The WIP formerly known as TWA

So, after pretty much everybody and then a tipping point total stranger said, "I think that story has the wrong name," I finally came up with a new one for The Witch’s Apprentice.  

It was called that because it used to be ABOUT a Witch’s Apprentice, but she became a secondary character and somebody else took center stage.  I tried to be clever (always a bad sign) and have the present main character end up (sort of) being her apprentice, but really, it was a weak title.  But I left it because I could not think of anything else.  It was always coming out as THE GODESS’S LOVER, which was the wrong tone and way too many fucking s’s in a row.  I wanted something that felt metaphysical and weird and woo, and exotic, and maybe a little sexy but also beautiful, and mysterious, and I wanted to hint ant the mythic stuff.  Tall order for a title.  It was easier to leave the wrong one there because at least it was snappy.
Then last night I was listening to a song by Zingaia called "Veil of Innana," which I found on a random search for a new meditation playlist on iTunes the other day.  Everything else on the list is mellow, but this one has a bit of subtle spice in it, and a Middle East flavor which I love.  (It turns out the couple who makes up the group is from Las Vegas.  Gotta love it.)  There are only a few lyrics, but I love them because they’re very sensual, but also because they capture what is for me the perfect sort of female sensuality, which is to say the way I like to be: the singer (speaker, really) talks about giving herself to her lover, but there’s such a self-possession about it that even though she is absolutely passive, she is completely in control.  It’s a surrender and subjugation, but in a way that is really attractive to me.  This is the part I like:

And the vault of heaven is filled with joy
I give to my love the fertile field
and vessel of sweet honey.
I lift up the jeweled breast
I lift up the ambered lips
I lift up the shadowed eyes
I lift up the seventh veil.

The last line is delivered with a bit of drama and pause for emphasis, and it’s repeated in the next stanza, too; I really liked it; I liked that there were echoes of the chakras, and I liked the tone, as I’ve already mentioned, and as I lay there zoning, I thought, "You know, THAT would be a killer book title." And then I realized that it did everything I wanted it to, that it was actually perfect in every way, except I did not have seven veils in my story.

And then I thought, well, yes, but there are plenty of veils, and what if there were seven, and what if that was what Charles had to find to get back the Goddess, all seven veils, which means there’d probably be seven books, and that would be a nice pre-set number to frame . . . .

Then I was up, and writing all that down, and this morning I wrote a new opening and tweaked here and there, and now it works, and it has a new title. And because it’s me, it also has a new graphic. (Click to make it big.)

I like it, but something nags at me about it.  Not sure what. Anyway, it’s a nice little something for the desktop, which I will keep there for a few days until I pick up STB again.

I think it’s his arm that bugs me.  But anyway.

There’s a prologue now, too, much in the spirit of the one at the opening of STB, though this is much, much shorter.  I like it.  You’ll have to tell me what you think of it, especially those of you who’ve read the thing.

But that’s the story of why TWA is now TSV.  Sounds a bit like a communicable disease, but so long as it’s infectious and easily spread, I’m good with that.

We will close with the opening/prologue thing.


In the beginning, there was One.

There was One, and only One, floating through Void.  One knew no darkness, but also no light.  One knew no pain, but also no pleasure.  One knew everything, because One was Every Thing, but because everything was known, nothing was unknown, and so, though One was Every Thing, One was also No Thing.  

Then One said, “Let there be Two.”

One split, and with this split came Chaos, spilling forth from the fissure of the One, and this was Life.  Life filled the Void, settling into Worlds, Worlds vaster and more numerous than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of all the seas of all the Worlds put together.  Then the fissure closed, and there were Two.  The One was now the Goddess, the Creator of All Things in all the Worlds, of all Life.  And the Goddess was not One, but Two.  The Goddess was the Lord, and the Lady.

The Lady was the Great Mother.  She had birthed all, and she cared for all. She knew all Life, and she knew when Life was done, when Life must be ended and return to her arms, and she did not pine or ache for Creation, because she understood that Life must cycle, or it is not Life.

