RamblingsPosted by Katrina Sisowath Thu, October 23, 2014 12:01:04
A couple of weeks ago, a tourist desecrated a Buddhist statue at Bayon Temple, in Cambodia, claiming the Temple belonged to Innana and she was cleaning up rubbish.
A lot of people have remarked that Innana would have no place in Cambodian culture as it was the wrong place, wrong time.
I beg to disagree. If the Sumerian records are true, then Innana waged a war over a vast area against other Annunaki, winning the initial battles with the aid of Sargon, the King she'd appointed. Her Empire would have encompassed most of Asia and the Middle East. We already know that there are a lot of similarities between Sumerian and Indian mythology, and the Temples at Siem Reap were originally Hindu. Indeed, Sanskrit has influenced Khmer language and culture. Hence the connection between Innana and Cambodia
Another point is Innana began the ritual of choosing Kingly lovers. Her favourite would have to visit her nightly or risk the desolation of his Kingdom (presumably by her waging war on the unfortunate people). This practice was continued in Cambodia in a temple dedicated to the 'Serpent Goddess, as recorded by the Chinese traveler Zhou Daguan, who told the story of the Khmer king’s nightly visit to Golden Temple Mountain (Baphoun Temple) to make love to a serpent woman in order to keep peace in his land.
Innana was a member of the Serpent Cult, so it stands to reason this 'serpent woman' would have been her spiritual descendant, one of her priestesses.
And finally: Innana was renowned for her style of dress: bare-chest, flowing skirts, lots of jewelry. A look at the bas-reliefs of the dancing Apsara's suggests they may have originated as her dancing girls, or the Priests liked her choice of adornment so much they had the dancing girls dress the same .
(this is by no means a validation of the tourist's actions)
RamblingsPosted by Katrina Sisowath Thu, October 23, 2014 10:48:06
In my library and on my kindle I have stacks of books (literally and figuratively). On my computer there are endless files stuffed to the gills with maps, photos, downloaded documents and notes. I also have a file that lists all the websites and links to articles I have looked at that contains information I may need in the future. That doesn't include the pages and pages of notes I have made myself on pertinent topics and information.
I also spend time watching documentaries and have a substantial video library to complement my books. All of this time spent reading and watching these shows look like leisure but, while it's fun, it's also work. I will sit there, reading or watching the TV, and the entire time my brain is running a monologue, comparing what is being said to what other sources claim, thinking how the information presented ties into my story script and should I disregard it or amend my story to include it, and my hands are jotting down notes.
All of this is so that before I sit down to write, I have a fairly clear idea of what historical/mythological places, people and items would be included in the book. It's not possible to include all and I also have to sift through all the legends, some of which are conflicting, in order to write a book that makes sense. And that's only possible if I have a clear idea of the personalities of the characters involved--it's how they inhabit their environment and respond to events that will determine their fate and the course of the novel.
With that in mind--before I sit down to write my 'thousand words a day' I will have spent many more hours studying. So, for every book I write I estimate one to three months research (six to seven hours a day, six days a week) so from 140 to 430 hours before writing the first paragraph. Then, as I'm writing, I also must continuously cross check facts and go back to articles and books I've read before to make sure I haven't gotten something horribly wrong.
Then, once the book is finished, it must go through the editing process over and over again, until it's as near perfect as it can get and everyone is satisfied that it is ready to be printed. What is included in the editing? Research---just to be really damn sure. The story and the characters are mine, but if I'm including an ancient monument I'd better make sure it's in the right country.
All in all, the hours spent writing take perhaps a fourth of the time spent creating a novel, with another fourth spent on editing. The remaining half is spent on research.
RamblingsPosted by Katrina Sisowath Thu, October 23, 2014 10:44:38
Having finished the first draft of my second book, I am now stepping away from it for a little while before embarking on the task of editing it. I find myself thinking though, that while I may need to add to it, there's not much (I think) that will need deleting. For one thing: I've taken my time with it, sometimes to the point I found it progressing excruciatingly slow. But, because I did not sit down and write it out in three months, forcing myself to write 1,000 words per day until it was finished, I find that there is little in the form of extraneous characters or plot holes.
Of course, my editor and advanced readers may think otherwise. I probably will find things in the manuscript when I edit that I cannot believe found their way onto paper, but I do not feel quite the same euphoria I felt when Serpent Priestess was finished. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this book, but with the first one I felt ridiculously happy with it, feeling I'd never top it. This time around I'm not quite as emotionally invested as I didn't have some 'Grand Message', just what I thought to be a really good story and have been writing it with a critical eye to plot and character development, utilizing what I learned penning Serpent Priestess.
So, my question is: what's other writers feelings towards their first draft? Is it SH*T or almost there with just a few tweaks? And does the speed with which the book is written affect the quality of the draft?
RamblingsPosted by Katrina Sisowath Thu, October 23, 2014 10:43:32
That is how I feel with my current manuscript. Where is the excitement? The Pizzazz? With Serpent Priestess it all came rushing out and I could barely keep up. I finished the first draft in under two months, easily. Yet with that book the idea had been percolating in my brain for a good three years before I decided to sit down, open a new document and write the first lines.
This book is different. I had no structured outline in my head, only a rough idea of the characters and places and about four chapters in the book t took a drastic turn and is completely different to what I had originally envisioned. Is it better than what I had planned? Yes, but I've had to wing it more than I thought, going back to my trusty old notes and well thumbed books to make sure the manuscript isn't running away from me. The result is brief episodes where I get through three or more chapters rapidly, knowing what's going to come next, followed by long periods of stagnation, where I have to carefully consider what is the most feasible progression of events.
Hence the current dance I am undertaking with my manuscript. Slow, Slow, Quick Quick.