First Act Done; Venice Resources Gathering

The first act rough draft of what is still called The Poison of thy Flesh, actually a better title for its sequel book, is still needing a lot of expansion, description, and adding of depth, comes in just a tad under 100 pages. I am pleased. Characterization wise Drusus is still the most elusive, and the Isis introduction is just plain bad and needs more revision. Still, it is not as bad as it was in the zero draft. But Lucy and Octavia are kicking, and by the time I get them polished up, they should be Klarion worthy. The Borgias, strangely enough, came out of Zeus’ head mostly fully formed. No, I am not writing a Borgia story. That’s for the fan fiction, later. I expect a lot of Paolo/Isis fan fiction that I just don’t want to see. 😛


Where from here? Well, I am of two minds. I could take a leaf from Beth Bernobich’s book and write the ending, which was my original plan. I know what has to happen there, and who has to do what. The flavor of it will be changed because of the middle, but what has to happen for the plot has to happen. And it will. Because of all the goop I’ve set up in the first act.

Or, and this is what I’m leaning toward at the moment, I can keep pressing forward until I get stuck in the middle, and then pen the ending. BUT things are cooking along. I have finally broke the 30K word mark, because I’ve been futzing with the introduction, but I realized as I started to move into the second act that I had not built an emotional engine that would keep the sotry moving forward. Now I have.


On other fronts, in the olden days, I would have just decided to spend some money on going to Venice to get the city for the novel. My Vietnam travels of late have sort of taught me that I am now a fragile traveller. If the acid reflux wasn’t enough, after the bronchitis episode of 2013, I am advised for now to choose my foreign air carefully. I do not want to go loads of countries, flying long distances on planes, to continually give myself bronchitis. Well, we all have these sorts of things. It’s just another paper cut toward my mortality. Wow. There’s an OCD thought for you. Working on that.

So, Venice. I’m gathering pictures and reading loads and loads. If you know anything good about Venice in 1837, I’m your willing recipient of shared knowledge. I’m also up for movies and visual data.


Needless to say, the writing is going well. I’m laying down some sturdy tracks, and I will tart this story up with good make up and hair come revision.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

2 thoughts on “First Act Done; Venice Resources Gathering”

  1. Sounds encouraging, other than the no-trip-to-Venice thing. I was looking up pictures of the Bridge of Sighs just yesterday.

  2. Hm. Don’t know about 1837 specifically; there’s a solid history of medieval-to-early-modern Venice, Fredric Lane’s Venice: A Maritime Republic, that has a good overview of Venice’s history, political, and economic institutions, up to the late 1700s, I think. (I have a copy, should you want to borrow it.)

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