July 5th, 2008

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

WIP: snippet

This has been an eventful week, writing-wise.   Some writing is technically difficult (you're trying to accomplish something in a particular way for a particular purpose and it requires a well-equipped writer-toolbox) and some writing is psychologically and/or creatively difficult (for example, you're trying to get into the head of a character, or a culture, that means doing something different inside your own head.)

Here's a snippet from a few days ago; there's a lot more after this but I'm not ready to share it yet.  And first-draft snippets may look different in the final book.

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When the Seneschal pulled the door open, Kieri expected the smell of bone, but instead the air had the freshness of spring outdoors.  Instead of dusty old bones, all in shades of cream to yellow from their time in the earth, the bones were brilliantly colored.  Kieri stared.  Human bones didn't come those colors--colors as bright as fresh-dyed yarn, scarlet, green, blue, yellow.  Here and there light glinted from other things--from curves of metal, copper and bronze and gold and silver, from jewels set in the metal or laid on the stones.  And on every skeleton, fresh green leaves: one between the teeth, one across each eye-hole, one on either side of the skull, where ears might have been.

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For those familiar with the Paksenarrion fantasy world, this is indeed Kieri Phelan, in Lyonya, after Oath of Gold, but before his coronation.   This book is throwing surprises at me, which is always a good sign.



woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

80 acres: the great species hunt

So far, I've recorded only species that I saw (or saw unequivocal evidence of, such as tracks or scat easily identified) without manipulation other than putting up bird feeders and putting out water.

However, temptation looms.  This it the eighth year we've worked on the place and the species count now stands at 783.   Raw ego would love to make 800 species by year's end.  I need only 17 more species--anything, plant or animal.  If it were a wet year, instead of a drought year, lots of things would be out and about, including lots more insects.   But it's a drought year.  I go out with camera and see only what I've already found, mostly...maybe one new species a week of insects, and there aren't that many weeks left in the year.  Also, the big stuff's just about all  IDed. 

So...there's collection.  "Sweeping" with a net to find additional insects (probably there, but not in abundance), and digging into dead trees and going out at night with a black light and/or moth bait.  OTOH, I'm supposed to be a wildlife manager, and in my own mind that means not hassling the wildlife (by, for instance, collecting them) especially not in a difficult, stressful climate situation. 

I seriously, seriously want to get 17 more species.  I'm sure we *have* 17 more species.   Doing a complete census would be valuable (for other people who are trying to restore land) and also census falls within the seven activities required each year.  But is my desire for another 17 species this year mere ego, or can it really be justified, and if so, what kinds of search are justified?

We shall see where conscience and science meet, on this one.