My last post was about thinking and doubts… well now it’s time for the action.
Like many writers my focus is on the words, the plot, the characters and the dialogue. With my editor I’ve done well with all of that. I made a big mistake however and I now intend to correct that. I badly underestimated the importance of covers and design.
I knew I was doing as well as I could with limited resources but that was not good enough. Only the best professional design can do justice to the work Miriam and I have done on the novels so… that’s what’s going to happen. All the novels, begining with the trilogy and Companions will get a full make over. The Daniel series will follow. Continue reading →
I have written and published twelve novels over a period of five years. That has been done with the help of my beloved partner Brigitte. Without her support and the freedom and encouragement she provided, I’d never have been able to do this. My editor Miriam also played a role, a role more important than I think she knows. I am proud of the work. I think I found a true and original voice and used it to tell stories about what is good in humans and the cultures they make. I found stories that speak of what love and integrity can achieve. Stories about characters that are real and inspiring and a little alternative and exotic. Continue reading →
After almost six months struggle trying to get going with the next in the history trilogy: ‘Beloved Warrior,’ I’ve finally had a breakthrough – I ditched it!
I’ve been combining writing with editing all the completed novels. My editor and I have been doing one every six to eight weeks. That was one reason for the struggle with ‘Warrior.’
The other reason was more subtle and difficult. The form I’d chosen for the work was similar to the first in the trilogy: ‘Prairie Companions’; a chronological progression following the characters down a time-line. That worked well on ‘Companions’ but somehow it was just not working for Warrior. I managed five chapters over six months and that is snail slow for me.
I can usually do a first draft of at least one hundred twenty thousand words in three months or less. More importantly I was not enjoying the process. I was not enjoying the result either. It was good enough but that is not good enough. I wanted special and it just wasn’t.
I’ve had the distraction of a house move this past six weeks and didn’t write at all. I was bubbling the problem and a few days ago a solution surfaced.
I will scrap ‘Warrior’ and start afresh. I will abandon a chronological progression and use a more free flowing structure based on intense personal character impressions. I will throw way the time line completely and go for a more stream of consciousness style. Trying to capture the huge sweep of the first war and limiting myself by trying to get the history in there was a mistake. I want this novel to be about what it felt like to live through that cataclysmic event. The history is too well chronicled to need repeating yet again. Free flow picture creation, nightmarish searing vivid events, raw passion and fear and living with that after is what I will go for this time. Throwing away the work I’ve pulled from myself like bad teeth is difficult but required and now I’ve made the decision, I feel liberated.
The other liberation was starting on a different novel. The last of the Daniel series- ‘Trial’ was begun today. Just six pages in an afternoon but they flowed nicely. Easy and free like I’m back in the groove. I cannot begin to describe my relief.
What I do when I’m blocked? After ten novels in three years without any hesitation, I am finally faced with the infamous writers block. Not serious, I can still write but I seem to have lost the flow, it’s like pulling teeth and I am not confident I have found the right voice for this book. I’ve been working on the second in the history trilogy: ‘Beloved Warrior’ and have had two attempts to get going. The first I rejected when I noticed the soapbox beneath. I was having a rant, not writing a compelling novel. The next attempt got going and flowed the first chapter nicely then, thump, blocked. I usually deal with this by stopping and doing something else, in this case, editing the 5th Daniel novel: Daniel’s Grip. The ‘Warrior’ is till bubbling and I am immersing myself in WW1 history reading. Fuel for later.
I find if I try to force it I can produce work but it’s usually indifferent and gets scrapped. I must be patient and wait for the bubbling and simmering to produce the magic spark of creativity that will reignite, or should that be unblock, the flow.
This is the second cover design for Daniel’s Grip, the next in the Daniel series to be published soon.