Wow, Christmas is just around the corner. It feels like just yesterday I was outlining The Ghost and the Raging Girl or even posting the last of my flash fiction.
Even though it's only been a month, quite a bit has happened. Today I just finished the first act of G+RG, and I have a lot of thoughts about this strange, little beast that's gurgling around on my computer and in my notebook.
This is the first book in a while that I haven't shared with anyone while writing it. Nothing has been posted on Figment, and I sent out the first chapter or two to a few friends, but most of the pages have only been seen by me. It's been interesting. But without any sense of Internet traffic, it's safe to say that I assume the majority of the hundred pages thus far will need some help later.
One of the interesting things about G+RG more generally is that it's very much a therapeutic project. I always encourage writers to keep the audience in mind, but I'm not following my own advice here. Mostly because I feel like no one else will ever read the full manuscript. It's the third book in the P+FD series, and as 2015 draws to a close, it's beginning to look like the third book in the series will be the last I write until I have an agent or publication prospects.
That's allowed me to neglect editing H+MC, which is the second book. Which is fine. I'm writing G+RG purely for me because I know I'll be printing off the three books and placing them on my shelf, and then I'll move on to the next thing.
What is The Ghost and the Raging Girl? The novel follows the adventures of Pimiko, a fifteen year old girl who has gone through her whole life knowing that she's destined to be taken by the Deity of Chaos, one of the masters of the universe by the end of her childhood. Because she will be an official adult at sixteen, she strikes out on her own to find a way to evade the Deity of Chaos once in for all.
As Pimiko sets out, she becomes tangled with the assassin Cooper. The ambiguous and ruthless Cooper has been sent to infiltrate the Sleepers, a cult of meditating men who travel the countryside helping peasants and noblemen alike find inner peace. They're needed, especially now, because a famine is killing hundreds. Ghosts ravage the countryside.
The sleepers can resist possession and banish ghosts, so Pimiko becomes the apprentice to the Sleeper Master Kokera so that she can train to evade the Deity of Chaos. Cooper joins her, but the assassin's plans are less clear; he has a contract with the hiwau to kill their leader, but he claims to follow Pimiko's orders—because of a crush or something else?—and Master Kokera's teachings.
One of the difficulties of the book so far has been expressing the Sleeper's religion. As a fantasy religion inspired by different late Classical Buddhist sects, much of the Sleeper teachings are internal, which can make for difficulties in an adventure novel. But one of the great joys of the project has been how such teachings can be internalized and twisted depending on the person.
I've know for years that I've wanted to write a villain novel. Not a sympathetic villain novel, but a mythical telling of how a villain ascends their shadowy throne and stays there. In many ways, P+FD is a romance exploring how parents influence their children. H+MC is a messy, wandering novel about separation, breaking up. G+RG is about how a person comes out of the shadow of their parents.
I don't know what I'll write next, but it's been such a pleasure to write these novels, no matter what becomes of them.