It’s been several days since my last post, and I’ve done some more thinking. Thinking is good. Thoughts are good. Except for the really bad thoughts (Gee, this really sucks. Why do I bother?). Those thoughts need to be ruthlessly hunted down and expunged.
I’ve discovered first hand that one suggestion is a very good idea: Keep a notebook close at hand, or at least some way to write something down when it pops into your head. There were several instances over the last week or so when an Idea would emerge from the murk that needed to be remembered. From personal experience, those Ideas aren’t always easy to keep a tight grip on – they will run, screaming, from your brain at the first available opportunity. A notebook, a scrap of paper, or even the notepad feature on your phone can be a big help. It alleviates a lot of worry and stress about trying to recall some fabulous little tidbit you’ve come across or come up with and want to save for later.
The Script is coming along. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the current revision/edit. It is getting better. Is it good enough? I don’t know. Some ideas have been tucked away Just In Case a major rework is needed, but I want my Trusted Friends That Aren’t Afraid to Tell Me What They Really Think to have a look before I take that next step. One of Robert Heinlein’s Rules for Writers is to ‘Refrain from rewriting except to editorial order,’ which I take to mean, at least partially, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ I would rather not fix something that isn’t broke, but I’m ready if it needs to be done.
The Novel is something else. I’m becoming more and more inclined to think the current storyline is going to have to be stretched out over three books.
This is Daunting.
100k words (one volume) is quite manageable. Difficult, perhaps, but manageable, especially when you’re already past the halfway point. 300k words, on the other hand, is a major effort. An epic. You’re now getting up into the realm of Truly Major Works. The Lord of the Rings came out around 450k. When you realize you might be taking on a task that rivals (at least in length) on of the great works of the 20th Century, it scares the crap out of you.
At least it scares the crap out of me.
I have no idea how this whole thing will turn out. It might be great. It might be crap. That is still to be determined. I do have a desire for The Novel. A Hope, if you will. If I could build such a complete, immersive, ‘real’ world as Tolkien, and do it as compactly and efficiently, that is what I what my dream would be.
The other end of the spectrum, a 10,000 page work to do the same thing, is what I am truly afraid of. Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series is the best example of this. Jordan’s series is pretty solid in a lot of ways. His characters are complete and likeable. You buy into his history and his concepts (his magic system is fantastic), but it takes him so long to build his world, it was hard for me to stay interested. That might be a character flaw on my part, and I will own it if it is, but I kept comparing it to Middle Earth and the tightness(?) while reading it.
That said, I’ll take anywhere in the middle ground. G.R.R. Martin’s ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ appears, so far, to be a good balance to strive for (I’ve just started reading it. Yes, I know I’m late to the party). Fairly complex. Vibrant, ‘alive’ characters. Realistic world.
I could live with that.
PS – I am not, in any way, comparing myself to Tolkien (blasphemy!) or Martin, or knocking Jordan. Especially the bit about Jordan. His books just seemed to be the best illustration of what I was most afraid of, and he’s sold enough of them (much more than I have at this point) that most people would at least be aware of their existence.