Episode 10 In the home straight



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 10 September the fourth, 2020. A big week of progress. I'm in the home straight sprinting towards the finish line.

Since Last Time


Well, before we get started, I'm going to try something a little bit different with my audio, today. Just positioning of my mic and sound. I do apologize for last week's audio.  listening back to it, because I was moving my head around, looking at books that were stacked all around my desk, I noticed that the voice quality went pretty poorly.

I also struggled to do a lot of the editing on the episode because of workload, due to all my editing, which you'll hear about soon. So wasn't my finest effort, but I hope my teeny audience will forgive me. So what has happened since last time?  I have done 50,212 words, or I've edited that much? 25 chapters, two to three were deleted.

The overall total is 103. There are eight chapters to go right now, as I record this. 1.14 chapters a day, eight per week. Ideally they will all be completely done this weekend, coming up. It all got set, by the work I did last weekend, I ended up doing 16 chapters that I got through, which set me up for the week fantastically.

I also took a little bit of time off some regular activities and managed to get nine done between Monday and today. So it was two every morning, apart from this morning where I only had  time to get one done, although it was a lengthy difficult chapter to process.

I'm really, really happy. Ecstatically happy with how that's all gone.

I can't believe that I'm here. Although I knew it would be like this. I knew I would get to this point where the momentum just seems to have built on itself.  All throughout this novel, as I've written it and edited it, I have had to handle the mental challenge of a hundred and something chapters. Each of the editing cycles I've been through, I start at one and I can see a hundred and something ahead of me. And it feels like I'll never get there. Much, like any difficult task whenever you're working towards something that takes a long time and a lot of steps, you struggle early on. You start with that initial burst of enthusiasm. It seems like a mountain to climb that will, you'll never reach the apex of. You make some progress with that early willpower, motivation, but then it becomes hard grind. And if you've listened to the early episodes, I think I've used hard work and grind probably too many times.

But it was. And then several weeks ago I seem to cross the halfway mark, and all of a sudden I'm here with eight chapters to go. And it does feel like a very short space of time. It feels a lot shorter than the early time that I put into it. It was a mistake or an issue, in the early weeks of starting this edit, I was only getting through five or six chapters.

And I think that's the other reason why it felt so much longer at the start. Whereas if I had done 10, then it was 10 weeks. You could clearly see it. At the beginning it felt like forever. But let's celebrate. I'm there right now. Ready to complete this. This weekend I will get through those eight chapters, everything going to plan.

And that gives me the rest of next week to do the reviews that I've marked for review. I flagged a few things through the edit as I went. There were a couple of chapters that were completely new and albeit I went over them two or three times while I was working on them or the next day,  I need to have another look at them in the fresh light of day with distance between when I did them and now, and how the rest of the story has panned out.

Did I say I was really happy and excited. Well, I am!

So, what happened with this story this week? Well, I clearly got through a fair chunk of it. Last week I was deep in act two. I think it was probably more than halfway through act two, but there was still a lot to play out in the story. We've got out of that middle build, we've moved into the ending payoff or act three. And I'm right at the climax. As of this morning, I'm working my way through the big events that are about to take place. I've been weaving in little climaxes or mini resolutions to a few other things that have been going on, but I'm bringing together a couple of the key points at this ending stage.

So it's important to get it right.  I'm not going to rush through them. I'm going to go through them like I have everything else, but I'm hoping that they will go well without too much rewriting or effort from what was discussed. Interestingly, there were limited notes from my editor at the end of the story, because  the ending, while impacted by the decisions made earlier, didn't really need in itself,  to have more thinking done around all of it. The key point to it was what led up to it that made sure it was a solid ending. I did have concerns about how all the earlier changes would affect the later parts of the story. And over this last week, I've been pleasantly surprised with the way that things fell into place.

Some of the things I was really concerned about how they would pan out and as they came up and as I had to address them, I just felt like they were meant to be, it really felt like the story now was clicking into place properly. And I'm eternally grateful for the professional input that Fleetwood, my editor, gave me.

I'm really happy with the amount of thought I did before I started editing, in mapping out solutions to the challenges that lay ahead of me. I do believe that was the most critical thing I did to help me reach this point with this story where I'm really happy. I've had some fun feedback this week. I've been able to share the first six chapters with different people and interesting different feedback that I've received.

One of them that I really enjoyed was about the opening sentence and I haven't looked at it properly in a while. And someone just said, great opening sentence and on reflection, it is quite good,I think. I think it's a good opening sentence. And the opening sentence is this:

The smell didn't bother her. In fact, she couldn't smell it anymore. It was only because others always mentioned it, that she was still aware of it.

Well, that's two sentences. So the first sentence was; the smell didn't bother her. Why do I like that? , I realized it does two things.

It raises two questions. What's the smell? And who's, her? In a very short space of time. And, that propels you to the next, sentence and the next sentence. So I quite like the way someone responded to that and looking back at it going, Oh, I wrote that.

As I said, everything's merging together for the final climax of the story.

I think there will be some little adjustments in it. I have an itch I need to scratch in my brain about, something that just wasn't quite right for me. And I believe that will be an exciting part of this writing to come. One observation of the week that's been, was spending so much time in the story world and doing so many chapters and basically, you know, reading, editing one, taking a mini break, doing the next, taking a mini break.

I spent all of the weekend deep in the world. Previous weekends, I've done a large number as well for whatever reason that, accumulated time over the last month, just built up so much in me. I was deep in the world. I was really enjoying it. And if you ask my wife, there were points where I was rabbiting on excited,  over the kitchen counter, as I was making another cup of tea or coffee. Where I was just really enjoying where I was in the story. Pretty sure she's over it, really doesn't want to have this elongated process happening any longer. She'll be very happy at the end of this weekend, I would think as well. But overall, fantastic week, looking forward to seeing this book out in the world.

