Tuesday 29 March 2011

The Writing Process continued

Hi there,

The Faerie story will continue another day...

For now, I want to continue on the story of my writing process / progress and how I've got to where I am with my writing. The first part of it is here

The phase of unemployment and almost daily writing didn't last (thankfully for my financial situation), and the book ended up being put in mothballs for a while.

I had made it to what was then Chapter 8 of the book in a pretty creative few months, given that I was starting from a position of not knowing how to write for a prolonged period. Once I got over the initial "hump" of realising that the writing just had to continue, no matter what, it was just a matter of ploughing onwards, learning more about my own story and how to create chaaracters, events, storylines, places - a believable world with all of the geography, morality, laws and religion that entails.

On a tangent, that is one thing that is so much more challenging for a Fantasy author than for an

Writing and online reviews

Good (late) night all!

I was on my way to bed, and decided at the last minute to post this, in response to the minor kerfuffle going on at a reviews blog nearby.
There are a couple of reasons why I made that decision, chief amongst them the realisation that I don't want this blog to become a place where I just type out stuff that I wrote 14 years ago that probably isn't very good anyway.
Instead, it's supposed to be about writing, and my opinions on it - whether they're right or wrong.

So here it is.

To give the background to this post, a certain writer has independently (I assume) written and published a novel which was reviewed by an online blog at this link. She decided it wasn't a very flattering review, although it featured a combination of major/minor criticisms as well as some reasonable praise.
As a result, she entered into a very public correspondence with him that may or may not have been terribly wise.

Monday 28 March 2011

A Strange Fickle Thing (Pt 2)

The continuation of my little story - written on 8th September 1997. It's a lot longer than I thought it was... What have I gotten myself into??

So, the last of the faeries - four there were, old, wise and mighty in the ancient lore of magick: Grimkin, the most ancient of all, who was old before the arrival of the new forest and of man; Elmheal, who would converse with the trees for news beyond the city, until time and sorrow wore him out; Bayswife, the wise matriarch whose smile - oft seen - would cause the grass to grow as if sunshine and rain were unnecessary; and Palmbark, whose sad grey eyes made the trees weep, and whose youthful golden hair caused the birds to sing to her beauty - came together to discuss this: man's "love".

Now other faeries lived still in man's park, but these - sadly too numerous to name, although the once-great Leafblade and Thistlemaid were amongst them - were beyond the reach of the other faeries. Many had begun to partake of the leaf that did intoxicate them into incapacity, and some had given

Sunday 27 March 2011

A Strange Fickle Thing (Pt 1)

This is a story I wrote many years ago, and I've just discovered it in some old journals. I haven't even read it in 10 years so it could be rubbish.
I'm going to type it exactly as I found it, unedited, unexpurgated, unchanged; any spelling or grammatical errors will probably be retained, unless they're really embarrassing.

So apologies in advance for split infinitives, incorrect punctuation, misspellings and general being-rubbishness. This was written in one or two days nearly 14 years ago and was never edited - this is the first time the manual writing has been transcribed.

It could be rubbish, it could be great. (My money's on the former). Depending on which, I may give up writing entirely, or just realise that i was better then than I am now, or possibly I may prove that you truly do get better with time.

It is going to take much more than one entry to complete, but what the hell. You've got to expose your arse to someone at some point.

A Strange Fickle Thing (Pt 1)

The forest was old and it was green, and it was filled with many old green trees, and the faeries lived there.

None could remember how old the forest was, nor the trees, but the trees and the grass and the faeries were content.

Time passed for the forest of green trees, and man came along, and replaced some of it with his own; new stone-glass trees for the old wood-leaves trees. But not all the forest was destroyed; some was left to remind man of what he had conquered.
And man called it a Park.

And the faeries lived there.

Friday 25 March 2011

The Writing Process

So, I've mentioned the subject of my Book and talked a little about various other topics, but what about the writing process itself?

Well, the underlying idea for this Book was born many years ago when I was bored in an old job. I began thinking about an origin story for a fantasy world and began to write it.
That story led to a thought about how the origin story might impact on the "Present Day" in that world, and various ideas and themes came to my mind.
Being Irish, and the conflict in Northern Ireland being unresolved at that time (yes it was that long ago), religious conflict came to mind. My star sign (Gemini) made me think about twins and things started to come together.

