Project X: One Story, One Bestiary, One Index

I finished up the penultimate story. It might need some major pace fucking-with during revisions, but the draft is done. I thought about just going right into the last story, but I need to let it grow at its own pace. I just wonder if it’s going to come like the one I thought would break me open to get out. It kind of feels like that.

So, I have one story, a bestiary, and an index left. I’m looking forward to the index. Should be some room for humor in there, I think.

The only thing I’m bummed about with the bestiary is that I totally wanted to include the Bell Witch’s rabbit-headed dog, but I just can’t let go of the idea that it was a black sheep. Except, come on! A farmer would have recognized a sheep, right?

How mortifying to be not only terrorized by a sheep, but to not recognize it, if that’s the case.

Oh, especially if it was a lamb. It’s all “baa, baa” and you’re hearing it is “boo, boo.”

Now I kind of want a lamb. Not as a pet, but just to hang out with me tonight.

A Bell Witch Related Question

The first manifestation of the Bell Witch that John Bell saw was supposedly a black dog with a rabbit’s head.

bell witch one

I’ve been assuming that’s a great big black dog body, tiny rabbit head. (See above artist’s rendering.)

But something occurred to me this morning. What if the rabbit head was in proportion to the dog’s body?

sheep (22)


Tell me I’m not right.

Project X: Just Don’t Think about Revisions

I’ve found a voice for the protagonist of this story and some motivations for her that I don’t agree with, but can appreciate, and that has made the story much easier to write. But her voice is pretty distinctive and so I’m writing down as much as I can as I hear it, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to go back over her section really carefully to make sure the tone is consistent. Even when I reread just to catch up on where I am, I find myself doing “Is that a word she’d use or a word I’d use?” work, which is, you know, the stuff of revisions. So, I need to stop that and just keep moving forward.

But the thing is that I want her language to reflect her era without sounding cliched. So, I need her to sound like a sort-of-hippie Nashville chick who’s doing a lot of drugs and making her peace with her boyfriend’s free-loving ways without it being a cavalcade of “far out”s and “groovy”s. But it needs to be a little different because there aren’t as many visual and social cues that we’re in a different time. There are a few, but since it’s written in first person by a person with nothing to compare it to, those things are subtle. She’s not sitting around marveling at the hairstyles, for instance. I did throw in stuff like it taking forever for people to come to the phone. And Batman.

But the differences in outlook between then and now that would come up in the context of my story? As of yet, not very many.

It was a different time, but not that different. Which I like, because I think it suggests that the people in each of the preceding stories had the same relationship to their pasts. It was different, but not that different.

If I were a historian, I’m not sure I’d be completely pleased with this collection. But it’s a legend. So, I think that makes some of this stuff okay.

I am growing increasingly bummed that she has to go where she has to go, but I think it’s right.

I just want to get a first draft finished this month. Of everything. My deadline is March, which seems like a long way off, but it’s 40-45,000 words that have to be rethought at least once, bounced off of others, and reworked again. And then someone’s got to go through them with a fine-tooth comb and make sure they’re perfect. Which reminds me that I need to feel out said person.

The project has a lot of moving parts, a lot of talented people doing extraordinary things. I want my part to be awesome and I want it to be on time. And right now, I feel like it’s good and early. But the road to awesome winds through a lot of villages that add time. Christmas, for instance. Plus my own revising abilities. Plus beta readers’ time. Etc.

So, we’ll see.