I sort of fell off the internet for a while, except for Tumblr, which, as social media outlets go, is the most benign, being 99% pictures of cats and webcomic updates. My depression and anxiety have calmed down a bit, so I recently dove back into the wilds of Twitter.
This proved a boon for that one weird novel idea that came to me last year, featuring the supernatural oddball combination of a unicorn and an incubus. (This was inspired partly by a side character from the Kate Kane series I talked about here and an offhand comment from some social media post ages ago about unicorns in urban fantasy.) The two main characters came pretty easily, and a conflict soon followed, but the bane of my writing existence is actually plotting so I struggled to find some way to get the book moving beyond introducing the characters. Worldbuilding was also a bit of an issue with this one–how do you handle the ubiquitous urban fantasy tropes? Especially when you’ve already got another urban fantasy-ish story that you’ve determined will have none of them in the works at the same time?
It was given some steam, quite by accident, when I saw this tweet
I wandered through the goblin market in a garden of silk roses, and the lion and the unicorn danced in the streets
— In A World… (@inaworldbot) September 21, 2017
It struck my attention because the working title for this book is Lion and Unicorn, because the antagonist is a lion avatar of a goddess. Still working out the main plot, but now there is some forward motion on it, and I was inspired to work on the details, which led to searching such things as sacred plants in folklore, ancient deities who have lions as sacred beasts, genius loci, Celtic fairy lore, and all the other usual suspects in urban fantasy, ie, werecreatures, vampires, and the like.
I learned, among other things, that hawthorns feature in a number of folklore traditions, including vampire slaying, but all the things I found are European in origin. I started looking up American analogues, and let me tell you, it was hard trying to get information on the species native to the Central Texas area, but I did it. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center has a very nice database, so I was not only able to find some species of hawthorn to use, I was also able to look up wild roses and verbena, which also have prominent places in the folklore. I still need to look up local folklore. I have some books to read on that subject; they just need to be unearthed from my massive TBR pile.
I have parts of two chapters for this book already, but I probably won’t get to work on it seriously for a while. My priority, aside from ATWT, is going to be the ace wolf shifter story (working title:Golden Wolf) and the other urban fantasy, (working title:A Spirit of Place), which share a world and have crossing plotlines, which both need research as well, mostly on the setting. Going in search of a good history book about Austin this weekend to that end. The magic system for that series is going to be based on genius loci, so that’ll be fun.
Um…not a lot else to talk about, really. I’ve been plugging away at AFWT, currently on Ch46 of the fifty-two I have outlined. My anxiety has gotten a lot better, but my depression is still kicking my ass, and this week’s work schedule isn’t helping. I wanted to do Inktober, but after the first day, work was such that I came home Monday dead on my feet and spent the next two days half zombified, so the second page of the work, inspired by the aforementioned A Spirit of Place, the protagonist of which is a webcomic artist who co-owns an art supply shop.) is barely half drafted. There was perspective involved, which makes me twitchy anyway, and the hardest part of making comics is actually trying to decide the best way to compose the panels, so it took me like, three hours to do even that much.
I was planning to get back to it today, but I ended up being depressed and also full of allergies so I slept most of the afternoon, and my brief attempt to write was…not successful. But my sister made me dinner and I had a nice walk, and a book that I pre-ordered will be coming out tonight, so I’m giving myself the rest of the evening off, and I’ll try to get back to the drawing stuff tomorrow night.
In the meantime, have this shot of the cover/first page of ‘cold’ by Elise Davenport, the MC of A Spirit of Place.