By James Batchelor on June 22nd, 2014
I am posting today as a participant in an author’s blog-hop, wherein a bunch of different authors answer four of the most commonly asked questions that we authors hear. My thanks to Dave Butler for involving me in this. Dave writes speculative fiction. I just read one of Dave’s books, Crecheling, this last weekend and had a hard time putting it down. Find out more about Dave on his blog here, or on twitter @davidjohnbutler. Now onto the bloghop’s standard introductory paragraph:
We writers share these things informally during workshops and at conferences, but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions:
Q: What am I working on? A: Currently, I have two projects in the works: The first is the third book in my Crusades Series. It is entitled The Knights Reborn and takes place in 13th century England against the backdrop of the Crusades, the Magna Carta, and the Barons’ war. It centers around a once nearly invincible family of English Knights, The Dawnings, who through their desire for power, and to further their own individual agendas, have managed to sow the seeds of their own destruction on every side. In this third book, their enemies are all combining to wipe them out once and for all, and each brother must choose between his own selfish desires or the safety of the realm.
The other book I am working on is a fantasy adventure called Hall of Mages. My brother wrote the rough draft of this book before he passed away, and I have been working to bring it out for the last couple of years. It is a completely unique world with totally original races and an entirely new magic system. It’s going to be fantastic.
Q: How does my work differ from others of its genre? A: In the case of the Crusades Series, I don’t really know of anyone else writing in the genre, except maybe Steven Pressfield. Pressfield refers to his books as historical war epics. Like many of Pressfield’s books, My Crusades Series is also set against a historical backdrop and many of the characters, battles, and events in the story are real. But I never wanted that to interfere with the flow of the story or the adventure. I wanted the reader to be able to enjoy the story for its own sake, and, if interested, to be able to use the cues in the book to look into that period in history further.
In the case of Hall of Mages, I already mentioned the unique world, races, and magic system, but I think the other way it differs is that the story is not the traditional main character searching for some object or thing to fullfill a quest. Like the setting, the story too is very unique, and I think readers are going to appreciate that aspect of it.
Q: Why do I write what I do? A: Because I can’t write anything else. I know that does not sound like much of an answer, but it is the truth. Take my first book, The Knights Dawning, for instance. I have known all my life that I wanted to be a writer, but I never really had a story that I was passionate enough about to spend the thousands of hours it takes to write and revise a book to get it ready for public consumption. Still I wrote, however, because writing is my outlet. It is my therapy. This became particularly important after my brother’s death at the end of 2008.
I was struggling to process all of the emotions surrounding that unfortunate event, so, naturally, I was writing. I kept experimenting with modern day stories that closely mirrored the circumstances of his passing, but those were too raw. Then, finally, it occurred to me that it was not his death that I wanted to write about, but all the choices and circumstances which culminated in his loss. That is a timeless story–a human story–of weakness, vice, and redemption which could be told in any age.
Q: How does my writing process work? A: This is a difficult one to answer because I am a discovery writer, not an outliner. For readers who may not know the difference, it is just what it sounds like. An outliner creates detailed outlines of his or her work before he or she begins writing, whereas a discovery writer does not know many of the details or plot twists until he is already writing and they present themselves during the creative process.
When I begin, I know the broad outline of the story and some of the major plot points, but that is pretty much it. I could compare it to walking a staircase in the dark. You know where it will lead, but perhaps you can only see a step or two in front of you. You must take each step trusting that the other steps will appear as you go, and, in general, that has been the case. Although when that has not happened, serious writers block occurs, but that’s a topic for another post.
I would add to this a testimony to the truthfulness of the Pablo Picasso quote, “inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” That is absolutely true. I have writing goals set each day, and I cannot count the number of times I have started the day pulling teeth to get anything even remotely coherent to come out on the page, only to end up shooting way over my word goal because I wanted to get all the new ideas down before I stopped for the day.
I don’t know how interesting any of that was, but you’ve read it now, so you’re stuck with it.
On that note, I would like to introduce the authors whom I have asked to carry on the bloghop:
Sarah Seeley writes dark fiction. She is the Author of Blood Oath: An Ork Love Story. Check out Sarah’s blog at slithersofthought.com Sarah also tweets @saraheseeley.
Scott Taylor is the writer of the award winning short film, “Wrinkles”, and of the upcoming feature film, Edwin. Follow Scott’s blog here: scottywattydoodlealltheday.blogspot.com