It's been a while since I last did a proper metrics post, I think. Grass King 2 is still proceeding -- it now has 12 chapters and about 66k words (it may be more: I haven't done a count for a while). 1284 new ones today.
Here's a snippet. Aude is being rude, Jehan is horrified, and Monsieur des Roces is being, well, himself:
'Again, that easy smile, this time touched with ruefulness. “But you have detected my weakness, I fear. I like luxuries. It’s a flaw, and I confess it freely.” He gestured towards the servers. “I am forever indebted to those who work in this house.” Raising a glass, he went on, “A toast, then, to them and their kindness.” Ketty’s lips set in a line, and she looked down.
“It seems to me,” Aude said, “that it’s more a matter of taking advantage than of indulgence. You pay them, Monsieur. That obliges them to please you, does it not?”
This time, Jehan kicked her. Hard. Biting down on an exclamation, she went on, “It’s hardly an equal relationship.”
There was a brief chill silence. Then des Rocès began to laugh.'
I may have a title for it, finally. How do you all feel about Death and the Madwoman? It fits, honest.
Skirt of the day: long grey with black hem.
"There was fear here, rooted deep in the thin soil, thrumming through the limbs of the trees, climbing the house and stable brick by crumbling brick. It twined around Madame’s night-time dreams, so that she shook and cried out in her sleep. Its coils swathed Mado the maid, honing the edge on her voice and the resentment in her heart. It ran through Remi de Faumont’s veins, dripped from his tongue. Inside, it coated every wall, lurked in corners and under furnishings, hung from the ceilings in dusty festoons to mock the inhabitants. It was immanent in every breath, bitter as vinegar. In human terms it was old, this fear, born in some long ago rage and nurtured, night by day, in isolation and confusion and anxiety."
GK 2 proceeds apace: 1045 new words today. There are riots in the city and private madness in the big house.
Skirt of the day: long silky burgundy.
1626 new words today, which is not at all bad after a break. Qiaqia has turned vigilante, though she isn't sure why.
"So easy, to kill, to silence that blood than jumped and flowed beneath the skin. The girl was staring at her out of eyes that were huge and scared and confused. On either side, the man’s friends stared, too, trying to account for their friend’s sudden withdrawal. She might stop his heart, let him fall where he stood. It would be so very easy…"
Skirt of the day: long black winter-weight.
Well, I have been very good today. Yesterday I got about 600 words before I had to stop due to shoulder pain. Today the shoulders are much better, I finished the chapter that would not end, and I got 2215 words. Jehan is planning for tomorrow, while Qiaqia is remembering and wandering and wondering.
One of the weird aspects of this book is that chunks of it are in Qiaqia's point of view, and she's dead. It's not like writing Valdarrien-as-ghost in Living With Ghosts: he didn't accept his death and was bound and determined he could do something about it -- and sure he could. She's not like that. She's been dead a very long time, she's a part of death, in a way, an aspect. It's a very strange v/p to write. But interesting. Here's a snippet.
"The Brass City stretched out around her on all sides, clotted with human life. Standing on the cobbles, she could almost breathe it in, the rich sour weightiness of it, all those separate lives yearning and struggling, eating, sleeping, breeding, needing, dying…. The voices of the dying spoke sharpest in her ears, bright and desperate in their very last moments. I didn’t mean… I only thought… I shouldn’t have…. Oh no, oh, no, oh, no…
Her people, her kind, or so it once had been. She had thought it would be easy, once she was in WorldAbove, to remember, to reclaim her ancient humanity. She had thought it must be part of her, written in her every line, to be read and woken.
It had not been so. The world – this world which had borne her – knew her no more. It resisted her, its fabric thick and heavy to her touch, holding her back, holding her down, holding her away from itself. She did not belong, not now, not here, not anymore."
Skirt of the day: denim.
1397 words today. Go me. And not too many of them about socks, either. Aude is shocked and scared, Jehan is trying to be practical, Liyan is curious, and Qiaqia... well, is Qiaqia.
'Aude leant on him more and more as they made their way there, first through the wide streets of the Silver City – keeping to the sides, where servants and the poor were expected to walk, so that they did not inconvenience their betters – then down the long stair to the Brass City, whose guards looked more at their garments than their faces, dismissing them for torn hems and worn sleeves, and finally all the way through the dirty, stinking streets of the Brass City itself, jostled by mill-workers on their way to the night shifts, by hawkers and prostitutes, beggars and street-children and all the myriad different forms that poverty took.'
