Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Plot Thickens

I'm in the middle of plotting a new story at the moment, using a whiteboard and notebook. I bought the whiteboard about two years ago exactly for this purpose, but so far the only people who've used it are my three sons, mostly to surreptitiously write rude words on when nobody's looking. I can't believe how useful it is to be able to set out ideas and sit back and look at them on a board, as well as to be able to easily rub them out and write new thoughts in. It gives a sort of bird's eye view in a way that staring at a page doesn't (for some reason).

So now I have the first germs of an outline. My next step is do something potentially a bit odd. At some point in the past I read some advice that went along the lines of this: if your story isn't worth telling in a pub, it's not worth telling. And no, the next stage in my plotting process isn't me going to the local pub and boring people senseless with my outline (although the idea is tempting). Instead, what I'll do is tell myself the story, out loud, as I would if I were in a pub, or around a camp fire, or wherever. I haven't done it yet, but I suspect it will be a useful exercise in testing the flow of events and the level of tension as the story progresses. If it's not, I've learned a lesson and nothing's been lost.

So if you live in Adelaide and you see someone driving down the road in the next few days talking to himself in an animated manner, with no blue-tooth headset in existence, it could be me. Please feel free to wave, and to offer any plot advice you may happen to have up your sleeve.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Not Dead Yet

Well my golly gosh it's been a while. So much for the New Year's resolution to be more consistent here and so forth. Anyway, here I am again as another year grinds rapidly to its conclusion.

And it's certainly been a busy one. By my count I've written two first draft's of two separate novels, plus 20,000 words of another, as well as 2 junior novels at 7,000 words each. None of them are finished, and I won't be submitting any of them anytime soon. Instead I'm busily plotting yet another story, which I'm hoping to be substantially into by Christmas.

Why so many different stories? It probably has something to do with the fact I have difficulty making my mind up. Or do I? No, maybe I don't. No, scratch that, I think I probably do. It also has something to do with the fact that the second book or series an author publishes is fairly important in the scheme of things for cementing a readership and a "brand", and to be honest I'm still trying to work out exactly what that brand is.

That's not to say all those other stories are wasted. At least one of them will be revisited in coming years, and elements from the others might turn up in one form or another. And even if I never use any of it, there's nothing like writing thousands of words for polishing up your craft.

And speaking of craft, I stumbled across (Ha! Not really, I found it by obsessively searching on Google) this excellent review of Jeweller of Rassylon this morning. There's nothing quite as gratifying for an author as when a reviewer 'gets' your story, as this lovely person certainly has.

Enjoy, and I hope it won't be months before I post another update.