Friday, February 24, 2012

Scrawled Notes

I'm big on hand-writing parts of my books.  In the case of Mayfly Requiem, it is the entire book that is hand-written.  There is something primal to be found in scrawling pages and pages of nearly illegible words.  I knew from the initial idea for Mayfly that it needed to be handwritten to be effective.  It is a confession, written in the candlelight by a broken man on the edge of a breakdown.   The interludes are written to Dia, but the main story is written to someone else, someone who is the reason Lani carries so much regret.  It is both an apology and a warning.

This is one of the pages from my original draft of Mayfly Requiem.  I actually changed very little during my edits.  Lani carries the habits of many eras and I wanted his language to reflect his past.  I filled two large journal-style notebooks in four months, and then I had to transcribe and edit it.  That part took longer than the initial draft.  The work is never done when you finish the first draft, or the second.

Echoes of Oblivion was originally a short story.  That short story quickly became a single book.  When I finished the first couple of edits, it came in at 300,000 words.  Using the rule of 250 words per page, I ended up with a mere 1200 pages.  I knew it had to be split, but it took me a bit of thought to figure out where the logical splits were.  To me, there were obvious first, second, and third acts, but those did not lend to an even break.  I kept the first act as is and moved the start of the third act back about a hundred pages.  I wanted to end Shards of Chaos with a bit of hope instead of a death.  That meant the immediate introduction of a new character at the start of The Shattered Veil.

I scrawled 180 pages of notes in a couple of 6x9 notebooks for Echoes of Oblivion.  Most of it is jotted scenes, bits of dialogue, and interesting sentences I had to write down as soon as I thought of them.  The order is completely chaotic since I composed the notes as they came to mind while I was also writing the book in chronological order.  Also in my notebooks are diagrams and rules for ineku, family trees, and Kirak and Volle dictionaries.  The below page is part of my Volle dictionary before I typed it into a spreadsheet.
This is how I normally write and keep my thoughts organized.  They probably wouldn't make any sense to anyone else who read them, but they don't need to.  This last page is from my notes for my work in progress, Absolution.  On the left is part of my runestone collection (I even have a clay set I made to play with), which Dacibrega and Onyx both use throughout the story.  On the right is part of a conversation between Dacibrega, Bethel, and Onyx about those runestones.  I am about 2/3 of the way through the book and have the rest plotted out, but I need to finish writing it.  I'm not exactly having trouble with the story, but instead I'm having other issues while writing it.  I wrote the first third and had to stop because Mayfly Requiem needed to be written, then I wrote the second third and got pregnant with my daughter so my brain shut off for a while due to lack of sleep and nausea.  I don't want it to stay a work in progress forever, so I plan to dive back into it after I get The Crystal Lattice in working order.

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