Monday, October 29, 2007

Gearing up

Spent the weekend head down in reference books. I'll post a list here tonight or tomorrow. In the meantime, my head is full of undigested info and I sleep poorly. It's all good; it's what I need to do to really wrap my head around this world, or this world around my head.

One of the things that's emerged from the weekend's reading is that the world the novel takes place in really is much younger than our world. Specifically, the modes of social organization I'm writing about resemble early versions of the ones I'm reading about. Eg. the steppe peoples resemble the Mongols and other Central Asian tribes before the time of Chinghis Khan: individually just as fearsome and disciplined, but without the political and organizational unity that Chinghis and generals like Subedei created. Similarly, Woneiyal drumming is less sophisticated and less pervasive in daily life than the West African drumming described in African Rhythm and African Sensibility. Also, the Woneiyal don't have, or have a very poorly developed, dance tradition, whereas the Ta'arane have an extremely well-developed dance tradition but the rhythmic/musical accompaniment is stronger on melody and uses only very simple rhythm. It's what happens when the two halves come together that is the subject here.

Syncretism and adaptation to changing circumstances are strong themes.

Reading about Indonesian and Malay religion/magic/spirituality, also Finnish. Odd mix. I'm not sure what I'm going to put where, but I'm sure all the bits and pieces will bubble up into something useful at some point.

I have about 8000 words written already, mostly from a couple of years ago but some written or rewritten over the past month. I'll post a precise word count come Nov. 1 and try to keep a running tally as I go through NaNoWriMo.

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