Waiting for an advice nurse to call back. Why hasn’t one called back yet? Very sleepy. Reading more of Xiphotologos to kill time.
I think I know part of the difference. I think Xiphotologos predates, or is at least concurrent with my ‘Have To Learn To Write A Novel Properly’ breakdown. Unlike my later stuff, which is so closely third person that I have barely any narration outside of character thoughts, there seems to be a clear, functional narrator here. And also, it’s full of irrelevant details. I remember one reason I wrote it is because I wanted to explore the day-to-day life in a decaying grand royal court– it’s a parent to Citadel of the Sky in that way– and so it’s full of that kind of detail. I’m pretty sure in Citadel of the Sky and later, I tried to make sure all details served the purpose of developing plot, or demonstrated important character techniques. I don’t think I left much room for narrated details to develop setting. And yet that’s a huge part of what I’m enjoying in rereading Xiphotologos.
This doesn’t help me decide which to pursue. S13, my new Secret Project, has an intrinsic narrator with a distinct voice, so I think I would have naturally felt free to use those kind of details, and I think I will enjoy writing the same way. I don’t think I’ll enjoy the subject matter as much, but I’m pretty sure I got to the ‘oh god I’m stuck my plot and pacing are totally screwed up’ point in Xiphotologos that I seem to get to with almost every novel I write, which means picking it up again would mean a bit of digging around to figure out what the hell I was doing before diving straight into the hardest part of a novel.
I dreamt this morning that I was opening a huge present and I got woken up before I knew what was inside. So I guess I’ll go read more and see what Xiphotologos becomes.