Writing Your Book – The Environmental Issue.

Choosing your ground

 

If you are reading this, then there is quite a good chance you have an urge to or are already writing in one form or another.  You may be just starting out, you may have been writing for some time, or you be thinking about writing and are working through several blogs getting an idea as to the commitment involved.

This post and subsequent ones will be about some of the issues involved, the platform used will be my latest project ‘Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire,’ I will be trying to avoid:

Preaching for this to be the ‘true and only way’ to write

This being a marketing feature.

These posts are one writer’s experiences, you can take notes, compare or resolve to do the opposite. Whatever. As long as you are writing or starting to write.

Thus said;

A daunting aspect of writing is starting off. Most folk will go through an episode of staring at a blank paper or screen. All the words which were tumbling around in their head have either evaporated and lie condensed in the sub-conscious or are blocked up somewhere along the creative channel. The poor writer in a creative panic, thinking, whispering or muttering: ‘Where do I start?’

Nothing unusual there.

A writer might have a plot line but still can’t get the details onto ‘paper’. If you are on a laptop, by the way and are listening to music do not be tempted to go onto YouTube to watch the music ‘live’; more chapters, ideas and writing time are lost that way than through state censorship.

One way to ease in is to have your backdrop, environment and underlying themes set out as a motivation. Let me elaborate here using myself as a laboratory specimen.

As the years go on, I find myself becoming increasingly picky about subject matter. The moment the words ‘serial killer’ crop or ‘conspiracy at highest levels’ crop up, I am off and away. The former repel me, the latter I have had my fill of. There you go; my choice. Also, after reading so much political and military history there is a tendency for me to go for happy or at least equitable endings.

After reading a great deal a writer (or writer in situ) will have a sneaking whisper in their head ‘Yeh, fine, but I think I could do better’; nothing wrong with that just so long as you keep the feeling under control and don’t publicly savage all writers rather than write.

A writer may also feel they have a voice and just want it to be heard/read.

Putting those aspects all into my head and mixing them up this is the universe which began to form, the one most comfortable for me to write in. In this instance ‘comfortable’ does not mean cosy or easy, the usage refers to the most productive way the words come out.

In my case. Firstly being a Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes) type-dreamer I am hopeless at writing about the normal world. I am at my ease when writing fantasy for being incurably impatient researching science to create a credible SF background would just not work for me. Give me a place where laws of physics and chemistry are working which have not yet been uncovered or fully realised. But may I stick with some of continuity!

My familiarity geographically is with northern Europe, as this book is set in another time after monumental events this gives me some leeway to juggle about with peoples, places and locations. Thus, a great deal is given up to the readers imagination.

As stated above since everything is geared towards a certain type of ending it is easier to move along while creating ‘bumps’ in the road, in fact flooding out the road on occasions, or putting in a divert.

My own interests have always been in matters military, my work experience has been in the UK civil service thus I approach neither subject with a rigidity or clichés. The principal characters are also the ones at the bottom rungs, so they are focused or trying to carry or survive orders.

I like romance as a feature of a story. Setting this in a narrative is not a problem, avoiding the cliched predictable, highly unrealistic settings, interactions and terrible descriptions are! ( more about that later…later I said!)

Evil does not triumph in my books. Evil has one hell of a (‘hell of a’!..you gotta laugh folks, I got dozens like that!) time in my worlds, in fact my challenge is having the thing hang around enough to create a feasible contest. The main methods of destruction and unhappiness in my worlds are. (A) The well-meaning authoritarians who think they know best (B) The folks whose plans are not very good (C) The opportunists waiting for the ‘main’ chance (D) The thoughtless idiot (E) The unforeseen collision of plans.

I personally cannot write very long without some sort of humour creeping it. This may take the form of a satirical comment on today or some of the lazier troupes of Fantasy writing. It can be bawdy or downright slapstick. It may be knockabout verbal. Being a male as we never grow up it could be very, very juvenile. Since all these happen in Life anyhow, I have no problems with putting any of them into the narrative.

