Desultory, a Writer’s Ramblings

Desultory – it’s my word for the day. I was looking for a synonym for rambling, which I knew in advance this blog would be – for reasons I will get around to sooner or later. But I associate rambling with physical movement more than mental gyrations; i.e. rambling rose, rambling boy, etc. I came across desultory, which has always lurked in the high grass of my vocabulary, vaguely familiar, but a word whose gist I gleaned from context, too lazy to look it up. Because desultory sounds like sultry, I probably ascribed a similar meaning. Boy was I wrong. It’s the synonym I sought; right on target. It means inconsistent, disconnected, digressing. What’s really cool is its Latin origin, pertaining to a circus performer who jumps from one horse to another. I thought of ‘saltar,’ which is the Spanish verb for jump, recalling that the language stems from Arabic, Greek and ta-da, Latin. But I digress. Why did I think this blog would be, ahem, desultory? Because I am at this moment procrastinating, which is in itself well, you know. I should be working on my novel. Instead I am writing this fitful gibberish. You see, I’m frustrated. I’m at a turning point in my plot. I’ve been at this turning point for over a week, making my daily word count, but rounding a corner instead of making a 90 degree turn, and the arc is ever widening. I’ve written about 25% of the book – it always astounds me that I know almost to the page how long my unwritten novel will be (note the desultory observation), even though I don’t know how I will end the current chapter. My protagonist is in peril and I need to let the reader know who the bad guys really are and what world-changing chaos they have planned. I’m getting to all that, but along comes a totally unexpected character who is demanding a role in the story, and I like this guy. I like him well enough to make him a future protagonist in his own mystery or thriller. (To me, the difference between the two is the degree to which you imperil your protagonist. Miss Marple rarely faces life-threatening situations in Ms. Christie’s mysteries, while James Bond risks life and genitals to save the planet in Ian Fleming’s thrillers). Enjoying your characters as you write them is one of the great things about creating fiction, but character development is not on the list of sundry topics I’m flitting over in today’s disjointed rumination. So what am I trying to say? Not much. Writing is fun, even escapist, and this little epistle has certainly been that, but writing is also work, and I need to get back to mine. As always, thank you for reading. I’ll try not to be so desultory next time. P.S. I am pleased to say that my latest novel, Waters of Oblivion, the third in the Jock Boucher thriller series, has been called ‘a must read,’ and ‘a great espionage thriller’ by Suspense Magazine. It is available in ebook format through Amazon, Apple, B&N, and Kobo at a special holiday price. To enter my contest to win a new Kindle ebook reader, go to my website Best to all, David Lyons

About David Lyons Author

Author, Novelist, Writer, Speaker for Thriller Series Featuring New Orleans Cajun Federal Judge Jock Boucher in a series: Ice Fire, Blood Game, Waters of Oblivion, BioHazard Level IV. Visit his website to see other books he's written.
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