Inspiration Has Its Own Timetable

Ah, the beloved and detested tendency of inspiration to strike when I really don’t have time for it.

In less than twenty-four hours, I’ve gone from revisiting the thought that I should rip out the Changeling-specific and Earth-specific aspects of the Central American stuff I cooked up for the Changeling game and use it as the basis for some kind of fiction, straight to two hundred some-odd words of a story that really, really wants to get out of my head RIGHT NOW. Nevermind, of course, that I’m working on Warrior and Witch, and really need to be focusing on that, not questions like how many Nahuatl terms I can get away with before my readers will quit in despair. The point is, having passed very rapidly through the stage of “well, I’ve got a setting, sure, but no particular story ideas,” I’m having to push at this bitchy little tz’ite in my head (huh, should I go on using the term tz’ite, or find something else? NO NO NOT TIME FOR THAT RIGHT NOW) to get her to shut up.

This will only encourage her, but I figured I’d share the beginning of the story.

Sitting alone in the green heat of the forest, far from the road and any observing eyes, Neniza began to craft her mask of flesh.

She began with her toes, for the face would be the hardest part. She would have dearly loved to shape herself into the slender, delicate form of an amanatl, but it would never work. Oh, she could take the form easy enough, but the amanah were not common caste, and she could never hope to mimic the ways of court folk well enough to pass. Instead she crafted for herself the petite, pretty form of a young alux peasant. The lord took his amusements often enough with such. It would suffice.

Her father had taught her this work, their art, after her horrified mother saw what she had birthed and left it in the woods. He would have preferred a son, Neniza knew. Daughters were dangerous things. She had not told him where she was going, what she intended to do. He believed they should stay out of sight, accept their exile to the forests — nevermind that he himself went to town all too often, to court the women of other castes and sire more children for them to fear. It was all right for him.

But not for her. She was too dangerous.

That means I’m powerful, Neniza thought, and began to work on her face.

Now I’m going to put her away and go back to work on the novel at hand.

0 Responses to “Inspiration Has Its Own Timetable”

  1. zellandyne

    I’d read that. *Nice* opener 🙂

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m stuck in that middle ground between “wow, I have an incredibly original setting to play around in!” and “wow, my setting is so incredibly original that NOBODY WILL BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND IT!” Complicated by the fact that, as it currently stands, it has terms drawn from Nahuatl, K’iche’ Mayan, possibly Yucatec Mayan (I don’t recall), Zapotec, Spanish, and I don’t even remember where I got the vay zodtz from. How exactly to address that problem, I haven’t yet decided.

  2. unforth

    Nice beginning…

    That feeling when an idea is in your head and HAS to get out is like no other feeling in the world…

  3. d_c_m

    Go, woman, GO!!!!

  4. fallenrose

    OO. Love that beginning. 🙂 Look forward to more. Though I understand the pressing issue of the novel.

  5. wadam

    Very nice.

    Just wondering, have you read Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins? It reminds me a little bit of that.

    • Marie Brennan

      No, I haven’t, but having just looked at the Amazon blurbs for it, I rather suspect this story is going to be far less funny than that one sounds.

      I’m a sucker for things drawing on non-European folklore, though, so I may check it out.

      • wadam

        It’s definitely not my favorite Tom Robbins book, but who am I to discourage anybody from reading anything of his. Even at his worst, he’s pretty darned good.

  6. ninja_turbo

    Stay On Target…Editing Ist Am Important, and You Can Do It.

    But the Central American stuff is way cool. And I’m confidant in your ability to pull the language stuff off. I mean, “La Llorona” was just fine, and that one didn’t exactly shy away from foreign language terminology.

    • Marie Brennan

      I believe you mean “La Molejera.” No lloronas in that one. They’re just a wee bit too psychotic.

      Which is why, of course, I’m trying to figure out how to keep them in this setting . . . .

      • ninja_turbo

        Umm, yeah. That one. 😛

        I believe I even thought ‘La Molejera’ and just typed La Llorona, probably because I’ve typed it more.

        But psychos makes great villains. Especially when you give interiority into their motivations and schtuff rather than letting them be 2-D mental cases. But not too much interiority, though , cause then it can get too squicky.

        But then again, with the Central American milieu, gristly seems to be sorta par for the course…basically, do what you want. I trust your fu. 🙂

  7. gollumgollum

    Just wait to try to publish it till after next summer:

    “Apocalypto” (summer): Mel Gibson scored the first blockbuster done in ancient languages with “The Passion of the Christ.” Now he tells a historical epic in the Mayan tongue of Yucateco, set before the 16th century Spanish conquest of Central America. Gibson says the film will be light on dialogue and heavy on imagery and action. Lethal arrow?

    …Assuming you have no problem with Mel Gibson tie-ins. (;

    And *i’m* intrigued. As someone who knows less than she ought to about Central American schtuff, i’d be willing to read it and let you know how lost i get. (:

    • Marie Brennan

      I saw the trailer for that. The fact that it’s supposedly before the conquest gives me some amount of hope, since it won’t be proselytizing crap like The End of the Spear. It might be a different kind of crap, of course — who knows. But I’d love to see a movie in Yucatec. (Because I’m crazy that way.)

      At the rate that the submission process goes, I have little doubt this story will still be in a slush pile somewhere when the movie comes out.

  8. princess706

    “Daughters were dangerous things.”

    I love all of it, but that may be my favorite line of all.

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah . . . that line made me happy when it came out of my pen. ^_^

      Of course, it’ll sound just like some kind of metaphor or social commentary — up until you hit the bit of the story where you find out how very, very literal that is. Females of her kind are EXTREMELY dangerous.

  9. ellen_kushner

    Very nice to meet you at Vericon! I’m sorry we didn’t get more time for meeting and talking, but I hope to remedy that someday soon.

    • Marie Brennan

      I don’t suppose you have plans to be at ICFA this year? It’s the next stop on my round of conferences/conventions (because really, who can resist a “business trip” to Florida in March?).

      • ellen_kushner

        We do often go there, but this year we won’t be able to make it. Our next Public Appearance will be Boskone in Feb., and then Wiscon in May – any chance we’d see you there?

        • Marie Brennan

          Wiscon’s on the list of cons I should go to, but never have time/money for — having to promote myself both as a writer and an academic means my travel budget’s already out of hand. Mostly I make a habit of hitting ICFA, World Fantasy, and VeriCon; I’ve added the American Folklore Society meeting to the list, and really ought to also be going to Wiscon, Readercon, and the American Anthropological Society meeting, to name only a few others. <sigh>

Comments are closed.