Elementals – walking on new worlds

After this point (2006-2009) I began work on the ‘The Fallen Ones’ (No Garlic Required)

See those pages for the details that chronicle 2009 onwards.

The very good reason for switching from Elementals is detailed in those pages. 

I hope to return to Elementals sometime in the future. 

For now, the time is not right.

What follows is a chronology that’s best read from the bottom up…

source; stock.xchng

August 3rd 2009

Printing of Elementals is now completed. I am taking two weeks off work half-way through this month, so I will (as advised by the same self-editing book) perform a rapid read-through of my work, marking with red pen as I go. These marks (using a variety of symbols) will enable me to return later rather than get bogged down in editing at each point.

* * *

July 23rd 2009

Decided that my Second Draft wasn’t ready to be shown to the outside world. Following advice I read in a Self-Editing book, I began the task of printing my Second Draft, two pages to a side of A4 in landscape format so that it actually looks like a book. The HP Printer I am using (A 990cx) also allow double-sided printing, so only half as many pages are needed. Still, it’s a heavy manuscript!

* * *

July 22nd 2009

My friend (and business rep) of some years, Ray, has suggested that I let his wife, Elaine, cast her professional eye over my Second Draft when she’s on holiday later this week.

* * *

July 17th 2009

This has been a very busy week. Not only have I completed my Second Draft and begun this Blog, but I have two new writing buddies (Alison and Jurema – hi!) with whom I can swap ideas by email. I have sent out small sections of my Second Draft to Alison and have received some very useful feedback (not to say it’s all good, but it is constructive).

* * *

July 16th 2009

I’m giving my eyes a break from the Netbook screen. My 159,000 words are now on paper, ready to be assaulted by my red pen.

But that’s a couple of weeks away…the story is ‘resting’ following the Second Draft. In the meantime I’m re-reading ‘Revision and Self Editing’ by James Scott Bell and taking notes to add to the ones I made during the first read through. It’s surprising how many new ideas are occurring to me already. More to incorporate into the Third Draft. How many Drafts does an average author perform, I wonder?

* * *

July 15th 2009

Just finished the Second Draft of Elementals a few days ago…got a bit of a shock at the new word count. I think, from what I’ve read, that 234,000 words is a little excessive for a first novel. If my calculations are correct, that works out at about 750 pages.

So I’ve had to look closely at the content and decide where to calve off; where to split the story and conclude the novel.

It’s looking like the 500 page point (159,000 words), which, after it’s been pruned somewhat will bring it down again.

The upside of this is that I already have half of the second novel at the Second Draft stage (assuming that the first reaches the publication stage, of course).

I went through something similar pre-First Draft when I was laying out the very bones of the story. The point at which the original idea was due to end has now slid closer to the end of the (proposed) second book.

Does this qualify as a moveable feast, I wonder?

* * *

June 2009

Completed Second Draft of Third part of Elementals (138,000 words).

* * *

May 2009

Completed Second Draft of part two of Elementals (96,000 words). The second part of the book seemed more coherent – perhaps because it was originally written as I was ‘getting into the flow’ of the book, rather than when it was still forming like a primordial planet.

* * *

April 2009

Finally completed Second Draft of part one of Elementals (53,000 words). This has been a lot of work. Several chapters have now changed places.

Much of the original draft felt as if it was just ideas dumped onto paper rather than a coherent story. Maybe that is the inherent nature of a First Draft – let the Muse have its head without the writer going back to edit.

* * *

February 2009

Completed first chapter in First Person. Wow! Hard slog! But the depth of character is so much better, more intimate. However, it has become obvious to me during this exercise that I will lose a lot of the story if I depart from Third Person. Unable to completely discard First Person, I leave the introduction (a mini-chapter) in First and re-edit the remainder of Chapter One into Third Person. I think the chapter has improved from the translation, though. I will apply these lessons to the remainder of the book.

* * *

January 2009

Hit a crisis point – I am no longer certain that writing in Third Person Omniscient is the best way to present my story. Blame Robin Hobb for this one…Having enjoyed the Assassin series (1st P. POV) and then gone on to the Liveship Traders series (3rd P. POV), I realised that it just didn’t have the same intimate feel.

Decided to re-write the first chapter in First Person and then compare it to the original.

*   *   *

November 2008

Replaced the Jornada with an Acer Notebook. The Acer’s screen is twice the size, relieving me of the letter-box effect that the Jornada imposed upon me. Also, the keyboard is full-sized. Now I no longer resemble a little old lady pecking away at a 30’s typewriter. Second Drafting has just become a little easier!

source; Stock.Xchng

September 2008

Began Second Draft of Elementals.

The Jornada has developed a strange fault where the screen goes black until I press the LCD screen from the back. Hmm.

* * *

22 August 2008

Completed Part 4 (Final part) of Elementals (197,000 words)

Took a ‘drawer’ break – put the project away for 4 weeks to let it rest and become fresh again.

* * *

June 2008

Replaced my worn-out Jornada with an other one from eBay. It’s been useful, granted. But not entirely reliable. Achieved 150,000 words to date.

* * *

January 2008

Completed part 3 of Elementals (102,000 words)

* * *

December 2007

Bought a used HP Jornada from eBay in order to try to increase my word output. Had some problems transferring my work across (it was an old model HP620 from the 90’s), but once complete, I was able to keep it with me at all times.

90,000 words achieved.

* * *

May 2007

Completed second part of Elementals (70,000 words)

* * *

April 2007

65,000 words achieved.

* * *

March 2007

51,000 words achieved

* * *

January 2007

Completed first Part of Elementals (42,000 words) Target is 180,000

* * *

June 2006

Selected several novels from my shelf at home and counted the number of words on a typical page. Average was 375 words. I multiplied that by the number of pages in each novel (typically 450 to 500) and reached 178,000 words. A daunting, but possible target. It’s just a case of how long..?

* * *

May 2006

Elementals is flowing nicely – the ideas are forming quickly (faster than I can write them).

Although the transcribing to the laptop is taking a lot of time, I feel that the story is working well.

* * *

April 2006

Had the original idea for ‘Elementals’ after spotting a poster featuring a boy and a dog gazing out across what might have been a landscape or a seascape (it was only a fleeting glance). I wondered what sort of land they might be gazing out onto.  A Magical land? Why would it be magical? What sort of wizards would roam it? I wondered if it was possible for wizards to specialise in the disciplines of Earth, Fire, Air and Water.

I knew the story would begin with a very primitve village being visited by a Wizard or a Mage.

Why was he visiting?

Drought! If the Mage specialised in water, he would be visiting to restore the villager’s water. The ideas began to flow almost immediately, sweeping aside the Homeworld project – which to be honest had stalled a little.

Stop Press:  In 2009, I finally chanced across the image that I have described above – the one that got the whole project rolling.  Here it is:

For the record, this artwork was used to promote Michael Murpurgo’s ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’

I reproduce it here purely for illustrative purposes with no commercial intent and purely as an example of how one image can lead to many, many different ideas.

Oddly, my ‘Elementals’ story contained no seascapes, no caves and no boy-and-his-dog combinations.

Prior to this point I was working on the Homeworld Saga

see those pages for the details that chronicle 1999 to March 2006 

* * *

* *


source; Stock.Xchng

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