Episode 5

Episode 5 – I found some momentum


Intro

[00:00:00]

Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.

I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.

I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.

Episode five, July 31st, 2020. Woohoo I found some momentum, but yet I've still got so far to go.

Since Last Time

[00:00:43]

As the introduction said, I found some momentum since we were last here. In this last week, I managed to get through 10 whole chapters. Technically it was closer to 12, because I added a new one and deleted one and creative mathematics is a lot of fun. But I'm really excited about 10, uh, 10 chapters throughout a hectic week, lots of other activities going on feels like a big win for me. So all up, I've done 22 chapters. The sad thing about that is my little tracking sheet here says this is 26 days since I started editing. And by my count, 26 days, two chapters a day, I should have 52 done, if I would like to get done in the timeframe that I suggested to myself early on.

At the moment I'm 30 chapters behind. So even if I was able to get three chapters done a day, it would take 10 days to catch up to where I am now. And that just seems like a mountain too hard to climb. Feels like Lani has to climb a massive mountain in my books, and I'm just nowhere near as capable as she is.

So it's good, but it's always the big problem, every time I've addressed editing this book is it does feel like a massive mountain to climb. And any mountain that you have to climb happens a step at a time.  Until you get to the halfway mark, it feels a much bigger struggle. Once you cross the halfway mark, you can see the end, finally, and then as you get to the three-quarters or, even further along then, it's a sprint to the end and it seems magically easier to finish off. Right now I feel like I've only just left base camp. But, I'm proud of what I achieved last week. It feels great to be able to say it. And it started with a really solid weekend or knocked over six chapters.

There are two types of chapters that I'm having to address in the first segments, there was a number of new chapters, which are a complete write, followed by edits. There are some of the existing chapters that require a lot of reshuffling and some rewriting, but then there are other chapters where it's really just,  some grammar, typography and a little bit of shuffling of the deck chairs, shall we say. Where something might be out of context, might've been addressed in an earlier chapter, where something was resolved and that consequently changes the meaning of that sentence or paragraph or little scene. And it might require a little bit of work.

I've had a couple of chapters this week that have been much easier than others. And I think the further into the book we get, there's going to be a really good balance of that. I know that there are some significant chapters to come further down the road, where I really need to readdress the conflict, the complexity, and put some better storytelling effort in.

That doesn't sound right. I've put plenty of effort in, or I just need to adjust the story. I need to make it, , have more tension, a bit more drama and change the pacing. So they will require a bit more work. But I also know from my early scan of the whole manuscript, that there are plenty where I'm only having to do little bits and pieces.

So my goal coming up is to really try and keep this momentum rolling and see that I can't increase that number even further. I've committed to it. I want to get it done and I've even put a date when I'm going to release the book to the public. And that date is going to be October the 16th. That's a special day in our household.

It's my wife's birthday. And it just feels like a good milestone day to put it down there. It's about three or four weeks later than I had originally intended to publish, but the reality of what I need to do to get this all done, get it off to my proofreader, have that all read, get those edits back and finish them.

That's a lot of work to be done. I think I'll be taking some leave from my day job to get that done. But that's okay. And talking about day jobs. This is really reminding me about everyone out there that has as a side hustle. And that term, you get, you hear a lot in the tech space, a side hustle, particularly where a programmer or developer works during the day for a company and then in their own time at night or in the evening tries to build their own application. But it's true across any endeavor like this. And many authors, artists, musicians, it's their passion or hobby or a side hustle that they're working on outside of raising their families, having their relationships, working their day, job or jobs.

And it's hard for everyone to do it. It takes a lot of commitment and effort.  Not to say that full time artists have it any easier. There's more obligations on them in some respects because it isn't a side hustle. It is their hustle. But the challenges of my life running an agency in the web space, having nonfiction books that we're trying to market and produce content for to promote and creating this podcast.

And all of the things that go with having a family, , a team of people I work with hiring, changing staff, running a business, making sales checking quality of what we do. They are all creative endeavors. And they're all things that you do that take up time. Things that drain you of the spark and energy that you want to put into your side hustle.

So hats off to everyone that does a side hustle. Hats off to everyone that struggles through their days, doing what they need to do to get to those moments, to do the things they love.

