Episode 3

Episode 3: Struggling to get started and more time



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


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


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.



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.