And finally, tying in with the ‘evil’ thing as those who have read my posts know I have no tolerance level for cruelty, bigotry, and violence on the weak, so I work out a few ‘issues’ without being too obvious and straining the narrative.

The above are therefore my ways of giving myself a setting I can work with, to enable me to concentrate upon plot and characters. Some of the facets I have listed in fact encourage me to get on with the work, because I do so want to write about them; the problem being not to rush into these or keep repeating unless there might be good cause (a really valid ‘might’). Thus, there is my environment to work within.

If you take a ‘Living World’ analogy it can be seen there are many environments in which Life flourishes. Therefore, what is my favoured environment, might well be another’s arid desert, frozen tundra, crushing sea bottom depths or any other comparison you might care to make which will stifle your creativity. The important facet being you create your own in which your own flora and fauna of a book may flourish.

Keep on keeping.

The Return of The Wayward Writer

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The Return of The Wayward Writer

My Absence

 

There are times when it just gets you. Y’know?.

I appeal you who are writers of fiction to back me up on this. The time when The Book takes over, and all of your creative powers are drawing into the swirling nascent stellar body which is, to use the vernacular ‘Your Baby’.

I would tease out the cosmological analogy a smidge more by way of explanation. Stars commence as clouds of dust, an event causes the cloud to contract, gravity kicks in more and more dust gathers together, pressures build up, the event grows hot building up to a crucial temperature when nuclear fusion takes place and what was dust becomes a star.

There is a risk with using this description. Mean folk of negligible talent who carp but never write will pass cheap comments about arrogance and vanity for the writer daring to compare their work to a stellar event. HA! I say…in fact I say ‘HA!’ again. In a writer’s own universe, the creation of their book is as such, and a writer has good cause to celebrate.

Anyway, to clarify:

My Second Volume preceded by ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’. Book Cover 9(kindle -Amazon)
My second volume: ‘Our Skirmishers of Lace, Fire and Steel’ (or maybe ‘Our Skirmishers of Steel, Fire and Lace’, I’ve not quite decided). This continues the involvement of Arketre Beritt, Karlyn Nahtinee, and Trelyvana Waywanderer (an adopted name. For most of her life she was simply known as ‘Trelli’) in events in the physical world of the Oakhostian Empire, the otherworldly power which going by many names permeates all, the unsettling other realms which its existence made possible and the beings inhabiting therein.

Those of you who were following my many travails will know the original version of the novel when tested on the re-write suffered from instant ‘wheels falling off’. Here are few of the errors:

Humour, and pretty puerile humour at that, in the wrong places.

Plots wandering off into sub-plots with no immediate relevance.

Characters who made a big fuss at the beginning fading into obscurity half way through with no good reason

Circumstances from Vol I being repeated with new scenery in Vol II.

Minor characters who should have been important wandering in and out with a confused air about them to blurt out a few hurried lines then vanish again.

An excess of sub-plots.

A rushed conclusion with previously unforeseen events forced in to make it work.

And whereas I do like sort of happy endings, riding off into the sunrise just looked…. odd

Naahh it wasn’t working.

For those of you who have been through similar experiences you know the agony and the weariness which assails the writer on having to start up again, having to shed yourself of the notion all the time previously was a waste. The latter is a falsehood. If you’ve not been along this road yet you have to appreciate the first draft is always bad and the second one won’t be much better and so on and so on, you’ve simply found the way which won’t work.

A re-write is like that only far heavier. But what must be done must be done.

It was fairly plodding to begin with, trying to use large chunks of the previous writing, having to ditch them, pondering here, pondering there.

Then back to the star analogy, around about December the narrative took on a very strong momentum all of its own, the whole work was demanding to be finished, all the necessary parts were in place on paper on in my head, heart and spirit; the final coalescence was taking place. So, what with the seasonal activities joining in everything else had to take its place in line, all creativity was being fed into the book, all writing time subsumed into the finish. My own version of nuclear fusion was taking place right here in my universe.

And so, here I am on the re-read. Sure, aside from spelling, syntax and so forth one or two bits are being edited out, but only so the good of the main narrative.

