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 nine August the 28th, 2020. I'm tired, man. Am I tired? But holding the first print copy proof in my hands this week is just the motivation I needed to get to the finish line.
Since Last Time
A big improvement this week. I had a really good weekend, last weekend. Really kicked on with the editing work and made a big dent in what was needed to get to this end point. There's only two weeks to go. I shuffled the dates just slightly to make it Friday to Friday. I record this podcast on a Friday, do the stats on a Friday, but I did have the original end date being the Wednesday.
So there's two weeks to go. I got through 16 chapters this week and deleted three. So I guess that was a win. The total number of chapters is now down to 105. I did 32,396 words of editing and writing. And there was fair chunks of writing in that and I felt pretty happy with how all of that went, really
I mean, it was pretty hard. Sunday last weekend was a big, big day, I think I got through eight chapters on that day. Some of which were much easier than some of the ones on other days. Leaves me ,17 and a half per week to get done two and a half chapters a day to reach those 35 done. Having said that there's a bunch of chapters I marked to have a run through again, because they were a substantial amount of fresh content or modified content. So I will need to run my eyes back over those and make some small edits, no doubt. But two weeks, it's going to be a busy two weeks. Very, very happy with the way that week went. The last couple of days as is typical for the weeks, I have a lot on, a lot of early morning calls and things and struggle , Wednesdays and some Fridays to get as much done, which is why it's really important the weekends ,and Monday, Tuesday, I really make a big chunk of it.
Later today I'll dive back in again too. What did I cover in the material this week? I think Lani, my protagonist, had some pretty significant changes to what was happening in the capital city that she's been in , that city's called Nedor. There was a lot going on there. We're right in the main part of act two, which means that we've been sort of escalating some of the challenges and obstacles that she's been facing.
She's now heading her way into one of the biggest ones in act two and just pulling the levers tweaking the dials, making the adjustments to ensure that, that level is right. And there were lots of little changes happening. And then lots of little things I'm picking up that no longer make sense contextually.
Originally in the book, there was a crystal necklace, that was part of the things that Lani had. And some other characters had, which we removed and there's a few scenes still where that had a place in them that needed to be taken out. Just adjusting things around that, which was all reasonably straightforward, just having to get through it.
I think that where the second act is sitting right now is much stronger than it was. I'm much happier with it. I'm happier with the way other characters are interacting with her and how she's interacting with them. There's filler, that's come out. Lots of filler, lots of, you know, internal thinking and some dialogue that didn't need to be in the chapters. So that's been really good. Another part of this week's work, , was around a character, tillandra, who's a significant second character , in the story.
There was some really lengthy chapters at a significant point in a journey she had made. And there were several chapters, two many. I think of the three I deleted probably one and a half or two of them were relating to her and brought that story in better, really shortened up parts of it. It did involve a whole new chapter and a whole new sequence of events that needed to go in. And I was pretty happy with the way that they turned out and the way it fits into the story. I think it completes one of the key things that was a note that my editor and I had discussed needed to be resolved. . I'm really happy with the way that played out, the way that story played out.
It's certainly made her journey much more interesting and much more engaging than it was. Albeit that I thought it was engaging and interesting originally when I wrote it, that whole point of coming back, looking at it objectively, having that feedback, sort of asking those questions that say this happened, this happened, did it really move the plot forward?
And then there would just be like a question Mark at the end of the comment. And I'd read that chapter and look at it and go, you know, he's right. Or no, no, there's there's reasons for this here, so obviously they're too weak or something needs to happen because we're not, we're not creating a, a turning point within the chapter.
I should read through some of the comments that are on the manuscript as they're. They were so well put to me, it was only a couple of them where i went grrr. Don't like those, but most of them were just so well laid out for me. And they challenged me to really look at , the scene or the sequence or chapter and make sure not only did I fully understand what I wanted it to do, but was it on page?
Could the reader understand it? . More importantly this week, though, what turned up was the first print copy of the book. So I had the book, , express printed, express couriered to me, turned up on Monday and what an emotional moment that was for me. Not for you cause you can't see it and probably you don't have the emotions tied up, but in the four and a half years of putting this novel together, to finally have it sitting there and it's looking at me right now, sitting on my desk, in all its infinite beauty, to me, but the beautiful design that's been done by Jane, who did the design, the printings great, choice of paper.
Everything about the book has really come together. A couple of decisions we made about the chapter titles. , They have worked out , really well. So the illustration that goes on, them I'm stoked that we were able to do it within the publishing software that we're using. And so for first proof , I am just so happy with how it came out.
Things have to change about it. There's not even a blurb on the back cover and a couple of print errors happened because of a few parameters that we set, but that's the whole point of doing proof copies. At the end of the day, though, what dawned on me was I have wanted to write this book for at least 35 to 40 years.
At least that long. That was what I chose to do. I didn't choose to do it. That's what I thought I wanted to do when I was in my early to mid teens. And then now it's done. And within another short period of time, it will actually be out in the world as a published book. And that was probably a moment of celebration and excitement this week, that was more significant than possibly anything else that's happened. It was a major milestone to see it, to feel it all week. I've been able to look at it. I said at the beginning of the podcast this week, that I'm really tired. And I am, I have been working on this for a month or two now nonstop every weekend. Up early every morning and just doing the numbers, getting through it and to have a reward for that effort is cool. I'm really happy I chose to do it now. This was the right week for it to happen. So I'm stoked to have it. All In all, I week of good progress, exciting revelations to have a book right there in front of me.
Lots of chapters written. I have a copy of the book in my hand. I feel like I'm almost at the finish line, which I am, and I am really excited about it.
