Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Making decisions

I began writing again yesterday after my brief hiatus. Have to say it felt good. I thought I might struggle after having a week and a bit off, I was especially worried that I would struggle to find the same voice. Luckily, I had left my story half way through a chapter (a tip someone suggested I do) so all I had to do was to re-read what I had written and continue. It was like getting on a bike again.
Anyway, before I knew it, I had churned out another 2,000 words. I love the fact that before I begin writing for the evening, I know roughly what I want to say, but the story soon begins to morph into something else. Yesterday for instance I was extremely pleased with what I had written. I thought maybe, it would have been quite a mundane but necessary part of the story, it turned out to be quite entertaining with snappy dialogue.
More importantly, I made a good decision at the weekend. When I first started to think about writing this novel, I was full of self doubt. Could I do it? Am I good enough? What will set it apart from other novels and make it stand out? Those questions still haunt me by the way, but now I am more obsessed with completing the story for my own enjoyment.
It was contemplating an answer to the last question that encouraged me to put pen to paper. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be different if my novel was set in a medieval, fantasy world but had some advanced technology, if some items or equipment didn’t quite follow the rules that we are used to?
It was then that I came up with the idea of a weapon that was crossed between a broadsword and an early version of a gun. I went into great detail into working out the semantics of the weapon. It would be essentially a sword and fire two ball bearings from the hilt. I even considered having a telescopic blade. I called it the “Gunnerswerd”
Having worked out all of the detail, I then wrote a scene (it actually turned out to be part of chapter 6), where I introduce the reader to a minor character who is sitting on his porch polishing the ball bearings and firing the gunnerswerd. I found it extremely hard to write, I wanted to describe the scene so the gunnerswerd appeared natural, but at the same time describe exactly what it was. The finished scene was actually quite good. I then mentioned the gunnerswerd once more when I was talking about a young Rhact, again I found the passage uncomfortable to write.
Over the weekend, I realised I was 12 chapters into my story and only mentioned this weapon twice. I would have to go back and insert it into other areas of the story. I then had a revelation!!!!
I hate it! Why was I struggling to include something that even I didn’t feel comfortable writing? When I read fantasy books, I like the rules. I like that it is going to be swords, awes, arrows and the occasional magic. I absolutely abhor it when the author includes anything like a flying car out of no where. So why was I trying to include it in my novel? So, with a deep breath, I took the decision to get rid of it and boy do I feel good for it. What was I thinking even including such a thing?
It will mean re-writing certain sections but that is what the first edit is for. Someone has since pointed out that there is a similar weapon in the “Dune” novels. I have to confess that I’ve never read them, part of the reason is because they sounded like something I wouldn’t enjoy due to having technology like that in them.
So what you will hopefully read one day, dear reader, is a great story in a typical fantasy world. Boring? I promise you it won’t be.
To answer my other questions regarding self doubt. As Stephen King says in his book “On Writing.” The story and characters will make it stand out from other novels – hopefully!!!

Keep the gloom away.