I have lost my brains…

Not, you will note, my mind– my brains. Allow me to explain.

I am making such remarkable progress on Princess of Fire (north of 51,000 words, and I took last night off), I find that I am experiencing a unique temptation– the thought has occurred to me that I could spare some of my writing time to plink away on another project simultaneous with Fire (I know, this could only end in tears, but bear with me). I’m not ready to write the historical novel I mentioned in my last post, and most of the other projects don’t feel right at the moment, but I have a passing thought that maybe– just maybe– I could try a restart of my epic fantasy, which has languished for years (from which I previously posted a couple of abandoned fragments). It’s always pained me that I’ve never finished this story.

With that in mind, I went out to my writing archives (aka my garage) to locate the notes I made years ago on this universe. I have a thick notebook with details of societies, geography, and, most particularly, languages. I spent a lot of time back when detailing three or four languages, whether they were agglutinative or isolating, basic grammar, and their phonemes. I was determined to be able to create clearly distinct languages to mark off different ethnic groups and add depth to my world. Since the notebook dates from the period where I planned to write far more than I actually wrote, it is thick and loaded with information.

I can’t find it.

I know I’ve seen it since we moved to our current house, and that I pulled it out at one point to look through it. It’s just not where I expected to find it, and it’s not anywhere else I can think of at the moment. I have dug through layers of personal writing history, in the process uncovering similar notebooks for a space opera and an alternate history series. I even found a notebook with material dating back, no kidding, to my days in the Army (if by that you infer that I am a pack-rat, well, infer away). But not the notes I am looking for.

Personally, I am so old-school that I rely on written notes to enhance my memory. Thus, I am essentially missing part of my brains. I’m not in pain, or anything, except possibly emotionally. But mislaying that notebook still bugs the crap out of me.

After ransacking the garage, braving dust and spiders (got one in my hair, which provoked girly screams), I’ve finally given up. The choice before me is forget the whole thing, or try to resume the story on a by-the-seat-of-my-pants basis. I will have to think about it. Of all the lost research, it’s the languages that really hurt. I can recreate the sociology and the geography pretty easily, but the languages took me a lot of time, as I am only an amateur linguist. To do the novel right my instinct would be to stop and recreate the essential elements of at least two tongues. From scratch. Extremely time-consuming, and I probably don’t want to do it while I am supposed to be crunching away on Princess of Fire.

As I said, an ending in tears.

On the other hand, perhaps I should try to see the bright side. It does occur to me that this could be, in fact, a blessing. Sitting in my now disarranged garage, I thought to ask myself why I should want to impose the dead hand of my amateur past on my (semi-)professional present. Some of the notes date back more than thirty years, when my writing, to put it charitably, sucked out loud.

Starting over might actually be a good idea.

But probably not right now. I need to be an adult, focus on one project at a time, get it done right, and then move on. Maybe I can revisit this after Princess of Fire is done.

Doodles, though…doodles are free….

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2 thoughts on “I have lost my brains…”

  1. Maybe your notes will turn up somewhere unexpected? 😦 This isn’t totally relevant to the post, perhaps, but since you mentioned it, I figured I’d comment. I love that you pay attention to the language details in your fantasy. Though literature is my first love (I was an English major), linguistics is my current area of research, so I always appreciate when authors take into consideration the aspects of language. It’s not often that fantasy writers talk about the morphological or phonological properties of the languages in their novels. Or whether the languages are agglutinative or isolating, as you said. 🙂 Good luck with your novel! I also know the temptation of side projects. The muse is always most active when we’re busy trying to finish one thing, I think!

    1. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it– it’s quite possible the notes will turn up eventually– the only question is, will that be in my lifetime or will my grandchildren discover them and make a mint auctioning them off? 😛

      Best of luck with your own project.

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