Monday, May 13, 2013

The magic stone Xwopraz

  - and the eagle who landed on my arm

An image straight from the webcam showing the page where I wrote about the eagle who landed on my arm. And continued to add both more to the text itself and comments on it.

Both are things which which will not be included in my first novel, but which both were part of the genesis of the world where it takes place and the overall story of which it is part. They are both, individually, part of stories, or rather snippets of stories, which I wrote circa 15 years ago. I never really got too far with either though, and that could have been the end to it, but then one day I was walking in the forest near where I lived at that time and got an idea. I will not write that idea out as it is still relevant for the next part of the series my first novel will be a part of (provided I finish them all of course), but the exact idea/words aren't that interesting anyway. What’s interesting about it is both that I still remember where I got the idea (at least within a hundred meters or so, though it was probably more of one thought lead to another anyway, so the exact spot is irrelevant), and also that it’s still something that is shaping my thinking about the story.

For the next few years I wrote a bit here and a bit there on what I like to think of as "the trilogy", but in the end I didn't see too much progress. I began a fair number of chapters, but didn't write more than one or a couple pages for each, and certainly didn't have a very good idea of how things were connected. What I was reasonably sure about was that the story would be relatively long, and I began doubting the logic of writing a trilogy as the first longer story I've ever written. Still, I knew I cared enough about the story not to want to abandon it completely.

The solution came when I recalled a character in one of the beginnings of chapters, whom I thought it would be interesting to find out how he ended up where, and who, he was. Interestingly his entrance into my conscience is also a case where I still remember the location where I first thought of him, riding on my bicycle through another forest. I didn't have too much of an idea of who he was, but still it seemed as if I would be able to tell his story in fewer words than "the trilogy", and thus a better story to have as my first long story. A whole bunch of years, a lot of time away from the text, a lot of more intensive writing periods, and some dead-ends later and I'm certain that’s true. The other day I finished what I hope and believe is my next to final version of the text (I'm just waiting for the opinion of a couple of people who are reading through it + I’ll want to have it proofread before I'm going to try and get people to pay to read it), and it is almost exactly 74 000 words, which though a nice number to have reached is on the short side of novel lengths.

I’ll write more about my process in writing my first novel in another blog post (if nothing else it can be an illustration of the value in keeping at it, and sometimes trying new things), but I’ll end this blog post with a few more words about the overall story. During my writing I've come to realize that there’s more to the story than just this first novel and the trilogy, and begun gathering ideas for a final book, tentatively called simply "Epilogue". I have also planned out "the trilogy" in broad strokes and begun writing it.

PS: The eagle might end up making it into one of the books in the trilogy, I’m certain there will not be a magic stone called Xwopraz though.
P.P.S: After having written this, but before posting it (I tried to scan the image of the page, but the scanner didn't play too well with the pencil writing. Then I tried to enhance the image in Photoshop and when that didn't work I stopped trying for a couple of weeks.) I've since actually included it, but in a less than serious way.