Episode 7 – Am I making any progress at all?



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 seven August the 14th, 2020. Am I making any progress at all?

Since Last Time


Right, how did the week go? Well, 21,000 words, which is really good, that got edited and or written . I deleted three chapter s, and in total 12 chapters have been either edited or completely written and made new. So that's possibly 15 chapters. I could count, I almost made 16. Not quite though.

And in the big scheme of things with 3.7 weeks to go to my deadline, I've still got 65 chapters to go, to get 109 chapters done. That averages out to two and a half chapters a day or 17 and a half chapters a week. So it's getting a little bit bigger. It's going to be a mad rush to get there.

Maybe I'll slip behind. I hope not. I really need to go hard this weekend and try and get ahead of the week.  Typically crazy week, long days, lots of other work factors.  I'm involved in a not for profit board that takes some time, just numerous things that make it a little bit more hard to fit in extra time, but we're getting there. Still making headway.

I would like to think I was over the halfway point -- not quite there, but I should go over that point this week. Did make good progress with the story, and that's the important thing. , killing off three chapters was important, there were a couple of things there that weren't working; needed to get rid of them.

Some of the new writing that was done and just the tweaking of the chapters that I had, I'm really, really happy with, they're coming along really nicely. It's a hard grind. It is very much the work of it. I've spoken about that in previous episodes. This is the really hard grind part. Not to say that it's hard as an I don't enjoy it.

It's just, you have to sit down the work is already there, you have to work through it. When you have a blank page, you can either write to it or you have might have blocks, but when the work's there and it needs to be read and it needs to be edited and the notes and suggestions and all the comments alongside it have to be addressed.

Plus any planning that I did, all of that just has to be moved through. I can't rush through it, even though I said I , it's a big rush. I've got to read it. I have to understand it. And the thing I'm really having to stay focused on at the moment is the domino effects of the changes I've been making.

So in the 40, where did we get to 44, 45 chapters that I've done already -- I have made changes and in there little things I have to watch for, as we go along. One of the changes I made was reasonably significant to a device that my court jesters wore. We completely removed it from the story. There's little mentions or uses of that device throughout the story that I have to remember, Oh, hang on, they're not meant to be there. And because when the manuscript was edited, my editor assumed they were still in there, so they wrote editing notes around that content. But in our, , summary letter and in our meetings afterwards said, look, these are some of the approaches. I then  came up with a plan of how I would change the story to remove that device. And, uh, and I'm happy I did that. I'm really happy with the suggestion, but I have to remember when I'm editing, not to just edit the copy in the manuscript that I was given back, but to actually remember  that's something that I've scratched. And also there's so many little things where I might've changed a little description for an item, that only pops up randomly throughout the story.

But yeah, keeping that consistency is really important. And anyone that's writing a novel has to remember,  is that character left handed or right handed what color is there hair? Or what color are their eyes? So if they're referenced in any form of dialogue or description that you don't mix that up. We all are familiar with the bloopers or little elements of movies or TV series where things get missed or modern items turn up in an older story. I it's very difficult to do in a 200,000 word book. There's a lot of chances to get that wrong.

I have a Wiki, a private Wiki that I store a lot of details in. I don't have it fully up to date . And one of the things when book one is finished is to go through and completely get that up to date with book one, before I restart on book two, so I can stay on top of all these things.

Each realm has 10 to 12 cities or towns that I've defined. I'm adding characteristics about those places when they occur in this story.  when I go back through the edit, I might adjust that again. So at some point I have to get the important parts of that updated in the Wiki. I've added a couple of characters only minor secondary characters, but I keep a record of all characters names, so I can look at the character names I'm using and keep consistency. So there's lots of little things like that. I  really have to watch out for.

Of the new chapters I added this week, I think, they were all a little bit harder to write than one of the ones I did last week, which really I just hammered out and it was really great to write. The ones I did this time there was a complexity to them that I hadn't fully answered until I really got into the chapter. So the one last week I knew  exactly what needed to happen, I could see it in my mind, very clearly. For the chapters this week, I was creating additional obstacles for two different characters at two different times.

And it was an important part of this middle build section of my novel. The middle build  being half of the novel in size,  the way the novel's broken up is the,  introduction or act one, what I call the inciting incident is about a quarter of the book. Then the middle build is a half and then the climax and resolution is a quarter of the book, .

That's roughly how they work out.  The middle build is that part of the story where it's easy to lose the story, get a bit tedious, lose momentum. My editor and I are very happy with the act one pacing .

As it's transitioned into the middle build, it started to lose some of its pacing. And I got a little bit soft on my protagonist in the challenges that she needed to face. Another character needed some obstacles in her pathway as well. So I needed to include those. And yes, two of my very significant characters in my novel are female.

Both of these characters needed some obstacles. And I had an idea about the obstacle, the challenges that they might face and making sure they are realistic and truthful to the theme of the story was important.

One of them was  really fun to write, and in the end, I am really stoked with the way it panned out. And another element of the story was getting more Jesters on stage. And what I mean by that is the principles behind this story are about the world of Jesters  and how they would be perceived as just not a side character.

And I'm going to talk a little bit more about the Jesters in the next segment, but I need to get more on stage, you know, when they're actually behaving like a jester and the way it worked out, brought a lot of  characterization to a character that I had, you know, there, but wasn't in theory too important at that point, but will be further down. This jester interacting in their character role as the Jester, as the fool .

