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.
So this is the wrap up of my little history of how I got from where I was to where I am now. From now on out it is simply looking to the future. So here I was with my story about a worn out, tired and emotionally exhausted man who has made many bad choices in his life who now finds himself the father of an 11 year-old boy. And more the place that he took that boy. The village in the wood where magic still existed and the old way of life.
I started to back track and figure out who the people in the village were, the founder, the teacher, the blacksmith and his nephew. And then I asked myself who is the founder, how does his story begin, and that is where I found Arthur Burke and the story of his life. The story which is the first book in the Sceal Casia, The Lost Prophet.
When I approached writing the overall plot the first time I treated it as if it were a short story and wrote what has become my initial outline. I broke that outline up into four parts and started the outlines for the individual stories that would make up the books. I went from a page and a half outline to five, not four, two to two and a half page outlines for the five novels.
I had finished the first two outlines, and we finally made the move from Maine to the sunny skies of Florida, and as I progressed further in I realized that I had way to much time and information back loaded in the story towards the last book that I would have a tough time cramming it all in. I then realized that I had an obvious break in the story that I could move from one book to another.
Once I finished the outlines for the individual novels I looked at what I had written and realized that the story that I was trying to tell was a generational one, about the experiences of four individuals as they try to make their way in life and deal with the relationships with their fathers. How this has effected each of them. All but one has been raised with out a mother and each has a father or father figure in their life that will try to raise them properly and at the same time deal with the mystic forces that are pulling them all to a greater destiny that will decide the fate of the twenty-first century.
So in the Fall of 2011 having just changed jobs and finding myself with significantly more free time I finally got down to the real work. No more planning or dreaming I began writing the Lost Prophet. The full draft took me from Sept 13th 2011 until April 8th 2012. First draft complete and sent off to beta readers.
That brings the story full circle to when the blog began. Now my goals included editing, I have completed the first five chapters of the second draft, type setting, and cover design. And just generally spreading the word about the book. I originally announced that my planned release date was going to be Feb 1st, and I did an entire post about stressing over that. I now know that it will be impossible for me to have everything ready by then, especially since I have been taking a break from working on it to do other writing. So for now the date for release is TBA 2013.
So this is going to be connected to my last post, my neurotic rant, a little bit. I have been a little stressed about the solitary aspect of writing and how it does not feed my need for connections with others. That being said I also have another influence that has been rolling around in my head for the last couple of day. Another blog that I read, Xenogirl, talked about judging your own work not based on how old you are, but how long you have been writing fiction. Now if anyone has been reading my blog from the beginning they will be aware of the fact that while I have been writing fiction since my early twenties, I had a large section of time in my late twenties and early thirties that I was not writing on a regular basis.
I realize that I am too hard on myself a lot of the time and I expect more from myself than I am able to deliver at this point in my life. Does that mean I should stop trying or reaching for the stars. No, but it does mean that I should cut myself a little slack and remember why I love to write and the fun of it. I know that as long as I keep pushing forward and refining my skills as a writer them I will reach my goals in time. Maybe not tomorrow or the day after but I will reach my goal because I will accept no other outcome.
This brings me to my latest decision and the subject of this post. After telling myself that I am already overloading myself and that I don’t have the time to do it, I decided that I am going to give NaNoWriMo a try.
Those of you who are not aware are probably sitting there saying “He is doing what?” NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It is every year during the month of November. Participants are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. This requires averaging 1,667 words a day everyday for the entire month. No editing, no changing just writing a novel in 30 days. So now I am going to be editing ‘Lost Prophet’ (second draft is half done), starting up a web-magazine, starting a new full-time job in the next couple of weeks and I am writing a third novel.
I am hoping that by putting no constraints on this new novel I will be able to recapture the love of writing. I am going to try and channel my goofy and silly side, and hopefully find something that reflects the qualities of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. I have decided on the Title of Adventures of Eunice, the main character is going to be Eunice a hapless looser who falls in and out of trouble. I am not doing any outline or character developement before Nov, but I know a lot of planning will be rolling around in my head.
So feel free to follow along, I will probably be doing updates on here, but I can be found on the site here. And as for the status of Trilith I have posted the second part of the Fey Fyre series. Please any comments are greatly appreciated and if anyone wants to follow-up and ask how I am doing on the word count please let me know.