U is for Unknown
Confession time: I was totally going to fudge the letter 'U' today, and make today's topic 'Ugh, Research', which, yes, would definitely have been cheating. But, if it counts, I didn't do it! My conscience got the better of me.
Instead, I'm going to be honest and talk about what I don't know. No, not the unknown unknowns, but the known unknowns. I've spent all of the letters up until now posting about the characters and settings and themes in my WIP that I've explored, and at least started researching. Today, I'm going to talk about the one that I haven't.
You may have noticed that I keep saying that there are going to be six lifetimes for my two souls in this book, but I've really only talked about four of them: Ancient Greece, Tibet, India, and modern Australia. That's because of the other two, one - near-future London - is only hazily sketched out, and the other - pre-Columbus South America - is a big, fat I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA. At least for London, I know who the two characters are, and how their love affair is going to take shape (the you're the last person I'd ever love plot is going to be featured pretty heavily there). South America? Nada. Zip. Zilch. All I have is a brainstorming scene I wrote months ago, and the vague idea that it's going to involve a nomad shaman who's the last remaining member of her tribe, and the young chief of a new tribe she encounters in her travels.
Which is to say, I really don't know what the heck I'm doing. South America is my giant Unknown. And that's OK, because eventually I'll start doing research and finding the story, but, well, it's just gonna be mostly left out of this particular A to Z Challenge.
Just for fun, here's the beginning of that brainstorming scene I wrote, months and months ago (and no, I'm not posting the whole thing, because a) it's too long, and b) it's literally full to the brim of stuff I just completely made up, with notes everywhere saying "research this"). This is it, guys; this is all I've got for South America, for now. I can pretty much promise that all of this, including the name, is going to change:
The rushes feel hard and cold under her skin. She presses her face into Nahuel's back and breathes in the smell of him: salt and fur, rain, and the cool edge of something metallic; all together she imagines his smell as dark, rich brown, like the earth of her childhood after a long spring soaking. The earth here is different. Dry; red; parched. Even the air feels cracked and arid, and she is never sure she isn't thirsty, no matter how much water she drinks.
She is already wrapped around him, her breasts to his back, her knees tucked in the curl of his thighs, and her arm pressed as far around the flat planes of his stomach as possible, but she moves closer, as close as possible, and he shifts a little in his sleep. She freezes, holds her breath, until he settles against her again. Then she relaxes, just for a moment, she tells herself, and breathes him into her, again, again, over and over.