What have I done in the book in these chapters I've edited?  I've been setting up tension around my protagonist this last week. Keeping the story that was there already, the core of the story, and just tightening some of the threads. Tweaking little elements around how my protagonist was interacting with the  world around her. Which was great. Small adjustments to the setting, clarification of a couple of locations, making sure that they were comprehensible. And like I mentioned, in the last episode, out of my head and on paper in just enough ways that it wasn't tedious exposition, but enhance the story. There were two or three secondary characters that needed better definition. So worked on that, particularly trying to stay focused on the need that they have their own goals, motivations, and conflicts that have to be surfaced whenever we meet them.

It's not just about the top level characters, but every character that comes into a scene in one way or another has motivations and goals, and is either successful or unsuccessful. Has challenges to meet their own objectives. And that's really hard as a new author to remember in the depth of a story.

Which is the beauty of having those notes from my editor to remind me to think about those things, but it's a skill that I've just got to keep practicing. And I hope later in my writing career, that that will become easier and more instinctive. That I'm conscious of that, all the time I'm interacting with those characters rather than having to stop and go, "hmm" what it is they need out of this. And importantly, I think I'm about four or five chapters from the end of act one or the inciting incident, which is that first quarter of the book.  it's very close to that point, which is exciting for me because it means I've knocked over a significant chunk of  the book.  it is roughly a quarter of the way through which is good, but that means there's still three quarters to go. But it's also where my protagonist heads off on a hero's journey, where she leaves the familiar world and goes into the unknown world. And that was a great turning point in the story, when I wrote it, I liked that point. It changed a lot of the things for me. I mentioned in the backstory section a few weeks ago, how I needed to enhance the world when that happened and going back over, this will be interesting again, too.

Through the middle build, which is roughly half of the manuscript is where I need to raise some of the tension. I need to bring out some exciting new elements, or they're not even necessarily new they've come about from refining the plot and what I was trying to achieve with it. And now I have some methodology, methodologies, techniques. It's not even that some elements of the plot that I can bring to the surface, which I think will really enhance the story. So that's what I've been working on since last time.

Some Back Story

[00:10.33]

In today's backstory section. I think I'm going to revisit why I write. What drives me to write. What I want to achieve from writing, because essentially that is the backstory to the stories. It's the backstory to me.

I think most people are familiar with great TV shows, great movies, and even great music where we laugh and cry where our emotions are tweaked. And we just feel all sorts of emotions that have been created in us by the people that made those performances. Both the people that wrote them and the directors, but also the actors or singers.

When you read a novel that does that to you, to me, it's even more powerful because it's all done through a word you read and a word that you interpret yourself, partly from how you read and your capability in reading. But  it's a movie you make from words on paper. And in my perspective, I just find that wonderful. I have laughed out loud at books. I've cried in books. I've been excited. I've been scared. I've been thrilled. So many emotions and feelings that have come from reading someone's words. And the number of times I can recall reading novels by David Eddings, his fantasy novels, where I laughed out loud.

I literally laughed in the middle of a situation around people because I was reading a book or a digital book and I just laughed, you know, hard, serious laugh, not just a little chuckle. And people look at you as if, ah, what happened? Did  someone say something? I was like, no, I, yeah, in this book they said something.

I laughed. It was funny and not everyone gets it that you can get that from a book . To be totally frightened from the words on a book to be unable to go to sleep for five hours, because you have to know the end of the story. And it's from a book you're holding in your hand.  I'm not diminishing TV or movies because to do that well is equally a difficult craft. To write it and to produce it and to honor it. But I just find it fascinating how an author can put that on paper and make that happen.

So for me, that's what I want to do. I want to be able to write stories that, do that to people. Where they feel things and experience things that give them entertainment, that take them on experiences, that challenge them or change them, or just simply give them relief.

And I'm not sure when it might be that my stories are good enough to do that to people, to that level. I don't know, but the backstory behind all of this is that my goal would be someone I don't know, acquires my novel and really enjoys it and gets that sort of emotion and interest from my story. That's good enough.

That's fantastic. Ultimately I'm doing it because I want to write the story and I want to be able to read it once I've had a break from it and go, I enjoyed that story. To me, much of the story is already completed, but it is done in fragments because now I'm you know I'm polishing. I'm adding another layer, removing a layer.

I'm refining it. And it's a little bit like the finishing of it. So I kind of have already completed the story and it's hard doing this because I don't get necessarily all of the same emotions again, that I did producing it. And I look forward to a time hopefully, where I'll be able to just sit down and read through it again with a bit of distance behind and just enjoy it in the way that someone might, that doesn't know anything about it.

