Posts Tagged ‘novel writing’

Professor Halir Ashford. Historian, Explorer and Adventurer. One of the favourite characters I’ve written so far. And a character who really shouldn’t have existed beyond a minor mention. It happens from time to time; characters take on a life of their own and demand a bigger say in things.

His story starts back with a novel I was planning (but never got around to starting). I needed someone to introduce the main character (Heric ‘Harry’ Ban, likewise a character that came about unexpectedly) to the adventure, and so I came up with Halir. he had been a friend of Harry’s father back during a war and was now a professor and historian. The novel was abandoned and the character would have been forgotten except for another novel I started sometime later, Winter Wolves.

Winter Wolves was my first serious effort at plotting and then writing a novel, and was designed to be a showcase for the setting and for Harry Ban. I even managed to complete a round draft. There was a need for a character who would draw Harry into events, and for that I went back to Halir and brought him along.

Though I finished the rough draft, I never got around to fleshing it out, instead, as is my want, I moved onto other projects and suddenly Halir took over somewhat. He got himself two lengthy short stories, Gifts and Sacrifices, and The Tomb of the Tagosa Kings, and then he got himself a full novel in which to star – Tears of the Mountain – which is the first novel I’ve completely properly.

It won’t be the last that Professor Halir is seen either.

I’m not going to look back at my resolutions for last year – I know that most of them never got done, which is why I normally don’t bother.

It is a good time, however, to look back over 2010 and to look forward to 2011.

2010 was a year of missed opportunities, both writing and otherwise.  While I did actually complete my first proper, full length novel, my writing output was way down on what it should have been and that single novel should have been more.  Moreover, it is still sitting there gathering dust and hasn’t been used yet, something that needs to be rectified.

2011 needs to see an improvement.  I’m not going to make any resolutions – because they will just be broken – but I want to see a lot more writing done, both novels and short stories.  I’ve got all these ideas floating around not being used.

I’m going to go over the Pure Escapism page and stories and clean it up, make it look more professional.  That includes new and improved covers.  I have a few that I’ve worked on and that I need to upgrade the rest to that level.

I’d like to try and add at least one new short story to the collection a month – more of the time permits – and of course to try and exchange the reader base. Cleaning up and polishing the pages here and at Smashwords, plus starting to join up on various forums should help with that a bit.

The big one is of course the novels. I’ve got one complete and two half complete. They need to get completed, polished and made ready as soon as I can. And then I have to make a big decision.

Do I try for an agent and publisher, a long and laborious process that has no guarantees of any success?

Or do I try and go independent? There is no success guaranteed there either but there will at least be something to show for it, which is more than would happen if I ended up with no agent. It would require a whole new skillset – that of self marketting – but there have been a number of successes to show it is not impossible.

I’ve got a few stories up on Smashwords – nothing major, just my collection of short stories. It is a valuable tool that one day I need to make more of. And now I have the inspiration to do so.

On the Smashwords blog there is a post about one of their authors, Brian S Pratt, whose books have taken off. He is on track to make $100,000 next year from sales. That is the kind of success I dreamed of making when starting out. Actually, I’d be happy with just a quarter of that.

The difference between him and me is output. He has 17 books out there, mostly large epic fantasy, the genre I in part dabble in. I currently have a bunch of short stories.

What I really need to do is sit down and write, write some more and then continue writing and get some novels and novellas finished and put up. Only then could I possibly consider success anywhere near that scale.

The full interview can be read here.

I was poking around some old half written stories and drafts and game across one I started some time back – and found it was 47K in length. That is a fair chunk of novel just sitting there getting no use so I thought I would return to it and finish it, as I have plans for it.

The story itself is currently called He Stands Between, the first book of a epic fantasy series called The Oncoming Storm. As with any epic fantasy it has the full array of tropes; a host of characters, daring deeds and heroic last stands, noble heroes and dastardly villains, world shaking events and everything else that epic fantasy holds dear. There are still a few details to work out, such as the name of one of the main characters. He has been through a couple and I am still not entirely satisfied.

The rewrite is coming along great, almost to 10K words from only just over 2 days. I am slowly ramping up as I haven’t had a good stretch of writing for a while. Hopefully I can match the output when I first started writing the draft, back last year. The first 40K came in just 7 days.

By the end of the year, which is only 13 days away, I’d like to well on the way to finishing. I am still considering my options with what to do with it once done, but one main one is a thought to go indie with it.

I’d be the first to admit that I am not all that great at marketing myself – in fact I am terrible at it. I just don’t have the personality to push myself forward like some do.

But that has to change. I need to start doing so, to get my stories out there for people to read and hopefully take an interest in. Otherwise why write if no one is reading them?

Starting tomorrow I am going to look at ways to do so, finding forums and sites to share my work and get opinions, to push myself on twitter more and the like. After all I have some 24 stories on the site (plus 2 more to add) totalling around 110,000 words. That is a lot of effort.

I also hope to write a lot more than I have been – the aim being to add one new story a month from now on in.

As may have been noticed I have updated in a bit. That is because the project has fallen over. I got eleven days in and then it stopped. There are a number of reasons behind this, including coming down sick and working on editing. I’m trying to get Tears of the Mountain sent off to beat the rush of NaNoWriMo novel queries.

There was a time there yesterday where I was almost ready to give up on NaNoWriMo – I had done nothing on the story and was wondering if I’d get around to doing any. In the end though I had a late start I wrote almost 2000 words, bringing the total up to 17018 words. I’m still around 1300 words behind where I should be but at least I made up some ground.

I sort of hit a part of the story where my pre-plotting is rather limited which is half the problem. Fleshing out near nothing can be hard – but it did spawn a couple of ideas during the day that I hadn’t thought of before but will work when they are properly rewritten. Sometimes you have scenes and characters that just write themselves, which helps a lot.

One third of the way through the month and I’m not yet one third of the way through the novel. I’m only sitting at 15,197 words, a full day behind where I should be. To catch up I need to be writing around 3,000 words today. Not an impossibility, but things always seem to come up.

Yesterday I fell behind for the first time. Total output to date is 14500 when it needed to be 15000. That yesterday was busy didn’t help, nor does the fact that today will be the same. I may end up further behind by the end of today – luckily tomorrow doesn’t look to be busy so hopefully I can make up lost word count then.

The story is slowly beginning to develop, reaching 13,543 words. Puts me once again just slightly ahead of the progressive word count I need to make it. But not by much.

And the next two days may be rather busy, limiting my chance to make real progress.

The next character we will have a look at is the Lady Eris Selanos, of House Selanos. Of a minor noble family, she is unconcerned by such matters as politics. A magian of middling power, her interests lie in history and the past, and she actively seeks them out, often going places where danger lurks. At times she can be a bit absent and not particularly subtle with her emotions.