Episode 5



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


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


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.



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.