And that will be difficult. I will say that I got really excited writing five chapters in this recent edit that we're part of re-setting up everything about my court of Jesters. And I really, really enjoyed it. Just the writing. I got some of the feelings and I could see these things and trying to explain what you see in your mind without too many words, without too few words.

And I know there are people that have that skill to do it perfectly. I'm not one of them. Not at this point, but that's what I would like it to be where I can.tell you the, the story of the picture I'm looking at right now in a way that you can recreate it and the scene and the context, the dialogue and the emotions and the conflict that occurs in that scene, or the achievements that happen and you can sense and feel them.

And that's what it's about for me.  it comes from so many books I read as a youngster and for the rest of my life. I , finished a great book today by an author called Karin Slaughter,  I just love her stories.  They're thrillers, I guess you would call them.  there's just a uniqueness to what she does that I really enjoy.

And she paints a really good story and she has her twists. I did work this one out about two thirds of the way through. The little clues were there and I got it right this time. I don't always get it right. But I enjoyed it nonetheless, uncovering it. I just really write like the stories and I really enjoy it.

What she said at the end of the book, where she talked about her motivations to tell  real-world stories, but in her fiction to help expose things. And I think with fantasy, there's an element of that, I like as well, which is you can craft a narrative based on something that might be modern day, might be realistic, but it's not at all like that in this fantasy world.

It's a completely constructed world. It's different, but you can use theming that drives your plot. Drives your characters, even if you're not doing it a hundred percent consciously, but I think that's why I like fantasy. I liked the concept of fantasies playing with characters, which is why the Jester is so pivotal to these stories.

The Jester is a character that exists today amongst us, in us, the trickster, the person that at times I wish I was. But one can't tolerate the Jester all the time. And the jester has been many things across time in many different countries, but there is the medieval jester that we think of, is that honest voice against the authoritative power.

It's the only person that can get away with challenging their rule. That  is the mirror to force them to look at themselves as the clear eyes to point out the folly and the people that are seeking to benefit in underhand ways. And the jester was always at risk in the method, they did it, but they did it in an abstract and engaging way as well as they were just entertainment.

They broke up the seriousness of day to day life. There's so many parts to the Jester. I won't try to cover them all at the moment. And in trying to understand the jester,  who I've been fascinated with most of my life, I learned so many, many interesting things about the different types of Jesters around the world .

And, you know, we think about tricksters and jesters, but there are so many variations . And the more I dug into thinking about that and looking at that, it just opened up this whole world. And the last thing I'll say about that at the moment, in the book series is most of the jester characters in literature and movies and things that we see, in most cases, are a secondary character or a tertiary character.

Rarely are they the main character modern-day, , example of one that is, would be the joker, the story of the joker, where he is the central character. But mostly the jester is a character that is important, but on the side, they aren't the primary focus. And when I crafted the series and the stories I wanted to use them, differently than that.

I wanted them to be much more central to the plot. And so I have done and we'll see how well I do it. That's this episode's backstory.

Outro

[00:20:23]

Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.

 

Episode 4: Starting to build some momentum


Intro

[00:00:00]

Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.

I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.

I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.

Episode four, July 24th, 2020. Once again, I seem to have a numbers problem and really it's all about building momentum through this edit.

Since Last Time

[00:00:45]

Well, I told a lie. In last week's episode, I said that I had completed nine of the chapters out of the book. That was wrong. I actually had in that three chapters, which I hadn't quite removed, which were being reworked. So the total number last week was six. So where did I get to since then? Well, another six chapters have been edited, which makes it 12, which isn't really the progress I hoped to be making at this point.

I really hoped to be able to do around two chapters per session, which would be around 10 per week. I haven't got to that Mark yet, which is frustrating me a little bit.

But, I can't really beat myself up. It's new. Well, I can beat myself up. I am beating myself up.

It is a new process for me. And I think some of the things I spoke about last week, which was the resistance I was having, a little bit of fear about facing the final story going out in the world.

I think there's a lot of truth around that. It's not everything, it's part of it. The main thing is it's just taking time and I want to get it right. And these early chapters I've been working on are really significant chapters in the setup of the book. I've had to in the chapters I've done, I think I mentioned in last week's episode, I was really adjusting my protagonists introduction to readers. How they came into the world and how they sat in the world.

