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Friday, 28 November 2014

November - Writing gone mad

I definitely cannot recall ever having written so much in one month, before. November has been a revelation with something over 60,000 words as well as half a dozen maps and several notes files as aide memoires for the continuing saga.

What had been intended as a gentle re-work of the original second book about Black Finn has become a largely new book. Most of the material has been pushed back for use in later novels.

The issue for my test readers has been that if you tell too much in obviously later retrospect, it is obvious with the narrative set ten to twenty years on, who has survived and what the political situation is. By doing that, you remove a lot of the tension and the wondering about who will come out of the tale well.  You know that Finn must survive to tell the stories but even that does not have to be completely certain.

Thus the original first book, planned to be told from twenty years on has disappeared to be replaced by two books which are tied much more closely to the times when their events unfold.

I am now working on chapter 24, which becomes just the 4th chapter to be a re-write from the original as opposed to the other twenty new chapters.

Finally, in chapter 21, Finn becomes embroiled in the Dalmanian war which was the running theme in the original tale set between chapters about his other companions and adventures. The test readers are giving positive feedback on the re-write so here's hoping.

Here's the new opening for those who have read none and for those who remember "The tight place" opening which I have now scrapped.

The night watchman on the quayside looked around at the sound of feet splashing through a puddle. It was a damp evening in early Autumn and a clinging fog hung over Orsiliath.  In the semi-darkness, the ships tied to the quay lifted and fell as if riding on the gently sleeping chest of the bay. 

Nearby, a single post topped by a droplet obscured glass bulb held a guttering torch. The watchman lifted his own stave with its small candle holder.
“Who goes there?” His voice was muffled in the blanket that wrapped about the town, tonight. 

There was no reply. Oddly, he thought he could smell the scent of tropical mango for a moment but then it was gone and the sour odour of sea salt and old ships returned. He trudged along the quay, heading for the Seagate that led to Harbour Square. He started thinking about the end of his watch and the warm meal and beer at the Watchhouse.

Something dripped on his hat. The drops pattered, one, two, three. He cursed, softly, moving a step away. He must have got under an overhanging gutter with a leak. He just glanced up and then he saw the limp arm hanging out over the roof edge. There was a thick flow of liquid dripping off the roof edge. The night watchman took off his hat and inspected it. He felt something thick and congealed on his fingertips. In the half-light, he was sure, although he already knew what it was going to be. He fumbled with the ties and freed the bell on his stave. He began ringing it. “Oi, Oi! Murder! Foul Murder!”

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