They have cut me off at the pass. They won’t leave me alone. They arrive at all hours and demand to speak to me. I feel that way too much of my life is currently in ransom to them.
And they’re not even flesh and blood!
Before you call the zombie apocalypse team or the ghostbusters, I will confess that these pesky creatures are of my own creation. When I started writing The Pale, I had no notion of how much attention these folk would claim.
My plans for February were: send Pale #2 (‘Broad Plain Darkening‘, or BPD to those in the know) to my wonderful beta readers, and give the manuscript a rest from me for a while (and vice versa). In the meantime, I aimed to spend time spruiking The Pale and attending to the thousand and plenty follow-ups. I also created quite a few questions for my beta readers to address before I embarked upon the next book in the series. I thought that their answers would help inform the action and the character development that I had loosely mapped out.
However, I planned without the consent of my characters themselves. They have insisted, and I have complied – Pale #3 has begun. Yes, it has a working title – but that’s way too embryonic for any other gaze at the minute.
Oh, and my jotted mapping of Pale #3? It may just go out the window. Character X really doesn’t want to do Z, even though it’s what I planned for him. He says he doesn’t want to head in that direction, and I have to listen to him.
There are a number of fantasy mapmaking programs available free on the internet – who knew?
I’m especially fond of boing boing – where you can generate your own random fantasy world, and there are a number of others. Wonderful fun. I can (and did) spend hours exploring quite a few of them.
However, I need a map of a fantasy world which is not random, but which conforms to all the particulars I have created for it. I’m currently working on a hand-drawn draft, which is totally out of scale*, but is helping to put shape into the world of The Pale. I’ve based the coastline of the continent on various stretches of Tasmania and New Zealand, by tracing actual maps.
It’s huge fun and a big project. Once I get it into more reasonable form, I’m also going to make myself a city map for the Pale itself.
And yes, there are random fantasy city map generators out there, such as the excellent one by Geeknative.
*Just how far can a tribesman walk in one day across the hostile terrain of Broad Plain? That is the question – or one of them, at least!
I have just heard that my wonderful fellow authors from the Odyssey stable (garret? mansion?) had a great success at the Ferny Creek Market yesterday. With a mystical theme, they still managed to sell all five copies of The Pale that I sent to the table. Wow, just, WOW!
I guess sci-fi with talking dogs was just within the net of interest for Faery and Angel followers. They too love their dogs I guess.
Meanwhile, I was engaged in an interesting conversation with my mum. She says such fascinating things these days. Indeed, I have plans for a new book, all about the amazing ideas that come to the surface of her reality, which is often in an alternarive universe from where I am living.
Yesterday she introduced me to a new resident at her care home. Although she never addresses me by name, she does introduce me as ‘This is my daughter Clare’, so she definitely knows who I am! Anyway, she then proceeded to tell me the history of the new man at the afternoon tea table.
‘They found Jack in the street, you know, and he wanted to buy the place so they let him in. He lives here now but he works at the local newsagent on Mondays. He’s going to bring me a copy of The Age because I still haven’t seen the article they wrote about my cooking.’
See, it’s absolute gold, isn’t it? Such a rich world. She can cram in more nuggets of intrigue in one go than I can smash into a chapter.
Hmm, I wonder where I get my love of telling stories?
That’s the first sentence I heard as I strode across the bridge over the Yarra on my way to a watercolour class. I’ve read about a writing exercise where you put together randomly heard phrases and create a story.
I just pushed my way in.
You can’t wear that.
Are you happy now? She’s crying.
No, the next one.
Maybe it’s a poem, or a flash fiction. I liked the words so much I almost walked against the traffic lights. I tried not to see the speakers. I’m imagining how those words would sound, how they would carry meaning, in different settings. When they are not on the bridge over the Yarra.
How would they sound in a snow-bound forest? On an ocean liner? On top of a mountain? In a derelict house? Outside the classroom? In the foyer of a bank? At the kitchen table? In a cafe? At the beach? On a train? In a waiting room? In the Tardis? While Vesuvius is erupting? At the Queen’s coronation? In a container full of refugees?
Perennial problem. Too many stories to tell. Stacked like logs in a pile. Which one to choose? I can’t tell them all 🙁