Over the next few posts I will be going into this. This will not be an exercise in how I expertly navigated problems, nor a course in ‘How-To’ (In this blog?…….The very idea!). These will be simply one writer’s journal of their experiences. The reason for cataloguing them will be to share with other writers along the lines of:

Oh. Not just me then.

Hmm. Must make sure I don’t do that.

Oh yeah. That’s interesting I think I could improve on it though.

Ahh, I wonder if something similar might work for me.

Hey, there’s hope for me yet!

There might even be some time given to ‘The Marketing Thing’.

 

I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

PS: Thanks to Charles for pointing out it’s ‘fusion’ not ‘fission’…..curse that cup of coffee!

 

 

 

 

A Writer (and Diarist?)’s Challenge

A writer should never shirk from addressing challenges in message nor description, despite the social or self-imposed barriers they encounter. After all, the very essence of writing is to strive, to reach and then even break through those barriers, never worrying about the reaction. A writer, in this aspect must display boldness.Victorian writing

The task confronting me was another episode of tardy attention upon WP and lack of interaction with my good friends upon the community. There was good reason. However, to explain this required a deft, one might say diplomatic approach. If I simply cited illness or incapacity and left the business there, then all sorts of wrong intimations might arise, unwarranted concerns would be expressed, and a farcical air of melodrama would impinge upon my blog. This would not do.Social Graces

There again. And here is the overriding problem. An average British male, in their late 60s b85885aa0fd01f0cbebaa2798639b472

 

 

 

 

aware of the number of lady readers to his blog does simply not feel at ease in going into, in this case the relevant detailed description. Now, whereas we all have secret chuckles at ‘Carry On’ films, these are normally conducted in more domestic matters. To utilise this approach simply would seem, well crass.

Therefore, I explain the circumstances of the last several days in a slightly cryptic manner and trying to avoid the Too Much Information syndrome. These facts and opinions are for your considerations.

Yeast. Not to do with baking. Medical. Jokes about yeast making things rise no longer seem remotely funny.

Not all conditions respond to medicines. Some require surgical responses, lest conditions get worse. Gender reassignment is not a phrase I personally, in my lifestyle ever thought a possibility.

Not to worry, having imagined conversations with idiots on the Web-footed Rightalexjonesrandpaul-alexjonesimage  and Fashionable LeftPompus
over their laughably ignorant notions of biblical surnames and surgical procedures was quite amusing; almost tempting me to indulge their ignorance…..My imagination does get vivid at times.

The UK. Our NHS….yes it does surgical procedures on a Sunday. So the NHS works, despite the antics of governments, the slimy efforts of money-making corporations and hapless misconceptions of the 8d8f41c1217d3007621ceda397c48ef6Trumpster Propagandists in the USA.

Being under general anaesthetics gives you real clarity as regards Napoleon’s victory at the battle of Austerlitz in 1805.

Of course, being in Britain recovery in the recovery room is aided by a nice cup of TEA!cuppa_tea_1660618c

The removal of a surgical dressing by one’s spouse can be quite an intimate episode (I’m talking about shared trust and tenderness….what are some of you thinking about?).

Why does going to a hospital or attending Mass cause one to catch a cold?

Like, Slowness City man. Move legs won’t you? Brain stop drifting! Hey, that snooze just sneaked up on me! How come it’s hard to concentrate on Comic Books?

Whereas I do not take nor approve of recreational drugs the residual after effects of a general anaesthetics did help with a tricky few chapters of my current book and gave me whole new insights into the songs out of ‘Cats’ ‘Mr.Mistoffelees’ and ‘Bustopher Jones’ as they travelled through my head day after day, without the least bit of annoyance.

In conclusion, fellow male readers. Do not wince or shudder. In comparison with what our dear ladies have to go through in life….

Mate, like this is nothing!

‘Bustopher Jones is not skin and bones –

                                    In fact, he’s remarkably fat.

