Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oh the agony....

When Days of Reckoning started out, things flowed pretty well. The ideas were plotted out, just the details of the how, why and when. And fingers flew on the keyboard, shaping the story and creating tone for the series. And then it was done, or so I thought.

The first run through was a whopping, bloated and sorely over-wrought 191,00 words. Yep, 191k. When I found out that equated to just short of 800 pages and most fantasy novel targets are around 100 to 125k.... that's a near 50% cut required. After I can't remember how many rounds of cutting, it dropped over 50k to the current 126k mark. At this point, I think I'm nearing the end of the editing process; I'm at that magic point where I can say there is little else I can do to it.

To edit from 191k to 126k sounds like a lot, and it certainly is. Would an agent have another go at it and find another 10-20k to tweak and/or change? Of this I have no doubt and would welcome the input, if it meant getting it to print.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Inspiration and Techno-babble

Aside from being a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy novels, role-playing games have always been a heavy influence. For the first several years as a player, I later switched to Game Master. I was forced to start plotting out adventures for the players and voila, essentially you are living the story during game nights. Leading a group in RIFTS, AD&D and Legend of the Five Rings was incredibly rewarding.

I finally figured out the techno-babble and back-end requirements to creating and upkeeping a blog. Up went the Inspiration page, which details how Ihr'Vessen came to be, as well as the About Me page (more to follow) and off it goes - let the games begin. I'm now linked in (leashed, as my father would likely say).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Musical Inspiration

One of the most influential elements to my writing has to be music. I listen to it all day at work; while I drive, while I write. As an inspiration, it could be as simple as a series of riffs inspiring the mood for a scene, a verse that unlocks a sticky plot point (in one case unblocking the entire series from the middle of book 2 onward). All of these groups play a central role in setting the mood and helping the story flow.

Here are some thoughts on the groups:

Primary Repertoire:

Apocalyptica: Heavy metal, on cellos... I didn't get it at first, now some of the more powerful scenes I've plotted out are based on their songs.

Enya: Enya? Really? Even my wife raised an eyebrow, but when thinking about Feye creatures and Elven history, nothing works better. Something about A Day Without Rain just meshes so well with what I've envisioned for the Feye creatures of Ihr'Vessen.

Lacuna Coil: I discovered these guys 3 years ago. Fantastic mix of rock and symphony with contrasting vocals. That Cristina Scabbia is rock-solid gorgeous doesn't hurt either....

Nightwish: After a mistaken download, I immediately went out an bought the Dark Passion Play album. With metal rhythms reinforced by symphonic overtones, it really sets the mood; the bonus disc without the vocals was a great addition.

Supporting Repertoire:

The Cult: For years I've listened to these guys and they got better with age. One line from a song unlocked the series for me and allowed me to plot-point four books.

Metallica: Since childhood, these guys have been a staple of my music collection. I wrote RIFTS: Free Quebec and dozens of RIFTS fan fiction stories listening to them.

Muse: My wife wanted to watch the 83rd Grammy's. I caught their act and was checking youtube for other videos. Listened to 3 songs and immediately they became part of the repertoire.

Thoughts on Blogging

For the longest time I have fought the seemingly inexorable tide of comments and suggestions to "get into the social media." I have a Facebook account, largely untouched except to post family pictures or for other odds and ends. As an aspiring author, I see (numerous) places on the 'Net suggesting authors develop a blog to help reach out to readers and market their novels. As an aspiring (read: unpublished) novelist, I found this rather counter-intuitive.

"How can you market a novel that isn't yet published?"

After a bit of soul-searching and fighting the urge not refute the blog trend simply because I dislike 'band-wagonism', I was hit with an epiphany. I realized this blog wouldn't, nigh shouldn't, necessarily be restricted to marketing. I already have a process whereby I collect my thoughts and review what's written to my notes and how it drives further plot points. Why not share the process, use this tool to help focus my thoughts?

So, with only the slightest shake of my head, I dive into the realm of blogs. The hope and the dream is to help refine my process and writing to eventually lead to seeing my works published.