I drafted a short story! It’s been a loooooooong time since I’ve done that. I tend to forget that when you write something, it doesn’t have to be 300 pages long. I’ve also been doing lots of research, reading up on Romanian history and lore. I’d forgotten how much fun research can be, how some interesting factoid can lead you onto another interesting factoid then another then another into palimpsestic infinity. Must have been part of why I pursued academia, back in the day!
For instance, I just learned today that there was a terrifying 7.3 earthquake in Bucharest in 1977 that killed over 1,500 people and hugely damaged the city. Which created an opportunity for the erection of lots of gigantic stolid Socialist architecture. And displaced so many people (even more were subsequently displaced to make way for aforementioned gigantic stolid Socialist architecture) who abandoned their dogs that said dogs formed packs and this is why the city had a big stray dog problem up until this decade. Whoa.
All this research was prompted by my pained realization that In the Red is supposed to be in the third person. Which in turn made me understand that the novel has to be bigger than just Irina’s story. So I am pursuing a sort of collective unconscious type of angle. And let me tell you, the Romanian fairy tales I’ve been reading lately are perfect for that, because they are WEIRD. They are like a Jungian’s wet dream. Not to mention the great boon of being able to exploit the tremendous richness of fairy tales that don’t happen to be familiar to a western audience. No, I should say, “known by a western audience,” because it is the hallmark of fairy tales that they are always familiar.
All this background stuff is going to give me the structure. I don’t know how yet, but it will.