Thursday, January 06, 2005

On Writing...

I'm still learning as I go.

It's hard, but you can only become a better writer by actually writing... and rewriting. And then writing some more.

And then rewriting some more.

And then starting over.

Okay, maybe it's not that bad. But here's an example.

When I started writing Murder at Avedon Hill, I had no plans on organizing this as a book. The idea was to make it a serial, releasing chapters every week that would allow readers that were fans of a computer game (Neverwinter Nights) to try and guess what might happen in the next chapter.

I was using it as an exercise to flesh out my fantasy setting The Land of Caern. It was an opportunity to think through some elements that make fantasy worlds come alive:

the magic system -- who has magic powers? how does it work? how does religious based power differ from secular (wizardly) power (or does it?) Is magic part of someone or can it be imbued on items such as potions, or weapons?

the religous system -- who or what are the gods and how do they interact with the people of the world? how do the religious organizations work and interact with the secular governments of the world?

the government -- How many nations/powers are there? How does this translate to the people that live in each area? What are the relationships between the "powers that be"?

Anyways, a lot of the information in the work so far is more expository than you would normally see in a novel. But in the context of the "serial", it worked well. I could talk about the immortals that choose to enter the world of the living (as mortals) to help (or hurt) the world... and then two months later when they read a later chapter they have a good reference as to what is going on when they meet one of these immortals in person.

The other problem with the chapters I originally did for the Vault is that some were artificially geared to end with a sort of cliffhanger, since the "game" was based on "what will happen next?"

So, the problem now is that I am not writing any more chapters as a serial... I'm writing it as a novel for publication later this year. So I have to finish the story (I'm on chapter 25 out of a probable 40) and then rewrite the first 20 chapters so it has less exposition, flows better, etc.

If anyone has any thoughts about writing, feel free to comment here. I'm always looking for new people to converse with on the subject.


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