yet another Shiny New Idea … set in the desert!

Shiny New Idea: a new idea for a creative project that takes root while you are in the middle of a work-in-progress, and doesn’t let go until you devote time and attention to it.

Sometimes it just hits you out of nowhere starts sweeping you away. It would whisper of tantalising characters and settings in your ear, keep you up at night with vivid scenes, and basically distract you from what you’re working on at the moment to steal your attention and enthusiasm. Write me, write me! it will scream, until you are no longer able to resist it and you put your WIP on hold to go work on the Shiny New Idea.

Nooooo! Bad writer. Finish your shit before you move on to the next book!

But … but it’s so pretty. Look how shiny!

NO. You are almost halfway through your WIP. Do NOT abandon it now.

But this is sooo much better! And exciting! And shiny!

You get the gist. So yes, I caved in eventually.

The Shiny New Idea I’ve been obsessing over for days was birthed from this book:

And this drama, Ballad of the Desert:

(It stars Eddie Peng, too – yummm)

These are typically not up my alley at all – I’m not a period-drama person, or big on novels set in exotic settings I know nothing about – but there’s something so alluring and unusual and fresh about the desert that allows for so many possibilities. I’m getting starry-eyed just thinking of it! *__*

The idea took root in my head before I even realised it. I began dreaming of a lone princess in the desert and found myself figuring out her story. I dreamed of a stranger with eyes like danger and skin the colour of sun-warmed sand.

I started seeking out “desert music” like this

I started scribbling ideas into my notebook and plotting the opening scenes.

I started creating characters and diving into their backstory.

I started doing research.


5 Things Googled for Land of Sand and Song (yes, the story has a title already):

1. Atlas Mountains

Credit: Educational Geography
Image from Wikipedia Creative Commons

The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range which stretches across northwestern Africa extending about 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert. The population of the Atlas Mountains is mainly Berbers.

 

2. Berbers

Credit: Samia Dib Benkaci

The Berbers or Amazighs are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa. The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa. Berbers are not an entirely homogeneous ethnicity and they encompass a range of phenotypes, societies and ancestries. The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, belonging to the Berber homeland, or a collective identification with the Berber heritage and history.

 

3. Numidia

Numidia (202 BC – 46 BC) was an Ancient Berber kingdom in what is now Algeria and a smaller part of Tunisia, in North Africa. Numidia was originally divided between Massylii in the east and Masaesyli in the west. During the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), Massinissa, king of the Massylii, defeated Syphax of the Masaesyli to unify Numidia into one kingdom.

The kingdom began as a sovereign state and later alternated between being a Roman province and a Roman client state. It was bordered by the kingdoms of Mauretania (modern-day Morocco) to the west, the Roman province of Africa (modern-day Tunisia) to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Sahara Desert to the south.

 

4. Mauretania

Mauretania (also spelled Mauritania) was in ancient times a part of North Africa corresponding to the Mediterranean coast of what is today Morocco.

Mauretania originally was an independent tribal Berber kingdom from about the 3rd century BC. It became a client state of theRoman empire in 33 BC, then a full Roman province after the death of its last king Ptolemy of Mauretania in AD 40.

 

5. River name etymologies

And we are just getting started.

BRB, getting lost in idea-land!

Oh, and if anyone has read that fantastic book or watched the show, I’d be happy to spaz over them with you. I am happily stuck in those worlds, and hope I never have to leave! :0)

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