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Friday, May 22, 2015

The Writing Continues



Six months since my last blog post... wow, that went by fast. A lot has happened to me in that time. I graduated from college, got a sweet promotion at work, and have been writing like crazy. Yesterday, I reached the 25,000 word mark (half of a NaNoWriMo. It's funny to think that the initial draft of my first novel, Core of the Nations, ended around this word count).

I've been a fan of the Fantasy genre for most of my life. It started when I was 7 years old, when my brother introduced me to Brian Jacques Redwall series. Funny, at almost age 30, I'm on book 18 (High Rhulain) of the same series right now. When I was about 10 years old, the same brother introduced me to The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. I've revisited those 5 books multiple times over the years, and they still have a profound effect over me. When I was 15, my brother finally convinced me to read The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, and my life was changed forever by its depth and brilliance. These days, Brandon Sanderson's novels are the fine dining I attend to as much as possible. The Mistborn series and Stormlight Archive are by far some of the best fantasy collections currently being worked on.

Now, since graduating, I really wanted to dive into writing a Fantasy novel that I've been playing around with in my head for a little while. For some strange reason, I've been terrified of writing in this genre, probably because I have read from so many good authors in the genre I don't feel like I can really contribute much. However, I just decided to go with it, to try it out, and I'm so glad I have done so. But, prior to beginning, I went through some writing training, which was so beneficial.

Brandon Sanderson teaches a Sci Fi/Fantasy course at Brigham Young University. He has all of his lectures from two of these semesters posted on Youtube. I went through them both and it helped me organize my ideas into well thought-out plots, settings, and characters -- all driven behind some awesome conflict. I then read a book called Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Her perspectives really helped me, especially with the concept of first drafts, and how the expectation on quality with them should not be high.

And so, since then, I've managed to populate 25,000 words, a general 25% of my first draft. Things are going well, I'm loving my characters, the locations they go to, the stakes they are up against, and the magic system.

I'm in a writing group, and the feedback I've been receiving from them has been extremely helpful. I had to revise the first 5 chapters quite a bit initially (this is a no-no... just write and get it all out before revising, otherwise, revising is all you'll do!). It took me a while to get through that, and now I'm back to the creation of the story. It's taken me to places I hadn't initially planned for, and the story is stronger for it. The only other set back that knocked me out of writing for a week was all because of Patrick Rothfuss, author of the King Killer Chronicles. I started the first book in February and had to stop reading from its gloriousness because it gave me writers' block. I discovered that this is actually a common phenomenon. Trying to write in the same genre of a book/series you are brand new to can negatively impact your ability to write. Your mind thinks about the other world, the new magic system, everything new, and it interferes with your own world. If you are already familiar with that world, it doesn't have the same effect. So I can read a new Mistborn book without any problems because I'm already familiar with things. Sure, characters and plots are new, but I know the magic system, I know the lay of the land, etc. Interesting phenomenon. Needless to say, I had to put the book down (I will return to it once I finish The Shadow Wielder).

That's it! I'm pumping out a fair amount of words every day. I'm excited with the story. Besides my writing group, I have one person reading through the first drafts of the fist 6 chapters and awaiting feedback. If you are interested in the story, or want to know more, let me know. I'd love to fill you in. Also, just a side note, the prologue in my December blog post has changed quite a bit, but the spirit of my story still sits there, so if you want a taste of what the story is about, go ahead and read it.

Okay, that's it for now. Back to my favorite kind of writing! Cheers!

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