                                    He doesn’t haunt pubs- he has eight or nine clubs,’

bjones-karen

Love that song……

Thoughts of a Raggedy Writer

Please note I have my special quirky hat today, well actually I usually do, but it is necessary to state the matter in case folk might think there is a tinge of self-pity here…Nope! Brexiteer

Truth be known this another of those posts in which I heroically show how not to do things.Handel_GF

One of my volumes is 51vnj7ZqupL__SY346_
this book contains a dedication to one of my grandson’s Jim. It is in memory to the long talks we used to have over history whenever he came to visit. The realisation dawned he did not know about this, so off went an oblique text and the said book was made ‘free’ for a few days so it wouldn’t ‘cost’ him. He was happy, I was happy he was happy and all well and good.

Then came an e-mail from Amazon about royalties which usually indicates in the last quarter someone has downloaded a kindle copy of one of the three volumes out there. Curiosity was piqued.

The Report page indicated on the 1st day of the above mentioned free period some 40ish copies had been downloaded, this was instructive as no mention had been made publicly and my grandson been a couple of downs before he downloaded.

So conclusion was made that folk must check for free books on Kindle. How do they do that?…..errr…..dunno. One of the many aspects of marketing etc which remains a mystery to me. One of the many which I have never bothered to check on.

Maybe there will be one review out of it. You have to be realistic. Folks sell thousands of books, but don’t get thousands of reviews; that would look odd, if you ask me.

Anyway, dear readers the moral of the post is as I and many others have mentioned:

If you want to have your work known to the public, if you hope to sell copies, you have to do some work in these areas, you have to have some sort of knowledge as to how ‘things’ work. Whereas producing a book is hard work, having the final product in the public arena is a whole different matter. There is more sweat, there are hard knocks if you have an editor, there are costs if you wish to have a professional cover, there is much to be done on social media, and there’ll be more except this raggedy writer doesn’t have much idea what the ‘more’ is, other than even after all that there could still well be disappointment; it is a fact of writing.

One day….One day, I keep telling myself, matters will be approached in a stern, mature and semi-professional way….. One day. After all I am retired. I worked in an office and was counted as reasonably good at organisation (and as a servant of H.M Queen Elizabeth II had to churn my way through UK Income Tax law). So what is the problem…. One day it shall be attended to and the world will be aware of my works.

By now you should have a notebook out with comments such as:

‘Must not be like that!’

‘Do the opposite of whatever he has done’

‘There’s hope for me yet!!’

‘Find serious blogs on being published,’

‘Find out how Kindle Works’

‘Find out how anything works’

‘A taxman/revenue agent- spawn of darkness- does not deserve to succeed in writing, there will be hidden apocalyptic messages bringing forth The Beast’Solution to Frivolity

And thus dear readers journey outwards, remembering if you wish to become published and recognised writing the book is only half the work. Th rest will be hard; there will be no easy paths. This cannot be sugar-coated

In the meantime, on reflection I may be content to be a raggedy writer, maybe I am not just cut out for that extra push, thus maybe my work will stay forever in small forgotten corners. Maybe that is good, maybe it is bad, maybe it is neither. After all there are more types of writers than are dreamt of in anyone’s philosophy.  William Shakespeare                                                               That sounds familiar.

Writers. Who’d be a Writer?

So after all your hard work. After all the time invested in the writing, the re-writing, the self-editing; maybe the paying for an editor, The Book Cover ‘thing’. You’ve found it’s even harder to publicise the book than write it. You’ve done it all and what?

You are too intimidated to do anything else with it.

The book doesn’t register double figures in sales.

The book does well, only you can’t figure out how to write another.

The book does well but after all that effort…you can’t be bothered to write another one, and you cannot figure out why.

The book does well, the reviews are fine, until you get the ‘nasty’ one. And you naturally pay more attention to that one.

Who’d be a writer eh?

Suddenly all the drive has gone. All the perverse energy you got from writing under the Flag emblazoned with the motto ‘So What? I’ll write it ‘cas I want to!’ seems so far away now. Your flag lies forlorn in a puddle.

Who’d be a writer eh?

You swear the next cheerful pep-talk post(er) you come across is going to get real piece of your mind.