Most of those ones were pretty straight forward. Then I introduced a rework completely of how the jesters are introduced to the reader. So one of the problems that we found in the edit, I'm pretty sure explained this last week, was that I had a lot of it in my head and I was trying to be too clever about when I exposed information.

The challenge of course, is I didn't want to then just create a chapter or two of exposition. That is, just a comprehensive description about the Jesters and their role in the world. What got me really excited when I was working with the editor was the idea that I came up with how to resolve that. And of course they won't be spoilers in the podcast or not intentionally anyway. But I did come up with a mechanism that I'm quite comfortable with in the real world.  And it's a real world event type where individuals interact in a way that facilitated what I needed to do as it turned out. , there were multiple scenes involved in this and several chapters and they were all, most of them, sorry, were new, not all of them. Most of them were new. Which meant I wrote, this week, three complete new chapters ,and edited them a couple of times.

So maybe I can get away with saying I did a little bit more than my single numeric count of a chapter. Really happy with how they turned out. And it actually allowed me to not only introduce the role that the Jesters have in this series better, but the fabric of their society and everything about them. Where they sit geographically in the world, where they sit conceptually in the world and what they do.

And a lot of the missing set ups is kind of the right word, but little pieces of information that hopefully make the story more complete and easier to read, going through. Funny enough, my wife and I were watching a new TV series just last night. And we paused after episode one and had this discussion about, was it uncomfortable?  Or  was it just. not very good? And we kind of agreed it was uncomfortable to watch and it came across almost as if it was trying to be too clever. The way information was being presented, everything had a missing piece. Everything was deliberately obscure and it was really uncomfortable to watch, and I think that was the problem with my novel.

In that, that there was an element of it, which you uncovered later on. Things clicked a bit, but it was too far later on for it. There was still some ambiguity about the meaning. So the purpose of what I've done now is to not  do this exposition about everything, but to, lay the foundation where you know exactly where you're at.

And perhaps I can use an example. If our story was based in Los Angeles, and we were talking about the LAPD. Already, the reader has a lot of , conceptual understanding of the LAPD unless they're very young, very new, haven't seen anything else, but at my age I could say, Oh, I've seen all sorts of different shows. I've read books, I've seen movies, I've read news articles. So there's a lot of information I already have about the LAPD. So if the story starts  on a patrol officer from the LAPD or a detective from the LAPD, I've actually got a lot of that story background there. So the story can proceed without needing to know that.

But if I was to introduce a story from Alice Springs in Australia to a new audience in the UK that had never heard of this place at all. Didn't understand where it sat geographically, didn't understand anything about it all, and then they had a unique organization there to do policing or community management.

particularly if it went by different names and you didn't know much about it, but I didn't lay any foundational work, about the organization, this group of people and their role. You start with a story and you kind of go, I think I understand it, but you're guessing too much. And depending on how cleverly you can do that and how much you give away, it can either be really good or really difficult.

And in my circumstance, the Jesters in the story is quite different to the Jesters that have been used in other stories, the way that they operate. So I think this mechanism has worked really, really well.

 

So I did all of that. And then I moved into an introduction of a new character, adjusting some of that and had to adjust the discoveries and revelations that they had and how they worked around the people they were involved with to tell their part of the story. So it was the third group of characters being introduced and most of it was actually only really small, but, uh, in this particular chapter, there were a lot of little typographical and grammatical things that just needed adjusting as well.

And I guess I'm just being very, very cautious at the moment. The last couple of days have definitely been quicker . So there's a little bit of momentum building and I feel like I'm saying sitting in the world properly in Book one, I think the other problem previously was I got into Book two world. I was really excited about book two and where it was going and I had to pull myself back to book one. Thinking, Oh, book one's already completed. And it isn't well, it is, but it isn't. And I need to get these things, right. Not only for book one, but for book two, three, four. So I think I understand what was causing me problems. I really feel like I'm starting to progress a little, what will be interesting we'll see how we're going next week. But  it's been, been encouraging. I'm happy with the story. I'm pretty happy with my writing. My chief critic has reviewed the key mechanism that I worked on and she's given it a thumbs up.  Which is really, really good and feels that it's answered, answered is answered the right word. I don't think answered is the right word. She feels that it's tick the boxes that it needed to, that it's resolved the issues that were there. And that's how I feel about it as well. So that's exciting. I'm excited about that and I feel like going into the weekend where I get an opportunity to do more work on the book, typically that I might be able to get a flying head start on the week.