Some Back Story


One of the hardest things with a fantasy novel of this size and particularly one that's part of a series is managing all of the information about this imaginary world.

The way I do that is by using a Wiki. I've set up a private website with Wiki software on it that I'm using to manage all of the information that I can.

Originally, when I started with the novel, I did it in Trello. I had a couple of Trello boards, lots of lists, lots of cards. Which was great, and I used that initially, but it became a little unworkable. I then progressed to using an app called Milanote, which I like for more freeform content.

It's really nicely laid out. Yout can really put some great things into it. And that was useful more, I think, for the plotting and some of the things I was doing that was less rigid, but ultimately I needed a place to store information that not only myself, but others, such as my editor or people helping me review the book, and for the future books, was easy to access and had a hierarchy to it.

That was clear and an intelligible for people, or should I say the logic was suitable? So I set up the Wiki. What sorts of things go in the Wiki? Pretty much everything. I have world notes,  so I outline the elements of information I have about the world as a whole. I then break that down into continents within continents it would be realms.

Some realms would be on different continents, but in the primary focus of book one, we're talking about one large continent with a number of realms. I then define into those realms. So there's a Wiki page for each of them. Within that, I have cities, towns, government, geography, military religions, while their economy made up from who their allies are, enemies, how trade and finance works across the realms. And anything like that that came up in my planning in my world building. It's really, really tough to keep up with it. And after the edits that I'm doing now, before I go back into book two, I'm actually going to have to reread the book again. Yes. That was me making a funny noise, but I need to go back through and really make sure that everything lines up before I leap back into book two.

So that the changes that have been made are recorded properly, adjustments are made, and the reference for book two is a hundred percent accurate. And it's a big task just maintaining it. I know it will get easier, partly because there's things I don't need to edit that I've already resolved and locked in.

I just need to go through them all and make sure that they've got all of that information. Other things that are listed, what resources do each of the realms have building the world. Everyone doesn't have access to everything. You know, you can't find gold everywhere, silver, everywhere, or lime, or those sorts of things.

So who has what type of resource? And I recall when I was doing the world building, you also have to think about what in theory climate and geography is of that area. You can't have a location, that's predominantly a rocky mass of mountains that grows wheat. You can't have a lot of salt mining in a desert.

That's not going to work. So you need to think about those things. I need to record them because let's be honest, I'm not going to remember that. I don't even remember it fully for the country I live in, in the real world. Of course there's Wiki pages about all of the characters. For all of the more focal characters, primary, secondary ones that we see a lot of, there is a lot of detail on their role, their profiles.

Basically, a full persona in history about them, but I also have limited pages for those minor role characters to just notate things. If I've described something about them, at a future time, I could come back through that location and brush up against that character again. The idea is I don't have to find which book that, that reference was in because I can go back to the Wiki, look them up and bingo.

The Wiki does tell me what books they're in, but if I've got their profile, that just answers all of that for me. There are 41 lesser characters in book one 11 primary, and about another dozen secondary characters or peripheral ones that are central to the biggest story, but may not have massive roles in book one, at this point. I have sections about the God/gods, magic, the different plot threads that weave through book one.  Not all of those are being resolved in book one. Otherwise it wouldn't fit into the series arc, but keeping track of them, I'm making sure I'm across them all, , I need to double check all of those again, in this next week, just make sure I've got them right. When I update the Wiki post publishing of A Fool's Errand on there to go back and look at. Were there any new ones that were adapted for the future books? I know there's one in my mind already that has changed a little bit in the way it will impact book two and book three.

I also have a whole section   on real world information, particularly research on things that I did. And I've talked about resources before. There was a lot of research in the early days on things like dyes, amber salt, guilds, types of minstrels, a whole raft of topics that I investigated.

And there was information that was really useful for me to help form the depth of the world that I have now. I talked about the dyes last week, , in my mention of the book, the English housewife, that was one resource. I also did a lot of online research in looking at how dyes are made, what goes into them, how they were made historically has that varied in modern times, but trying to get an understanding of it all.

And if you were to ask me questions about it, right, the second, I can't recall all of it, which is why I have them in the Wiki. For reference again, because I have used parts of it that in my storytelling, and there was a reason for that, that we'll come back again at a future point where I might need to access it.

I don't want to have to do all the research again, that doesn't make a lot of sense. I have some things bookmarked in my browser, but critical information that I want to reference again, and again, I put into the Wiki. Really the last section would be creatures. There aren't a lot of creatures in the early parts of the story.

I haven't filled it with that. There is a couple of creatures that reside in the back ground of the story in my head. I'll be interested to see how they come out in book too. If they do at that point. We'll just have to wait and see for those of you that are dragon lovers, I'm sorry to tell you. I don't have dragons in my story.

This is not a story about dragons. So that's what I mean by creatures. There are of course, the types of creatures you might expect such as a horse or those types of animals, but I'm talking more about the sorts of creatures that become an important part of the story. Maybe a mythical creature of some sort of, magical creature, those types of things that have an impact on the story. At the moment, they haven't had a big impact on A Fool's Errand, which is okay because I don't think it needs it.

I think the story is doing just fine without. That's some insight into the Wiki, what goes into it, how much goes into it. There's a lot of pages already. There's a lot of references to. Things that I've used to help gather the information. And I can imagine by the time the six books are done, it's going to be huge.

But at least I will know where to find all of the information about it. And a couple of people who've asked me, no the wiki isn't available to read for anyone else. It's not public information. It's not that type of wiki at this point. It's a Wiki for me. As my reference, my world Bible, of my world book, about the whole of my world.



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.