Monthly Archives: February 2013

The worst two questions

As I continue to work on the second draft of my manuscript I find that I am talking to people more and more about my book and there are two question that I have to deal with over and over again. The questions of what I am writing and why I am writing it. Both of these questions are amazingly complex and have been extremely difficult for me to wrap my head around. To sum up in a few sentences a book that I have worked on for most of the last decade, a book that will be between 50 and 80 thousand words. A book that I plan to become part of a five book series that will span more than a century and a half of time and be somewhere around 400 thousand words.

The question of why while vague has a distinct answer. I am a writer. It is a part of me and has been for more than two decades, it is the identity that I have chosen for myself, but what does that mean. I will admit, and this is the first time that I have ever admitted anywhere, that I often dream of giving interview having people listen to what I have to say about culture, politics and literature. The final scene of ‘The Commitments’ is one that I can relate to easily. But it has never been about getting famous, it has always been about changing lives, getting people to listen to what I have to say and contributing to the way the world is shaped into the future.

The question of what I am writing is even tougher to answer. On the large scale the entire series has to do with the weight of expectation, and the ability to choose your own destiny, even in the face of the wants and needs of others. It is about the sacrifices that we make to do the things that we need to do. It is also about the relationships of fathers (most surogate) with sons. How even the best of intentions are sometime not enough to shape the youths in our lives into the people that we want them to be, but sometimes it is more important that they become the people that they need to be. And while all of that plays a part in each of the book that I have written or plan to write for this series it still does not sum up any one of the books or place them in a category which will allow people to understand what I am writing. I tried to sum it up as a historical light fantasy for a long time because the fantasy elements are only minorly present, but that doesn’t seem to capture the feel of the entire thing. Mostly since the series becomes less historical and slightly more fantasy as it moves along. As I have thought about it more and more I have felt a better description would be Literary Fantasy. I’m trying not to sound pretentious but I feel like this story has more to do with ‘The Great Gatsby’ or ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ than Piers Anthony or C.S. Lewis.

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The Infernal Endeavor

 It has been a while since I have posted anything new, so I think it is time to update anybody who might be listening to what is going on. I have been back working on the edits of my novel ‘The Lost Prophet’. Unfortunately as with some writers editing for me is like a trip to the dentist for some people.

I have been working on my edits of this book for close to eight months now, I am now close to half way through the second draft and it has taken me almost as long to get this far as it did to write the entire first draft.  This has caused me to ponder what it is about the editing process that makes it so difficult for me.

There is a beauty in writing, an adrenaline rush as you create and form a world at your fingertips. the power inherent in fiction writing, or any writing for that matter is a heady thing.  It allows you to spread your wings and watch the landscape open up below you.  I always envision the final scene from “The Neverending Story” where Falkor the Luck Dragon flies out over the world and the story is written all over again, or the end of ‘Starchild’ where the world is remade in the image of the stories.

By contrast editing does feel like a trip to the dentist. It is necessary and good for you, but you spend the entire time being lectured by someone about how you are doing everything wrong. If writing brings you to the highest peaks then editing has the potential to drop you into the lowest valleys. Having to take apart what you have already write and analyze it by the numbers

and structure. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a numbers guy, I enjoy patterns and structure, but I have never been able to get behind the editing progress. I am striving to build my enjoyment of it, I want to see the patterns of the words and make them sing to the rafters.  Sometimes great moments in writing happen with inspiration on a blank page, but waiting for the inspiration to come and it would take

seventeen years just to write one novel. So I study my word choice, the way each character speaks, the imagery that I use to describe the places and the people, symbolism and mirroring, all of the things that place depth and meaning into the written word. I have to embrace this thing that makes me cringe, because if this is what I want to do then this is the best way to do it.

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