I'll look forward to seeing if I actually live up to it. So the new total is I've currently done 12 chapters, so six in this last week. Let's see if I can do better next week.

Some Back Story

[00:10.18]

In the previous episode or episodes, I covered a lot about the map building. That was, I talked about it and I mentioned the concept of adding layers. So started with an outline and then layers of geography. That continues the more detail that you get into . I talked about placing cities and towns onto the map and how those need naming.

In this episode, I was thinking that's probably what I'm going to talk about mainly is how I added those layers and how I named places on the map. To me when I created the map and I then drew in the realms and created a bit of the history of those realms, I created the cities and towns that were the major cities and towns. Not every single element of the map, roughly around eight to 12 key locations per realm.

And I named every one of them.  The way I named them, different probably to how other people name them? I don't know, a hundred percent for sure. I've read a little bit about how people do it. I did reflect a lot on how, city planners, town planners have named things historically, or name things. Now, some countries around the world, you know, in the inner cities, there's a first Avenue, second Avenue or fourth street and fifth street, main street, very simplistic naming like that.

And more detailed as you might go out into the suburbs. Or there's very clear patterns named around historic figures. We have tree types, animal types, bird types, colors,  there's just so many ways that individual streets are named. And then there can be North pine street, South pine street, and variations like that as well, where the street might've been divided by something such as a river or stream. I think those principles we're pretty comfortable with  so I didn't want to necessarily veer from that, but cities and towns can be different. Some are really clear, some not so.  Washington, we kind of understand where that was probably named from, , Adelaide in Australia named after a queen.

I identified not 100% similarity to earth countries, more regions and ethnicities possibly,  more regional or location based. And I would say this realm, I want to use this type of linguistics. And I used a website online, which gives you words in other languages.

that was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed doing that because what you would do is you might put in something like Lake. So if you think of a town called Lakeside or a city called Lakeside, how would I rename that potentially? So I put in Lake or Lakeside into this site. And if this particular realm that I was writing about, I had defined as I wanted to use South Asian languages  to create those names, then I would look at the groupings of names that were generated by this website. And there would be some which just resonated with me and then I would build a name from that. And that's how I did a lot of them. And what it helped me to do was give it added meaning to what that town or city might be called.

Yeah, it's in the middle of the forest. So it might use a  derivative word of wood or tree or Bush or forest and something from that. That gets challenging of cours., there's 10 realms tomorrow. Um, the main land or the Midland called Dharatan and I didn't want,  everything that's beside a river to be called river or Riverside in another language.

But I used those sorts of derivatives to build it. I had a lot of fun with it.

There are name generators sites for places and people. I chose this method to do it.  Once I laid out all the names, it helped me build a little bit more history for  the world and in my Wiki that I have, where I try to maintain all of this knowledge so I can keep up with all the data.

I would have notes in there. I identify what was the capital, what wasn't, they're all drawn into the map. The core map I have has all of them. The map that we've produced for book one, doesn't have them all exposed. It has all of the realms, but it doesn't have everything exposed. Whereas future books will uncover more of the names of places as we need to. And that way it doesn't get too complex, particularly in print book format, it can be pretty small. I think over time, I'll put electronic versions up on the website so that people can see them in a bit more detail. I've worked with one designer initially on the map and now introduced a second designer and we've modified that map slightly, and we're going to expand on it and I want to be able to print things, stick them up on my wall. I do that as part of my methodology. I have the book cover or covers now printed up on the wall. I have a color map there so I can refer to it regularly in my studio.  that added a level of another layer,  to the, the world.

But I didn't spend then months and months and years and years, it feels like it. But going into one city , and mapping out the whole city. The way I've worked is where I'm writing now I've added more detail at that point, and that was probably partly because I wrote book one as a pantser. So the terminology of pantser and plotter. Plotter is someone that outlines the novel upfront and then writes it. And the pantser is someone that operates more by the seat of their pants. As far as the story in book one, mostly I was a pantser and in these edits and moving into book two, that's changing, I'd be a hybrid now of the two, but it's certainly early on I was definitely a pantser. And while I did the world building to the level I did, there are some people that would go to much further degree.

I mentioned Tolken, how he wrote languages first and then had all these concepts before he did his story. That's going down an extreme end of the scale. So I had a fair bit of detail. I've added detail as I went, and it's a layering effect. So when I am in a town the story comes alive in that town. I start to identify things and name things, and I record them not only in the words and writing, but I make sure that I start to record them in my Wiki so I can refer to them again.

