Author Topic: My Fantasy Novel  (Read 961 times)

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Offline arthwollipot

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My Fantasy Novel
« on: March 31, 2017, 05:10:47 AM »
So I'm writing a fantasy novel. I'm putting chapters up on Patreon - one per week, for free (patrons get access to my blog posts and occasional additional stuff). Here's a link to the first chapter:

His First War

It'd be great if a few people could go over there and help out with ideas and so forth.

Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2017, 06:30:49 AM »
Reminder to myself to check this out when I have a solid hour.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2017, 10:50:37 AM »
I've bookmarked it so that I can read it later when I'm sitting comfortably with the tablet. Might be a lot later, after I've finished the book I'm reading.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline PANTS!

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2017, 06:29:50 PM »
I will give it a look.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2017, 11:52:10 PM »
Reminder to myself to check this out when I have a solid hour.
Lol I'm only four short chapters in so far - there isn't an hour's worth of reading yet. :)

I've got a lot more on the burner, as it were, but it won't take you an hour to read everything I've posted so far.

Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2017, 01:38:27 PM »
I write faster than I read.  I'm an excruciatingly slow reader with fiction because I actively visualize everything as I'm reading it.
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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2017, 11:13:17 PM »
Do you have the whole thing plotted out? This strikes me as something that would be *really* hard for me to do... good luck!
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2017, 01:40:18 AM »
Do you have the whole thing plotted out? This strikes me as something that would be *really* hard for me to do... good luck!
George R R Martin once described two kinds of writer. Architects plan everything carefully, build a foundation, put every component in its proper place and know what it's all going to look like when it's finished. Gardeners plant seeds and see what grows. He describes himself as a gardener, which I think is why the Song of Ice and Fire series is taking so damn long to finish.

I'm mostly a gardener, but I have a plan. I have a good idea of where I want the story to go from wherever I am at any particular time. However, there's a pretty common thing that happens to authors where they don't exactly know how their characters will react to any particular situation. My characters have done things that have surprised me, and I think I've surprised them from time to time, so to speak.

This is all a very long way of saying that yeah, I basically have things planned out in a very broad sense, but not in all the little details. And sometimes I can write myself into a corner and don't quite know how to proceed. That's where I am right now, for example, with one of my characters, who is currently unconscious in a deep underground room. I don't know how I'm going to get her out of that. There are a couple of options.

This is all way past what I've posted on Patreon, by the way. You won't be seeing that part of the story for a good thirty weeks or so. :)

Online daniel1948

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2017, 10:16:27 AM »
I'm getting closer to the end of the book I'm reading. Once I've finished it, I'll read yours.

I've written some verse and some short stories. I've tried to write a novel, but I run into two problems: My mind is too linear; this allows me to create the single thread of a short story, but makes it hard, if not impossible, for me to create the multi-threaded cloth of a novel. And I've never been able to maintain a creative run longer than the few days it takes me, when totally immersed, to write a story that takes about a half an hour to read out loud. That's the length of my longest pieces, of which there have been three or four. I've had some poems published, but never any of the longer stories.

Of your above categories, I'm definitely the gardener. I come up with an opening idea, and it flows from there. The first opening idea usually ends up discarded, but it gets the process started. I seldom know how it's going to end until I get there.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 02:55:25 PM »
I'm getting closer to the end of the book I'm reading. Once I've finished it, I'll read yours.

I've written some verse and some short stories. I've tried to write a novel, but I run into two problems: My mind is too linear; this allows me to create the single thread of a short story, but makes it hard, if not impossible, for me to create the multi-threaded cloth of a novel. And I've never been able to maintain a creative run longer than the few days it takes me, when totally immersed, to write a story that takes about a half an hour to read out loud. That's the length of my longest pieces, of which there have been three or four. I've had some poems published, but never any of the longer stories.

Of your above categories, I'm definitely the gardener. I come up with an opening idea, and it flows from there. The first opening idea usually ends up discarded, but it gets the process started. I seldom know how it's going to end until I get there.
I'm a bit with you on the novel stuff. My advice? Write out an outline. Or don't. Try both on for size (although you might want to try the outline first). I don't have anything publishable either but the 2 books I've written (well, one has gone through multiple drafts, the other is 1 draft through and sits there piling up dust) took different tactics: with the first, I started from the big ending setpiece and basically wrote backwards, scene by scene until I got to the beginning (well, beginning*s*, since the book is actually 2 linked novellettes), and with the second I wrote a big fat outline. It really was/is a *monster* of an outline, too: I think it tops out at around 60 or so pages in its own right and that plus the character bios, the description and layouts of the setting (it's a historical novel based on a real place in NYC so that was mostly research but still, it counts), and all that tops out at... 25k - 30k words?

