If there’s one thing that’s more difficult than planning a novel, it’s taking an existing plan and reworking it.
I’ve talked about the issues I had with the first two drafts of The Thieving King and the plan for February was to take the plot of the novel, gut it and rebuild it. That’s hard to do, partly because you have to kill a lot of darlings and secondly because you have to judge what good stuff you’re wanting to get rid of because it now feels old, and which old stuff you want to keep for sentimental reasons.
In short, it’s tough and there’s been plenty of times when I’ve asked myself “is this still an awesome book?” I’ve worried when I didn’t feel as excited about it as Black as Knight but I’ve come to realise that’s simply because parts of this novel have gone back years to when it was originally the second half of The Four Realms and the whole first book called The Thieving King.
So I’m going into this draft with some nerves. Some subplots have gone and it looks like one favourite character I was really hoping to bring back isn’t going to make an appearance in this book (which I’m very sad about). Some new characters have gone through major changes but the main story has not changed.
I think all the Point of View characters now go through really strong character arcs, and the only thing now needed is some kick ass writing to get this draft done. It’s going to be interesting to see just how quick I write it. Seeing as I already have the next novel I want to write pencilled in for June / July, I really need to get motoring.
I’m still wondering when I’m going to get time to edit all these novels!
I listen to music when I write. In fact, I find it difficult to write without music. It sets tone for a piece for me. I find lyrics distracting so I largely go for instrumental pieces, film soundtracks and the like.
Over the years I’ve built my music collection that I can normally find the perfect piece of music to match the tone of the piece I am writing. But for Black as Knight I actually had a very tight playlist for several months that I played to death.
- Batman Arkham Origins Soundtrack by Christopher Drake
- Assassin’s Creed 4 Soundtrack by Brian Tyler
- Assassin’s Creed 3 Soundtrack by Lorne Balfe
- Assassin’s Creed 3: The Tyranny of King Washington Soundtrack by Lorne Balfe
- Batman: Arkham City Soundtrack by Nick Arundel and Ron Fish
- Assassin’s Creed Revelations Soundtrack by Jesper Kyd & Lorne Balfe
- Thor: The Dark World Soundtrack by Brian Tyler
- Tomb Raider Soundtrack by Jason Graves
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Soundtrack by Christopher Drake
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Soundtrack by Howard Shore
I actually really enjoyed having such a small playlist and I think it certainly aided much tighter writing, so I want to repeat the experience with Thieving King.
Except The Four Realms had a much, much larger selection of albums (mainly Hans Zimmer and Two Steps From Hell) and I think I need to select just a few albums from that pool and add in a few new ones. But what goes in and what stays out is occupying my mind as much as the plot at the moment. I’m going to be listening to these albums again and again and again over the coming months so the choices have to be perfect.
It’s a fun exercise building a playlist for a novel but I’m really having to fight it from taking over and occupying all of my thought time right now.
So in the last couple of weeks I’ve had a number of people ask me what I’m working on and when the next book is out. So I thought I’d give an update.
For all my jokes, Leg-gedon lost me a lot of time. I really had to focus on so many things – building the strength of the leg back up, ultra restrictive diet, etc. – that I lost a lot of creative energy. I realise that sounds a bit wanky but sitting at a desk with one leg outstretched and elevated really isn’t the most comfortable position to write. And when you’re in a ridiculous amount of pain and genuinely worried whether you’re still going to have a leg weeks down the road, you just can’t absorb yourself in your writing as much as you want. Whilst I managed to get a lot of work done all things considered, my productivity was in areas where I did not need to be sat over a computer for hours, such as improving my process to increase my productivity, working on plotting out a few novels, etc. It’s probably taken 8 months to get back to the level I was at before the event but I feel I’ve come back stronger, quicker as well as more creative and productive.
Today I launch a bonus feature for readers of The Four Realms – the location map. I’ll admit to stealing this idea from Ben Aaronovitch who does the same for his truly excellent Peter Grant books. It’s a google map with all the locations, both real and imaginary, from The Four Realms. Obviously when I say ‘all’ I mean the Realm of Men(i.e. our world) as I don’t think Google has got around to doing satellite photography or Street View of Venefasia yet.
Hopefully this will be a treat for fans of the book. I’ve tried to include some notes about the locations to give you all a bit more background information. And as an extra special bonus, I’ve included one new location scheduled to appear in Book 2!
Enjoy! You can find the location map from the main menu or at http://adrianfaulkner.com/novels/the-four-realms/the-four-realms-locations/
As a writer I’ve always had the sort of relationship with process that if it were a Facebook status would read “it’s complicated”.
You see, I honestly believe that any writer who doesn’t analyse what they do and try and understand with a view to improvement is never going to get anywhere. Arrogance is the quickest way to kill any career. But like many unpublished writers I spent a long time delving into “how to write” books and never felt like I got much out of them. I don’t think I was looking for a magic button but perhaps sometimes I needed to be told that the answer to my problem was “a lot of bloody hard work”. I think if I am honest I was trying to discover who I was as a writer. I’m not sure I entirely know now.
One of the nice things about being a writer is that I sometimes get to be a bit of a bastard. In every day life I’d like to think I’m fairly nice and kind, but when it comes to writing, I pretty much torture my characters, and in some cases actually do so. Because they are fictional there’s no real come back. Thank God, because if they were real, then after the stuff I do to them in Book 2…
Not all my characters lend themselves to MMO characters. Just trying to think of the character classes that suit them is enough to make my head explode. But sometimes it’s a lot clearer than it is for others, and you think to yourself… I really ought to go and make that character now!
So I’m not fun to be around, I’m a bit distant (and a bit grumpy). I have no social life to speak of, and coupled with working from home for the day job, I’m having to make a conscious effort to leave the house. Yes, this can only mean one thing… I am up to my neck in writing the next book.
Book promotion is a busy time. It feels like since September I’ve been working my way through a list of things that needed to have been done yesterday, culminating in a couple of months of solid interviews, guest blogs and reviews. It’s been hectic but a lot of fun.
There’s still plenty of things ongoing: blog posts to write, articles that are due in, interview questions that need to be answered. But it’s not so frantic as it once was and inbetween the ongoing items I’ve found time to have a bit of R&R.
So Stefan over at Civilian Reader kindly took the time to interview me about the book. Hopefully I gave some sensible answers that made for an interesting read. Be sure to check it out if you want to find out some details on The Thieving King, you want to hear the Eva Mendez story (surely everyone has heard this one by now), or want to know about the first fantasy story I ever wrote.
Be sure to check it out over at The Civilian Reader