Fore wyrd(sic): This post is an insight into the kind of writer who tends to the chaotic approach. The writer feels it only fair to state that he does not wish to encourage others to follow his example. After reading this you may wish to go in quite a different direction. As a result you may well be published. This post is therefore within the remit of the overall theme of the blog.
Salutary warning to self, don’t spend fifteen minutes trying to think of a snappy or profound title for a blog post; it leads to Googling and Wikipediaing about things which are currently not the point which is on the theme of forging ahead.
Ideas on situations, characters, circumstances, plots (Second warning to self… don’t forget that) and motivations come tumbling out at present. The current Fantasy Genre sort of encourages you to do that. In the hands of the talented it can be breath-taking. David Gemmel was the master of taking minor often seemingly hopeless characters and as the narrative progressed building them up to heroic proportions. To cite just two currently writers; Brandon Sanderson & Joe Ambercrombie create numbers of characters which if the books were films would have the credits rolling for an extra two minutes and they still manage to give even the least of them some colour.
Some of us are, however, in danger of creating an old fashioned telephone directory or Who’s Who in the world of Svzvundelphx (…Google says the search did not match any documents….) and end up with a glossary at the end of a book, which has been suggested to me by others indicates that you have literally lost the plot.
However when faced with an incident of taking fifteen minutes to think up a title for a post, then the best strategy, for me is to drive on ahead, put the whole lot down and afterwards go back. See what worked or didn’t, editor out, round off, in the meantime.
Time to review.
There is the custodian (think Inquisitor) who is grim and purposeful and a religious dogmatist. He wants everything to be proper, and no sinfulness, he lectures everyone he meets but kills only those who try to kill him. I tell you, he just he writes himself.
There is the rogue who is good with using the Ethereal, but as the narrative moves on is still pretty harmless, he’s going to have to shape up or die nobly and be replaced by a minor figure, less heroic but more gifted exponent of The Ethereal who is currently being rescued, agonising a lot and warning of Doom
There are the firm but fair military intelligence service folk of the Empire who are fitting into their role of dependable warriors trying to keep stability. The problem there is they are in danger of being composed entirely of thoughtfully wise strategists, noble, daring and damaged veterans or ever-joking unflappable troopers. They’re going to have to be shaken up or I’ll be writing like a diluted Tom Clancy.
Then there is the group who think they can really make the best use of The Ethereal, and some foot soldiers who have misgivings. That’s fine’ sept that we’ve not really met the leaders of ‘the group’, just the foot soldiers who are all good sorts and that can’t be good for the narrative, after all we can’t have two lots of nice military guys going about the place. Where’s the tension?
Now we’ve recently met the Other Folk who don’t use The Ethereal, don’t subscribe to any known religion but a pretty useful at manufacturing the sort of missile weaponry you’d meet in the 18th Century. Their motivation is going to have to sharpen up. So we could have the ones who use The Ethereal vying with The Other Ones for influence at the Imperial Court by showing who has the best weapons. (Note: Have to work in some nobles into the narrative….not too many)
Working for the Other Folk are a bunch of unpleasant pirates who are rascals, but know who to get things done, particularly their commander on the ground. They present possibilities; so far they’ve been crossbow fodder in the last chapter. (No, there are no evil fanatics. I can’t stand evil fanatics. They are from cliché central and either grin a lot, kill peasants who can’t fight back, trap heroes with suspiciously consummate ease, or worse talk at great length, they have all the appeal of the guest at the social gathering who hogs the karaoke machine and does dreadful Elvis, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart or Sinatra)
The last grouping are the real problem, it’s working out into a trio of young women thrown together by circumstances. One the innocent who gets caught up in it all, the second an unhinged type who’s not turning out as comic as she should’ve been and the third, a type of medic from the military security service. Male writers should be careful with their principal women characters; taller than average alpha types who seem to only be able to fight in skimpy swimwear are just plain silly- even if they are graphic comic icons; ones to have an answer for everything at any given time can be very annoying after a while (be honest); those who hang around waiting for the central male character to turn up so they can argue with and then fall in lurve with him are predictable and you are left feeling they would have wasted away from melancholy if he had not turned up; those whose cuteness, chirpy cheerfulness mixed with a rebellious streak grate such much that apparently they give the reader the urge to wish them dead by a rock fall- or so I was told by my one reader. So my three need a lot of work.
Thus spending too much time trying to nuance that this stage is going to slow everything down. Time to charge ahead and see how it goes. No dobut there will be a lot of pruning. Now what about that plot??? (The innocent girl accidentally come into contact with forbidden and danger knowledge and at the present most everyone else is after her, but at some stage they are all going to have to concentrate on what the one group are going to do with The Ethereal????)
Yes, this is certainly going to look very different when it comes to the editing, revision and suchwhich.
And thus …..Shouldn’t I be agonising and staying awake at night over the flow of the narrative, the development of the characters, the rationality of the plot?
Perhaps I should, but there again I wouldn’t be having fun.