After a little break, we’re back to my running series on my writing. Novels now, which, as you might expect, is where my heart lies.
Novels defined as being above 50,000 words. 80,000 tends to be where publishers and agents want you to stop, particularly if you’re an unknown. 100,000 puts you in the territory of epics (think Robert Jordan and George R R Martin).
For me, the novel is my heart’s home because they provide the chance to play with the beginning, middle and end. Obviously you can do that with the other story styles I’ve talked about, but there is a new level of discipline and skill involved in getting a clear, plot hole free story into 50,000 words.
NaNoWriMo is an excellent means to play with this. A 50,000 word piece of writing in the space of a month.
I read novels the most. Hell, only yesterday I finished reading The Da Vinci Code (ugh) and this morning began on The Picture of Dorian Grey. This year to date, though I haven’t strictly been counting, I have probably devoured in the region of twelve books.
I adore walking into WH Smiths, or Waterstones and looking at all the books on the shelves. Big ones, little ones, tall ones, short ones, thick ones, narrow ones, paperback, hardback…. Just thinking about it makes me dreamy!
My favourite ‘celebrities’ are novelists such as Shaun Hutson, Robert Jordan, Kelley Armstrong, Katherine Kerr and so on and so on. I respect and admire someone able to put together a story, more than any actor, politician, musician or… anything.
I wish I could probably explain exactly what it is about the novel that draws me to it, but I’m really struggling. And I notice that this post has become somewhat rambly rather than a sensible talk about novels and my plans, so let me rein it in a bit:
Silk Over Razor Blades and the two novels which follow will take up most of my time and care. I shouldn’t really start on anything else until this trilogy is done to my satisfaction, but of course other bits and bobs will no doubt interrupt me. There is Clash Of The Animal Kings which I really should be submitting to anywhere I can, and my epic fantasy (as yet unnamed) that I still feel pressure to write, charting the back story of my favourite role play character.
I feel that my capacity to produce novels is actually better and further reaching than my capacity to produce short stories, or even flash. I can’t decide however, if that is because novels take me so long to write :p or because I have so many ideas. Ha, I’ll have to let you know on that score. ^_^
Right, I think I’ll leave you with a sample. This is from that epic fantasy I mentioned. As it stands, the tale has reached in excess of 100,000 words and is barely past what I consider to the the prologue. If this is not considered an epic or a series, then I don’t know what is. O.o
Rhea frowned. Her eyes followed Tarinn’s hands and the familiar way he draped himself all over her daughter. It made her uneasy… and angry. The Grown’s voice was low, a dangerously soft whisper as her lively, dark eyes sparkled with fury. “Your future you say? With T’keyah?”
This, more than anything else enraged Rhea, despite Solen’s old promises to the same. It was a long time ago that T’keyah was promised to Tarinn, when both were extremely young, but now, Rhea was in a position to change that. She was glad.
“I appreciate your concern Tarinn,” she said coolly, calming herself, “but I think the time has come for me to explain something. You are far too hot. Matiya doesn’t rest calmly in you as he does with us; he burns in you, filling your spirit with hot steam. I need a Me’yahan with a level head to save us and that Me’yahan will never be you. I would send Kane alone before I sent you anywhere near Gaea, especially with my daughter in tow! And I’d give her to Vanek himself before I let you have her!”
Open mouthed, Tarinn stared at Rhea. A fire burned his eyes, as much a proof of Rhea’s words as anything else could be. A second fist rose, trembling, to join the first. They quivered before him, fingers flexing tighter and tighter. Steam rose about him, water boiled from the very air by the heat of his fury.
His hands jerked suddenly, even as Kane and T’keyah both smoothly slipped in front of him, their own eyes burning with fury. T’keyah especially looked all but ready to attack the man herself, aware that in another second or more he may have struck her mother.
But Tarinn didn’t attack. Instead, slowly, he backed away, steam continuing to curl about his face.
“Sëbo, Grown Rhea, as you will. I will remain here, but as to- as to other matters you and I are to have a long talk. Solen’s promises still stand, despite his passing.” Tarinn walked away, lost from sight in a matter of seconds.
Rhea sighed, muttered darkly under her breath. “He puts his own wants above the safety of this village. Much has changed since the day Solen picked him to protect our dear T’keyah.” Aloud she added, “Wei münro non masu ?”
Immediately T’keyah sprang forward with the answer. Resting a hand gently against Rhea’s shoulder she whispered. “Send us! Kane and I will travel wherever you think we should go, we’ll say exactly what you think we should say and then we’ll come back with help. You and Doran can stay here to prepare the village. It is an easy choice, Mama.”
For long moments Rhea remained silent. Her mind tickled over rapidly, spinning, turning like the water mills straddling the river. Her unease and fear, as plain on her features as the nose on her face, was a marked contrast to T’keyah. The young Me’yahan seemed about ready to erupt with excitement. But in all truth there really was no other choice. Rhea’s gaze slid down to the ground. Nobody else was willing to go.
She sighed. “Get ready.”
T’keyah grinned, planting a heavy kiss on her mother’s cheek before running off. “Alabo re!” She called.
Kane watched her go, turning back to Rhea then and shaking his head. “She should stay here.” He muttered.
“I know.” Rhea nodded. At the surprised widening of Kane’s eyes she lowered her voice to elaborate. “I realise that it seems a little unwise sending a Fay into Gaea without the Final Lesson but I have very little choice otherwise. Doran and I are most trusted among the Growns and there is no one to take our place should we leave. T’keyah is the only person I could trust with you as I know that you to will take care of each other. I trust you too; I trust that you know enough of Gaea’s politics to be wary.”
“I didn’t mean to return.” Said Kane, taking his own turn to bow his head. “I meant to stay away, to relieve you of the trouble of constantly protecting me. If T’keyah comes with me I cannot do that. It won’t be safe. Please, please keep her here.”
“Stay away?” The Grown’s response was sudden, violent and most unexpected. Spinning on her heel, she raised her hand and slapped Kane roughly about the face with it. She followed that slap with another, laying her hand to his other cheek. Steam curled around her ears as she let her anger get the better of her. “You would do that to T’keyah?!” She demanded, her voice breaking with fury and sheer incredulity. A tiny wisp of steam floated passed her face. “You would break her heart like that? You are as a brother to her, Kane, even were the entire village against you, you must remember that. I never took you for a selfish man.”
Dropping his head lower, Kane felt a tear slip down his cheek. He brushed it away; why should he shame himself even further? “I don’t want to leave her – she is only thing here that makes my life bearable – but Tarinn is right. I am a danger to Ohem looking as I do. I must stay away from you.”
“No.” Rhea raised Kane’s head with the tip of her finger. She planted a tender kiss on his forehead. “No. You will take T’keyah and you will travel to Droll Lothe. The journey should take little more than a day. Ride there, tell them everything and then appeal for help. Then you will ride back here to live with your family. We are your family, Kane; no matter what your colouring is.” She stared deeply at him, forcing his blue eyes upwards to meet her dark ones. “We are Me’yahans. There is few enough of us left – you know that – don’t let fear take our number down even further. Don’t let fear deprive both you and T’keyah of your best friends.”
“I’ll get ready.” Patting Rhea’s hands, Kane turned and slowly walked away.