One of the problems I’ve had with writing this draft is that I keep going backward, meaning that instead of picking up from the end of the last scene of Chapter 5 that I wrote and writing what comes next, I keep starting from the first page of the draft and writing what happened before that – going backward. The downside is that my story obviously isn’t moving forward, but the upside is that the beginning of the story is getting much better!
At first, the draft started with the prologue scene in the tavern where the conspirators hatched their plot. I liked it. It was good. Not a bad hook. Dropped a fair number of seeds. I liked it. But when I wrote the subsequent chapters I realized a problem: there was no way for the reader to relate to the central character because she becomes incapacitated almost immediately after she is introduced in the draft.
So, I backed the story up a bit. I wrote a new prologue that showed the central character and introduced her to the reader so they would have a better sense of who she is before she becomes altered. I liked it. It was good. Not a bad hook. Dropped a fair number of seeds. I liked it. But when I read the new prologue at the Clearwater Writer’s group this week I noticed another problem: I’ve introduced the central character but not the setting.
So, I backed the story up a bit. I wrote a new beginning to the story (I say “new beginning” because I may decide to start the novel by going right into Chapter One rather than a Prologue) that introduces the setting so the reader will know the answer to those very important questions: “where” and “when”. I like it. It’s good. It even has a better hook and I drop a couple of seeds. I like it. I hope you do too, but you’ll have to tell me.
I’ve added a new page from Laurence Gardner’s series of books detailing his research into the Alpheus material. The link is on the left-hand column of every page, but here’s a link if you prefer: Genesis of the Grail Kings.
Some of the information is quite controversial. Just remember. I’m posting it because it’s relevant to the background for my novels, not because I believe it. I admit, though, that it’s very compelling and that’s why I’m using it. It really makes the mind say, “What if…”, and that’s the kind of adventure I want to take people on.
Okay, it’s Ray Bradbury. You have to overlook the shorts. If one of the greatest writers of our time wants to wear white Bermuda shorts with his white suit then I’m not going to say a word. What he has to say though is what I think new writers need to hear, especially me. Pull up a chair and listen to the words of a giant:
THANK YOU, ALPHEANS!!!
You all amaze me. It seems like such a short time ago that this website recorded 1,000 visits, and today we passed 2,000! I’m speechless in both wonder and gratitude at the incredible response to my writing and my blog. You people are wonderful and you really keep me going in ways you probably don’t realize, and for that I owe you all many expressions of thanks.
From the bottom of my heart… thank you.
Hey, everyone. I’m posting because I just spoke with my dad a couple of hours ago for about 5 minutes. That might not seem all that unusual, but in this case it’s a bit more significant as my Dad passed away exactly 740 days ago. To say that I’m affected by the experience is an understatement and I’m trying to remain focused upon the message he gave me, which was to “take hold of your dreams and go for it”.
My father was an optimistic and upbeat man, but he was also very traditional and had a very traditional view on things like careers. As an example, he discouraged me from pursuing a career in music (which was good advice – not that I don’t have musical talent, but that I don’t have marketable musical talent, so good call there, Dad). But now I’m strongly considering a career as a novelist and my Dad, ‘the Traditionalist’, while he was still with us would almost certainly have advised me to temper my expectations and to make sure I didn’t jeopardize my ‘day job’ chasing fantastic dreams.
I’m stunned, elated, emotional, (and still missing my Dad terribly), and the intriguing thing to me is the realization that being “on the other side” has somehow changed his perspective. My Dad had big dreams of his own but he always played it safe. He never achieved any of his dreams. Not that he didn’t have big accomplishments, because he definitely did. He is still a giant in my eyes for the things he did. But beyond those things he had dreams that he never pursued. To me, this was the point of his message to me, to not let moments and opportunities pass. Take hold of your dreams and go for it.
Life is hard all over and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the misfortune and frustration we see around us every day. But what we need to keep in our minds as we experience the adversity of life and see bad things happen to good people close to us, is that the events of our lives are not what’s important. That’s not why we’re here. There’s a reason we so often refer to ‘life’s lessons’. Life is school. In life we develop skills and gain knowledge we will need later, and I believe that to be true regardless of what one believes ‘the hereafter’ to be. Bad things hurt but they don’t really harm us. Good things feel great, but they don’t really benefit us. Not really. To echo the words of Shakespeare, all the world really is a stage, and we really are merely players. That doesn’t mean life is insignificant, far from it. It just means that there are lessons in everything and everything that happens here shapes us, but nothing that happens here can really affect us. In adverse times, perspective is a critical commodity, and hope is the currency with which we purchase our destiny.
So, like my Dad told me:
“Take hold of your dreams and go for it.”
Okay, Alpheans… do you want to know a personal definition of “pathetic” for an aspiring writer? How about writing your own ‘fan fiction’?
Yes, I’ll give you all some time to stop laughing maniacally.
For those of you who may not be aware, ‘fan fiction’ is material written by people who are fans of an author’s work that’s based upon their work. Some of the most popular authors have thriving communities of fans and many write stories that are derivative of the author’s work that they enjoy.
So, how does that fit in with me? Well, to answer that question I have to go back to how this whole writing thing started, particularly the story I’m focused upon writing now.
It started from a character I created for role-playing, a vampire named Jezebel. I won’t go into detail, but the personality I created for the vampire Jezebel is the basis for the personality of the central character in ‘Mortality, Interrupted’. Sometimes, when I need to get my mind back into the character I go back to portraying her in roleplaying games. It immerses me into her character, presenting me with hypothetical situations I can’t predict, and it forces me to react to them as she would.
When I do this, I like to present background material for those I’ll be interacting with. I like to do this by writing little introductory stories showing how Jezebel arrives in the setting where the roleplay will be happening. I had just finished such a story on how Jezebel arrives in an alternate-version of 1890s London and it dawned upon me:
I’m writing fan-fiction of my own stuff!!