From now on, every time you see a post with a list if helpful hints, you are gonna ‘unfollow’ that blogger, faster than someone who blogs with political opinions you don’t agree with.

And you do not. No, you certainly do not, like ever again read about someone else’s book being published.

And then you think

‘Oh dear (or whatever else fits). How did I get here? What is going on?’

Yeh. Who in their right mind, looking for an easy uncomplicated life would be a writer?

(While we’re about it. Easy uncomplicated Life? Is there such a creature?)

Yeh, I ‘get it’ brothers and sisters.

Y’see the problem is, Writing comes with a price. All of the above. The effort, the energy spent, the ups, the downs, the desolations, the disappointments, the worry, the emptinesses. All the sly subtle draining. The folk who are seemingly successful, worrying about where the next book comes from, or what the public will think of it. We shouldn’t forget them either. If you are going to take up the pen, or tap out the keyboard, be ready with an allegorical pocket or two full of allegorical coins.

Yeh, I ‘get it’ fellow writers. You are feelings are nothing to be ashamed of, nor frightened of. This path is a rocky one. Even us Crazy ‘What-The -Hell’ ragged-style aficionados have tripped up over our own wild feet and fallen into a patch of Reality. Some of us have even wondered if it’s our weird nature or just us in Denial about our lack of talents which keeps us bouncing along with folk scratching or shaking their heads as we pass on by. Us on our faux-Captain Beefhart,/ ‘Pretend I’m a Frank Zappa of Writing’ trips.

I can do nothing for your pain, because it is yours and I would not pretend to have some long-distance answer, that would be insulting to you. Your despondency is a familiar feeling and easy to trace, origin so common in the writing world. I wish it were within my remit to incant something to take away as your fears and your woe.

Within my remit though is to understand the feelings, not to denigrate them or insult them with a Happy Mary Poppins approach. The dust, the dirt, the chill winds of doubt, I understand, borne witness to them, experienced them on my tongue, breathed them in and they settled on my heart.

The thing is.

You will shuffle, you will ease up your weary bones, feel about for your allegorical pen, hitch up your pack of ideas onto your back and belt, you will stare out across the battered landscape and move out. There does not have to be a squaring of the shoulders, nor some end of John Wayne War movie tough, determined quote (cue music & credits), nor my favoured style of ‘Mickey Mouse Club’ rendition out of full Metal Jacket. You will move on, because The Writing Calls, exactly why, for you will be personal. You will. Just because.

‘Not me! I’ve had enough! I’m tired through. Scared, scarred and scattered. Done all I could. It’s got me beat,’

To you I say. It didn’t beat you. You did as much as you could and found this was not for you. Well, who doesn’t do that? How do you know, if you don’t try? Don’t sell yourself down. You tried. End of chapter. Now go and do something else. It is for you to choose. No disgrace. You were there, you took a stand. Now move onto another place.

We are Human. We have weaknesses. We have strengths. We have pain. We have Humanity.

We are.

And you may write once more. Or never write again, turn your back on the whole thing.

In neither act is there is futility.

There is however in both Life.

Light your torch with it.

Times which try writers’ souls*

Ah me….

Interludes with “Skirmishers of Fire, Steel and Lace”Unit2_Lesson2(not again)

As you may (or not) be aware I have been writing Volume II of my Fantasy Epic. For those who have been following earlier post being either (A) Morbidly fascinated (B) Wanting to find out how not to do things (C) Are finding this narrative more entertaining that Vol I, you will have surmised there have been problems with the re-write. (If there’s anyone out there who is now saying ‘Saw it coming’…..I don’t wanna know!…Leave me alone, I am artistically suffering here!).

Gefühle-Die-Leiden-des-jungen-Werthers-676x884

Anyhows, there I was having reached a certain point where I decided to shift the whole emphasis under the firm (at the time) belief that the narrative could stand the strain. Thus didst I forge out.      puritan-christmas-color

To reach the point when it seemed judicious to go back to earlier chapters and squeeze in just a few words…..no paragraphs….now whole chapters to make the newish turn in the plot fit and…..

