Saturday, 14 February 2015

An Update: My Writing, Comics, Books and Other News

As the title suggests, this post is just a quick update on what's going on with my writing, and perhaps some other things.

The Talent Trilogy

Firstly, I've recently realised that the links to the first draft of Of Darkness and Thieves were to a copy that had large sections of bold text, a remnant from before I decided to do a full rewrite for the second draft. Those links have now been replaced by a more reader friendly version.

The second draft of the novel is coming along nicely, with five chapters and ten thousand words being posted on the FictionPress website here:

Of Darkness and Thieves - Second Draft

And there's another chapter almost ready to be posted as well. So far the redraft has been not too dissimilar from the first draft, in terms of general story beats, although that will likely change as the ripples from the differences start to come into effect. 

The major difference between the two so far has been the situation surrounding Arterus, Sera and Delgard. In the first draft I had two issues. The 'magic school' was cliched, and underdeveloped for what should be a prominent structure in the city. The second was that Delgard was a second rate Snarrel, personality-wise, which made the character more of a plot point than anything else. 

So to fix both points, I decided to make it so that Arterus and Sera are apprenticed to Delgard, rather than just in his class. This allows me to develop the character of Delgard more, and has the added benefit of making it less convenient that they stumble upon his involvement in the conspiracy. Delgard is now less of a cackling villain, holding a more nuanced personality, and at the risk of spoiling things, may not go down so easily as in the first draft.

Another thing I've added in is a new scene between Talent and the Big Throat, an underused character in the first draft. I think I'll talk more about that in a new post to come later this week.

A Sword, A Song and A Dream

Slowly developing on this one. The current manuscript stands at 53,500 words, so there's plenty left to write. But some of the road blocks that I've been having with the book have been cleared up in my mind, so I should hopefully be back on it soon. I think in maybe three or four chapters I'll have finished Part Two, which should be approximately 2/3 of the book, but then again, Part Two has been relatively short compared to Part One, and there's still a heck of a lot of story left to tell.

All I know is that the story is going to be heavily gutted on the rewrite, but I'm still proud of the overall thing. It feels fresh to me, which is important when you're writing fantasy. I don't want to do a retread of what comes before. That's not to say that every, or indeed any, single element is wholly original, but I think I've put things together in a way that people will find interesting.

I'm looking forward to sharing it and seeing what people think


I've been consuming a lot of my old marvel comics lately (by old, I mean anything I bought before the Marvel Now initiative, which occured around three years ago). I've gone from Secret Invasion to the Age of Heroes so far, and I thought I'd share some of my musings from what I've been reading

-Jonathan Hickman's run on Fantastic Four/FF is excellent. As is his run on Secret Warriors. I suppose my only problem is that the endings to the big storylines got resolved a little two quickly, which is an issue I've had with some of his Image work. It's these books that prove that the man can write both his complex and lofty plots, and touching, heartfelt or just plain fun character bits. It's a shame that he doesn't bring that second element as much to his current Avengers series, but I consume that stuff voraciously just the same. Oh, and I'm reaaaally wanting to finish that damn S.H.I.E.L.D. series of his. Supposedly the last two issues are almost done. I've been waiting something like six years!

-Bendis should not be binge read. I'm a fan of his Dark Reign Avengers stuff, but man does his trademark banter wear thin after half a dozen issues. Also I feel like he ran out of good ideas after Siege and was spinning his wheels for the year or two afterwards. It was kind of disappointing, since the post-siege comics would have been a satisfying ending to his New Avengers run. I'm yet to form a verdict on his recent X-men stuff yet, other than it seems to take forever for anything at all to happen in Uncanny X-men.

-The Dark Reign Thunderbolts was awesome. A very different take on the book, but it worked for me. Great interplay between the characters, mistrust of Osbourn, and some interesting twists along the way.

-I read all of the Siege tie-ins less than a month ago, and can barely remember what happened in them, other than the main event, and the Frontline tie-in. That probably says a lot about how disappointing the event was.

Stuff I'm Reading...Sort Of

I've become a little audio-centric recently, probably due to the fact that I find it much easier to listen to a book whilst cooking, doing chores, walking from one place to another, or riding the bus (I get ill doing the latter). So I have an audible subscription, which is very reasonable if you take advantage of deals, only use your credits to buy books of a reasonable length, and listen to A LOT of audiobooks. 

I listened to Joe Abercrombie's Half a King, which has a follow up now called Half the World. I love Abercrombie's other work, and this young adult oriented outing does not disappoint. Perhaps a little slow to start, after the initial twist (which I believe is spoilt in the blurb I didn't read) it becomes difficult to put down...or turn off, as the case may be. Yarvi is an excellent protagonist, and the themes of revenge and friendship are explored throughout the book. If you want to get young readers into good fantasy, this is a great gateway book. Of course, as with all good young adult novels, any fantasy loving adult should enjoy this too.

Legion by Brandon Sanderson is a fun novella, starring a brilliant but potentially insane man whose hallucinations are all experts in their fields (and generally quite talkative) helping him to solve a brief but interesting mystery. His other novella Mitosis is a nice filler taking place after Steelheart, and it makes me look forward to Firefight, the next novel in the series, which I have downloaded to my account.

Other Stuff

I'm still working on that Numenera session report. I'm finding it difficult to write it up in a way that will be entertaining to read. It's on hold for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for reading, and as usual, if you have anything to add, post a comment below!

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