Second Novel?

So I’m starting to work on writing a second novel, even as I’m continuing to send out the first to agents. I had an idea that I would do a story revolving around an urban archaeologist in San Francisco who uncovers Something Magic during a dig, so I’ve been reading Gold Rush Port and Barbary Coast to learn more about the archaeology and history of San Francisco.

Last night I sat down to write, and something very different ended up on the page:

They sent the princess to the dragons with her handmaiden, her dog, and the least of her household gods. Of these the dog was undoubtedly the most valuable. Certainly it is hard to put a price on gods: but this one was, as noted, very small, and the dog was a true-bred Samarran warbeast. In fact the dog was so valuable that it would never have been sacrificed, were it not for the regrettable fact that, once imprinted, a warbeast will mind no second master.

The god would not be much missed. The Imperial Palace was stuffed with gods, some of them native and some of them taken as tribute from barbarian lands. A god could live in anything, after all, from a sculpted rock to a fine tapestry to a lightning-struck branch, and only the priests could tell for certain which extraordinary things might actually harbor a divine spirit. Once found, though—and so long as the women of the household took care to honor the god with the proper rites and offerings—the gods lived forever, and so they did tend to accumulate, especially in a wealthy or noble family. The god they had given the princess was so small that he did not even have a name. He lived in a carving made from some very dark, hard wood, about the length of a large man’s hand, with no arms or legs but only the suggestive outlines of a face. Once the carving had been painted, but now only a few flecks of ochre remained, not enough to determine what symbols he once might have borne. Still, it was a dowry worthy of a princess, especially when one also considered the dog.

The handmaiden was not particularly valuable, except to the princess, and of course to herself.

I kept going for a while, to the end of the second page. It looks like another dragon novel, although I’m afraid the dog is cribbed from that computer game I was playing. I tried to write a dragon novel before the manuscript I eventually finished, but it crashed and burned about halfway through when I realized I was going to be unable to keep my romantic protagonists from killing each other. Anyway, I’m pleased with the opening for this one, and I’ll probably keep working on it for a bit.

5 Responses to “Second Novel?”

  • Jennifer Says:

    You had me at “certainly it is hard to put a price on gods”. I hope you finish it and sell it so that I can read it! If you are ever in the market for some respectful beta-testing, please keep me in mind. 🙂

  • Deirdre Says:

    I’ve been meaning to say for ages that I love this and I hope you write more of it. It’s a great opening – sets up drama and tells us a lot about the world in a very short space, which is not easy to do.

  • Deirdre Says:

    Also, was the previous dragon novel the one you were writing for Penny Dreadfuls? I was enjoying that too, but I know what it’s like when characters just refuse to do what you want.

    • shannon Says:

      Thank you for the encouragement! No, the Penny Dreadfuls thing was just enjoyable silliness. There weren’t going to be any dragons in it, I don’t think.

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