Edison is reported to have said something along the lines of “I’ve not failed I’ve just found 10,000 ways which don’t work”. Well that’s good enough for me!
So starting out afresh on this new Fantasy project.
Firstly….I am very much in awe of writers of the real world, they paint the most elaborate and vivid pictures with Reality and often with only a relatively sparse number of characters. Just how do they do that? Melding a story within the constraints of Normality? I’ve read and enjoyed such work; the production escapes my undisciplined outlook. So back to Fantasy where I belong. And before progressing, it must be stressed this judgement relates to me and me alone, no comments on other Fantasy writers who for all I know may well be producing works in all sorts of genres under all sorts of names.
At the risk of stating the obvious Fantasy often requires creating a world with its own laws and natures. Once that is sorted there’s the next step of possibly putting in place a social and political structure to explain why all is happening. Then if the work is going to be a novel length and possibly extend into more one volume there might be a number of central and minor characters to bring the world to life……Can be quite a task.
I’m not bothered about that because of my re-cycling a large amount of unsuccessful work. Now at first glance this might seem to be a bit of a folly, on the understandable argument that ‘If it didn’t work last time what sort of ‘furshlugginer’ idea is it to use again?’ Well, imagine breaking up a derelict house, scrunching it down to bricks, stone and chunks of cement, now the result would seem to be quite a useful lot of foundation material….yeh? Shovel it all into a great big hole (or ‘ole if you hold to some styles of UK pronunciation), and away you go re-building.
The original works were set in our future in the aftermath of some undefined catastrophe. The location was in a broadly 16th Century European setting, the possible cause of the calamity was through the unwise use of a force of Nature known as The Ethereal. This still permeated the world and although officially repressed was in common furtive use either by those who held a natural affinity or by ‘mechanical’ means. The basic plot involved three folk who unintentionally became involved with a struggle against a number of other contenders set upon political domination, visceral destruction of oppositions, or control of The Ethereal either as a weapon or means of progress. This was set against the backdrop of various responsible parties trying to keep a comically ramshackled empire in one piece on the basis that it was the least worse option at the time. The whole narrative was told in a broadly comic, knock-about, slightly bawdy, screwball fashion with a couple of romances, a few serious interludes and a lot of commentaries on history and the current political situation thrown in. It was fun to create, edit, proof-read and get out there through Lulu. But working in a bubble and with no foresight as to how this was going to impact with the public does not make a sound programme for success; ‘Full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes’ does not always work.
With the emphasis is on serious, more show not tell and just some comic undertones the new endeavour the narrative takes place in a further future. The basis being that for as yet unclarified reasons, attempts at keeping everything under control had failed and there had been a near disaster. The empire was still intact but study or use of The Ethereal was now much tighter. The central characters have been consigned to legends (and the name is being changed- various factions have their own pet names).. The current plot is that some are trying to make genuine progress with The Ethereal for the good of the world; others meanwhile suspect they are going about it the wrong way and are anxious to find out the Hows, Whys, Wheres and Whens of this effort and there are others who just wish to put a very definite and violent stop to the whole thing. As in typical in the normal world there are no sharply defined lines of who is right or wrong; there are those on all sides out for their own personal aggrandisement while some at the sharp end will begin to have doubts about the leadership at the top and odd alliances will be formed. Most of the characters are the front-line workers or foot soldiers of the different factions, except of course the traditional innocent swept up in events. The larger power politics will have to be brought in at some stage.
The economy of this approach is to transform the events and results which I experienced in the writing of the previous works into the narrative and converting a lack of success into a ‘disaster’ in the world. The errors in my approach become themes in the back story. The books themselves will feature as obscure tomes considered either legendary themselves or sets of near incomprehensible ramblings by various folk. My familiarity with the world allows me to concentrate on working on a better style of narrative. Thus I take rubble and shovel it into a foundation (and figuratively make sure it is bedded down firmly)
Currently I am working through a first draft to see how this pans out, having settled down to the business in all seriousness two weeks ago; total words so far 30,000+. It seems attractive to set a target of 100,000 approx. with plans for future volumes. At some stage of course it will be necessary stop to back-track for continuity, tightening and (sigh I hate this bit) editing out some parts, but so far, pleased to report…..it’s fun!!…Onwards
(Current playlist for music to write by extends 150 tracks at 9.7 hours- recently incorporated the stunning evocative and invigorating album ‘Sexwitch’ (UK- Bat for Lashes in combination with Toys)- I wonder if I can sit down and write for the whole length of the Playlist- wow that would be something!!)