The Lord was the Great Explorer.  He canvassed the Worlds and rejoiced in the Life, and spurred more Life in return, touching all with his Wand of Life, reveling in the wonder of what he and his Lady had made.  But unlike the Lady, he ached when Life ended, and was reluctant to let it go.  Because of his nature, he pushed Life further, and because of her nature, she reigned him in, and with the Two, Life knew Balance. 

The Lord and Lady were lovers, but they were seldom together; the Lord moved quick as light, moving like a sun across the sky, and the Lady moved slowly, as encumbered as the earth.  The Lord was straight-forward and uncomplicated, but the Lady was faceted, her many hues and shapes shrouded from all but her lover by seven sacred veils which only he could part.  The Lady could not live in the Worlds, and could not be seen, and so the Lord could only see her by stepping out of the World and visiting her in her garden.  And as it was with Life, the Lady understood that this was the way things must be, but the Lord did not like choosing between the wonder of the world and being with his Lady, and pined.  

And so, one day, on one world, the Lord arranged to meet with his Lady.  He created a sacred grove and planted a holy tree, a special place that was safe, and he brought her to the place that he had made.  And beneath this tree he made love to her, over and over again, and because they were in the World, their union bore the fruit.  

But the life they made here was not the chaos of the division of the One.  This was not the creation by the Lord from his Wand.  This was true Birth, and because this was Birth from the Lord and Lady, from the Goddess herself, the children they bore were children like none any World had ever seen, or ever would again.  They brought with them a chaos of their own making, and before their fates were spent, they would rewrite not just the world, but the One itself.

The children were called androghenie.  

The World is called Etsey.


13 Comments on “The WIP formerly known as TWA

  1. Love. This.
    No, that’s not emphatic enough.
    The little I know of TSV (the new title is great, by the way), made me literally tear up over this prologue, it was that gorgeous.
    I want to must read this book, though I’m happy to wait until you want to share it.

    • Having been fortunate enough to read TWA, I promise you, this prologue (gorgeous as it is) pales in comparison to the last third of the book proper.

      • I have mail! *snoopy dance*
        Before I start reading, I’d like to lay out What Sold Me This Book. One opinion, of course, but I hope it helps nevertheless.
        The excerpts you posted told me that you could write, but it was this pitch thread that really hooked me. The pitch was good, but I think the “spoiler” is actually the hook.
        All of that could be called back-cover-copy. After which I would open it to find the above prologue and off-to-the-register-I-go.
        If you could combine that pitch and this opening into a query package…
        …oh eem gee!

        • This is very interesting.
          So the WHO spoiler? Who it is? I could see that in a query, though. Back cover blurb it’s a bit of a giveaway, though maybe it’s more obvious than I know. I will say, though, that I had no idea until the veil was pulled away.

          • Well, in part it’s the “who”, but also simply that it’s someone that’s been in front of Charles (and us) for a good part of the book. That hidden-in-plain-sight “aha” moment is very powerful. With the right wording, I think it could make back cover without spoiling the plot.
            More details when I’ve finished the book, of course. I had to run out and get printer paper, so I haven’t started yet, but I’ve got supplies now…and tomorrow’s a day off work.

  2. I think I like it. I dislike change, in general, but I think this prologue helps sort of sum up the mythology of the story. When I finished TWA, I loved it, of course, but I found it difficult to wrap my brain around all the facets of the story, and all the details of the mythos. I think this does a nice job of summing it up and introducing the idea of seven veils. I’m just not sure how the veils fit in with the rest of the story (it’s been awhile since I’ve read it, so I’ve forgotten some of the details), and, if this sets a structure for seven books, why you start with the seventh, which implies the last.

    • It’s a subtle shift, but it’s weird how it works. I changed less than fifty words, but now it’s the frame.
      And actually, the seventh veil thing does work out, but it’s spoilery so I”ll have to tell you via email, which i will do tomorrow, and if I don’t, yell at me.

  3. Finally, finally, finally making it here to let you know that this prologue really works for me. It helps nail down the mythology of the world and I believe would help me, as a reader, understand the importance of the Lady and the Lord. (Rather than just assuming that’s important from the context of thier titles.)
    And I think you’ve given me a good leaping off point for wrapping my mind around the concept of the witches’ Goddess vs. The Lord and The Lady.

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