Some Back Story
The backstory this week is going to be on a bit of research. But given the context of me receiving a copy of my book this week, I thought I would talk a little bit about the books that I've read, some of them anyway, that have been part of the research. And I actually pulled them out and, I have a heap of them sitting in front of me right now.
they range across some fairly obvious ones, I would think if you yourself were to think, what would I do to research the sort of book that's been written, an Epic fantasy with a medieval tone to it. And you'd be right to think, , there's a book here. , , life in a medieval village.
The middle-aged is unlocked. There's Chaucer's people, early medieval architecture, which is interesting. Why look at architecture? Part of the world-building to me was making sure I'm thinking about the things the way they would have been in the sort of world mine is and to look at a book on architecture and to understand the types of buildings that existed and why, that's kind of important.
It's a way for me to get visibility, to get a window into the period of time that I'm looking to do. , , the funniest book I think I got was called the English housewife. And she says on there containing the inward and outward virtues, which ought to be in a complete woman. And for those of you, whose the hairs on your spine just went up when I said that, it is literally a book like that, , in 1615 Englishman
Gervas Markham published a handbook for Housewives that contains all the virtuous, knowledges and actions, both of the mind and body, which ought to be in any complete housewife. And before your outrage reaches me down the interwebs, the interesting thing about this was why I ended up getting it was relating to some of the things that it has in there around recipes or cooking, which I haven't used in book one, but there was some fascinating backstory for lack of a better word, but a history on things like gathering seeds and the homemaking of clothing and dying of clothing, which ended up making it's way into the larger story in micro ways, but there were some really interesting things there. And of course you can kind of get a mindset for the period that it was. Funny because of just some of the things in there that are written about, or just completely different, really, really engaging to me, or really informative to me because of the level of depth that goes into and the preparation of things that you just don't see. We're so used to a recipe being, you know, grab this and that and this and that out of the cupboard and bang make a meal. And the recipes here include, , hunting the foul and what to do with them for the next two hours and skinning them, and all of that, part of the hyper preparation needed to prepare, prepare something really good. And making clothing, , all the way back to, , if you've just got a cotton, , how do you make a finished product? So really, really interesting stuff in there. Clearly I read about jesters and some of the topics, but there were other things that I got , really interested in.
There's a book here by Tony Mount called medieval medicine, which. I got , really interested in, and then Arabian drugs and early Medieval Mediterranean medicine. And there was just some neat understandings of things in there about how medicine or the concept of medicine grew up through the ages, which I found fantastic.
I then. , have done things like mythology books, of course. And I wouldn't say that I've drawn on heaps of mythology in what I've done. But even some classical books, there's one that was a scan book from old libraries called Scenes and Characters of the middle ages.
And it's, , like you can probably hear it creaking there as I open it. But the pages in here are, scanned from something and some of them are damaged. It's one of . The books that you can buy , that have been done by the libraries and things or Google. And they've been produced, , from scanning old material that just isn't in print anymore.
And some fascinating things and poems and just images that help to put pictures in my mind about, , what I want my world to be like. I wish I could have read every word on all of them. I haven't yet, over time, I will. The books that I did read early on The Fool and his Sceptre and Fools are everywhere, and falls everywhere is by Beatrice, Otto and it's about the court jester around the world, was fantastic.
And The Fool and his Sceptre by William Williford. It was an older book and turned up, actually had an old library card in it, which is really, really cool. And I have an idea for a future story set in the modern world around that concept of a book with a library card, but that's not for today. those two books, huge, , in the preparation for me to get the, the jester story clear in my head. , another one which transformed the opening of the book for me was some scenes in a book, called the English Medieval Minstrel, by John's Southern Southworth. And it talked just about minstrels and the concept of a minstrel and the entertainers over the time.
But I got a few little things out of it, which just helped. And I can recall the scene in my head that was stimulated by reading that book. And it's in the early chapters of the book book, , where Lani is passing through the city square and there's entertainers performing. And that scene, when you come to read it, actually was inspired by the information in that book.
the complete works of Francois. Rabolet who, , wrote plays and stories that had Jester type characters in them. And that one's a monstrosity, which I pick him through and get through. Bruster's dictionary of phrase and fabel, which is another monster one, but picking out elements from that, then help influence what I've done has been , really important.
Another one, which really has heavily been part of the society that I've built is called the medieval traveller by Norbert Ollah. I hope I did his name justice and the final groupings of books actually come down to me trying to get a better understanding of disability and particularly disability in the era of the , middle ages, medieval disability. And that, if you can kind of think about it then to now, you know, imagine, I guess in, , the, , Vikings TV series. There's a character whose legs don't work. On one of the sons. And at some point they create, , mechanisms for him to get around.
And that was almost revolutionary at that time, which of course it would have been. Whereas now that person would have automatically potentially use a wheelchair and those sorts of devices, which didn't exist. , the characters that make up the world and the society that the jesters live in, a lot of them are outcasts.
And for a lot of them, that would be because of disabilities, misfortune. Some of them might be just mental illness. Some of them could be physical disabilities. Some of them could be, only minor deformities or things that make them stand out as different. I had to draw the line. My understanding of it isn't as great as it could be.
And I didn't want the whole story to completely be on that topic alone. But I did want that to be , in the story and, , books like other middle ages. Witnesses at the margins of medieval society. And that included people with disability, people in levels of poverty that were extreme. Fools and idiots, intellectual disability in the middle ages, by Irenena Metzler another great book and a couple of books, dwarfism in the lives of dwarves , that I read, to understand better how that might make up the characters in my novel and the society, that I've been writing in. There's a lot more, I've gone on and on about a lot of books. I hope you found that a little bit interesting, but that's probably, what are there 30, 35 books in front of me right now that doesn't include all the electronic books and all the other ones I've got around mythology and weaponry and those sorts of things. Just probably 70, 80 books that have gone into the research to make up the backstory to this novel.
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.