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
author who writes fiction set in the "real" world; while it is liberating to not be constrained by geography, religion, history, biology or the lack of magic etc., it means that you have to create every mountain, every river, every village in your world. You need to invent a Creation mythology, a history of conflicts, set out the evolution of society, hierarchy of various classes and social strata, the laws of the land(s) you create, the rules that govern the use of magic.... The list goes on.

Whilst it is really nice to give your imagination free rein, it does impose its own constraints - it is easy to become too inventive and write yourself into a corner from which there is no escape!! It is easy to invent a law or rule or geographical feature that gets you out of a particular hole at that moment, but at some stage in the future will create nothing but trouble...

But anyway, I was working through all of these issues while I was out of work, and once I returned to work, it all kind of became irrelevant and I put the book to one side.
Over the next 4 years, I wrote another 4 chapters, mainly because my wife wanted to know what happened next. I was never enthused about it, because I didn't really think it was ever going to be good enough to be published, and I didn't want to spend my time doing that when I had a lot of other things to do and look after.

So it was that there was another few years when nothing was written at all, until my daughter was born last year.

Now, you'd think that having a daughter would increase the amount of things I had to do, and reduce my free time to write, and you'd be right. Didn't stop me re-starting with a vengeance and a fierce determination to get it all out.
My wife made a very salient point to me, and it was this:
If you have a story inside you, and you want to tell it, it is the telling that matters. Even if it never gets published, you'll have something you can hand to your daughter, and say: "This was me; I was here, and I created something."

In the world today, there are very few people whose jobs allow them to actually create anything lasting; most of us work in service industries, or manufacturing temporary consumable items, or maintaining websites or things like that.
Even people who build lasting things, like buildings or motorways, are anonymous to the rest of the world, regardless of how great their creations are. And let's be honest, very few of those buildings have the iconic, everlasting nature of something like th Taj Mahal or Stonehenge or even something more modern like the Sydney Opera House.
So the only place where we can create something that leaves a lasting mark on the world - however small and, in the greater scheme of things, insignificant it might be - is to use our skills to create some sort of art. Whether High Art, or Low Art or Rubbish Art, if we have the desire and the ability to create something lasting, we should do it.

My mind has been exercised a lot about mortality since my daughter was born, and I know that, as things stand, I will have left nothing behind me when I die. I'll hopefully have made some people happy, hopefully made those parts of the world I've touched slightly better, or at the very least not made them worse.
I'll have a daughter and (hopefully) another child to leave behind, and they are a legacy that any parent would be proud of. But as things stand, I'll have left nothing tangible and eternal behind.

That is why I started to write again: to have a legacy, both for my own benefit and for my daughter.
It's changed slightly now, as my ambitions have lifted a bit; I don't just want to leave something behind; as I stated yesterday, I want other people to read it too!

It's ambitious, but it's a goal. To have passed on this story will be a beautiful thing to have done. And hopefully there will be people who will enjoy it.

In the last 7 months I've written another 3 chapters in Book 1; 15 chapters in Book 2, then returned to Book 1 and added - so far - 7 more chapters.
In total, I now have 185,000 words written across two books of the three that my story will encompass, about 75% of which was written since the end of August last year.

At this rate, I might have it finished by the end of 2011.
And once I am, I'll have the manuscript to - if nothing else - say "This was me; I was here, and I created something."
Wish me luck.

Take Care!

Mad Iguana.......

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