Today I will answer some questions and bring up more. I decided to make some specific revelations because...by the time this book comes out:
1. It will be slightly different than what I am presenting here.
2. That will be about 4 or 5 years (unless I have a best seller)--that's just the book business, and by then you will forget about these details.
3. Some are revealed later in the text.
4. I'll put some in my "secrets" section of the website for the book.
First revelation: Asmodeus us the Demon of Lust. If you didn't google it already. Asmodeus is associated with lust, actually luxuria, which in Latin means unrestrained excess. Extravagant behaviour includes the frequent purchase of luxury goods and forms of debauchery. Aksinya was able to call the demon of luxuria because that is her problem. She specifically has a problem with lust, as we shall see. Her lust is a little different also as we shall see.
Here are some questions and comments from a reader of this blog about yesterday's posting. I'll address them in italics:
"I read installment #4 today. Nice writing; clever, subtle & very provocative. I looked at it at multiple levels; and, first I'll describe the thoughts that went thru my mind, than, I'll ask you specific questions:
1. Physical description of demon & girl...hints of sexuality, contrast between the two; contrasting description loaded, not to be under-estimated. Great observation, this is the point of both. Aksinya has her problems and the demon has his characteristics.
2. Physical dialogue btwn demon & girl...hints of sexuality, authority, contract issues, assurance of age of accountability. Brilliant...demon wants to be assured, girl will be held accountable for her soul. Another revelation: in Jewish thought a girl is a woman at 12 with pubic hair (a boy at 13 with pubic hair). This comes from the Genesis account where God clothes them with animal hair when he expells them. Hebrew thought is that pubic hair is this covering--therefore a person is an adult (accountable) when they have pubic hair and sufficient age. This is the question the demon wants to know. If she is not accountable as an adult, he can't contract with her. This also has an important point with the bounding of a demon. The question is this, what bounds must a demon have? The answer is critical. A demon must have bounds. Immediately we see some. I'll address others below.
3. Physical features: the room, the pentagram, the metaphors; nice. Thanks.
4. Demon's name: excellent hints, if word study undertaken by reader; alot of insight there for folks who take the time to research. Very astute. As noted above.
5. Girl's name & Russian pedigree: excellent hints, if word study undertaken by reader; spoke of that, in last posting. We will later discover Aksinya's mother is the Princess Nina Vladimirovna Golitsyna, nee Bockmann, killed by the Bolsheviks on 19 February 1918. I'm moving the story time to November 1918 to get it past the end of WWI. So the person is real, but the incidents of that person's life are not. Note, she is a nee Bockmann. That will play a critical role later in the novel.
6. Description of the contract, exchange objects; and girl's & demon's reactions to each other's objects, and nuanced change in authority...very interesting. We will find it is all a game to the demon--he almost always lies.
7. Also noticed, with interest, the multiple techniques you employed...switching from description to dialogue to elements of tension.....with demon pacing around the circle. ..dialoguing w/, as well as probing the girl...the eminent (time) threat..of him getting to the girl & her soul...if they didn't get a contract worked out...before candles burning down. That theme, of the demon probing the girl...physically, emotionally & intellectually...very, very impressive.
The demon's comment about the magic circle, we will find later is partially a lie. He has problems with magic circles of all kinds--part of his bounding, but of course Aksinya doesn't know that right now--neither does the reader. This entire description takes elements that are familiar to most Western readers and puts it in a very different perspective. We are like the demon, surprised that a young woman called him. And we are equally wondering how that young woman will win out over a demon.
8. Also, looked at the cadence of the exchange, & (internal) conflict you built up....with the description, the verbal exchange, the length, the rhythm, and the resolution....after contract reached...but, above all...the clear hint of sexuality. Very clear, the demon is simply 'biding' his time...certainly, calling her master (full title, etc.), but, awaiting his opportunity...to monitor, find his opportunity, nurture it, & claim her soul. The fullness of Asmodeus power or temptation isn't evident yet. We will see that he is very, very unscrupulous and all he wishes to do is claim her soul--still there are rules for him, he is bounded.
Would be mighty interested, if you'd care to elaborate on any of the items 1-8, in your writing. More precisely, elaborate on little techniques you used to firmly establish the linkage between theme, plot, storyline, character development, environment, tension....and, most importantly, hint at forthcoming conflict..based on items discussed in item 1-8. The point in this initial meeting is to give enough information to put the reader into suspense and enough to introduce the characters. I told you more than you should or might know (although you can look it up) about Asmodeus. You might guess that he is a demon of lust and from Aksinya's reaction, guess that she is very much an innocent. (Or she could be a great actress.) I try to convey the idea that she is very smart and very well prepared to conjure a demon. Yet, you can see she is innocent. She knows what she is doing, but she doesn't fully comprehend the ramifications of her actions. That will become clear in the next scene. Since, in my writing world, the most important points of the writing are the storyline, plot, and theme, I'll address them directly:
1. Storyline: as I mentioned, the storyline is based in scenes. This is the first scene. It opens (input) with Aksinya conjuring the demon. It ends with them leaving the cellar. I'll put that up tomorrow. The point of the storyline is to present this very remarkable scene to you. A young woman who has conjured a demon. This is the literal level of the story.
2. Plot: the next level doesn't have to be the plot, but that's a good place to go for convenience sake. The next level of the story is what is said and unsaid. The limitations of a demon (what are his bounds). I give you hints. The type of demon (I tell you his name, read Tobit). The sexual nature of the exchange tells you something about the demon and Aksinya. They both have the same issue (they should, she called him). The exchange about control will be very important throughout the plot. Who is in control? The imagery I use intentionally is of marriage. Like a marriage contract (covenant), the contract between the demon and Aksinya is until death. Look back at the words she uses, they should resonate with that idea. Aksinya is wearing a gown made for a princess, but it is black. The wedding theme, but she is like a child in it. So this in itself indicates her problem: she fills the place with her mind, but not her body. This is the point of Aksinya's lust. Whew, there is more, much more, but I'm getting worn out. That's why I write the way I do--I want all these nuances to come to the reader in the art of the writing.
3. Theme: I said before I want this to be a redemptive theme. The beginning of the novel points to the pain Aksinya will experience in the future. It foreshadows the possibility of redemption, but who ever heard of being able to get out of a contract with a demon...
If no time, than, maybe, just discuss the little techniques you employed, to hint at some of these items covered in item 1-8,...ie, description of the environment, change in environment (candle burning, time limit to getting contract; pacing of the demon), details of the dialogue (what the demon communicates vs is implied, what the girl communications vs is implied, what the demon probes, explores & perceies as the potential 'vulnerability' in the girl. I did, I think. I'll give more next time. If I wasn't clear enough or there is more that needs to be said, just ask.
PS: Did observe the dialogue between demon & girl..about God, the state of her soul, etc; have several Q's, but not covered in this posting, on purpose...awaiting to see if/how you develop that matter further...ie, Girl's religious background, understanding of the spiritual realm, authority over demon, spiritual insight, etc.
This will be very important in the overall story. You can't talk about demons without talking about God. As Aksinya remarks later: "Of course I believe in God. How can I not believe in God when I know there are demons. I just don't trust Him."
So bounded demons. I'll keep adding to this idea as we go along.