24 August 2008

Olympic Writing

Like many, I've spent the last two weeks watching the Olympics. For at least one of those weeks I stayed up late and watched the live stuff (if you're on the West Coast, you got lucky and the live events were around the dinner hour).

The most intriguing thing to me, besides the awesome display of raw athletic power (go Michael Phelps!) and interest in sports that I usually don't bother with (trap shooting, anyone?), was the location shots of Bejing. The city is so beautiful - The Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City. I've paid close attention to the places of Beijing, because the third Library of Athena book takes my girls to Ancient China. I've tried to get the descriptions just right, which is difficult, because how do convey in words the beauty of those intricate hand-painted insides of the temples? Or the way the dragons on the corners of the buildings double as gutters, so that rain water pours out of their mouths when it rains?

The mythology of China is rich and wonderful, but for me it's been a little difficult to work with. Many of the stories are short tales with a moral ending, almost like fables. I have books of them. There aren't many hero stories, although their Pantheon of gods is fairly extensive. There are also a lot of stories where the main characters aren't human. I love the tale of the Four Dragons, and the Giant Pearl, but they won't work in the way I've set up my series. It was really difficult for me to find myths or folktales that fit the pardigm of my first two books.

Which is why the third book has taken me two years to write. A first draft. But I'm almost there, and have plenty of notes for the re-write. I've also been inspired by watching the Olympics, which has really sparked something in me.

Someday I want to travel to China, and walk through the Forbidden City (isn't that the greatest name!) and feel the magic for myself.

Meanwhile, enjoy these reviews for the first two Library of Athena books: http://theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/crownzeusnorris.htm
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