dawn of time
I started writing the third novel in earnest last weekend. Aptly, the timeline for this third novel (which is the prequel to the second drafted novel that is currently with the editor) starts at the dawn of time. Starting a new novel feels like time is starting all over again.
I know that opening sentence to this week's blog raises a few questions.
First, why did I start with the second story of a trilogy first? At the time I wrote the second story, I did not have the idea for a trilogy in my head. The more I wrote, the more I realised that there was a bigger story to tell and that I was fascinated with the back story on a few of the characters I was writing about (as well as what might happen to them beyond the self-contained story arc of the second story).
Sure I could write a single book of 1000 pages and, truth be known, there are plenty of fantasy novels where the author offers up such door stops. I hate books that long. Books like that have pages and pages of superfluous descriptions of people and places that are not even worthy of being described as periferal to the plot. I will read a book of 350 pages. Anything more starts to test my patience. As a writer, it sometimes surprises me that I have the attention span of a knat when it comes to reading.
A fantasy reader friend of mine also said that the typical reader in the genre likes the possibility of at least a trilogy. These readers are (apparently) more likely to 'attach' to novel characters and good authors in the genre need to be able to feed the desire of these readers to explore the character and their world in multiple novels. This seems consistent with my writing of the story - the more I write the more I want to write AND I have become emotionally attached to particular characters.
Second, I am starting at the dawn of time - what came before that? This was actually a question another friend of mine asked over lunch yesterday. I responded that it was my fantasy novel and I could make stuff up so there did not need to be a definitive answer to that most philosophical question of all - creation versus evolution? Pretty sure my brain came close to exploding as we contemplated the meaning of life over a sopressa salami, capsicum and mozzarella pizza.
Third, why am I starting to write the third novel when the second one is not finished? Editorial takes time. Shopping the novel around to agents and publishers takes time. I need to find a new agent because I have switched genres (my first novel was a philosophical piece) and finding one that accepts fantasy manuscripts will take time. Last time around this process took over 12 months. That's a lot of time to be twiddling my thumbs waiting around. Maintaining the discipline is important to maintaining the creative flow so I will not stop writing. Besides I have a bigger story in a trilogy I am itching to tell.
Novel number 3 is now 2 scenes written. Only 46 to go.