A February Week

Happy Friday! We made it. Unless you're dead.

Speaking of dead people, Asuka is still trying to avenge Kouji, and Chirikai is trying to avoid his father, who wants to avenge his wife.

This week was all over the board writing-wise. My daily word count was low for the start of the week, then I cranked out 3K in two days, which I copied this evening onto the computer. This week's chapters seem to alternate between description and talking, which I avoid, but it couldn't be helped. Chirikai's dad doesn't talk much. Asuka has been talking a lot. There's a lady hermit.

I'm the only person in the universe who probably digs Chirikai's dad. I've discovered that I enjoy writing him ironically to pop music—cue Sexyback—which is ridiculous considering the content of his scenes: dead bodies, screaming people...

When It Pleases Me. 

Anyway, he's still fun to write. I have no clue if he's fun to read—no clue at all—but I've got this unfounded bit of enjoyment in his wandering, assholish existence. He's like a Tolkien elf gone super wrong.

In news unrelated to ridiculous minor characters, something occurred to me yesterday as I read about creating miso soup and salt.

Miso makes miso soup!

Sometimes people ask me, like a party question, if you could live in any other place and time period, when/where'd you go? As a historian, especially a premodern one, I think this is a rather dumb question. I don't go anywhere. I stay right where I am.

The distant, seemingly exotic past, really sucks. Did you know that for most of human history, salt was made by drying out seawater and scraping up the remains? Sometimes I think that people forget about how wonderful modern plumbing is. I don't think I would much enjoy living in a time or country where I must pee in a dish and dump it into the nearest river, or out the window. No hot showers?

I'm PPO. Let's set up an appointment. 

Premodern medicine is terrifying. Don't let the ancient traditions of herbal remedies fool you—the world before knowledge of viruses and bacteria, shots and real soap is a dangerous place where a cold kills you and people dump your body in a river because that's going to get rid of the evil spirits that killed you. 

I think about these things as I work on P+FD. So, on this Valentine's Day, take a moment to be grateful for the lack of a witchdoctor in your life. Unless you're dating one, and in that case, I strongly urge you to reconsider your options.

One of the advantages of drawing on knowledge you already have to write a novel is that you don't spend a ton of time doing research while you're cranking out the page. Like with the salt and the miso, I occasionally have to look stuff up.

But I didn't have to start from Wikipedia articles to figure out the basics of East Asian mythology. Big plus for me. Means less screenshots for the blog though.

I've nabbed some screenshots that might be of interest:


One of these days I'll do a post on Chirikai and P+FD's fox demon culture... I can tell that people might be frustrated with Chirikai's dad's whole naming business:

Hide the nerd. Conceal. Don't feel. 

Isn't that an exciting way to start a chapter? Just as good as a tantalizing sensual scene, that's what I say.

Anyway, we'll talk about this stuff in another post on another day when I'm not sick and tired. Cheers.