For *me* both had their strengths and weaknesses. The biggest strength of the first route was that I was just able to sit down and write narrative and figure things out as I went along. I think this is actually kind of huge... by *far* the hardest part of writing is the actual writing part. That being said, I also had to toss out probably another novel's worth of stuff because I went off into tangents that I thought might have meant something but ultimately did not, and what's more I don't think I did a particularly great job of "killing my darlings", so to speak (i.e. there's stuff still in those that needs to be edited or cut but I like the way it holds up so I don't). With the second route I'm not going to lie, the outline took me a while to write. I bought a book on outline writing and wrote it pretty slavishly to formula, figuring I'd always be able to break out of it once I started writing actual narrative. That being said, once I got all that out of the way and got the time to actually sit down and do it, that first draft took me, geez, 2 weeks to write I think... more than 100k words and it felt like the thing was just writing itself. There are *still* some points in there where it meanders and, well, I could stand to cut a good 20-25% of the thing down, but man, that outline it really, really did its job...
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Online daniel1948

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2017, 03:55:47 PM »
I actually haven't written anything much for a couple of decades. And at my age, I just don't have the motivation.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline 2397

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 05:17:34 PM »
Do you have the whole thing plotted out? This strikes me as something that would be *really* hard for me to do... good luck!
George R R Martin once described two kinds of writer. Architects plan everything carefully, build a foundation, put every component in its proper place and know what it's all going to look like when it's finished. Gardeners plant seeds and see what grows. He describes himself as a gardener, which I think is why the Song of Ice and Fire series is taking so damn long to finish.

I don't know about that. I've been making foundations since maybe 15 years ago, haven't written even one chapter of a book yet.

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 10:01:28 PM »
Do you have the whole thing plotted out? This strikes me as something that would be *really* hard for me to do... good luck!
George R R Martin once described two kinds of writer. Architects plan everything carefully, build a foundation, put every component in its proper place and know what it's all going to look like when it's finished. Gardeners plant seeds and see what grows. He describes himself as a gardener, which I think is why the Song of Ice and Fire series is taking so damn long to finish.

I don't know about that. I've been making foundations since maybe 15 years ago, haven't written even one chapter of a book yet.

Actually sitting down and writing something is the hardest part. I admit to being quite stuck right now. Fortunately I've got quite a bit in the bag.

Online daniel1948

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2017, 08:09:12 PM »
So I looked at it. I liked the idea of the incompetent wizard. That's very Diskworld. But then just as I'm staring to like the guy, the next chapter has the farm wife staying indoors. You lose me there, because I worked on a farm. Farm wives don't stay indoors, and certainly would not have in a pre-industrial world. There's too much work to do. Monsters coming out of the ground, okay, but who runs toward the monster to get a better look? A hero would, but we've not yet established that this guy is a hero. And then the girl who doesn't want to be pushed into a forced marriage. In those days most women would have accepted that that's how things are. It takes gumption to oppose customs, and I first need to get to know her as a person before I'll accept that she has that kind of gumption. In each chapter we're told thus-and-such, very briefly, with no background or explanation. I think the chapters are way too short to draw me in, convince me of the situation, and keep my interest. You need to make me care about the characters very early.

I think the first chapter needs to build the world, rather than just dropping me into it, and then if you're going to drop the thread and move on to another sub-plot, that next chapter needs to do the same. Either explain why the farmer has the powers he does, or spend a lot more time building the background so that I can believe it.

Getting back to the first chapter: I want to know how the boy wizard ended up there. Do the generals really expect him to be able to help? Why do they seem to think he can? And if they do really think he can help, why are they so curt with him? Have they given him any preparation? A real general, even back then, I think, would have given him the lay of the land and told him what to expect, if they really expected him to do any good. But why would they even bother with a boy wizard when the other side could be expected to have an experienced wizard? I think the chapter has to explain to us what he's doing there and why the generals have dropped an inexperienced and obviously incompetent boy wizard into a battle with no preparation. Or if they don't expect him to do any good, and they have some other reason for putting him there, we need an inkling of that.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: My Fantasy Novel
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2017, 11:50:57 PM »
A lot of what you're asking for is actually explained in subsequent chapters that I haven't posted yet. Remember that the whole of what I've posted so far takes you about ten minutes to read. It's an artifact of the periodic nature of Patreon that it seems disjointed.

I get what you're saying about the farmer's wife - I should definitely give a bit more information about her, especially since I intend for that character to return later in the story, and your point about her working is well-taken.

I completely agree that I require more detail in the early parts. That's something I'm working on, but a lot of the background is revealed gradually, for reasons that are also revealed gradually. It's a pretty fine balance to walk, but I have good reasons for wanting to do it that way.

Thanks for the constructive feedback! Another chapter is going up today.

 

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