Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Preparation

I managed to get some writing done tonight, which I'm very chuffed to say. :-)

I'm particularly happy about this because -besides the fact that a day in which getting any writing done is a day to be celebrated- I'm tired as hell and really need to try and get a full eight hours of sleep before I'm back to normal; I was worried that I wouldn't be able to concentrate, blahblahblah...

But when I opened up the Word Doc and re-read what I had written two nights ago the gears began clicking and the pistons began pumping and the scenes that I had already completed, focusing on two of the characters as they prepare for the impending battle, took on more shape and scents and sights. I dived in and am pretty damn chuffed with what I've done. :-)

You see, these two scenes (along with a third that'll be written tomorrow night) are scenes that set the stage, emotionally, for the main characters involved in the battle. The scenes prepare them for the bloodshed ahead, and for one of the characters, it was also a chance to explore him a bit more; I'd created and imagined this fat old man (who was, believe it or not, an absolutely pivotal character in earlier half-drafts) but I didn't really know him. Now I do, and now I can say that he's going to be a pivotal part of the battle - one of the cogs upon which everything turns. :-) He's surprised the hell out of me, something I'm very glad to say.

I don't think he'll survive the battle - it makes sense for the plot to have him see his ass- but maybe something else that's been cooking away in my subconscious will bubble forth in time for tomorrow's session...

Wordcount for the evening: 1119 words
Wordcount for the novel: 32387

Monday, June 28, 2010

Battles

So, I've made a start on Chapter 8, the first big battle scene in the novel. My characters are readying themselves for what will be a hectic, frantic, bloody, violent clash (at least, I hope so), and since I've stopped for the night, I thought I'd write a blog post about battles. You see, I know absolutely bugger-all about writing battle scenes, but the thing is, is still cool knowing I'm going to try my hand at one.

I've drawn some diagrams and maps, detailing what the battle-ground looks like and how the attacking troops will move and what they'll attack. I've also done some reading-up on siege tactics and the kind of weaponry that was employed in a siege. So I think I'm pretty much as ready as I'm going to ever be (at least for now) to write this chapter.

I have to admit, though, that I'm slightly bloody intimidated. Scared shitless, even. I know what I want to accomplish with this battle in terms of plot and character-arcs, and the battle is necessary (for the moment) but it's still scary knowing that I have to write this, that I have to trust myself to translate the thoughts and imagery and notes and maps into words and that those words have to convey fear and action and movement and and and... Added to this is the fact that, after this chapter, my main protagonist is going to be set on a path that's going to remove him from the main plot-arc for quite a good chunk of the novel. This too is necessary, though I'll probably only be comfortable with my decision to move him aside for a bit (he's still doing something hectically important that'll have major repercussions for the rest of the novel, by the way) once I've reached the end of the novel.

In some way (scratch that) in many ways, it's absolutely awesome to be a rookie / newbie in this game. There's a certain hectic amount of freedom that comes with writing your first novel - no editor or agent keeping you focused and on-track, no deadlines, etc - but there's also a major case of AM I DOING THIS RIGHT? That irritating worm of a question is dogging me, I'll admit, but that's okay, too; after all, one of the 'rules' of writing in a certain genre is that you have to at least be familiar with that specific genre, and I'd like to think that I've got at least a passing familiarity with Epic Fantasy. Enough, hopefully, that when I'm done the novel will have at least a passing resemblance to Epic Fantasy.

I also don't want to rush this battle - you see, I'm missing my other characters; my concubine and my non-human and my politician and my archaeologist... I want to get back to them and continue exploring with them, I want to be surprised again at the choices they make and how they steal the spotlight... But enough of that. I've made a start - focussing on two characters and how they're readying themselves for the battle - and tomorrow will be a day of blood and noise.

Total wordcount for the evening: 495 words
Novel wordcount: 31268

Until tomorrow! :-)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Curtain Raiser

First things first: I'm unpublished. :-) That's just so that none of you go and look for anything I've written. ;-)

Anyway, my name's Dave and I'm a Writer-In-Training (this phrase was coined by me on Twitter during a particularly awesome Follow Friday) living in Pretoria, South Africa, and I thought that it was about time that I started another (non-review, because starting a new review-blog when I already had one turned out to be a dumb idea) blog but used this one to focus on my writing.

So that's what I'll be doing here; talking about writing in general, my ups and downs, wordcount-achievements,the odd funny account (hopefully there'll be plenty of those for pure entertainment-value) and just about anything else that connects to writing.

And then comes the answer to What Am I Writing:

I'm writing my first novel at the moment, an Epic Fantasy that I've been chipping away at (unsuccessfully, because for six years I was editing more than writing). I'm aiming for 120K (so that I can whittle it down to 95K-100K once I've finished it) and it'll probably be the first book in what I'm hoping will be a trilogy. At the rate I'm getting ideas, though, 3 might be the minimum number of books to expect. By the way, I've hit 30K and am getting started on my first big battle scene... Wish me luck!

On the back-burner I've also got an Urban Fantasy that I'm developing with a good friend of mine, Bennie Swarts; this UF will be totally and thoroughly set in South Africa and is probably the book that will see me published here. :-)

I've also got plenty of other ideas, including a SF epic and I'm also working on a trilogy of Star Wars novels that'll get me into the Expanded Universe once I've got 3 or 4 best sellers under my belt. ;-)

Anyway, more about me: I'm a bookseller at one of Exclusive Books' Pretoria branches, I'm a huge Star Wars fan, am a massive reader, play some guitar, collect comics, am a Brandy-drinker (because I quickly become drunk while drinking anything else) and am an all-round SFF fanatic. Everything else about me will probably become apparent in further posts. ;-)

Anyway, later folks!