Working through my first draft of Valkyrie’s Curse I am finding lines and scenes that I really like as well as some that I wonder . . . what in the wide, wide world of literary abandon were you thinking? There is a great deal of pantsing during NANO even though I always work with an outline.
I know many authors who feel adamant that outlining is restrictive but I disagree. My outline is simple a framework. The skeleton that supports the fleshed out matters.
One of the courses I took in college was Osteology – the study of human skeletal remains. There is much that can be learned from skeletal remains even if you don’t have a complete skeleton. For instance, you can determine age, sex, race, how athletic they were, their weight, and sometimes the cause of death. The finer details however, are a mystery such as hair color, personality, intelligence, or their eye color.
My mother was wrong when she said that I’d never use that information. It’s almost as if my college career was custom tailored for a writing career even though the degree is in science. Think about that, you’ll get it.
I started this a couple of times in 2015 and agreed with a few writing friends to carry it through as a regular feature for 2016. Keep in mind that this is during revision and prepublication. I shared a snippet from chapter 1 HERE.
Discovering our true destiny is revealed
by our deepest passions.
My second snippet gives you a feel for the main character, Helena Eskildson.
The rune stones and markers of the ancient village aligned themselves perfectly with the equinox according to research from Dr. Lundquist. She had gathered as much pertinent information about the region that she could find, anything relating to the site, the history, geography, culture, and mythology. If it was available, she had researched it.
This had been her obsession since that trip. There was something here that called to her; she just had to find it. Failure was not an option. She had to know the truth and the reasons behind her crazy dreams.
According to the research from Dr. Sune Lundquist combined with the corresponding findings of Dr. Osmund Bell, this small village held a key. Dr. Lundquist determined that it was a key to buried Viking treasure, while Dr. Bell hypothesized that it was a key to unlock the portal to Asgard. She had spent her high school years researching everything she could get her hands on and the first three years of college piecing together this puzzle. Now, she finally had her chance to explore and she hoped to God, to find something remarkable.
She sealed the first storage bin and put her labels on it.
“Have a great summer Helena. Take lots of pictures to share with us.” It was Dr. Sempkins, the department dean.
“You too Dr. Sem. I hear you’re going back to Macchu Piccu?” She continued to work.
“Yes. I will be glad to get back there. It has been ten years you know. Going to investigate the viaduct system this time.”
“Sounds very interesting.” He was a nice enough man, aside from being dull and self-absorbed. It seemed a common trait amongst professors. He left just as quickly as he had poked his head in.
“Hey!” She turned, realizing it was not Dr. Sempkins. This time it was Leroy, their tech guru.
“Hey there Leroy, you got my drives?” He moved to the table she had her stuff laid out on.
“Yup, got them right here. Both identical. Got your laptop and tablet cleaned and ready for you as well.” He set the items down onto the table. “Everything is loaded into your laptop and hard drives. I suggest you do an incremental backup daily and a complete backup every Thursday on this hard drive. He set out another that looked very similar to the others except it had a metallic Decepticon sticker on it. It wasn’t much bigger than her phone.
She laughed. “I see you’ve made it easy for me.”
He grinned. “Yeah, well I know you and you get excited and don’t pay attention. This way you’ll remember and use the right one.”
“True enough.” She continued packing the equipment into the padded aluminum cases.
“Send me your updates on Thursdays.” He continued rattling off specific instructions but she didn’t her them. The photo of her dad holding her on his knee in front of the Roskilde stone caught her eye. There was no way she was not going to take it with her. It was her inspiration. She tucked it into her purse after wrapping it with a sheet of bubble wrap.
“And since you tuned me out about five minutes ago, here are your written procedures and schedule for backups.”
She blushed, Leroy knew her too well.
“Right, well that’s everything then.”
She leaned over and hugged him. “Thank you Leroy. I would be lost without you.”
He stood perfectly still for a few seconds, eyes wide before he made a move to hug her back. It was stiff and awkward at best. “Right so. I guess this is goodbye then,” He quickly adjusted his glasses and hurried from the room. He was always nervous around any girl that he thought was attractive.
Helena shook her head wondering about why he acted so nervous around her. She had always been nice to him.
Are you curious yet? How does a Viking warrior and a modern-day college student have anything to do with Valkyries? Stay tuned and you’ll find out the answer to that question!
Write on my friends, write on!