However, I didn't get far with the actual story - several false starts left me with a couple of Chapter 1s and Chapter 2s that owed far too much to the exposition in the Lord of the Rings' "Shadow in the Dark" chapter, so I ended up abandoning much of it.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Boundaries of Acceptability

Hi again,

This will be a quick post, since I've been doing a bit of editing of my writing tonight, and it's late so I really ought to go to bed.

But I wanted to comment quickly on the concept of what's acceptable and what isn't in a book - as a writer.

And by that I mean that something happens in a book which is abhorrent or just deeply unpleasant, but it is something that you have to write, describe, imagine and - in a sense - savour. You need to be able to feel the texture of the thing, imagine the feeling of the perpetrator as well as the horror of the victim (assuming of course that it is something that has both a perpetrator and a victim, but stay with me on this).

It occurred to me when I was thinking about a particularly distasteful event (which I've decided to remove from my book for entirely different reasons) that happened "offscreen" as it were. It was never

Tuesday 22 March 2011

So, what's the story?

Hello again

Since this is, ostensibly, a writing blog related to my writing process, I should probably give you an idea of what it is that I am writing.
I'm in the process of writing a fantasy book which is going to be split into three parts. Or a fantasy story which is going to be spread across three books; I'm not sure which (and that will be a topic in a later blog post), although I know where the two clear "inflection points" are.

In any case, from now on I'll refer to it as "the book".

The book is set in a land called Tínadé, which is ruled as a theocracy. The Laws are enforced by monks - who are sort of like the police (not The Police; they're not a white ska-reggae-funk combo with a tantric-sex practicing lead singer/bassist, although I'd imagine they are alike in that they all hate the drummer :-)) - and priests - who are more threatening and dangerous, and, as the book begins, are the only people who can use magic.

This set-up is the result of a Great War fought centuries ago between two races of men (in this world, there are only humans - no elves or dwarves or ogres or other fantasy races), and the victors have enforced their particular doctrine ever since.

In the aftermath of the war, the victorious race hunted down the remnants of the losing side, and there are now very few of them left.
There are various traits that are used by the monks to identify members of the other race, and once identified, these people are punished; one of the key traits is that only the losing race is physically able to give birth to twins.

It begins - and the majority of Part 1 is set - in a small village far to the south of Tínadé, where one

Sunday 20 March 2011

The Illusion of Control

Hi again.

I was going to put out a post this evening to describe where the stage I've reached in my writing and maybe explain my plans for now and the future, to give you an idea of the kind of book it is and maybe sort out in my own head when I might expect to be finished.

But life intervened a little, and I had some thoughts that I wanted to share instead, so I hope you don't mind.

I have a daughter, and she's a little over a year old. Cute as a button, etc., but all parents say that.
Anyway, I've noticed that she - and I would imagine kids in general, especially at that age - give you an illusion of control.

It feels like you know what happens if you do A, and what doesn't if you do B, and most of the time, it does.
If we feed her at 630, give her a bottle of milk at 730, she'll be asleep around 8 and that'll be that. And most nights it is.
But tonight she was out of sorts for some reason, and wouldn't sleep. We tried for about an hour and a half, but every time the lights went out, she began to cry and yell at the top of her lungs. So we

New Blog for a New Writer

Welcome to my blog.
I'll start off by introducing myself and my blog, and later tonight I'll put up the first entry of the blog proper.

I'm an aspiring author, who is in the process of writing a "fantasy" novel, or series of novels. I'm not really sure which, which will be a topic of a later blogpost I'm sure.
I'll go by my internet name here, which is Mad Iguana for reasons that are (practically) lost in the ethers of time.

In any case, I'll go into a bit more detail about the book at a later date, but as things stand, it is intended to be a novel in three parts / three books / whichever, trying to explore themes of truth, faith, honour, loyalty etc. whilst still (hopefully) being an entertaining read.
In this blog, I hope to do a few things - keep anyone who is interested updated on the progress of the novel, make a few observations about the writing process, and maybe just jot down random thoughts about my other interests: music, technology, family - whatever comes to mind I guess.

If anyone wonders about the blog title, Tínadé is the name of the world in which my novels will be set, so it seemed appropriate. And it was available, which is the most important part!

So, I'll post later with something more formulaic, and we'll see how it goes!!

Take care!

Mad Iguana............