admitting it, but he likes being first awake, likes seeing Rodney like this. Slack mouth, face sleep-soft and unsuspecting, warm to the touch, with pillow-creases mashed into his cheek. Hair sticking up every which way, and pressed up as close to John as he can get. John wouldn't have pegged Rodney for a cuddler, but in retrospect, he really should have, knowing him as he does.
God help him, it's sweet. It's endearing.
He pulls the covers up, slides a hand up under the back of Rodney's t-shirt, closes his eyes. Better than waffles any day.
maelie left Wisconsin this morning, and is on her way here in her brave little automobile (Hear that, Torontonians? We got one! Hah!). I'm not sure when she's due to arrive or even how much time she's budgeting, but there's at least four U.S. states between her and us (or four provinces; I'm not even sure which route she was taking, and though she did show me at least once I'm not very good at remembering these things), which is a very long way. So let's wish her good Car-ma and friendly border guards.