I forgot to say: I figured out how Sampo should begin, as opposed to the way it actually does begin. I can never write the beginning of a book right on the first go, so I just don't worry about it any more; it comes out a draft or two later. I should actually have figured this out sooner, since it's similar to the way The Mark of the Sea Serpent begins, only completely different. My new secret to beginnings is: skiing at night. All books from here out will begin with skiing at night. "Metaphorically?" says markgritter with some small hope. No. Sticks, boots, snow, stars. Skiing. Night.
It's good stuff. Snow noises, crisp smells. Who doesn't like night skiing? It's almost an REM song. "They cannot see me naked" -- well, no, because only idiots and the very desperate ski naked.
All right, no. It was a thought, but -- despite the presence of idiots and the very desperate in my books -- not a very good one. But you have to give me the skiing.