I’ve been busy lately due to project I have been working on and I wanted to point your attention now to a new blog I’ll be running. This one might suffer under this one, so forgive if the posts come in slow. The webcomic is called Death’s End and is run by myself and Katie Rodriguez, a talented artist from the United States.
I’m busy writing, working, making life work out. Forgive me for ignoring this blog. This morning I finally finished the Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson. What can I say? I couldn’t resist making a quick review.
It’s good, but that would do it injustice, so here’s why it is great.
Genuinly, Sanderson’s a master-worldbuilder, it is obvious from his lectures that can be seen on Writing about Dragons. If anyone has not seen these lectures they should, and once they have, read this novel; At a 1000 pages it is gargantuan and very ambitious for a series opener, but it convinces. We see the world through the eyes of several figures, most notable Kaladin, a once hero whose famed luck has turned on him and brought him to slavery and the horrible shattered plains. This is the first time we truly see what Sanderson is capable of, by really delving into the mind of the slave of Bridge Four. We see the consequences of the hubris as men through the eyes of those who suffer the most.
It is a world where people are judged on the colour of their eyes. And where magic is connected to the very nature of the world, one tormented by fierce storms.
In this book there are a number of viewpoint character:
Kaladin, a once hero who is now faced with a lifetime filled with death and cruel slavery at the Shattered Plains.
Dalinar Kholin, a High Prince filled with guilt over the death of his brother. A man living a life filled with codes and rules.
Adolin Kholin, the son of Dalinar, a boy who wishes to see his father return to a former glory, but instead fears to see him fall victim to madness.
Szeth, a dutiful assassin and killer of kings.
Shallan Davar, a young woman seeking apprenticeship with the former King’s sister. She has some ulterior motives.
The book is filled with many characters and it would be a scandal to derive you from the chance of getting to know them.
Though I must warn people, this books is heavy reading, the learning curve is quite steep and a lot is thrown at you. Yet it hooked me at the first page, and on a flight back from Canada I read 300 pages.
-Steep learning curve.
Good intentions tend to turn sour if you don’t commit to them. Take this blog for instance. Once I had told myself to commit to posting here at least once a weak.
Once upon a time. It felt like such a reasonable idea, but then other things happen. Stuff always happens and distracts you from the things you want to do. My other good intention was to write daily. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep it up, but considering my goals, I had no choice but to do so. I am planning to release a full sized novel by september. And darn it! I’m committing to it.
It’s like every month is NaNoWriMo and maybe that’s how it should be. The idea that you should write every day for one month is a good one. Because if you do, you’ll realize that many small ones make a big. A novel is around 75 000 words. Mine will probably be a bit bigger. That number sounds huge, but I can tell you that every writer worth his name, can commit to writing a 1000 words per day. 75 days equals approximatily two and a half months; It is not impossible to write a novel in two and a half months. I’m not counting editing and cleaning it up so it is publisheable. But a first draft: should be very possible.
So that’s what I have been doing for the past few weeks. I’ve been trying and struggling to write daily. There have been days where I couldn’t even get beyond 200 and there are other days where I ended up zooming through the first 1000 in 30 minute and ended up writing 7000 that day. My amounts are thus very uneven and I think part of the reason is that my writing is equallly uneven. There are parts that are as clear as day in my stories and there are bits and pieces of the novel that still need to have their details defined. I end up spending way more time defining those details than I do actually writing. Then there are times where I can’t even bother to write this scene and end up skipping it.
This is advice I think every writer needs to know and it is so face-smacking obvious that I probably seem like a fool to only have recently figured it out. If a scene is boring to write, it is boring to read. So the problem isn’t always your state of mind, but the state of the scene. If you zoom through writing exciting scenes, make sure all of them are exciting.
I started by redefining the way I wrote chapters Usually I found myself writing scenes that only had as a purpose to set up a scene at a later point. And more often than not there were entire chapters like that. So I started to look at every chapter like I would to a short story. I made sure that the characters in this chapter actually go through something signficant by the end of it. This had two results: the first one is that all my chapters became a hell-of-a-lot longer. I didn’t think that was anything to cry about. The second result was that they actually were better storywise as well. See to me a chapter has to be important enough to exist. There has to be a plot happening. If you leave a character the same way you join him at the start of a chapter, don’t bother writing that chapter. Characters are in a constant state of change. The location they are in can change, their physical state, but mostly their emotions change. How they look at things. I wrote an entire chapter yesterday about a character staying in the same place and very little things changing, but this character went from being hopeless to hopeful and that’s a journey, that’s plot.
I think I’ve become a better writer in the last few months. I hope I am. It’s frightening not to know whether or not you are good until you actually show it to people and get reviews. But I’m too far into it now not to keep going. I will finish this, I will reach my goal. So, keep your eyes open for a large novel coming up.