And also if I'm going back over this story, if I find myself using the same words and phrases to describe roads and gates and buildings, town on town, city on city, I can identify that, more easily by looking at them outside of the story.  that's the next level of layering that I've added is as a character interacts with the space around them.

I make sure that I paint that picture in more detail. I add more levels and layers so that hopefully the reader then will be. Oh, now I'm in this place and I understand how this is different to the others. It means that you're always uncovering new things,  which is exciting when you're writing particularly the early drafts, and then as you start back editing that early draft, you can crystallize that. Which is different to what I'm doing with the final edit, I'm not doing a lot of that world-building  I'm doing work on the story and the dialogue. So there is quite a difference there, and I think that's why the first drafts can be a lot of fun because you just let it all come out.

But I wouldn't be able to get that to come out without the early work of the map, or certainly it would be less coherent, I think. Now going into book two and future books, this part of the world has already got lots of layers and I can distinguish elements quite easily. And I don't have to do the same amount of world building in the story either.

So a lot of the future books, it was just going to be a lot more story and a lot less world-building except where we go into places we haven't been before, or we spend more time in a town or a city. And again, I haven't necessarily detailed every component of it. But there will be a couple of locations that I know in book two, I'm going to want much finer granularity in my mind. Oh, sorry. In the understanding, in my mind of that location. So I will be likely drawing a detailed city map, you know, placing the key buildings and adding that additional information. My plan is I'm going to do it as I'm going through, and as I need to. That's what I wanted to talk about in the backstory section this episode, if I added a little bit more detail for you on how I do it, a little bit of,  information about naming, how I got about the names.  when you get to read the book, you'll probably see a bit of that influence in it, when you see particular styles to names, that's about all I've got for this episode.

Outro

[00:19:57]

Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.

 

Episode 3

Episode 3: Struggling to get started and more time


Intro

[00:00:00]

Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.

I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.

I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.

Episode two July the 10th, 2020. How did I survive my developmental edit and where did I begin when I created the In All Jest world? This is the first formatted episode.  The original one was just an introduction, and just as an outline for it, there's going to be two sections for the future episodes.

The first section is going to be called "since last time", which is pretty much what it sounds like what's happened since the last episode. And the second half of the episode will be called "some back story" and I'll explain back story to the series, my writing processes, how I learned to write and everything that goes along with it. So that's the format we're going to use moving forward.

Since Last Time

[00:01:13]

Well, it's been an interesting week. I'd like to tell you that I've powered through my editing work and I'm furiously heading down the path of having the finished product ready. That is not true. I have made progress and I've been evaluating today what's held me back. Why have I been a little sluggish in the way that the editing process has worked?

That requires a little bit of reflection. I did publish the podcast fully in the last week. Which is great. Got all the artwork done. Got it up on all the feeds so that people can connect to it. And this week I'm going to share the podcast more publicly. So I've done that. I've also had the cover design for book two done, which is exciting.

I know, book one cover is not out in the wild yet, but the process that I use is that I put the new book cover up on the wall as an a3 color print, so that I've got something to work towards  I'm looking at that goal that I'm heading towards.

So what's gone on with my editing this week. Well, I realized that it's actually a very new process for me to do this final edit.

And essentially it's a final story edit. I spoke in the last episode about the developmental edit, which is a lot about the story structure and the plot lines and those sorts of things. And while I'm going to have a copy edit/ proofread done after this, I consider this to be my last major run through the story and the key concepts of the book. With my editor we uncovered a couple of things that needed altering. And there are a lot of little bits and pieces. And I think the biggest change has come at the start of the book in exposing some of the world to make the story hold together a little bit better. So my main protagonist at that point seems to flow quite well, only needed a few adjustments through the opening Act 1, to get that right.

I did have to re introduce or rewrite a couple of chapters about the society of Jesters that underpinned the whole story. And what  Fleetwood my editor made me realize was that I had too much of it in my head. And I was trying to be too clever in revealing it progressively through the book. And that would leave the reader without the context of what was actually happening. So it was, it was really obvious when I sat back and looked at it and took his feedback on board and it was really helpful. Which is great, I evaluated it. I came up with how I would resolve that and really love the scenes or the scene ideas to put to practice there. This week I wrote them or the bulk of them anyway.

