It's going to be a scorcher here in Providence today.
Yesterday, I wrote 1,143 words on Chapter One, falling somewhat short of my 1,500-word-a-day goal. Mostly, this was because I spent an hour and a half reworking portions of what I wrote on Thursday. The novel has been entirely changed by the impromptu "workshop" at Readercon last weekend, and hopefully for the better. I'll post details when I am farther along, deeper into this first chapter and more certain this new direction is working.
My hands are so dry.
I have not yet received my copies of The Ammonite Violin & Others, but I'm told they started shipping from subpress yesterday, so if you preordered, your books are on their way (unless you preordered from Amazon, which is always a little slower on deliveries).
I think that I may be writing "The Yellow Alphabet" this month, for Sirenia Digest 56. I've been wanting to do it for quite some time, to complete the triptych I began with "The Black Alphabet" and then continued with "The Crimson Alphabet." But first, I need to make substantial progress on Chapter One of the novel.
About six-thirty p.m., When the writing was done yesterday, and also the reading aloud what had been written, Spooky and I drove north and west to Woonsocket. I've always needed to "location scout" for stories and novels, to ground at least some part of them in a place I have actually visited. We'd not been in Woonsocket since the summer of 2004, when I was scouting locations for Daughter of Hounds. We stopped at Thundermist Falls, though the sun was setting fast, and I knew Thundermist Falls wasn't the spot I was looking for. Still, the Blackstone River crashing down from the dam's spillways to the rocks below is irresistible. On the south side of the bridge we spotted a large turtle (Deirochelyinae incertae sedis) getting the last rays of the day, and also a muskrat clambering about on the rocks.
We left Woonsocket and followed the river, driving a little farther north, across the state line into southern Massachusetts to Millville. We stopped on a bridge between another (smaller) dam and two railway trestles. Then we drove on through Millville, a town very possessed of that decayed, haunted New England feel. We followed dark, tree-shrouded roads to the Blackstone Gorge, which we reached just before sunset. And as soon as I saw the little dam and the wide, still river backed up behind it, the woods pressing in on either side, the marshy banks, I realized I'd found the place I was searching for. Eerie and beautiful in equal measure. Something deeply unsettling about the glassy surface of the river above the dam. This is where the novel begins, or at a spot just northwest of here. We sat a while, watching the crescent moon rise over the trees. We'll be going back, this evening or maybe tomorrow, because there's more I need to see. But it was a very successful trip. We left Blackstone Gorge about eight p.m. and headed back to Providence. I took fifty-three photos, and there are six behind the cut (they're a little hazy, as the camera settings were off). I'll get more up later:
Thundermist Falls, Woonsocket, RI (view to the west).
The rocky promontory between the falls and the South Main Street bridge (view to the west).
Railroad trestles over the Blackstone River in Millville, Massachusetts.
Blackstone Gorge, just what I was looking for. View to the west.
The Author, in baggy jeans, contemplates The Novel (view to the west).
The river rushing over Late Proterozoic rocks of the Blackstone Group.
All photographs Copyright © 2010 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac
Back home, after dinner, we watched Niels Arden Oplev's Män som hatar kvinnor (2009; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), which was very, very good. I'm very taken with Noomi Rapace. And after the movie we read through what I've written so far on Chapter One once more before bed. Just before sleep, I read some of S.T. Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos (2008); I'm having dinner with Joshi next week.