When I finished the first draft of ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ (Work #2) back in May, I followed my standard policy of letting work simmer for a while before doing anything with it. For a blog post or book review, that might be a day or two. For an essay, maybe a week or two. For a book, I decided that three months was the minimum allowable. Ideally, a year would be better, but I wasn’t sure I could wait that long! So I created a new page in Scrivener, and typed in giant letters: ‘EDITING SCHEDULE: DO NOT OPEN UNTIL AUGUST 2013!’. Then I got on with ‘The Fire Mages’ (Work #3).
There’s a lot of advice swilling around on the internet for aspiring writers. I’n not sure whether I’d classify myself as aspiring (I just scribble stuff for fun, I don’t have aspirations), but I read any number of blog posts and even books on the subject. Writing fiction for dummies. The no-rules handbook for writers. The busy writer’s one hour plot. Your writing coach. Outlining your novel. Some of them even contain useful snippets of advice.
Most fantasy works, however outlandish or alien the setting, accept the standard customs for legalising the relationships between sexual partners and taking care of children. Marriage is (mostly) for life, is between one man and one woman, sex outside that pairing is frowned upon, children born outside that pairing are a matter for social disapprobation, prostitution is immoral and usually illegal. These attitudes, although drifting into a more liberal version in many countries, are still so prevalent in all modern cultures as to be virtually ubiquitous.
Vast amounts have been written about the process of writing, and one of the most contentious issues is that of outlining or discovery writing. Plotting or pantsing, in more colloquial terms. Outlining means planning every stage of the book according to whatever theory of structure the author subscribes to: the three act principle, or the twelve step hero’s journey, or whatever it happens to be. Character traits, plot points, sub-plots, dramatic twists, big revelations – all are set out ahead of time, before a single word of the book itself is written. Discovery writing is the blank sheet of paper system: the writer simply writes, following ideas wherever they may lead.
This blog is about the various books I’m attempting to write, and the background behind them. So that makes me a writer, right? Not really. There are lots of definitions of what a writer is, from the very broadest (someone who writes) to much narrower ideas. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. I’ve posted on writers’ forums and said unequivocally: I am not a writer. Yet, I do write – fiction, book reviews, blog posts. I write a lot, and I write in one of these categories almost every day.
Welcome to the blog. There’s not much to see yet, but have a look round, leave a comment or email me if you have something to say (my email address is on the About me page).