I think leading into this week, there was a little bit of hesitancy. There's a lot going on in the rest of my life with my non-fiction books and my business and other things, and having to produce copy in a business copywriting context and other creative things, which was a little bit draining, not an excuse really because I've been doing this for four years. So I should be used to that. But I did get to a little patch where I was a little bit tired and thus the resistance crept in.

And I think on reflection that it was mainly around knowing that this is the last big hurrah and it's a kind of perfection or fear of getting it wrong this time around. I recognized there was always the safety net of, well, the editor will pick up on these things.  After this run through. It comes down to me.

The story core pieces all come down to me and that, I guess frightening is the word I'm thinking of,  there is an element of fear or being frightened about, Oh crap, that's all on me now.

That might sound a little strange to people, I've spent four years putting all of my energy into this. But it's these little hiccups or hurdles that you face and talking to more experienced writers, a lot of them have similar experiences, fears, doubts. 15 books in, 10 books in, 30 books in. So it's not abnormal, but facing it was interesting. Not to say that I didn't write, I did write and I did work through the chapters. Just that there was resistance there.

So rather than leaping in and powering through it last weekend, and the mornings, when I write, I did find that I was chipping away at it rather than really jumping all in. So I guess that's something I'll just have to recognize this week and the week coming up, I should say, and try and have a better flow.

I am constantly looking at the way I approach the craft of writing, not just from intellectually about how I write and characterization, but also about the workflow and processes I use to get the job done. My goal is to be doing this for a long while, and hopefully people like the stories and I get encouragement from that, but ultimately I love creating these stories and putting them down on virtual paper.  I want to be as efficient as I can be so that I spend more time crafting story and telling the tales I want to tell, than getting frustrated with not knowing what to do next.

Over the last four years, there's been a lot of times where I've lost two or three months , because I didn't know what the next step was.

When I finished the first draft I had to fully understand what the editing processes were and I didn't, and consequently, that became a barrier to starting. So this time, I guess I'm being very, very vigilant around not creating problems that will hold me back. I need to stick to my routine, which is at least five days a week where I write. I treat it like a job and I give myself a day or two off. During the working week I do it early in the morning. After a workout, I sit down and tap away, and on the weekend I'm a bit more fluid about when I do it. But that allows me two days during the week to not be doing it first thing in the morning. And those are days typically where I have early business meetings or obligations or international calls that might  affect that or interfere with it.  So I'm paying attention to it. It worried me a little bit this week. I'm definitely behind on the schedule I set myself for the September release. I'm either gonna fix that and catch up or I'm not.

Ultimately I want it to be a good story. I don't want it to spin off for another year, that's not going to happen. But I'm unsure whether later parts of the book will require less than what I'm having to do at the moment. I think they will and that's my hope because some of them, we didn't have a lot to discuss or factor in when they were reviewed.

Some of these segments are big, so there's going to be other sections of the book that I do need to deliberate more on. And I'm hoping that I might make some more progress.  There's 112 chapters that I need to address and I am at nine.

So there's my little on record number of what is going on. Let's see if I can make more progress next week.

So that's, what's happened since last time.

Some Back Story

[00:09:51]

Last time I feel like I rushed through the world building topic. I didn't want to cover everything about world building, but as I explained, I had my timing off and I did feel like I raced through explaining the way I'd approached my world build. I won't completely retrace my steps. But getting an understanding of the way I need to think about my world and how much it impacts every part of the story, it's a very important part of a fantasy novel.

I think I got up to the point where I was talking about once I put my main character out in the world, I really had to revisit the world and start to flesh it out , and really give it more detail. And that comes into map building , in my studio here where I'm recording this, I'm looking at the map on the wall, which has been crafted for book one.

I refer to that even more now in my current editing phase and book two, because part of the story is the journey, and the places where people are.  Knowing how far apart they are, knowing what's in between them, knowing what might affect them, really affects the story. To the point that when I created the map that I drew up, to get the spacing and timing right, I used a little piece of string and I marked mile markers on it, based on the scale I was using. To make sure that the map was effectively distanced correctly and that, that same scale then was usable through the whole of the map. So I could tell, , the distance between this town and the city is this many miles. Will take this long.

I have a little spreadsheet of how long it takes, for someone on foot in normal conditions on flat land, someone going over hills, someone going through long grass or forests. I didn't invent those. I found that information online and what was considered the normal distance someone would cover. How long they would cover if they were on a horse, if they're on a horse and cart.

