Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Making it all up

Procrastination is the thief of time, and all that. I say why put off until tomorrow what you can possible avoid doing altogether, but some things just refuse to go away.

I've been nibbling around the edges of Benfro book one these last few days, making a few changes in the light of recommendations from my agent. Mostly these have been small things - increasing emphasis here, deleting unnecessary stuff there - and tidying up some of the writing where I thought it was just too crass to be allowed to stay. But now I have to bite the bullet and do the big one.

I moaned here earlier about the decision to keep or remove the chapter headings. These are little faux-quotes from books that exist in the world of Sir Benfro and which help to illuminate aspects of the story that a casual reader might not pick up from the main text. They are, if you like, teasers that point the reader towards my way of thinking. They also make it look like I've done a huge amount of background work on this story and am trying to put some of it to good use.

When I first embarked on the series, I put them in mainly because I liked the way Robin Hobb had done it in here Farseer books. Then book one became book two, the whole project looked like it was a complete waste of time, and quite frankly I couldn't be arsed writing new stuff for the new book one. I sent it off to prospective agents without any chapter headings.

Then one of the agents bit. She liked book one and wanted to represent me. She also wanted to see book two.

Those of you who have persevered with my moanings here will remember the angst-ridden times when I couldn't decide whether to put the chapter headings back into the rewritten book two or not before sending it agentwards. In the end, I decided I would - hedging my decision by explaining that I was still in two minds what to do. Nice agent lady liked the chapter headings.


So now I've got twenty-seven more of the bastards to write. They're not long - some aren't more than a couple of sentences, others run to maybe two hundred words. But they all need to have a certain relevance to the tale, and to some of the events in the chapter they precede. In book two there are seven different sources for these 'quotes' and I've already introduced an eighth for book one.

It's quite fun, in an oddly masochistic way. This is world-building at its most raw - creating a mythology and laying down the internal logic, sorting out the histories of the various factions and that sort of thing. Telling new fairy stories. The kind of work you really should do before even thinking about chapter one, paragraph one.

But hey! I wrote book two before book one of this series, so I'm not exactly following the script.

I've promised nice agent lady it will all be done by the end of the week. This should be eminently possible, even with the webmaster report that needs to be finished as well. I just need to be focussed and not let the world out there distract me from my allotted task.

Except right now I need to eat. Then I'll get started.



Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...


Stop reading this and get to work.


April 05, 2006 2:33 am  
Blogger Trace said...

I used to write without any chapter headings at all. Then my chapters were too short. Then too long. I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

April 06, 2006 2:12 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Me neither, but it doesn't stop me;}#

April 06, 2006 2:19 pm  

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