Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Iceland - Day 2

Lava fields... lupin fields... waterfalls... glaciers... black sand beaches... a hallucinating landscape with a distinct end of the world feeling...

The entrance to Raufarholshellir Noas lava tube... a mouth of the Earth... 

A wild lupin field, blue and fragrant, just below Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that stopped all air traffic to and from Europe a few years ago...

Skógafoss waterfall...

The sun at 11 pm... with Myrdalsjökull in the far background... the Katla volcano inside the glacier erupts on average every 40-60 years... last time in 1918...

Reynisfjara beach... black basaltic sand and the wild cold waves of the Atlantic...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Iceland - Day 1

There is something about Gullfoss waterfall that is fascinating and profoundly disturbing... more than height or volume of water...'s imagining in what depths it goes... and what it would be like to follow it there...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Descend, bold traveller, into the crater of the jökull of Snæfell, which the shadow of Scartaris touches before the Kalends of July, and you will attain the centre of the Earth. I did it. Arne Saknussemm

You probably recognized this as the message found by Professor Lidenbrock and his nephew, Axel, in a runic manuscript of an Icelandic saga, which led them to their fantastical adventure to Iceland and beyond.

Well, doing just that has been one of my childhood’s daydreams. And I put a lot of work into it at the time; books of geology, speleology, paleontology, maps, detailed plans, supplies lists… Don’t laugh!

I can’t believe that on Monday night - tomorrow-  I’ll be flying to Reykjavik. Better late than never, right? Actually, what made the trip happen now is Icelandair putting up direct flights from Montreal to Reykjavik. So here I went again with maps, and books, and supplies like hiking boots, and waterproof jackets, and head lamps. We’ve rented a car and will be driving around the island. The car is a 4x4 so that we can also drive on the unpaved highland roads. Car insurance covers damage caused by volcanic ash…

Now, unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to descend into the crater of Snæfellsjökull and, even if I could, I won’t find the famous entrance there… but I’ll certainly keep out an eye for others… And for elves…

Going to Iceland is pretty high, if not top, on my bucket list. I’m feeling kinda overwhelmed right now, even before getting there. I’ll see how the wi-fi situation is on the road and the extent of what I can do with my tablet, but I’ll try to post a picture here every day.

Bless bless!

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Map of the Way Forward

I’m writing a story —or shall I boldly call it a novel?— that’s been giving me a lot of trouble.

All the stuff I’ve written before has seemed to flow easily. Things made sense; POV, voice, choice of scenes, etc. all seemed to come to me (relatively) with no trouble. Mind you, except for the short stories, most of it is just lying around, not at the bottom of a drawer, but in a (forgotten) folder on my computer.

Well, this time, scenes came to me easily too, but that was about it. A lot of scenes. Actually, too many of them; too many things needed to happen at the same time, too many characters to introduce, 3rd person limited POV, 1st person POV, etc. I knew the story I wanted to tell, but I didn’t know how to tell it. I was not happy with it and I was beginning to panic.

I realized at that point, that I needed an outline. Yet, I simply cannot write an outline. If there’s an element of the story that I have to put on paper because I think I might not remember it, then it’s as good as lost. The story is all in my head. The ideas that I cannot cram in my head are as good as gone even if I record them in one way or another.

However, I did my homework diligently. I searched the web for good outlining methods, I even bought a book and followed its suggestions step by step. I'm sure it's a good book. It didn’t work.

Then, I fell upon this site: Write Like Rowling  and everything changed. Because this article, “Story Structure of Sorcerer’s Stone”, which by itself is quite interesting and very useful, led me to Larry Brooks’s Story Fix.

Chances are you’re already familiar with it, or at least heard of it. Larry Brooks has also written a book, "Story Engineering”, but the website gives detailed explanations and great examples, by deconstructing well-known and successful novels.

Story structure. The four parts: the Setup, the Response, the Attack, the Resolution. The first plot point, the midpoint, the second plot point, the pinch points, the hook… The exact place where each of them should be in your story. The meaning and the role of each part, how much and how little to give to the reader at each step. And so on. Very cool stuff that makes a lot of sense. Try it for yourself. Maybe you're already using it, knowingly or not.

So now I think I can say that I’m on track and that I have a very good map. There’s still plenty of freedom of exploring on the road, but the landmarks are there...

And Summer has begun today, which is a good thing...

Thursday, June 02, 2016


inverted grapes
flirting with the sky
-already drunk
with the promise
of summer