Yep! The whole thing shuddered! And bits started to fly off in all sorts of direction. “Crash and burn” should have been the phrase but somehow by a miraculous effort of character and stubbornness the craft was landed, and although not in one piece, at least all the bits were quite close together and as bits intact.

The only damage being to my writer’s sensibilities.Me

Naturally it was time for a mature action.sturm_drang3

After the obligatory sulk, lapse in self-belief in my ability to write and of course a few   8d8f41c1217d3007621ceda397c48ef6 s at the covers of the books of very successful writers (Yes I indulge in that too!) I squared my shoulders, set my chin firmly forward but on realising the whole pose looked ridiculous returned to writing.

Annndddd back to the very beginning of the book. Never mind about the time going down wrong trails, never mind about those promising characters who were now cluttering up the narrative (Sorry folks, but there will be other volumes or more, so hang on in there, your time will come).  Chapters are being re-written, placed in a different order (I can get away with that since there is not just one location, or time), whole sub-plots put aside for another day.

Anyone who has faced this circumstances will tell you it is a ‘Load’ (in several senses of the word.)

But out of the blue my very good friend Sha’ Tara of  Burning Woman’ https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/20902694

when replying to one of my replies to one of her posts added this comment:

“By the way, I am re-reading “The Patchwork Warriors” and finding it much more interesting and relevant this time around. I would recommend to anyone who’s already read it to go over it again, and if anyone’s not read it, to do so. Yes, you can copy and paste this into your blog or book review if you wish, and I’ll have more to say about Patchwork when I finish this re-read, I’m sure.”

And boy did my spirits soar and endeavour solidified, so a very heartfelt THANK YOU to SHA’TARA, ‘Skirmishers’ is revitalised!

The downside to this is the writing eats into my WP time, so I’ll not be around as much as I could like to be; many of you will understand the statement……. ‘The Book Is Calling’Boating

You are, none of you, forgotten.

After all without your calming influences, interesting posts, insights into Life I would still be grubbing about on FB wasting time picking fights with other hapless folk.

Thank you one and all.

Trial_by_Jury_-_Chaos_in_the_Courtroom(He didn’t try and pull a cheap advertising ploy on the 1st  book….Oh darling I am so happy!)

Of Protagonists, The Unexpected and The Go-Figure (Adventures in the World of “Our Skirmishers of Silk, Steel and Fire”

 

*thomas-paine-9431951-1-402‘Pon my soul…. Plagiarised!’

Of Protagonists, The Unexpected and The Go-Figure (Adventures in the World of “Our Skirmishers of Silk, Steel and Fire”

One of the advantages of having no illusions about ever being a great success (as opposed to dreams and wishes that is) in writing is one is able to experiment and not be afraid whichever what-way matters go. Once more, dear reader and fellow writer, feel free to take out notebook and notate either ‘Hey I must try that’ or ‘No, must avoid that’ or ‘Oh boy that is so not going to work for me!’. To repeat my blog is all about pitfalls, wrong turnings, but best of all ‘Wow! The blessed thing actually worked! Who’d thought it??’ So gentle follower let us take another sojourn, shall we?Williamterriss7

Many successful and also good writers (the two do not necessarily go together) will hold fast to the idea of there being at least one strong protagonist. To have a hero or central character who forges though a book with no particularly effective opposition is not going to work. (unless the writer might be the latest Commercial Thing- which we are not are we?)   This is a good point and is undeniable.

Once more I have to admit, villains are my weak spot, they are there to be humiliated or slaughtered. Morally, elastic types who drift between ethical and legal borders, not so bad with those. Real fearsome, terrifying, evil folk…..not going to have a good time in my pages, if they do hang around it’s only to suffer…So sue me.200px-Advokat,_Engelsk_advokatdräkt,_Nordisk_familjebok

Anyway, a solution to this dilemma and to give my characters more to do than just than having a fun time or a challenging romp? Ah there was the rub! (Pause for Shakespearean interlude of silent staring off-stage).Othell0-8_2-1924-Jago

Now speaking for myself I read a history, mostly military, and after reading a lot of this it began to dawn, very little every goes to plan. In fact, after many amendments to the original we have the military saying, ‘No plan survives contact with the enemy’ (the original is much longer and slightly turgid). Thus, it occurred to me in the real world would you have a seemingly all-powerful and cunning protagonist whose plans went along so smoothly until the last few heroic efforts of the central characters?…. Nah! Great military geniuses and shrewd political operators were often wrong footed by the unexpected and had to adapt… if they were that good at their job!