It was fun to actually bring it on there. I had been worried about the times I needed to get that right. Didn't want to overplay it, didn't want to underplay it, didn't want every one of my, Jester characters to be a cliche. And this particular one I liked, I liked the way that they fell into the story.  No pun intended when you read that chapter.

The most recent one was a lot of hard work. And the next day I ended up doing a really heavy edit on it, because I didn't feel it was my best writing, but now I'm very happy with it. So that's really been the bulk of the work this week. I feel like I made significant headway, some staggered results in there.

Like they, they took a bit longer than I'd hoped for, which did slow me down. But importantly, the story was maintained.

Some Back Story


The Jester. Why the jester? I've talked a little bit about my interest in the Jesters. This series is very much about the concept of the jester. mostly the court jester as a character. One of the things I've seen in most of the books in a fantasy genre that have a jester in them, the fool, is that they're sometimes important.  Robin Hobb has the fool as  strong character throughout  her series, but a lot of times they are secondary or tertiary characters. They play a bit part. Sometimes more significant, but they are the fool and that's what you see of them.

When I came up with the idea for the series, one of the key thoughts behind it was , who is a Jester when they're not a Jester? So if they on stage in the king's court are the fool, the witty fool or whatever fool type they might be. What happens when they aren't on stage when they're in their own room, when they might be out of their clothing and their particular costumes.

And they might be walking around town, just behaving more normal. Is there a line there where they are in a role and then they are not performing in that role and they're different. Are there those that they are that character, 24/7. How does that play out? How do you know who's a fool in that case or a Jester? If they're just someone in the street.

That was one of the ideas that really connected with me.  I wanted to make sure that they were a big part of the story. And the In All Jest series is very much about a society of Jesters. So not singular people, but a group or a guild, if you'd like to use that sort of terminology.  I call them a society or an organization and plucked elements of a history, and what occurred through ancient time. A lot of referencing on the type of medieval jester, but there is a much broader history  to Jesters throughout history. They've existed in ancient Egypt, China, Africa. A lot of african mythology talks about the trickster.

There's the court jester that we all recognize very clearly, but that there's a wide array of them and male and female as well. It's not exclusively that singular character. And also in famous literature, there's some Jesters that have been,  highlighted and this characterization has been made, but they are more widespread than that.

Typically though, the jester does aim their humorous barbs or arrows at similar targets; religion, and the religious representatives or self-important scholars, venal officials, nobles, rulers, particularly corrupt or lazy rulers and anything that was in theory, sacrosanct is where the jester showed up, pinpointing it and making barbs about it. And that's the area that fascinated me. And the more I researched, I found that there was actually several types of Jesters. There was that witty gesture that we were exposed to a lot in, the literature we see, the movies and pictures that we might recognize over time.

. That was easy to associate with and look at. But the other side to it is the mentally disabled or people that were considered crazy in those times who were considered fools literally. They were the fool, and the town fool, the village idiot, but also they might be employed to be the fool, because they had no filters or they just did the craziest of things and they helped provide some form of entertainment or provide a bouncing board for the person that was engaged with them . Mostly the witty or cynical Jester is the one that we see a lot of.

And particularly in the way, my story evolves, they're the types of people that you see, but we've really looked at where they form as a group, how they get created. what's the difference between a straight entertainer, progressing to someone that's acting as a Jester. Whether they're, part of a troupe, Troubadour, what about bards and other forms of storytelling?

where does it merge? Where does one become one or the other? And clearly there's some elements that provide visual recognition, particularly through the medieval time, the way that the jesters looked, the way they behaved, the type of role they had as a, court Jester, but they're a lot,  broader than that.

And a lot of Nobles would have a fool or a Jester employed that might not be as fully, cliched as that particular character.  what's the difference between a clown and a jester, how do we see them throughout, the bigger population?

That really influences the story a lot for me. I touch on elements of,  people that do have mental disabilities. People that might be rejected by society. ,And there is elements of truth that, some people that were physically or mentally disabled, in medieval periods were abandoned or considered outcasts.

But there was plenty of historical stories where that's not true and they were taken in and cared for. No, they didn't all necessarily live long, wonderful lives. But yeah, there's a real mix of things there. we have a concept in the book of the fool's cart and the fool's cart is something that travels around the realms and appears to the outside world to take people with, difficulties and, Lock them up and take them away, never to be seen or heard of again. And that's not actually true and I'm not going to provide spoilers, but the fools card has a role in the story. And in book one only a small role, but it will show up over time. It's part of the world background.

Then we have this whole society that forms around the concept of a Jester. And I really liked that because they were clever, they were witty. They might've had physical challenges. They might have been different. There are some famous Jester characters in,  old literature, and poetry, that were hunchbacks or physically afflicted like that.

So there's lots of things to consider in bringing this group together, but they also were the hidden person, which is interesting, when you think of them being in the face of their patrons and guests and being rude and belligerent, but there's this element that they could then have other things going on that they're influencing that people just don't look at them as being that person.

And I'm going to leave that portion of it alone now, because I don't want to ruin the story, but it is a really fun background piece to the series, the involvement of the jesters. And I did talk about in the first segment that I had fun writing one of these characters on stage fully in their role that I hadn't extrapolated in the early versions.

And I really had a lot of fun with it. I really enjoyed how it came out. I do not doubt that I will talk more about the jesters through this podcast because they are central to the whole story. Nothing more so than the tagline that I have promoting the book, which is it's all fun and games until someone kills the jester.



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.