Friday, October 29, 2010

Ahh. Relief.

I know I'm definitely on the right track now. I like my book and my characters much better, having straightened out just where to start the story. It feels like an adult historical instead of a YA historical, and I'm eager for the story to progress. Momentum! This calls for (even more) coffee.

New Chapter One is done, and I can incorporate a whole lot of what I'd already written into the first third of this new revision. It will just require a little tweaking to update the voice. We're about to send Pharaoh Thutmose I off to be killed -- adieu, Tut! You've been fun for a book and a third, but it's time to make way for your daughter.

Here's a bit (not the last paragraph or so, but my favorite part) of what I've written today:

On a dais at the hall’s end, King Thutmose, the first of his name, filled the golden Horus Throne with his evident presence. A bright white kilt of the purest linen fell over his knees to the floor, and lying against his broad, strong chest was a glittering Eye-of-Horus pectoral, stern and staring. His lined brow bore the tall, red-and-white double crown of Egypt with a precise care, and beneath the band of the crown his beloved face, common and welcoming, broke into a grin at the sight of his daughter. Hatshepsut smiled, too. It was always a joy to look upon the Pharaoh, with his sharp nose hooked and prominent as a falcon’s beak, his great front teeth gleaming in the light of the hall’s hundred braziers. He had smiled just that way every time she’d seen him for as long as she could remember. She loved him like she loved no other.

To the Pharaoh’s left, Queen Ahmose, the Great Royal Wife, Hatshepsut’s mother, perched small and dainty on her own bright, high-armed seat. Hatshepsut’s face and figure was all of her father’s doing and none of her mother’s. What Ahmose had, Hatshepsut lacked: delicate structure, graceful curve of breast and hip, pretty face and feminine bearing. Hatshepsut’s nurse, Sitre-In, swore that the First Princess would grow to be more like her mother as time wore on. But the closer Hatshepsut drew to her own womanhood, the more she resembled her father, square and rough-cut, strong and graceless as a river-barge, despite her finery. It was Neferubity, her dear dead sister, who had taken after the queen. Hatshepsut was her father’s daughter.

“Mighty Horus,” she said formally, and bowed at the foot of the throne, palms held toward the Pharaoh. “Great Royal Wife.” She bowed to her mother, too, eyes downcast, aware of how her brightness dimmed in the presence of the queen. But she straightened again, and smiled at her father. She had no need of beauty to win his heart. He’d been hers to command from the time she was a babe in swaddling, to hear Sitre-In tell it.

I am definitely feeling better about the voice (I've made my Hatshepsut more grown up and serious in this new version), and I'm not having to fight to put in imagery. I will need to clean up sentence construction until I hit my stride and really start to feel this voice out all the way, but it shouldn't take long to get to that point.

I'm really going to miss Tut. I have personal reasons for adoring this character -- he's maybe my favorite in all my writing to date. Damn, I'm going to hate killing him off! :(

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