Sunday, 22 March 2015

Bé Chuille

“I am Bé Chuille,” I declared to the wind. “Witch of Lámhfada. I won the wars for the Tuatha. I vanquished the she devil of Athens and all of her sons. Though I am mortal, my magic holds strong, and I refuse to be forgotten.”

Well, pootling towards the 85k mark at the moment. Having a little play about with  mythical creatures, including one of the great bantuathaid (female witches) of Irish legend. Given up wholeheartedly on time lines. The original is supposed to be a telling of the Tuatha Dé Danann, yet it begins (if its own narrative is to be believed) almost a thousand years after they gave way to the Milesians.

There comes a time when you gotta say sod it, what's more important, chronology or character?

And there are plenty of characters to choose from.

I'm trying to stay calm. This is a legend I loved so much that I once wrote a feature-length script as a retelling. I've always felt it would make a good adaptation, especially with the advances in CGI we have today. Though this genre seems a bit hit and miss, if the recent revival of Tristan + Isolde is anything to go by.

I started tinkering back in August, trying to decide how best to flesh out my swan song into a novel. Between December and now, the past three months, I've added the bulk of 60,000 words. Largely because I had a couple of projects in mind early on and it took a while to settle on this one. 

Time also feels like it's gone quickly because I was so caught up in the launch of Rosy Hours. It feels almost as though this one has fallen off the back of it, whereas, in truth, it's taken about the usual amount of time it takes me to write a novel. 

Holding back excitement and trepidation at the moment. Excitement that it's almost finished. Though I reckon it may be a long one. Possibly even as high as 120k at this rate. Which is funny, as the original translation of the legend is just under 6.5k. 

Like any author, I live for the first edit. It's like that game you play where you draw a head, fold it over, pass it to the next player who draws the body, folds it over, passes it on. You only get to unfold it and see the entire picture at the very end.

I used to be an avid edit-as-you-goer, but with this I've stopped myself. I really have little idea what lies between pages ten and two hundred. That's the trepidation - I have no idea whether it's actually any good.

As with Rosy Hours, I've stuck as faithfully as I could to the original, give or take a dash of poetic license, but I've also run with it in other ways. I've woven in a host of other characters, I've been brazen about sexuality, I've dug so deep into the spurious realms of godly familial feuds that I've sewn together an entire alternative history for some. 

I hope I've been cunning in my attention to detail. I may just have tied myself in (Celtic) knots. 

Until I get to the end, I won't know for sure. 

It's not overtly plot-driven, and I worry that the characters might not be strong enough to drive it forward. Though I have learned from previous feedback that my idea of 'not strong' is often considered 'overkill' by some readers and 'spot on' by others. Sometimes you just need a subtle brushstroke to paint the picture. 

*Puts down spray can and glitter glue.*

No point worrying too much now. There will be plenty of time for that. I'm just really happy about the word count, and I know that in a couple of weeks - fingers crossed (or not, as I need them for typing) - I should have a brand new baby MS to play with.

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