(Yes, that is all one sentence. Yes, I know. But it wanted to be that way.)
Skirt of the day: brown linen.
Word Count: 1302
Book seems finally to be shifting again. Aude has begun to extricate herself from her initial problems -- though Jehan has things to tell her she isn't going to like. And Liyan is smug:
'Liyan placed a hand over the lock plate for a long moment. Again, Aude smelled warm metal. Then he stood back and nodded. “Done.”
“Liyan-kai.” This time the edge to Qiaqia’s voice was amusement. “You have fused it shut.”
“Yes. Was that wrong? I thought it would be the most efficient. It will,” and Liyan looked at Jehan, “make it considerably harder for the inhabitants of this building to pursue you.”
“They might,” Qiaqia said, “use the rear door.”
“Oh.” Liyan’s brows drew in. “I might fuse that one also, if you wish.”'
Issues of the day include sneaking, hiding, creaking floorboards and the uncooperative habits of socks. This book thinks it's a comedian.
Skirt of the day: long heavy black cotton.
'"No". Long and long since Qiaqia had any place in WorldAbove that she might call home. For all she knew, the sea had stolen it away from any human knowledge. She could barely recall it herself. She said, "I left a long time ago."'
So I'm back to Grass King (this book really needs a title). 1021 new words, and a frustrating scene finished. I might get to some fun bits soon.
In other news, the cats are deeply unimpressed with the weather. It's cold! It's too windy! It's rainy! I rather like it myself: it's decided, it knows its own mind. But there has been much complaining and lap-getting and disgruntlement.
Skirt of the day: tweed. (Like I said, it's cold.)
"There was a point when duty and principle could no longer co-exist in peace. When that happened, a man had to choose or compromise or run."
1114 new words, in a new scene. I'm jumping all over the place in terms of time, but the idea of writing a step-by-step account of their journey did not appeal one bit. (There can be too much mud, despite the New Mired.)
I'm beginning to have more of a handle on what is eating Jehan, and what de Faumont knows. I've said all along that while Grass King is Aude's book, this one is Jehan's, and the details of what he was doing on his military service are starting to line up.
The book still needs a title, however, (the working one is Twin Cities Burning, but that feels very much like a place-holder to me). Grass King had its in place from the get-go, as does The Drowning Kings (which I must get back to). Living With Ghosts got its name fairly late on and I've never been entirely happy with it. Valdarrien never had one at all -- that's its use-name, not the one for company use. I'll either find something or I won't. These things, with me, are not always effable.
Next up is visiting the deadly R, who was a very good boy yesterday, when I took him to the vet.
Skirt of the day: panelled teal.
‘Men can be challenging. But we will have each other, my dear, whatever happens.’
Finally I'm back writing, after the excursions and excitements of the last few weeks. 1120 new words today. Aude is beginning to discover that her ex-fiance's mother is not quite sane, and Jehan is being strangely remote.
That puts me on... let me go and count... 19,744 words, which is behind, but I still have some time available.
High winds have brought down one of the local rowan trees, which is a shame. That particular one seemed to be ailing -- it was less leafy and less happy than the others, but all the same, I mourn it. The beeches and other rowans, plane trees and purple-sprouting broccoli trees1 are all fine, thankfully, as are our garden trees (one snowy mespil, one apple, one weeping cherry, two greengage and a small damson).
And I have done Official stuff for ye agent, and tried and failed to fit a new wiper blade to the car (mutters darkly about designs that require strong fingers) and done laundry, and read for next week's Milford workshop and all and all been fairly virtuous today. It's cool and crisp, I can see leaves and bright rowan berries from my window, the cats are behaving, the marquis is over his cold and life is feeling pretty good.
Skirt of the day: denim. I have to go and attend to Caro winolj's rather, um, excitable, cat Ramses soon, and I need barriers against his (in)famous teeth and claws.
1 They're narrow leaved ash trees. But before we found that out, we called them the p-s b trees, and it's stuck. And really, in their autumn foliage, that's what they look like.