I’m writing a novel – maybe a novella – and I decided that the premise would be a kind of ‘Boy Meets Girl’ kind of story with a twist. It’s not a love story, it’s a story about overcoming weakness, which could be said about all stories really where the characters grow and learn – however, mine doesn’t have a happy ending. In any case, because the important bits of the story happen on an island where the main character is sent to on military service, I want to glance over the things that happened before, meaning I want it to be short but comprehensive but this might prove to be a bit boring because the reader should fully understand, care, and relate to the main characters struggles, if I don’t display what lead him reach that point when the he meets the girl, will the readers care?
At the same time, it’s very dangerous for me to spend too much time on backstory because I’ll just go deeper and deeper, finding more and more characters until I’m so far from the original premise that it might as well be a completely different story! And as I have many unfinished novels under my belt, I cannot afford to let that happen, I need to decide what the story is going to be or else it’s going to be everything and nothing, because it will never be finished.
Or perhaps the reason why I haven’t finished anything is because I don’t let go. it’s my process to start with an original purpose and it’s supposed to transform as I write…? I seriously don’t know, and I suppose I won’t until I try. With this one, I’ll keep my mind on a leash, on the next, it will run freely; perhaps it will result in a complete story in the end after all?
“You can destroy our society, kill a great many of us, even most of us. But when most of us are gone,and only a few are alive, we will rise, because humanity never gives up. Survival is in our blood; desire is our moto. There will be no hiding once we rise and take revenge on those that destroyed us.”
It doesn’t matter what kind of of book, which genre it is in, books has a way of transfixing the mind, bringing it back to the present which is the greatest gift we have in these times of infinite distraction:
Books pierce into the depths of the mind, opening up another level of consciousness that we don’t understand – a mind free of distractions. Everything we do and everything we see and have done is bombarding our mind, constantly, but when we read, we have this moment of clarity, where we focus only on the words before us somehow opens up the floodgates that had been damned by everything else that concerns us. It is when we read that we are the most clear, when the mind wanders freely and we have our most profound thoughts. However, as soon as we put the book down, our train of thought is lost and we aren’t sure what we were thinking about to begin with. It is as if these thoughts are only meant for the clear, so abstract that they cannot be actualised in the distraction filled reality that we live in.
However, there are also those times when profound thoughts happen once we write. It doesn’t help mulling over everything as the mind is clear when we write. It forces us to focus on nothing but the words in our heads.
Perhaps the ancients were onto something, words are magic.
I still hold that Lord of the rings is the greatest fantasy story ever written, at least among those that I have read, and I often wonder why? Why does Tolkien’s story still hold up? It’s far from perfect and you know what will happen a mile away, but strangely, I never considered what would happen next and was just taken on a pleasant ride through the story. I think the longevity of Tolkien’s tale is his superb world building ability. He was a historian and linguist and he knew exactly how to cater to that crowd, he knew what he liked and he liked deep history and that’s what he focused on.
I’m currently reading a fantasy epic “The Wheel of Time” by Robert Jordan. It’s a well written story, much better (at times) than Tolkien. But 200 pages in and the heroes have left their hobble of a village and I find myself disinterested. I am not captivated by the world the author created. I’m not drawn into the mystery, the names and places, and I find myself skimming through a lot of the action scenes. It’s a dull world and everything is explained to me. There’s a mountain over there and something bad happened. There’s monsters in the forest across the lake, bla bla bla. I would be much more intrigued if they were actually at those places when this information is revealed to me, which I think Tolkien does excellently.
There’s one particular scene in the first book of the Lord of the rings when the Hobbits and Gandalf comes across some ancient ruins. They are almost trapped by the ghosts there, and afterwards, Gandalf explains that this was the sight of a great kingdom once and you are instantly hooked! It’s a bit of information that has no consequence, also, because it has no bearings to the plot overall, it’s only purpose is to enrich the world.
Something happened there; a lot is unexplained; the reader wants to know, but the reader doesn’t need to know more. The author won’t reveal anything else and thus this piece of information will linger in the readers mind until they learn what really happened. They would have to read the Silmarillion to do that…
This is a fantasy world done right and is what I aspire to do.
I really like this ending. I hope it brings a lot of questions while still being a satisfying enough to not feel cheated. I do sprinkle some of the answers across the story, after all. My goal is to not be explicit and I want the reader to imagine themselves some of the answers because I adore mystery and I want the story to linger with them for a while. But the story is far from done, there are characters that aren’t fully explored (or explored at all) and you never know if they will change the ending in some way or another. I’m excited to see how this turns out!
I’m not sure how long this story is going to be. There are so many characters that I haven’t fully explore that the story might take a completely different turn in the end, which is always exciting. There is much more scenery and details I could add as well.
30 000 words for a draft doesn’t make a long story, but I don’t mind, I have so many ideas that creating several shorter ones is a blessing. I never cared for Epic tales, it really has to be something special for me to put time into something like that.
This is such an odd story… I first got the idea when I played a game called, Oxenfree. It’s about a group of teenagers encountering supernatural events on an abandoned island, or at least it was abandoned when they got there… I guess that sparked my imagination.
Now I think I understand what Hemingway meant when he said to never empty your well of writing. (“I had learned already to never empty my well of writing“) We all have our limits and stopping before hitting that limit is immensely gratifying because the longer you write the bigger is the chance that you’ll run into a problem. Basically you stop while staying ahead, stop while you are number one. Another way of putting it, is to stop writing while knowing what you should be writing the next day, you carry the momentum.