( Ramblings about gender aesthetic. )
*A sharp reader alerted me to the fact that the original picture was actually of a female model who appeared in the same shoot as Andrej -- oops! I replaced it with one of the boy himself.
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( The inn was one of those Paradiso after-fuck establishments, cheap beds and cheaper booze. )
Realizing that, no, it is not RIGHT nor NORMAL for chapters to go on for upwards of 35 pages, I've split the remainder of Chapter 2 into a whole new entity. So this is what's left of Chapter 2 -- about 2000 words. Not really enough to merit a whole second part, but such is the way of life and LJ formatting. Enjoy!
( Chapter 2 Part II )
The God and the Satyr
( Every boy-brothel in Paradiso had an altar for the whore god. )
So the first chapter of the NEW and IMPROVED and SHINY "Golden Bird" is ready to be beta'd. Any brave volunteers?
Also, I am doing NaNoWriMo. Given that I already have 10,000 written, I am somewhat cheating. Shh.
So I suck.
No, really. I suck. I promised a revised reposting of TGB so long ago that most of my estwhile readers have probably completely forgotten this fic ever existed---or became convinced that I had myself completely forgotten this fic ever existed. Not so! As evidence for my defense I point to the fifteen drafts of the first thirty pages currently lurking on my hard-drive. Adding up all of these aborted drafts, I've written almost 500 pages of TGB since disappearing from the LJverse. Unfortunately, it was 500 pages of bad.
Well, not bad exactly. Just…wrong. 500 pages of wrong.
Basically, the last two years of writing and rewriting TGB has been like trying to navigate Los Angeles with a map drawn by a five year old whose spatial reasoning capabilities had been destroyed in a tragic lawnmower accident. I had some idea of the basic landmarks, but no idea where they were or how they fit together. I was constantly having to put my metaphorical author-car in reverse, or slam on the metaphorical gas pedal, or hit my head repeatedly against the metaphorical dashboard.
There were a lot of problems I had to resolve with the plot. I made a few fairly drastic changes: removing the magic (which I now realize I put in not because it was important and crucial for the world, but because I’m a fantasy writer and my automatic instinct is to put magic in everything), rehauling Luca’s backstory, nixing Azarael and another character who was going to be fairly major, changing Asher’s plot arc, to name a few. I’ve also struggled with being a new writer. TGB is the first real novel I’ve ever worked on (the story about the half-elf genderqueer assassin princess I wrote when I was fourteen does not count), and I made the mistake of posting the first draft online. Where it was really well received! And people said a lot of nice things! But which also lashed me to a schedule of feverishly writing so that I could post a chapter a week. Which meant that a lot of important things, like pacing and character development, were overlooked (it’s telling, for instance, that in the first ten chapters we don’t move more than a day forward in time). And which meant I got really burned out really fast.
So this hiatus, while necessary and beneficial, has been a lot longer than I had anticipated. I don’t want to say that I’ve grown a lot as a writer, because that sounds like the kind of douchey, self-congratulatory thing that self-styled Artists trot out when they’re Discussing their Writing Process, but it’s certainly true that I’ve learned a lot about writing, and know how to do things with language now that I didn’t two years ago. I’ve had time to map out this story, this world, in detail: to understand where I’m going and what I want to do along the way. I’ve gotten to know my characters, most crucially Luca, who in being my complete and total opposite in every possible way was not a little difficult to write. I realized that I was putting this character who was not at all like me in situations where he reacted as I would react instead of as himself. Robert was always easier for me because, being brash and forthright and loyal and drunk and lost and stupid in many, many ways—being, in sum, a little (a very little)—like myself, I can understand him.
Luca is trickier. He’s quiet and submissive and clever and serious and spends most of his time in his head because it’s the only safe place. I had to write many, many sketches of Luca, most of which will probably never make it into the story proper, before I got how he ticked. Probably my biggest success in the struggle to write those crucial first thirty pages was finally understanding Luca.
So where am I now, two years later? In many ways, where I started. And in many ways, light years away from where I started. After all this time, I finally have thirty solid pages I’m proud of, thirty pages reimagined and rewritten multiple times—one chapter from Robert’s perspective, and one from Luca’s. I’m planning on finishing Part One of the story before I begin posting again. I’d like to say this will happen before Christmas, but with college and dealing with recurrent bouts of severe depression, and taking into account my track record when it comes to deadlines, I don’t know whether or not that will happen.
What I can promise is that when I do begin posting again, the story will be tighter, the writing better, the characters more fleshed out, the world better realized, and the author far more mature and confident in herself and in her work. And that’s the best I can do.
In the interim, I’m hoping to go back to being active on LJ, reading and commenting on fan and original fiction as well as writing my own.
So, yeah. That’s where I’ve been, that’s where I am, that’s where I’m planning on going. I’m posting this in order to let those of you who are miraculously still interested in this story know that I haven’t abandoned it or you, and to thank you all for your patience. I don’t deserve it.
P.S. As for those of you who volunteered to be betas ages ago, your help would be very much appreciated if you’re still interested! I’ll send Part One along as soon it gets finished.
I'm officially declaring "The Golden Bird" closed for maintenance.
Reading back on what I've written, it's become clear that major revisions are needed, especially in the area of backstory and character development. This is the first major work of fiction I've ever written, and I feel I've made a lot of rather amateurish mistakes. I also think that I've suffered from not having a beta to tell me what works and what doesn't.
So, the plan is to add a prologue, remove/change/add/expand upon several characters (NOT Robert or Luca), and generally prune and polish where prunes and polish are needed. I don't know how long this will take, but I'm estimating 1-3 months. brianwillis44 has magnanimously offered to beta, and I'm wondering whether any other kind souls would be interested in giving the rewrite a once-over after I've finished. If so, please PM me.
THE PLOT WILL NOT CHANGE. I will also be leaving up the chapters I've already posted, at least until I finish the rewrite. I will still be active on livejournal and posting other works of [smutty] fiction.
Thanks to everyone who's read and enjoyed this story. I hope you'll like it even better once the rough edges have been smoothed out.
Um. Also? Please don't kill me.