Well, it’s been a few months, and it’s about time I mentioned a couple of things.
First off, the Christmas season was a rather productive one. It turns out that my new employer likes to put things on hold over the holiday break, which means I literally got to walk into work every day and write. All in all, I managed to finish the second draft of what boils down to the first act of “Sect of the Rounded Stone”. It’s kind of a big deal, that. It’s one thing to have a notebook full of outlines, character sketches and plot notes, but it’s quite another to have a couple of hundred printed pages of actual story in your hands. It creates a feeling of achievement, of course, but it also solidifies the expectation that the whole thing is going to get finished, that it’s just a matter of time.
Said first act is now out for a small handful of people to read over. With a bit of feedback, I’ll soon find out if the last six months of effort have all been worth it. In the meantime, it seems I’ve got more ground work to do.
One of thing things about “Knight of the Flame” that isn’t common knowledge is that is spent a very long time as a single act. I never really tried particularly hard to follow the three act structure when describing Caymus’s adventure, but I ended up writing it in, anyway. Part of the reason is that the first act, which is everything through the end of chapter 5, was written in the space of about eighteen months, almost two decades ago.
That first act, that little bit of story that sticks the initial pry bar into Caymus’s world and opens it up for all to see, sat alone for a very long time, feeling, more or less, like it was a completed work. Of course, back then, I knew there was more tale that I could tell, that Caymus’s story was a long way from complete, but I’d never imagined that I might have the ambition to actually finish such a long tale.
Then, of course, I ended up with a graveyard shift job at a call center for a number of years, and I suddenly had a lot of spare time. Cue a handful of characters sketches, and five more chapters.
And then I got a job in London and had to take the train into the city everyday, and I had even more time on my hands. The final eleven chapters, plus the last half-dozen drafts of the previous eleven, were all written over the train tracks between London and Buckinghamshire.
I’m going on a bit, I know, but there is a point to this little digression. You see, the first act of “Knight of the Flame” was written completely independently of the rest of the book. Once it was finished, there came a long period of reflection regarding the implications of what I’d written so far, and how it should then follow.
Turns out, I’m a creature of habit, and I’m going over my SotRS outlines again. That’s my process, it seems. Write a bit, reflect on it, figure out where it’s leading, exactly, write a bit more, repeat. It’s how this brain operates. It’s how the connections between the neurons shape the connections between the story elements. I find the whole thing a bit fascinating, if that’s not too egocentric a thing to say.
Don’t worry, it’s not going to be ten years until I set pen to paper again. In fact, I’ve already managed to jot down a large part of the ninth chapter. Still, it’s fun to get a peek into the machinery that makes up one’s own mind, isn’t it?
So, what does all this mean for everybody who isn’t me? When can we expect to find a listing for “Sect of the Rounded Stone” on Amazon’s shelves? Well, I was originally shooting for this summer, but I reckon now that it’s going to be the latter half of this year, instead. If I can have the first two drafts finished by June, then I’ll be in very good shape to have book 2 out by the winter months.