I like poetry, and I read it often. I even write it … No, no, come back, I’m not going to inflict it on you. What I am going to do is ramble on about poetry for a bit, and share some of my favourites with you.
The current Work-in-Progress has reached a critical juncture. I have managed to incorporate quite a lot of the various disconnected ideas I scribbled down two years ago, and created something approaching a coherent narrative, and also begun the process of weaving a sub-plot into the main story line (I wrote the sub-plot as one straight-through story, almost a little novelette, and of course that won’t do at all). Of the remaining disjointed pieces flapping about at the end, it is now a question of a) which ones to keep and b) of those, where they fit into the storyline, and then add some more connecting tissue to bed them in. There is still one unresolved bit of plot, a thing that ought to have consequences but as yet doesn’t, and I also ought to perhaps make a day by day timeline so I can hang the bits of story on it and get the pace of events right, but other than that I will soon have caught myself up, and will be able to lay down new story to carry the plot(s) through to the end. Progress 🙂
I find myself re-writing lots of little bits as I go along, because two years on and having more-or-less completed one novel I think – I hope – I’ve got better at this writing lark, and have a better eye for what works and what doesn’t. I believe that I’m even (whisper it very quietly) beginning to get a feel for how plots work …
I’ll leave you with this rather brusque dismissal from Frida the goose-girl:
“Don’t you like people, then?” Frida frowned. “No,” she said shortly. “Oh. Why not?” Frida’s frown grew deeper. “Right now, it’s because they keep asking me stupid questions.” Even Gorm could take a hint like that, and he beat a hasty retreat back down the hill.
Evening, all. Mind how you go.
What books should fantasy writers read? Well, any books they like, actually, and the more the better, but what I am getting at is what books might help us to be better writers? Here are some ideas for books I have found useful, broken down into categories for your comfort and convenience.
But before I do, can I just say that if you want advice on the building blocks of novel-writing, and are intimidated by the jargons used in works of literary advice, or are perhaps new to this whole writing a book lark, hie you at once to Jesse’s Studio, where the estimable Jesse Stuart has just such (excellent) advice laid out in clear and easy to understand language.
This weekend I have laid Aiella aside, on the grounds that, pending any further reports from beta-readers, it is as finished as it is going to get, and also I’ve had enough of it for now.
Instead I have taken up my other work-in-progress, untouched for nearly two years, to see what might be done with it. The Saga of Gorm the Less and the Huldrafolk (hereinafter referred to as the Huldrasaga) is actually the older work, having been started about five or six years ago now. It is a fairly conventional comic fantasy, trying hard not to be a pale imitation of Pratchett, set in a fantasy Northlands very (very) loosely based on Norse sagas and mythology.
Here’s another historical piece from my old blog. Nobody asked for this one, but you’re getting it anyway.
Harold’s Other Battle
Everybody knows the Battle of Hastings was in 1066, and that Harold lost and William won; and whether that “matters” or not, it remains the single most famous event in English history. It is less well-known, perhaps, that Harold fought another battle against an invader in 1066, and won it. This is the story of that battle, and its dramatic aftermath; it deserves rescuing from the shadow of Hastings, and the scene is perhaps the most intensely theatrical in English history.
I’d like you all to have a read of this and tell me what you think. Is it properly creepy, or does it need a bit more chill?
Let me explain. This is an inset story in Aiella, and replaces the original version, which was a) not very good b) somewhat derivative and c) irrelevant to the setting.
To set the scene, Aiella and Dartea have been commissioned to escort young Lady Talia D’Inverno on a secret trip across the mountains, and they take the first part of the journey by boat up the river. Our heroines soon discover that Talia is what Dartea describes as a ‘flouncy little whatsit’, spoiled and arrogant, and a sore trial of their patience. One night they camp in a forest glade by the river. As a form of mild revenge for all the trouble Talia has caused them Dartea decides to wind her up by telling a creepy story.
It is an evening in late summer, it’s getting toward dark, the trees stand tall around them, seeming to move slightly in the haze from their campfire, and this is the story Dartea tells:
One of a series of historical essays that appeared on my old blog, here resurrected by popular request. All right, one request 🙂