Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Q & A, Part 1

Eamon of Creative Think Juice asked several questions in a recent comment on this blog, and as they were good questions that required more space than a comment box for a reply, I decided to write a post instead.


Q) How far are you in the book at the moment?

A)
I'm in the second half (to be more precise, about three-fourths into) of the first draft. There is a lot going on in the story, a lot of characters to track and plot elements to fit into the puzzle, and as those various things come together--literally--in this part of the story, I'm writing slower and slower.

This is the second book in what may become a cycle. I say "may" because I never intended this story to extend beyond a single book. However, stories are what they are, and this one seems to keep spawning. In the current scheme, there will be three books in this particular storyline, and then at least one or two books set in the same world but in different eras i.e. a story set several generations in the future, and another story set in the distant past, the genesis of the current tale.

As for the three-book run, the first manuscript is circulating among readers who are making notes--suggestions, questions, comments--and sending those back to me. However, I am not editing that manuscript again until this current one is complete. I had hoped to have it finished by the end of March, but it may not be complete until May or June.


Q) What have you enjoyed most about writing this book so far?

A)
I like it when connections are made that I did not plan. I like it when characters speak in ways I did not intend, or act in a manner that fits them so much better than anything I thought I knew about them.

In recent weeks, the most fun I've had in the writing process has been the death scene of an ancient villain. I talked about it with my brother, he and his wife read a rough draft of it and pointed out some weaknesses, and I fixed the trouble spots. Then I set it aside and continued on with the rest of the story. Last night, I had to re-read a portion of the manuscript to orient myself on a particular point, and so read the death scene again. I laughed--not because I'm sadistic, but because it was good writing.

I enjoy it when things just fit, and the words come easy, not necessarily because they were planned, but because they are right.


Q) What have you found most difficult to do?

A)
The most difficult thing? To keep going. The easiest thing? To keep going.

Time is an obstacle, as are ideas. Sometimes, I've been so fixated on one idea that I've wasted time following a particular story thread to a dead end, and had to go back and find out where I went wrong. A writer has to see the details as well as the big picture, and sometimes I get off track. It's hard to stay on the trail when there are so many interesting things wandering through the trees.

Also, I'm writing something other writers have told me not to write. They think my skills better suited for other topics, other genres. They don't understand, and for a while I resented their lack of encouragement. Sometimes, to be quite honest, I still get riled about what I perceive to be an attitude of superiority, as if fantasy or science fiction is beneath the notice of "real" literature.

However, there are a handful of other writers who produce similar stories and are encouraging, and the few trusted readers are, too. (By readers, I mean individuals who get to preview the material and provide much needed feedback before the writing goes out into the great wide world.)

I write whatever grabs my attention, but this story has been with me, in one form or another, for over a decade. It's time I finished it.

To Be Continued

3 comments:

Eamon said...

Keanan






'puzzle' - a good way of describing the knitting-together ( as I like to think of it) of people, plot and place.

'I never intended this story to extend beyond a single book' - that's the nature of creative-writing - it takes you off some place you had planned.

'I like it when connections are made that I did not plan. I like it when characters speak in ways I did not intend, or act in a manner that fits them so much better than anything I thought I knew about them- me too!

'I enjoy it when things just fit, and the words come easy, not necessarily because they were planned, but because they are right' - exactly ..

'A writer has to see the details as well as the big picture, and sometimes I get off track'- yes.

'Sometimes, to be quite honest, I still get riled about what I perceive to be an attitude of superiority, as if fantasy or science fiction' - different courses for different horses: some people just don't get science fiction / fantasty .. that's it, nothing you can do about it ..

Jadesmith said...

Hey, look for more comments on the manuscript next week instead of the weekend--I want to put more than a couple of chapters on the disk! Also, my plans for the weekend off have changed.

KEANAN BRAND said...

No problem. I'm still trudging through the forest, trying to get Keepers and warriors and king's soldiers and lost heirs and highwaymen--oh, and a priest--all to the same spot. What fun.