Friday, August 31, 2018

Quiet, but Creative

I realize I've been quiet on this blog lately, that's because I've been devoting a lot of time to working on Three-Line Rifle. I released Part 5 on Monday and Part 6 today, and of this moment it's at 9,000+ words and climbing. I'm not really sure when I'll be done, other than the fact that I'm pretty certain I've finished the beginning and am transitioning to the middle part of the story.

Speaking of 3 Line, here's a bit of an Easter Egg for you: the name is more significant than you think, and it was originally integral to the structure of the story.

While it's true that the Mosin-Nagant is called the three-line rifle due to the way the Russians would determine the bore of a weapon by comparing it to a set line and the M9130 required three of them, that's not the reason for the title. No, the real reason, as mentioned in Part 2, is that Grandmother Rifle has been in Bronia's family for generations and my tale will tell the story of three of them: Bronia's use of the rifle for Team Bogatyr; her grandmother Avdotya's exploits with it during World War 2; and great-grandmother Praskovya's adventures with the Night Witches in World War 1. Essentially, it's a story about three family lines of service to Mother Russia and the rifle that binds them all together.

I had originally planned to intertwine those three tales within the structure of 3 Line, and I may still do that, but I'm sure as heck not going to write it that way because I know good and well that I get distracted and discouraged easily and if I put Bronia's story on hold to tell Avdotya's, I may never finish either of them. In addition, my readers may resent being jerked around with me starting a second story before finishing the first. So the new plan is to write Bronia's story, then wrote Avdotya's, then write Praskovya's, so that I have three complete stories. Then, and only then, will I contemplate intertwining them. Indeed, I might try it and decide it doesn't work, in which case I'll just compile them in order.

By the way, some of you are no doubt curious why I'm so fascinated by Russia. I honestly don't know, although I can toss out some ideas:
  • I was once deeply involved with a girl who was a Russian studies major and who loved the culture and spoke the language, so some of it rubbed off onto me.
  • I am very good friends with people like Oleg Volk and Nicki Kenyon who grew up in Russia, and their cultural mores and acerbic wit are likewise rubbing off onto me.
  • I grew up under the specter of nuclear war and Soviet invasion on 1980s Europe, and so there's still some residual fascination of "These people were poised to kill me at some point". The Russians were the enemy for so long that I wanted to know more about them in the way that I want to know about hurricanes and poisonous snakes. 
  • Their entire culture is practically built around turning profanity in a complex high art form, and as someone with a terminal case of potty-mouth that impresses the fuck out of me and I want to swear like they can. 
  • Russia is exotic and familiar at the same time. It's western enough that half the time it might as well be Europe, but the other half of the time it's this strange culture that has more in common with the middle east. It is, but at the same time it isn't, and that dichotomy fascinates me. 
In short, I find the people and the culture alien enough to be intriguing but familiar enough to be comfortable, and that's compelling. I don't know that I'd ever want to live there, but I think I'd want to visit. 

In closing, I leave you with Bert Kreischer's segment called "The Machine" which really sums up everything I find appealing-yet-appalling about Russia. 

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