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ENTRY

Deadlines!
June 24, 2011

I've discovered deadlines help me increase my daily writing production, but they have to be real deadlines, not self-imposed ones. This realization is disheartening, because I've always considered myself a self-disciplined writer. I can be a bit lazy and a procrastinator. (Aside: I heard someone describe himself as a "procastibator," I guess because it feels good while you do it but regret it later.)

My current writing deadlines require me to finish two novels by the end of July. One is Subduction, the other is The Royal Book of Monsters. Subduction is a contemporary psychological thriller wrapped around the ancient Japanese myth of Kashima, the god who tries to control a giant catfish named Namazu whose violent thrashing causes earthquakes.

The main character in this novel, Jun Endo, a first-year physician, has been banished to Marui-jima, a tiny island far in the Pacific rocked by a swarm of earthquakes. The government evacuated the island residents except for several holdouts, all elderly, who refuse to obey the orders. Besides the islanders and the doctor, a writer and documentary producer (Mari Sasaki) and a seismologist (Aki Ishikawa) are on the island. A destructive love triangle ensues as the three become entangled with the mysterious lives of the islanders.

The Royal Book of Monsters begins in Paris, 1683. Lorete Michaud, a young woman studying to be an artist, meets a mysterious man named Langorium who shows her how to take her art to ethereal levels. Meanwhile, a royal cadet prince, Théo, has fallen for her; however, the closer he gets to her, the more she withdraws into Langorium’s secret world. Théo continues to pursue Lorete until he finds her with Langorium. Appearing to the prince as a monster, Langorium disappears with Lorete.

Grief-stricken, Théo devotes his life to finding her and tracking down the monster. The Royal Book of Monsters refers to his collected works documenting historical, anecdotal, and scientific evidence of monsters, including vampires, ghosts, dragons, werewolves, and the rest. He believes that understanding the origins of monsters will lead him to the real Monster who took Lorete. He never finds the Monster or Lorete, but the work on the Book continues through the centuries, and it grows into a clandestine compendium and history of the world’s real monsters, unfiltered by myth, legend, and fiction.

In the present day, an apprentice editor, Troy Keene, is hired by the publishing wing of a New York museum of antiquities to work on their publications. But as he gradually discovers, he is editing more than documents; the true nature of his work deals with Monsters. As the apprentice editor struggles to learn his job, he is becoming close with another editor, Lori Price. She is also learning about the real work of the museum’s editorial wing, and her research into the disappearance of Lorete brings her into contact with the Monsters. This puts Lori, Troy, and ultimately the Book at risk, as well as threatens humanity’s existence.

The two books are very different, and that helps me work on them at the same time. I can take a break from one to work on the other. So far this is working! I'll let you know home it goes...

COMMENTS

Number of comments: 2
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Lee Witte
Both sound fascinating! Good luck on the deadlines (I need them too.)

Jo Reed
Subduction reminds me of Mishima's "Sound of Waves", it is also set on a small island.

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