Starting a New Novel

I just realized I missed this month’s monthly meditation. Whoops.

This time I do have something of an excuse, though—I’m neck-deep in a new novel that I’ve taken up for this July’s camp NaNoWriMo. 

It explores life on the Bereghin Verge, where the human Realm of Bereg borders the mysterious Other Side. It’s the only known place on the continent where feywood, the magical tree vital to building the famous Bereghin sky ships, grows in abundance. 

The novel’s working title is Thy Forest’s Keeper. The main character, Rada—or bana-Radmira, as she’s properly called—is a recently-appointed forest warden, a sorceress responsible for handling any magic-related issues that might arise as people harvest the precious feywood bark.

And they arise, aplenty. It’s a strange place, that vast feywood forest, where trees fade in and out of existence as you look at them, where wild animals and unclean spirits alike watch from the thicket, where well-trodden paths overgrow with ferns and change direction overnight. It’s the week of the summer solstice, and the forest seems especially restless. If Rada is to keep her ward safe, she will have to understand the Other Side better than she’d ever wished…

This story, I think, is going to be a little lighter and softer than At War’s Edge, and smaller in scope, without wars and international politics (though it depends on whether the Other Side counts as a nation, soooooo…)

I’m also planning to get it done a lot faster, completing the first draft by the end of September. I’d given myself a conservative 25,000 word goal for July, and I’m already past 16,000, so I think I stand a fair chance there.

Especially since these early words are the hardest. I’m drawing on the Slavic folklore quite heavily for this one, and on top of that this is Bereg, which is like a mix of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the early Russian Empire. With magic and magic-induced longtime gender equality thrown in. And religion subtracted. Which is all to say—not only do I keep needing to do research, but there’s also a ton of translation going on in the worldbuilding section.

There are words that I’m definitely keeping, such as a leshi for a forest-spirit. There are words that I’m definitely translating, such as the uyezd administrative division which I’m renaming a ward. And then there are words that I’m still torn about, such as the title of voivode. It translates, literally, to “warleader”, but since in Bereg it’s a (mostly) civil position it looks confusing when translated. 

So, yes, a heads-up. If a lot of posts related to Slavic folklore and languages come up in the next little while, this is why.

…The meditation for the month of July was meant to be on the lerale of life—on nature and creativity. I suppose that, in a way, I’m still honouring this month’s theme. It’s just… a very active mediation =)

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