I use those factors  in getting a sense of distance around the space.  if you think about that in your real world, for example I know how long it takes to get from Brisbane to the Gold Coast or Brisbane to Sydney.  you make choices when you understand the distance in how best to address it.  If you're going to drive it where you might need to stop off, which then tells you what sorts of resources you might require. What expectations for the journey, what is the weather at that particular time?

The same is true to writing the story that I'm writing.  That then means I have to understand, for each of the countries or realms that I have in my world, what are the factors that matter. Matter might not even be the right word? What are the things that influence that part of the world? Do they have mountains, forests, rivers, fjords, snow, desert, ocean, lakes?

What other factors are there? Are they a temperate climate? Is it extremes? So that impacts it because if someone's going to travel through there, what time of year is it? What's the weather like today? You can't just randomly write in storms of a particular nature, if they don't suit the climate of the environment.

I do semi apologize for the wildlife in the backing track. I've done my utmost to keep this as sound proof as possible, but I have a collection of birds that live around my studio and you could probably hear them right now. They're being very vocal today.

So weather is just one key thing. Geography has a big impact, you know, we're going over hills . What types of paths or roads crossing rivers, they will impact everything about the story and how you write it.

Then the people,  are they different races. Who rules? And what type of government.  In my realms, I have a number of , different government types that influence the way things work. They're not all just based on a medieval type world with Kings and Queens necessarily, or a modern world. And trying to not over complicate it. And by over complicating it, as a writer what I've learnt is there's a level that I can successfully write at, with the skill level I have now. But if I try to make the story far too complex, it makes it much harder for me to do tell the story I want to tell because I'm having to address bringing out all of those complexities in my story, when I'm still learning the craft of telling a good story. So I have put some limits around, you know, for example, not inventing some new complex variation of an existing government type.  I've worked within conventional ones, but selected how they might operate.

So that gives me some freedom to be creative, but I don't have to invent all of it. , there's enough to invent.  Then you need to consider what's the history of that realm, particularly when I talk about a ruler.   The King in this particular realm, who came before him? Did he get it from his father or his uncle?

How was he chosen? How did that previous ruler die? When? How long has the current ruler been the King? What factors come into that?  Thinking about those details helps to create more depth to the story.  I didn't do them all up front. I didn't sit there like Tolkein created languages before he created stories.

Hats off to him. That's massive, but I worked through it incrementally. And as I started book two recently, while book one was being edited, I revisited some of the deep backstory and there were some generalities or things that I sharpened and added a little bit more detail or clarified. And I've done that in layers.

I think, thinking about the layers of a world, Is a good way to understand how world building needs to be done because you kind of start with a flat land mass, and then you need to add layers of geography and things to it. And it's, you know, you get the foundations and then you add finer detail as you go alone.

That helps to create the world in my mind visually so that I can see it, which makes it much easier to put words down. I think one of the things that I'm always conscious of when I'm writing is how much of the world or any backstory needs to get in it. And I listen to and read  people that are much more experienced talking about that.

People read stories where there's a lot of detail or exposition about certain things.  I seek to try and put enough in, that the reader, you, make the movie in your own mind. So you're pointed and guided to it, but it's not 100% explicit. And that comes from my belief and how I read story, because I create that world in my mind, I visualize elements of, I feel immersed in it from the word. The stories that are too descriptive, I get friction from because I'm reading their picture from their mind, and sometimes that can grate with what my mind's trying to do. Or if there's not enough, sometimes you struggle to sit within it. So there's obviously a level there that works and different people reading it would obviously get different perspectives from that. Sorry, different perspectives is wrong. People would have different styles of reading and how much visualization they get. When you watch TV, you see it as it's presented, but when you read it, part of the beauty and wonder of the written story to me is that you create that world in your mind.

I love that part of reading,  when Peter Jackson was making the Lord of the rings movies, and the Hobbit, that was everyone's fear and that danger of what if they give us a character that we don't like, or what if we don't like Frodo and what if we don't like Gandalf the character or the way that they portrayed? And what about the world?

My view on it is that they were done fantastically and it fitted to my visualization, certainly well enough that I felt like it was the story I'd been reading many, many years ago. So that's part of the, making of the world. There's a lot more to it, but that's how I try to approach it.

I might call that quits right now for this episode on making a world and world building element of it. I spent a bit more time this week. I think I've got that balance a bit better. Hope you enjoyed it?  talk to you again soon.

Outro

[00:19:57]

Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.