The Crane Girl – Spreading Its Wings

The path of The Crane Girl has not been a straightforward one. I wrote 60,000 words on an abbreviated first draft and 7,000 words on a second. (For comparison, a typical novel is in the neighborhood of 80,000-120,000 words.) Then all progress halted for over a year as I recovered from illness.

I started up again in April, rebooting the story, keeping a few core elements but otherwise starting over from scratch. I researched history, mythology, religion, alchemy, tarot, fairy tales, and languages, among other things. I still have plenty of research left to do, and honestly, I didn’t think I’d start writing the next draft for a while.

But ideas turn to characters, and characters turn to scenes, and once a scene comes to life in your brain, it demands to be written. So, two weeks ago, I started the first draft of the rebooted story. I’m up to 13,000 words, or about 50 pages.

It’s good stuff. I don’t mean the quality of the writing – though I hope that’s good too – I mean the act of writing, the process of getting it on (digital) paper. It’s not like it has been sometimes before, where I sat staring at a blank screen, sweating blood, wishing I were doing anything else. It’s fun, and it’s not any more difficult than writing a novel is supposed to be.

To paraphrase Dune: “The words must flow.” And they are. The Emperor would be pleased.

There actually is an Emperor in The Crane Girl, though we haven’t gotten to him yet. His wife, the Empress, is the insane homicidal ruler of the High City – and she’s one of the good guys. Their daughter’s job is to watch and wait for the imminent Last Battle, but she’s getting antsy. Ethan, a boy from Earth, is inciting her to rebellion (and – naturally – falling in love with her too). His adoptive little sister, Sara, is drifting toward omniscience. Meanwhile, back in Kansas, Ethan and Sara’s mother is on the brink of losing it because she doesn’t know where they are – and that’s before she gets her magic powers. It’s all leading up to everyone’s favorite shindig: the apocalypse.

See? It’s gonna be fun. Complicated, but fun.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, chapter 9 ain’t gonna write itself.

7 responses to “The Crane Girl – Spreading Its Wings

  1. “His adoptive little sister, Sara, is drifting toward omniscience.”

    Cool. Omniscient characters can be fun. Is she omnipotent, too?

    • No, but her mom is headed that way. Eventually they both get to their respective goals, more or less, and a third character becomes omnibenevolent (all-loving). And after that, well – it’s complicated… 🙂

      • I’ve never written a character who was omnibenevolent. I guess in a murder mystery the omnibenevolent character would be the ultimate “least likely suspect.”

      • I don’t know. Abraham was ready to kill his own son, Isaac, though God himself says that Abraham loved him. Compassionate people do all kinds of extreme things when they hear (or think they hear) the voice of God, or that they understand the greater good.

        Just got to that part in Genesis, so it’s been on the mind lately…

      • Yes, good example, since the essence of the “least likely suspect” trope is that the least likely suspect is the one who turns out to be guilty.

        (I know the story of Abraham from the beginning of Bob Dylan’s song Highway 61: “God said to Abraham, kill me a son. Abe said, man, you must be puttin me on…” and so forth.)

        My character who is omnipotent and omniscient is definitely not omnibenevolent. She has been quite harsh with people who want to create a religion around her, and she once violently ejected a man from a funeral (into a large body of water) because he was trying to interview her.

        By the way, completely off topic, but have you seen Ex Machina? I’m remembering that you’re an AI enthusiast.

      • Ah, now I see what you mean about the trope. I’m not too familiar with the mystery genre, so a lot of the terms are new to me.

        I did see Ex Machina, and felt almost certain I’d written a postmortem post on it, but I checked just now and evidently I only imagined that. Anyway, yes, it was amazing – one of those rare movies that really lives up to its trailer. And one of those (even rarer) movies that genuinely takes AI seriously. Smart, substantial, erotic – incisive, for the brain and the heart both. And the tension, the way the pressure builds and builds with a spartan setting and only a handful of characters – just incredible, in my opinion.

      • Part of the reason I asked about Ex Machina was that I was writing a blog post about it (which I just posted), and I didn’t want to recommend it if you hadn’t seen the picture, since the post contains a big spoiler.

        I liked the picture a lot. I loved how it used the contrast between the sterile underground facility and the gorgeous scenery when they (the men only, of course) get to go outside.

        I’ve seen some complaints about the ending, but, really, what other ending was possible?

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