As I stated earlier, I’m zooming towards a road block. In previous years, this caught me off guard and the block led to a failure.
This year, I’m going to punch write through it! (See what I did there? See it? Ok. I’ll stop now.)
Here’s what’s going on in my head with the novel, what it is so far, what I’m trying to figure and what I’m thinking about. Writing about it here will help things move around and gel in my head and help me get past this week and on track for 100K.
There’s no such thing as writer’s block if you don’t let these things block you.
(Warning: This is a very long post. Read it at your peril)
My dear friend Bethan commented on my last post and said “I’m a travel agent, not a writer”
Thing is, I firmly believe that anyone can be a writer. You just have to, you know, write. There’s no one way to do it. There’s no magic to it. If you get someone who says: “This is the way you do it and any other way is wrong” is either deluded or trying to sell you something (If I ever do that, it’s wrong and I’m doing it by mistake.)
Writing is hard work but it’s a labour of love.
What I’m doing here in this post, and in a more general sense, on this site, is trying to give you window on my process. Basically you can see what I’m trying, what’s working, what’s not working.
On to the brainstorming!
Working Synopsis (sorta)
This isn’t any kind of official polished synopsis but here goes.
The story is about Dave. Dave’s your normal chubby aging lonely geek. He’s not a greek god or even mildly athletic. After saving the life of a little girl Dave finds that a wool is pulled from his eyes and he is thrust into “the real world”. Awakened, Dave must deal with a world were mythical creatures and magic exist alongside modern civilization, taking part and shaping our world. Further more, Dave finds himself named official guardian for “The Heir” (the little girl he saved) of the Celtic contingent of the fae in the area. She’s already the target of multiple assassination attempts, accidents and intrigue.
In the end it will come to a showdown between Dave, as protector of Lady Aennae and The Regent (Lord Thalussar) who will stop at nothing to seize power from the rightful bloodline.
There’s a lot in there, but that’s the gist of it. It starts with Dave getting “Awakened” and realizing that all sorts of crazy stuff turns out to be real and he’s responsible for the care and well being of a little girl.
It will end in a showdown with the villain of the piece who is the little girl’s Uncle and current Regent.
I’ve got to work on the in-between parts
Story points I like:
The Illusion: This is the idea that our entire world is blanketed by a massive, complex, subtle illusion spell. This spell makes it so that every day people (for example: us) can go about our lives with no major drama besides the usual war, economy, famine, disease and politics. We see everything as normal, Fae creatures look normal, magic shows up as normal and our minds have various explanations for it. For example: A huge Rock troll is helping build a new building. We’ll see it as a crane lifting stuff. Another example: Someone mounts a dragon and flies off. We might see them get on a helicopter and take off or something like that. It’s powerful stuff. A tiger headed mythological creature will come across as Joe the handyman.
The awakening: This is a rare phenomenon that happens when someone goes through a traumatic event of some kind. Something changes in their minds and if they survive the resulting coma, they are no longer subject to The Illusion and see the world as it “really is”.
The Conclave: Montreal is such a rich and diverse community that it made sense to me to have more than just your standard Elves and stuff that you see in most urban fantasies. In my (very aborted) reading, I found some interesting french mythology, cool indian mythological creatures and asian mythology is really amazing to read about. There’s SO MUCH! Anyway…it made sense that maybe each of these communities would be run by their own people in their own way and that to keep the peace, each community/mythological grouping would be represented in a council that basically runs the island of Montreal and the area.
Though my story is right now focusing on your standard elves and your basic urban fantasy bastardization of Celtic mythology (because I am very lazy and it’s just easier), I would like to draw upon elements from different cultures and interact with them.
Characters I have so far:
Dave: Dave is your basic, chunky, out of shape, socially retarded, lonely geek who’s approaching middle age. He’s our main character. He’s really not athletic, nor is he very assertive. He’s smart and has a healthy cowardice, cultivated by years of being picked on in high school. In contrast, in his older years he’s also getting a bit of a short fuse due to frustration with life, people and his general situation. So we’ve got someone who’s basically chicken but who tends to snap and get a spine at weird moments.
