When you reach a crossroads is there a right path? Will turning right lead to a precipice or inspiration? Is self-publishing a more stressful route than the safe traditional path? Will choosing to focus on the task ahead be at the expense of other demands?
This last month has thrown all these questions at me, complicated by the pain and exhaustion of MS – the MonSter that shares my life. So where to start at this crossroads with multiple junctions? News first as that can lead down other lanes.
Spiral of Hooves: Last month (in August 2nd post) I mentioned that I was considering submitting Spiral of Hooves to a US publishing group http://www.spectaclepmg.com/. Well I did and they wrote back saying they were interested in publishing the novel so would send me a contract. Still early days but this could be the break I dreamt of years ago. For now I am being patient and tackling other work.
Wyrm Bait: Returning to the first draft a year after writing this second attempt at a novel, I have found elements to change but also a basic structure and characters that read well. It is tempting to work on every sentence but at this stage I am looking at the bigger picture to see if the overall plot works. One element will demand a major rewrite – Point of View (POV).
When I wrote the first draft, I had a clear idea of the protagonist and chose his POV in third person as the opening voice, which works. I deliberated about the second POV: Should I choose the antagonist? Should I choose his ‘sidekick’? Would a female POV be better? In the end I chose a guy close to the villain – as that seemed easier than getting into a female head. The option of trying to inhabit the mind of the antagonist, make him believable and not have him lie overtly, was a tall order and not something I was ready to attempt; especially Agatha Christie does it brilliantly in ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’.
In retrospect the second POV, as it currently stands, lacks credibility, perhaps because I tried to write an Asian POV plus the guy has strong similarities to the protagonist, and reads too much like an observer and victim of events. So the conversations between him and his partner will be presented as transcripts by someone anonymous. The new second POV who participates in the same events more actively than the Asian guy, is a female associate but American. Having written a female POV as the protagonist in Fates Maelstrom – the latest WIP –I feel confident attempting it again. Also the character is set to return in the sequel.
Wyrm Blood: After the first Wyrm Bait draft, I realised the characters and background – an online role-playing game – could support a series. I intend to write the first draft of Wyrm Blood for NaNoWriMo in November (http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/about) and so I have outlined the plot and added to the cast. Some months ago a short phrase came to me and I honed it until I had an opening for some story. That will now be Wyrm Blood and one of the characters will be my second POV in Wyrm Bait. Working on the characters also fed into the first of the intended Wyrm series and added new dimensions throughout.
MonSter: Our crossroads is not on an English or Irish lane that takes us back to the beginning. Typing this blog has answered some of my questions and brought resolve into my plans. There is one turning left and that is where the MonSter lives. MS causes pain, exhaustion, headaches, spasms, gravity checks and as a result restricts my life. If I choose the path of an agent and a publisher, I can envisage problems coping when exhaustion is an underlying concern. How do I get to meetings, especially in London, when my mobility is a wheelchair? What happens when I have to make verbal sense yet speaking or reading aloud is a problem? I know that other disabled people cope and as the Paralympics draw to a close nearby I see what is possible.
However MS limits my work schedule so I make choices. If I read all the Blogs I subscribe too, my writing time is cut short. If I work on a book then I haven’t time to Blog. If I find time to write a Blog then editing is postponed. If the MonSter decides to run amok then I have to sleep or scream until I can re-emerge or escape into Middle Earth. It’s all about priorities and juggling but the MonSter can be managed, but not tamed, as long as I don’t overdo it and pace myself.
So if I don’t post for a few weeks, apologies. But please know that I am still writing or reading something and one day I will be back here.
Until then good writing & reading from The Silver Scribbler.