I’m trying something new with the book I’m working on: present-tense narration. It’s pretty common in YA, and people were talking about that at the conference I went to last month. I thought I’d at least see how it reads that way, and I was surprised by what a difference it made. It made everything a lot more immediate and forced me to tighten up a lot. So I guess that’s how this book is going to be.
It takes some getting used to writing that way. I’m still working on changing the parts that are already written, so I don’t know what it will be like composing. I’ll need to brainstorm the parts that lie ahead because the story seems to be shifting subtly in another direction than I originally planned.
But that’s a good sign because it means the story has almost become a living entity, taking on a life of its own. I’ve also reached the point when I almost resent having to do something else other than work on it.
I will have some research ahead of me, as I need to invent a sport that’s played using unicorns — something like polo but using the unique features of unicorns. I’ve discovered all sorts of interesting events while researching this. There’s polo, of course, which had its origins as a training exercise for cavalry (which is what this sport will be, too). There’s polocrosse, which is lacrosse played on horseback. There’s horseball, which is kind of like basketball played on horseback. And there’s a whole category of events that fit under the umbrella of “tent pegging.” There’s tent pegging itself, in which riders try to spear a small target with a lance while riding at full gallop (supposedly with origins in trying to damage an enemy’s camp while they’re asleep by pulling up their tent pegs, but apparently this is disputed), and then there are variations that resemble jousting training exercises, like spearing a ring with a lance or hitting a target with a lance. I think my sport will involve rings, with both rider and unicorn having to spear rings with lance/horn, or perhaps trying to get a ring around the opponents’ unicorns’ horns.
Sometimes it astonishes me that this is my job. “Whew, it was a hard day at work. I had to make up a unicorn sport.”