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Easy Reading IS DAMN Hard Writing

The title for this post is a quote from Nathanial Hawthorne who is most notably known for his dark romanticism and his major novels The Scarlet Letter(1850) and The House of the Seven Gables (1851). Though not a fan of his writings, this quote is right on. To make a story easy reading for your audience requires a LOT of hard work. Which leads me into my blog (or better known as a ranting).

I just finished my First Draft of Chapter Seven, almost 20,000 words (about 1/5 to 1/6 of the way through Book One of my series). This was a big milestone for me. Chapter Seven was where I introduce the major TWIST for my book. And one thing I have learned from my Lessons is Conflict and Twist are two critical aspects of the novel. Without them all you have is a journal of boring day-to-day dictation of everyday events.

I had been flying along with my writing and then I hit Chapter Seven, completing upwards of over 1,000 words a day prior to that. Chapter Seven took more than a week to do just a little over 2,000 words. Why? Because whatever I wrote just did not feel right. I couldn’t tell you why, but it didn’t. Finally one night an idea hit me and it flowed from me — the entire chapter. In the writing community this is referred to as letting your Muse run rampant. Basically my Muse (the creative part of my brain and who/what I have named Willow) that is allowed to write without too many restrictions.

But now I have to continue on. I had in my mine many of the scenes up until the introduction of the Twist, and then some scenes about halfway in the book and then a way to finish the book. But between the Twist and the halfway point was sort of, well to tell you the truth, was a blank. I mean I had some “general” ideas, but no details. I have spent the last few days trying to visualize the next few scenes, and while I have some thoughts, it is not as clear as the first six Chapters. I think I have a way forward, but it is like beating my head against the wall. It feels good when I quit smashing my head against the wall, but only in comparison to the fact that it hurts like hell while I am beating my head against the wall. Basically not that it feels good when I stop, just feels less painful than when I am banging my head on the wall.

So I proceed. Don’t get me wrong, it is tons of fun spending time thinking about the story. I am as enthralled with the characters as I hope my Readers will be — and at this point I am not sure how they will react or turn out in the end. And I can’t think of anything more fun then trying to think up ways to get my characters into trouble (a important aspect of developing a story) and how to get them out of the trouble. Developing my characters I realize that no one is all good or all evil and that even the bad guys have some good about them.

I am staring on Chapter Eight and taking the story forward. So far it has been fairly serene, but from this point on it gets a little darker and somewhat tougher. At this point not one person has died (very strange for a Medieval-Themed story), but that will be rectified by Chapter Ten. And there will be lots of stress and stain on the characters.

If I get enough requests I might publish some excerpts from my First Draft, with the understanding that it can dramatically change in Revision.

Now one interesting thing I wanted to share was my WIP Titles. WIP stand for Work In Process. The WIP Title is the name that you give your project (in my case a novel) while you are working on it. This gives me, the Writer, a point of reference and, along with many other tools, helps to not only motivate me, but to keep me on track with the story concept. Generally the WIP Title may, and usually is, changed at publication.

Regardless, I have been talking with a number of others in my Writing community and have come up with a WIP title for my Series and the Books in the Series. To understand the WIPs you need to understand the stories. First off my main characters, Twin teenage boy and girl, have Red hair and Emerald Green eyes (considered a sign of evil in their culture). If you read my Sentence in a past Post you will know that a big part of this story is about the Twins fighting against mysterious Shamens who are basically trying to conquer the Twin’s kingdom like they have many other countries. If you think of the Shamens as a fire that has spread across the mainland and now trying to scorch the Twin’s kingdom then you get a feel for the titles. And if you think of the Twins battling back against the Shamens, initially locally but then (in future books) back across the mainland, then you also can better understand the imagery of the titles. And then with the male Twin being a powerful mage controlling, among other things, fire, and the female Twin a great leader with a flaming sword, the titles will make a lot of sense.

So below is the title for the Series and for each individual book (at least as of today).

Series: The Wildfire Saga

Book One: Sparks (or Flash or Flash Point) — still working on this. And I plan to have a subtitle but not sure yet.

Book Two: Blaze (no subtitle yet).

Book Three: Inferno, A Crown of Fire

Book Four: Ashes, Phoenix Arise

So you get the idea. As you can see while I complain nonstop about how hard it is to write, it is still one of the most fun things I have ever done. I mean, coming up with Book titles is a blast – though our Internal Editor Lou Grant would say that in the time we spent playing around with WIP Titles we could have written another chapter or two. But hey, this has to be fun or it isn’t worth doing in the first place.

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