Wyrd is alive and back on track. Got over a thousand words done today and I’m real happy with the direction and where it’s going. It’s funny: in an earlier draft of this manuscript from years ago I had the chapter coming to an end where the Saxons up and left after Vortigern kidnapped Hengest’s daughter, Rowena. But now, with the more fully-developed and interesting character that Vortigern has become, he would never do this. I can feel the story turning away from this earlier draft, and going in a much more precise and right direction of where I want it to go. Coupled with the eleven-page chapter outline that took me hours to complete yesterday, Wyrd is looking to be a pretty fascinating novel and I’m excited to see where it goes. Also, with the outline complete, I’m bumping the word count to an estimated 150, 000 words; yes, I feel this manuscript might just end up being that long, at least with the full story I plan to tell. We’ll just have to see how it goes.
WORDS WRITTEN: 1,375
TOTAL WORDS : 21,376
REASON FOR STOPPING: End of poignant scene, but still lots more to write in this chapter!
And now for some words in progress:
One was a giant of a man, tall as well as wide; the likeness was unmistakable. When the Saxon looked up at them, Artorus saw in the face the sibling features, and knew this man must be the other of the Saxon horselords, Horsa. The man’s stare was both indignantly questioning and accusatory; definitely Hengest’s brother.
Went through a full read-through of the 90 odd pages written today, which was good as the story is now fresh in my mind and I made some detailed notes in the from of a chapter beat sheet along the way, so that I will now be able to reference those annoying details that I’m not sure I’ve already mentioned, such as a character’s age, or whether they already said that; and hopefully prevent writing something that totally contradicts what I’ve written earlier. Also got Chapter IV a little further along.
Vortigern’s eyes widened at this, finally wiping the look of suspicion off his face. Meanwhile the interpreter continued to relay every word that’d been spoken to Hengist in his language. Vortigern seemed to realize this just now and stopped Artorus from saying anything further.
“And you are here to help us, along with our Saxon friends,” – he held out an arm to Hengist, turning and smiling at him and the interpreter and then turning back to them – “against those invading scum from the north and against our shores.”
PAGES: 3 1/2
Got a little bit further along in my novel, Wyrd, today, though not as much as I’d wanted, but that’s because it’s requiring me to plan out the chapter more, to refer to an earlier draft, just to know the history and what’s going on. I can already tell three things about this novel:
- It’s going to be longer than anything I’ve done before, I expect 400 pages, if not longer.
- It’s going to be a lot of work. Being a work of historical fiction, the writing is different from other novels that I’ve written where I was able to have a loose idea of the story in my head and know the characters and just do the writing and let the story unfold. In Wyrd there is the story to tell, but there is the historical context to get right, as well as certain historical events that I either want to directly reference or allude to. This is why the writing is feeling somewhat disjointed with stops and starts and reference checking and fact checking. I expect to attain a rhythm at some point where the writing will come easier, but at the moment it’s hard going. I also have a lot more going on with plots and subplots and various emotional resonances that present a very complex novel, which is a new endeavor for me. So while part of me is finding it hard going and tough, another part is thrilled by it and I’m very excited to see what’s coming next and where it’s all going.
- Once the first draft or two is complete, I know it’s going to require a lot of work to get everything just right with respect to context, setting, time line, continuity, and things like that.
And that’s enough talk, here’s some writing in progress:
“Lord Hengist wants to know why he should sacrifice his men to receive so little in return. Why should the blood of his people be spilled, their lives taken for some gold and food in return. It is land that he requires.”
Today was a good day, as I not only got some writing done, but resurrected the manuscript that had been put on hold since late last November. But today’s session has reawakened the need to keep writing this novel that’s turning into a lot of fun, reminding of why I originally wanted to write it. Managed to get a part completed and started a new chapter. So here’s to more progress with Wyrd . And now for a writing sample of today’s work (a long piece, as it’s been a while):
In the other chair sat a great hulk of a man. He was at least as tall as Vortigern, if not more so, but was wider than two of the king’s put together. Artorus could tell that while this man was a heavy brute with large amount of fat on him, there was also a lot of muscle. He was a strong man who would be hard to defeat in fight, especially if he had an ax. His hair was a dark blond, long and scraggily, reaching past his shoulders. His face was heavy and jowly, but at the same time menacing. Beneath his left eye he bore a deep groove of a scar. His eyes were dark, almost black, fixing Vortimer with what seemed an angry stare. This was the Saxon king, Hengist, and he didn’t want company.
Just wrapped up the last short scene for Chapter III of Wyrd, so glad that’s out the way. Next it’s a short interlude on Artorus’ past and then on to Chapter IV. And now for a little work in progress:
They were quiet for the rest of the short trip, rocking gently on the waves, as the boat headed for the growing island ahead, the light fading, the darkness rising; the waves lapping at the hull like the thuds of a war drum, in syncopation, with regularity.
Artorus hoped it wasn’t portentous.
Made myself come back to the manuscript today after a few weeks of life and busy things getting in the way, and wrote the last big scene of Chapter III which was a scene I’d been meaning to get down for a while, and now its down on paper (or rather the virtual paper of the screen) and I was pretty happy with how the scene came out. Just a few more little bits and then the chapter will be done.
And now for a sample of today’s work:
Greetings Windchaser. My name is Artorus and I am friends with your kind and have ridden many of your brothers and sisters in my time. All have respected me and borne me to where I’ve wanted to go. Today I ask that you extend me the same courtesy, so that we may take a canter around the field. I wish to see how truly strong and fast you will take me. This will do much to impress your master and his other men. Will you bear on this ride?
Not sure right now if I’ll be staying with “Windchaser,” but it works for now.
PAGES: 8 1/2
Work continues on the novel and while I find it slower than other books I’ve written, I believe it is because of the prose that’s being generated, along with the necessary research and needing to get a lot of the details more accurate for a story set in the fifth century than one set in the present day. But as I’m going over parts that I wrote some years ago that are now being rewritten, I see where the holes and necessary new scenes are needed, even if their awkward ones to write, but it’s all adding to the characters and overall plot of the book, and the message I’m trying to tell. I’m also forcing my self to not fix or change too many things, as I’ve always been a writer who goes back and fixes and edits later, and just gets the words on the page first. I know there are lots of parts that will need fixing, or tweaking, or complete rewriting, but I’ve at least got the idea of what I’m trying to say down on the page. And it’s helping to pave the way for the rest of the book.
It’s as if I’m creating crucial coordinates in these first chapters so that the rest of the book can steer true and stay on course and not get lost in the doldrums. Which is good, because even with my basic chapter outline (which I’ve already veered considerably from), I wasn’t sure where the book was exactly going. And I still don’t fully know, and I’m also certain the characters will take it to new and undiscovered islands that never occurred to me. But as I said — and this is the last time I use the metaphor in this post — the course is plotted, at least initially with some important points, and this book is heading in the right direction.
And now for some of the writing:
There are the Northmen, the Geats, Swedes and Danes who are beginning to push south, all in search of land, riches, in search of something new to their lives. The Saxons are feeling constricted, attacked from all sides and are looking for an escape. A way out. So when Vortigern offers them this. And bear in mind that the Saxons, Angles, and Franks have been raiding the British coastline for over a hundred years. It’s a dream come true to be offered new, fresh land in return for protection.”
PAGES: 4 1/2
P.S. I’m also on track for doing a little bit of writing every day this week so far, whether it’s the two pages on work days or the four pages on non-work days (like today). Woot.