Two thousand words of Range of Ghosts today, bringing me up to a thrilling 35K. I think I get my next weekend at 50K, if I can hold this pace up.
I did get my two protagonists into the same place, which is a major step forward. And they have discovered the critical problem, so now we're moving forwards on that.
I'm still in love with this book. I love its panoramas; I love its characters; I love its world. Really, it's just a giant romance between me and the shiny shiny book.
It's so nice to have the freedom of invention that comes with a second-world fantasy. It's not that it requires less research, because the cultures and ecosystems and so forth have to make sense--but it requires a different kind of research, and a different level of invention. Because while there are aspects of the Rasan culture, for example, that are inspired by the Tibetan Empire, it's not Tibet. Tsarepheth is not Lhasa. So I have to build a new and fascinating city in my head.
Another challenge: the major world religions as we know them--Christianity, Islam, Buddhism--do not exist in this world. So I'm having to invent new religions, that aren't just fancy dress versions of our religions. That's even harder than it sounds, and I think I'm being more successful with some than with others. But all you can do is try, and I'm really tired of fantasy where the generic good mother-goddess religion has to fight the generic autocratic patriarchy religion. I want something more like the weird and wonderful panoply of belief systems your average 9th-century continent might have compassed.
There's so much world in this world. It's positively exhilarating. And a little intimidating, in its richness. (And as a side effect, it makes me really appreciate what an insanely cool thing the Horse-Lords of Rohan are: Tolkien* took a seafaring and farming Germanic and Norse culture, transplanted it to the Steppes, and came up with a semi-nomadic plains culture that seemed natural and full of pathos--because he succeeded in imagining its shortcomings as well as its strengths.** Imagine doing the opposite, and transplanting the Cossacks or the Sioux to Stockholm. Just thinking about it makes my brain hurt.)
And now I think I'm going to go make a beef tagine for dinner. Mmm, tagine.
*Also, isn't Tolkien a great name all by itself? If it weren't taken, I would want to give it to a wizard, just for the sounds in it.
**Its economy may not make much sense, but this is a world in which there are umbrellas and chain mail. Of course, if you were in chain mail, you might want an umbrella....