Wednesday, 13 November 2013

I seem to have forgotten to put on pants...

It's all blowing in the wind. Metaphorically speaking, and about writing. Not my wedding bells.

So, here's the story so far...

I sat down to write a story I'd been contracted to write. I enjoyed it in parts, others, I found hard. The second draft, really. I don't like to go over my own work. I like it done, dusted, submitted.

Then, story done (it's called The Setting Sky), I'm sitting on my arse, getting miserable. Because if I don't do two things regularly, I get glum. These two things are: write, and exercise.

And I am getting glum, gloomy, get the picture.

Writing's the answer. But, here's the thing: I have no pants on. None at all.

Stage fright, maybe? Is that a metaphor for stage fright? Performance anxiety?

Maybe. Probably. I'm just thinking out loud, as it were.

I think it's stage fright, because suddenly I'm worried about what people want, what they think, what they want to read. I'm not saying I don't usually care (readers are pretty bloody important to a writer...otherwise writing's a purely solitary affair, a bit like having a hand shandy in the bath.), because I do. It's important.

But it's not everything, and nor, I think, should it be. I'm not a writing guru (check out Joe Lansdale's twitter feed if you want a guru - I'm not being flippant - he's awesome). But I do have thoughts on writing, because, well, it's what I do.

I figure in order to keep the gloomies at bay, I need to write...but I need to write what I want. Selfish, yes, but essential. I can write to order. I do, from time to time. But I don't enjoy it.

I started writing because I enjoy it. I want that feeling back.

So, anyway, turns out the pants thing was kind of irrelevant, because all I wanted to say was that I started a new book a couple of days ago. Hoping it's a keeper.

Love you. Thanks for listening, dear (two) readers, and the Internet - my psychologist.



Saturday, 2 November 2013

Epic Construction (a few notes on the world of Rythe)

This post is largely for readers of Rythe, but maybe be of interest for anyone currently building, or reading, epic fiction.

A reader (super reader John C. Hoddy) expressed and interest in the process behind writing epic fiction. Plus, it'll probably help me remember how to do it - it's been a while.

So, here's a few thoughts how I go about it.


When I'm working on the Rythe books, I plot. I don't for the horror (or anything else) because I try to keep those small, personal, and pacey.

Epic fiction is a little more languid in the writing and reading thereof. So, plot. My plots run to something like 20 pages. On top of that, notes, glossaries etc... Other fantasy writers might have storyboards, maps, etc...anything to help keep track really. It's kind of de rigueur to have a billion characters in big fantasy, so keeping track is half the battle. Not forgetting invented religions, society, geography, get the picture. At least, I hope you do...because I don't!


While I think of it, here's two things I'd like to do should the books earn enough to warrant it - artwork and editing. Both, I think, are essential. I'd probably sell more of the books with decent covers - Catch 22. I might write about that a little later down the line.


Procrastinate. I do this a lot. I do it less when I write horror, because frankly, I enjoy writing horror a hell of a lot more than fantasy. When I began writing, it was fantasy. I never did consider myself a 'fantasy writer', but, same as always, if I've an idea, and the idea takes shape, I *have* to write it.


Something else I wouldn't recommend - taking a long break between books. I find sequels easier when they're written soon after. Refreshing your memory is fine with short books. When they run 100K plus, not quite so easy.


Anyway, back to what I actually do, rather than my failings ;) - write. I don't, like some, write every day. I have fallow periods where I do very little. But when I begin a book, I write every day until I finish the book. Mostly I enjoy it - sometimes it's a slog. But I think finishing is half the battle. If you can do that, you can tidy with edits on second and third drafts.


Speaking of which - horror, I generally write no more than three drafts. Fantasy? A lot more. And it takes a lot longer. I'm writing longer books and they're far more complicated.


I'm trying to keep this short, because who can be bothered to read a long blog post? But if anyone has anything specific they want to talk about - post below, and I'll answer. I'll probably blog a little more on the process as I go, too, so look out for the posts if you're a Rythe reader. Cheers!

Love you x