Cold; damned cold
Chasse's Song reached 31,000 just before I started this post, so the project is growing steadily. My target is to have a first draft of around 100,00 words by the close of July, but that will take some serious writing commitment of 2-3000 words a day between now (after work hours).
The fun part is research as usual. My character lives in a sub-arctic environment, so I've been researching snow and animals and plants, particularly behaviours of wolves and human survival techniques in cold environments. It's been interesting comparing survival techniques I learned as a child/teenager growing up in country Australia while running trap lines and hunting with the professional advice for surviving in a very different climate. Exposure in any environment is the killer, and particularly hypothermia which led to a cousin's death when his boat capsized in Lake Albert in cold weather. Trapping concepts, building ad-hoc shelters and so on translate across situations, but understanding that it's safer to be under the snow than on it in a blizzard, avoiding sweat, that it's okay to drink snow (apparently a myth is that it's not okay), and so on have added depth and accuracy to the situation Chasse finds himself in.
As an 'apprentice' warrior in a patriarchal society, with a sister who has refused to accept the patriarchal expectations, 16 summers' old Chasse is beginning to struggle with the concept of manhood proposed by his father - its strengths and its weaknesses - as he begins to define himself by his ability to survive.
Writing about a character in a cold climate while I sit in a heated room seems anomalous - so occasional standing and sitting outside and dawn walking to work helps me associate a little with the discomfort of icy cheeks, cold, damp noses, tingling toes and fingers. Being a child of the edge of the Australian desert, I don't do cold easily, although I clearly remember those bitter mornings of country childhood when ice coated the cattle trough and puddles as we stamped our feet and created clouds with our breaths. I sincerely do not understand how or why people choose to live in colder climates.
Chasse has just survived a near-death experience, but only because his sister intervened. I've had the onerous research task of learning how long bodies take to lose heat after death as I deal with Chasse's survival. I have writing to get back to - sorry. A few more words to write to reach today's target.
Writing is my passion. Ideas, opinions, beliefs, experiences expressed through language - through words and images - pervade and create my life. Writing is my voice, my soul, my self. My dream is one day writing will sustain my life...