I know, I’m working on him. I’ve got a character arc all planned out.
Anna: aka Lady Aennae, aka The Heir. She is a young elven child. She is the rightful heir to the Celtic throne of the region of Mont Royal and area. Her mother died in childbirth and her father disappeared a few years ago. The official explanation accepted by the Celtic court is that the king has exiled himself and disappeared out of grief.
Beth: Elven warrior, scion of a long line of guardians attached to the line. From birth she was raised and trained for one purpose: To care for and protect the royal line. One mistaken second arguing with Dave and she finds herself ripped from her position as protector to Anna and exiled from court. Dave is her replacement. She isn’t giving up, but she has to stay in the shadows for now.
I’m working on her too. I’ve got a good character arc for her too.
Tinnuon Thalassar: Scheming younger brother to the rightful ruler. He somehow managed to supercede tradition and appoint himself Regent (tradition being that Beth would be Regent until Anna is an adult) and with the opportunity presented by Dave, he’s managed to remove Beth completely from the picture and have Dave set up as Anna’s guardian. The Heir is the only thing standing in his way to having the throne for himself. I believe the phrase “like taking candy from a baby” must be coming to mind.
This guy’s basically a tool. No character arc.
Willy: Werewolf limousine driver. He’s got a soft spot for Anna. Maybe secret bad guy.
Alfred: Scribe and mage in the royal court, he’s a bit stuffy. He’s an administrator and he’s the one who handles the day to day details when it comes to Dave.
haven’t decided if he’s bad or not…or neutral. he’s not on Dave’s side.
I’ve got other characters, but they are (so far) inconsequential.
1 – Plot problems
– I need to figure out a reason why Dave MUST stay on the island with Anna. He’s got basically unlimited cash. I may take that way from him. This is a big one. I realize I can just make stuff up, but it’s gotta be good.
– The plot MacGuffin I’m using right now to move the plot forward is that Anna is about to be 16 years old (still a little girl, elven maturity wise, basically around 7 or 8 in human terms) and that kind of seals the deal Throne wise, so the bad guy needs to off her before then. BUT, it’s easier for the bad guy if he makes it look like an accident. It feels like weak sauce.
– I need to find a reason why Dave HAS to go out and about instead of bunkering down somewhere. Like he HAS to attend court almost daily or he HAS to take the child to school (which i wanted to avoid). I mean it’ll be a pretty boring book if he just finds a basement somewhere and hides for a month.
– I need to find a way for Dave to make decent contacts outside the Celtic sphere. I was hoping to have them take refuge somewhere else. Right now my plan is to use Beth for this.
– I think I may need more characters. I really want to create an atmosphere where Dave needs allies but doesn’t know who to trust. He shouldn’t trust Beth but she’s the one who’s going to help him the most. I haven’t decided if her motives are pure yet.
– I wanted some intrigue but so far the story seems way too straight forward to me. Basically Dave has to survive for a month…big whoop. This may fall under the “need more characters” issue.
– need more stuff to happen.
Possible outline now for stuff happening:
– Dave saves little girl, becomes guardian (the accident is assassination attempt 1)
– Dave explores the new world and gets to know his charge
– Assassination attempt! (car accident)
– Beth meets up with Dave
– Beth explains the situation to Dave, who’s pretty clueless.
– Dave tries to hide somewhere
– another assassination attempt
– Dave seeks sanctuary somewhere
– Time’s running out, no more “accidents” Now it’s a big ugly thing that comes after them
– Dave makes it back to court with Anna
– showdown with bad guy. Dave wins.
Conclusions (so far):
Ok, just writing that stuff down I can see that while I have a lot of work to do, it’s not as bad as I thought. There’s some meat there to work with.
Right now everything is from Dave’s POV. Just adding Beth’s POV will beef up what I already have and make things interesting. Sure, it takes away the suspence I could have by having the reader guess if she’s REALLY a good guy or not, but I’m willing to risk it.