August 27th – Train Ride Into London

There’s a wonderful haze built up on either side of the train as I head in to work this morning.  I can see the trees and hedges that make up the boundaries of the train tracks, and the few homes, fields, businesses, and roads that lie just beyond, but everything beyond is swallowed in mystery.  As much complaining as I do about the trains (and the companies that run them…oh, the fun we’ve had together), it’s mornings like this that remind me why trains are such magical, alluring things.

The latest update on “Knight of the Flame” is, unfortunately, that there is no update.  The next thing that needs to happen is still the cover, and I’m still in the process of seeing what kind of illustrations “me and mine” can come up with.  I’m seeing this as kind of a trial period, though, and it’s coming to an end, which means I’m going, very soon, to be looking for a professional (or, at least, talented) artist to put together my cover illustration.  If anybody has any suggestions for such a person or organisation, I’d be more than happy to hear about it.  At the moment, I’m looking at 99designs and Bibliocrunch as my probably avenues, and their service descriptions are setting the baseline for what I’m expecting to pay for such a thing.  Seems reasonable, so far.

I was going through the outline, filling in a bunch of details, last Friday (I tend not to write on the weekends, and Monday was a bank holiday), and I came to the sudden realisation that there was an entire sub-plot which I’d left completely and totally underdeveloped.  I was Dr. Frankenstein, and I was discovering that one of the legs I’d stitched onto my creation was little more than a stump, totally incapable of allowing it to stand on its own.

These are actually my favourite moments, the ones where I discover there’s something important missing from the story.  Those are the moments when the wheels start turning of their own accord.  “Wait, so if he’s in that place, with that person, then he needs a reason for being there.  And the place needs a name, and a geography, and a set of laws and customs.  Now, I’ve got to figure out why the other person’s there, and how do the two of them feel about the other having shown up…”  It can go on and on for weeks like that if I let it.  It’s wonderful, though, because it feels so totally organic.  One idea leads to another, leads to another, leads to another, and before you realise what’s happening you’ve got a whole world’s worth of people and places put together. 

The first three chapters of “Knight of the Flame” were written with no plan whatsoever, many years ago, and were just the result of a young writer enjoying time spent at a computer keyboard.  The rest of the book was basically spent justifying the decisions made in those first three chapters, and creating those justifications entailed spending a great deal of time in this organic “brainstorm mode”.  It was during that process that I realized I might just want to give this writing thing a go.

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