Thanks to some screw-ups involving various doctors' offices, the insurance company, etc., I spent a lot of time in waiting rooms this week. (Also, I had a 90-minute wait sipping a lovely barium with Tang delicacy before a CAT scan --- meow!) On the plus side, that gave me time to work on my counter tenor story. It's written by hand, and some parts of it ironically look like doctor's handwriting.
Dying Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard
I can't even write a ghost story (well it started out that way...) without weird funny things popping up in the story. Even some of the things that should be serious are serious and yet whacky. For example, after accidentally stabbing the counter tenor, the lord runs out of his bedroom naked and covered in CT blood. When he runs down the staircase, he sees two ghosts, Lord and Lady Roden -- these ghosts are only visible to people who will die soon. After I wrote this, I seriously considered putting in a part where Lady Roden shrieks at the site of the naked bloody guy. :)
Over the past week, I "spruced up" some of Wulf's journal entries -- I realized that he didn't describe some really important events to which he was almost the only witness. For example, the part where Sovil was trying to strangle him. I've added dialogue, descriptions of how it feels like to be nearly strangled to death (now that I would know, although I know a lot about wheezing), details of how he tried to fight back, etc. Some of the other sections were fine and had lots of dialogue/etc. from Wulf's POV.
I also, wonder of wonders, started writing the counter tenor story for real -- in a notebook. Over the weekend, I changed the original idea I had for this story -- so much so that I could still take the original idea I had and write a completely different story with it. In the original version, he murdered the CT (after taking him to his bed) because he was ashamed of his own sexuality. The CT haunted him as revenge. At the same time, almost as soon as he killed the CT, the lord realized what a horrible thing he'd done, perhaps even realized he could have loved the CT. Finally, the lord was going to either kill himself in an attempt to end up with the CT's ghost (which would fail) or sacrifice himself to save someone else, which would make the ghostly CT realize he was a good guy after all.
The lord is more sympathetic now. I've changed the setting to the Gorok & Wulf world, so he has no excuse to deny his sexuality now. ;-) The CT is a mage/singer, a very important figure. The new king of Alnaarn fears the power of mages, so he has declared that all male mages should be castrated. (I know, aaaargh!!!! Sadistic enough! But because they get their power from their sexuality, this is even worse than sadistic.) The mages started leaving the main city when they thought the king might make his ideas official. The lord has a castle on the border (between Alnaarn and Cavan), so he has been giving shelter to mages who are trying to escape. The CT comes into this, tired from a long journey (he escaped the capital). He and the lord are drawn to each other. But there's a catch, as the lord is troubled from horrible nightmares about a battle, and when the nightmares are at their worst, he sometimes wakes with his sword in his hand. This explains how the counter tenor becomes a ghost :( -- but at least I've avoided the old "I'm a lover of men, those feelings are evil, I can't let him live" plot.
Of course, in the final draft, I might change all of the above. Tee hee. I don't know if it's going to be a short story (I hope so) or something longer. Maybe I'll end up with a short story that can be expanded. I'll see.
I wrote a couple different versions of the beginning of the counter tenor story. Then I wondered if I wanted to write it as a typical ghost story after all. The counter tenor is such an interesting character (or at least I hope he is) that I am no longer sure I want to start the story after he is dead. Siiigh. I know there are some characters who are fascinating and yet make better fiction after they are dead -- Rebecca, for example. I hope I can figure out if this counter tenor (who may be a blond now) is one of them.
I have done a little more Gorok and Wulf editing. I also decided to try writing a ghost story about a Renaissance lord who murders a counter tenor, and then is haunted by his spirit. I was tempted to give the counter tenor red hair of course. ;-)