Archive for July, 2010

I’ve just done something I’ve never managed in all my years as a writer before – write The End on a full length novel.  Yup, after 90,012 words and a long time deciding just which novel to work on I have finally completed the first full draft of Tears of the Mountain.  It’s a big step forward, helped out by doing the last 20,000 words in the last seven days.

Of course it still needs much work, such as organising into chapter, spell checking, polishing and correcting details in the early parts of the story that got changed in the later part.

And then once that is done there starts the look hunt for rejections, I mean an agent and the possibility of getting it in print.

Still its a big thrill just to have gotten it to where it is now.

Dragons are a ubiquitous element of fantasy. They are one of the first things most people would think about when the word fantasy is said to them and it is quicker to list fantasy series without dragons than it is to list those with them in it.

Dragons are also rather varied, with many authors putting their own take on it. TVTropes says it best in their Our Dragons Are Different entry – this trope deals with big (maybe) strong (possibly) scaly (sometimes) flying (perhaps) fire-breathing (at times) lizard (usually) monsters (traditionally).

Normally I’m one to buck typical fantasy elements but I have to admit that there are dragons in my setting, though as with others I’ve put my own spin on them. Dragons in Sharael are vast and powerful and ancient. And seldom seen. They also don’t have to deal with knights, their traditional foe, as knights never have (and never will) exist in my world. They also appear a little different than your standard dragons. While the fit the large scaly reptilian clause, they are based on a lizard native to Australia – the Thorny Devil, also sometimes called the Thorny Dragon. As the name suggested they are covered in thorns and coloured in shades that help camouflage them in the desert.

This is what one looks like.

Imagine one of them much, much larger and with wings and you have an idea what they look like.  If only I was a decent artist I’d give one a go….

Of late I’ve been making good progress with the rewrite of Tears of the Mountain, averaging two to three thousand words a day. Until last week, when I got sick.

Nothing terribly major, just the latest head cold that was going around. Unfortunately it stuffed my head up good and proper so that my brain decided it was a good idea not to do any thinking and my work rate plummeted putting my schedule way behind. Even after recovering enough to get back to writing it took me a while to get towards being back to speed again.

Writing for me is a bit like driving a car. Once you get out on the highway you cruise along smoothly and keeping up a good output isn’t that hard. However when you stop for whatever reason, you have to work to get back up to speed again.

It did get me thinking about sickness though in stories, especially fantasy stories. It does crop up now and then but is not really nearly as prevalent as it should be in a pseudo-medieval setting. Health was not all that good back then – medicine was as much superstition as anything. Plagues and diseases regularly swept through regions as things like causes and hygiene were unknown. Sailors got scurvy. Soldiers were more likely to die of diseases and sickness than in battle. Modern problems like obesity weren’t as common, being more restricted to the nobility who did have plenty to eat.

Of course the standard answer is that ‘magic did it’ in response to health issues. There would have to be a lot of magic healers on hand to deal with everything though, and it is more likely only the nobility would see them.

It does bare thinking about in terms of my world, that more people should get sick in the stories.