Wednesday, August 6, 2014

An update on writing and also a bit about my life

Very, very occasionally I write blog posts, usually with about the frequency that Earth experiences ice ages or direct hits from coronal mass ejections. I haven't written a post in over a year. Some people would call that lazy.

The fact is, I'm not much of a blogger. For some reason the only people that seem to read my blog are in Russia, at least according to Google. Hi comrades. I'm not sure why you read this but hey, I'm not complaining.

As I don't possess anything that vaguely resembles a readership there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of pointing writing anything, but now and then I feel the need to do so if only to structure my thoughts. This is one of those occasions.

By the way, according to autocorrect I cannot spell occasion. See, I got it wrong again even though it's the third time I've written the word in the space of five minutes.

So, what's been going on in the last year? Well, I suppose the biggest news is I became a dad in May this year. I now have a three month old daughter called Olivia. She resembles me in a lot of ways, in that she likes to burp and fart a lot, is easily amused and when she drinks too much she shits herself. That last one isn't true (at least on my part) but it was a good joke.

On the writing front, things went cold for a while because of the baby situation and also because my photography business was, and is, doing rather well. Since that pays my bills I need to make that a priority over writing. I'm in a little bit of a lull on the picture taking front until late September so I'm using that time to get back on the writing wagon.

To date I've still only published two novels: Satisfaction and Infinite Diamond. I think I've sold maybe 10 copies of Satisfaction, which really does baffle me because it's really not that bad of a book. Infinite Diamond on the other hand has sold very well, and is still selling some eighteen months after publication. This amazes me, but then it shouldn't because it's a fun book.

I have another novel, GhostWalker, which is sitting in the wings still waiting for publication. I really need to pull my finger out and launch that, but I've been putting my energies elsewhere, namely into the sequel to Infinite Diamond (ID), which is called The Eye of Andromeda (TEOA).

Generally, I hate sequels. Unless its Aliens or Godfather Part II, most of them are terrible, either rehashing the same idea or forcing a premise out of a completed story. I'm trying to avoid both of those with my sequel and it's leading to some interesting changes to my plans.

One of the things I do when I write is to come up with a basic plot and then apply characters to it and analyze what happens in the story. If the plot progression is organic and feels like something that would happen because of the characters rather than in spite of them, it stays. If it feels contrived, the plot changes and develops from the characters. That's something that's hugely important to me, especially when writing action and fantasy type material. However far fetched a scenario might be, I want it to feel as though the people in that situation are behaving as though they would and it's them driving the story rather than the other way around. Of course it's a blend of the two, but you understand what I'm getting at, don't you?

The result of this is that the while the original plot of TEOA has remained intact, quite a number of the details have been changed to make it blend much more naturally with ID and expand on the world I created there. The downside of this is that I've created a world much bigger than can be explored within the confines of this one story, and while the sequel works as a standalone piece it strongly links back to ID and it leaves a way forward to expand the story again into the next book Scorpio. It leaves me in the quandry that it is very much a middle act, or the first half of a middle act. I do think I've made it a good enough story to stand on it's on merits, but it's most definitely part of a larger story arc.

Originally, TEOA, ID and Scorpio were all independent stories set in the same universe. As I've progressed with TEOA it's become increasing apparent to me that they all are part of the same story. Perhaps they always were in my subconcious, but the more I put the stories down on paper the more ah ha! moments I have where each of the stories naturally link and layer and build into a much more intricate saga.

I hate that word by the way - saga - but it's the only word I can think of to define the overall arc I'm developing.

So I'm at the point where ID opens the story, TEOA extends that story. Scorpio then adds another layer, almost as a parallel sequel, and then finally NorthStar will complete the story arc.

Originally Scorpio, NorthStar and Nemesis were a standalone trilogy but as I've written ID and TEOA it's become very apparent that they're not. In fact, they don't need to be a trilogy at all. The middle act of that trilogy is completely redundant. I don't want to give out any spoilers in case one day you decide to read these stories but once I have them all published I'll write an explanation of how the story compressed and merged over time.

This is extremely long waffle is my way of explaining that I've revised my planned output. While I was once going to write TEOA and then leave that as a completed story along with ID, I'm now segueing it into Scorpio, and then NorthStar will bring together elements from the previous three books into a very definite conclusion. I'm not going to drag it out without a clear ending and make it up as I go along. Although I'm only 40% through writing the overall story arc, I already know how it will end, who will live and who will die and how the whole story ties together.

The only problem is at the end of my planned story, there's an obvious next story to be told. One day, it will make sense what it is. Whether or not I write it is an entirely different matter.

- Paul