09 | *waves weakly from Submission Purgatory*
Remember how I said I wouldn't think about it?
A month ago, I wrote that Seeker of the Lost Song was out on submission to publishers. It still is, and I’m still trying not to think about it.
Key word being trying.
They say that one good thing to do when you’re wallowing in Submission Purgatory is to work on something else, which I’ve been doing. Its sequel is still untitled (but my Scrivener file is titled “Aurin,” after the main character), but I have an outline! I’m really happy with it, and I feel like I know the characters well enough to let them do their thing within that guideline.
But one thing I’m struggling with: How can I not think about Seeker when I’m writing its sequel?
One thing that’s great about writing a sequel is that I don’t have to do as much research and worldbuilding as I did for Seeker, its years of false starts and setting changes notwithstanding. The cast of characters are mostly different, yet, the two books are related. They have to be.
So maybe it’d help me to focus on the things in Seeker’s sequel that are different - with the help of a very early moodboard!
Clockwise, from top left:
The setting of “Aurin” is more mountainous than Seeker, more isolated. (The image I’m using as inspiration is from Maligcong, Bontoc, Mountain Province, the Philippines.)
Okay, the sod-roofed wooden cabins in “Aurin” are the same as in Seeker, but these ones have glass windows instead of wood-and-canvas coverings. Different enough, right? 🤔
The clothing vibe is going to be more precolonial Filipino - the patadyong, a woven unisex wraparound skirt, is worn over trousers and under a shirt.
(My MC, Aurin himself, has the vibe of the guy in this photo too. He’s done some shit in tougher times that he’s not proud of, and prefers to work alone - until he has to go on a quest with his rival.)
Forests are emptier, less ordered, more creepy maybe, and there may or may not be secret magic performed there.
The magic systems will be more language-based and song-based - think Väinämöinen and Joukahainen having their spell-song battle in the Kalevala (more on that below).
Kalevala vibes in general, mixed with precolonial Philippines as usual (not pictured).
Music and song is more literal in this book, its magic aided by the almost hypnotic sounds of a kantele (called “kantia” in the book), a traditional Finnish plucked string instrument in the box zither family. It has a very pleasing bell-like sound. You can hear a sample of it on YouTube here.
Here’s a sampling of a few things I’ve been inspired by - the first two are about the Kalevala, the second is from the Karelia region.
It feels in a way disorienting to be suddenly writing another novel, but I’m having a great time all the same. My two rivals are on their quest, having a weird time, begrudgingly learning how to understand each other while keeping their own secrets. What’s more exciting for a writer who loves character-driven novels?
PS, where I’ve been interviewed:
Last month I did a Q&A with Susan Sanford Blades for her Girls to the Front newsletter! It was fun to talk about the timeline of writing The Quiet is Loud, worldbuilding, its themes, and of course – its food. You can check it out here!
Thanks for reading,
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