To get around my prejudice (yes, it is a prejudice, must admit it) I thought about the many events in history and how these overwhelmed the participants maybe permanently, maybe temporarily and set the protagonist as The Situation the world was in.

To re-cap or to introduce. The World, which is ours set in a future at some stage was overwhelmed by a force which has many names (Ethereal, Stommigheid to name but two). Its true nature is not to date revealed, however can be utilised by machines, mind or physical effort, but NOT, NOT controlled. Think of an ocean or a river, think of water. Now in this future the World may be split or have given rise to other satellite worlds as a result of the arrival of this force, which is subject to its own relationships to the Universe and using the Water analogy there are tides (aka tydes- just liked the ‘y’) and storms. The stories are taking place at one of these junctures.

The first volume……..

Patchwork (See Amazon Kindle for your copy of ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’)

understanding-anger_183x90_184933693(if he does that again, I swear….)

set up the central characters, a familiarity on how this force affects the world and also an insight into some of the life forms other than what we might think of as human. This second volume looks into how the coming turbulence is affecting the plans, strategies and intentions of disparate folk, organisations, and races. The principal theme here is that no one is control, there are no superior beings, everyone is in the same boat, most just don’t realise it, they are floundering, or adjusting all the time.

Thus my central characters are working in constantly shifting states, whereas they remain true to reach other. The often comic and wacky Karlyn is drifting or being driven closer to learn about her background; Every Soldier Arketre is being shunted up the ladder of responsibility and getting some tough orders. While Trelli is still continuing her journey of discovery and adaptability to her new ‘powers’ although her journey parallels her two comrades she has a more ethical dimension to cope with. Not that matters are any easier for Karlyn and Arketre whose actions are decisions are always overlaid by their emotional and physical love for each other. They, all three are facing the ramifications of actions by several agencies and individuals, who themselves are linked in some case.

Yeh, great fun. The challenge is to keep the whole business fairly easy to follow. No one cares for a book which has them going ‘Huh?’ Confused person on Brexitand then flipping back through a few chapters to find out who was what, doing which then. Nor do they like to read a narrative interrupted by a brief resumé of that character’s actions another few chapters back. Lavery_Maiss_AurasNope it all needs balance. AND making sure the central characters aren’t swamped by everyone else’s business.

In fact, at times writing this novel seems to have parallels to writing a history. The basic facts have to be there, the important characters must be given their full due, but attention must be given to those lesser folk who turn up and spoil everything AND there are always circumstances outside of any player’s control; usually weather. (smart folk should always take into account weather, it happens)

This makes for a degree of flexibility too, as you never know who will rise to the occasion and who will get overwhelmed and fall out. The only spoiler I have three is the continual presence of the three centrals Arketre Beritt (solider), Karlyn Nahtinee (adventurer and enigma) and Trelli (Professional Name Currently Trelyvana Waywanderer, and she’s regretting choosing it. The Everyone of the saga).

The best part is, there I am wandering about the house doing my share of chores, when suddenly I get a ‘Hey! ‘They’ would do ‘that’. Of course ‘they’ would,’ interlude, which was not planned, but bubbled up from the whole brew.

I just love writing by the proverbial seat of my laptop. The first draft was OK, but now the real fun has begun.

So I thus end with a familiar refrain. You can think about this approach. You can shake your head in sad despair at my hapless ways. You can recoil in horror and sprinkle your laptop screen with sacred coffee (or tea) at such heresies. Your choice.  Just do me one small favour.

Keep writing. Never, ever give up on your writing.

Wishing you Good Journeys People!

Winning Back Your Novel (Adventures in the Writing of “Our Skirmishers of Silk, Steel and Fire”)