What A Novel Idea

Or, what next?

The nice little blog is kicked off, where everything from favorite authors to silly movies can be discussed.  A place to talk ideas, inspirations, progress or lack of progress, it can all appear here.  This area will certainly offer us the the best of Tymes, and the worst of Tymes.

Now for all the stuff that happens between these ramblings — it is starting to gather some momentum.  I had previously offered concern about being trapped in the first genre that finds some level of publication, yet, an initial story must be sent out into the world.  Adventures hiding away in desk drawers or computer hard drives will not ever be discovered.  Protagonists’ bold moves against crafty villains cannot forever lurk in the darkness, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, etc.

I was taught by a very cool playwright I know, that I should always multi-task. Specifically, that I work on multiple projects in various phases.  That way I am editing one story, plotting another and flat out stream of conscious writing another.  That way, if I get stuck on one idea, I can edit or fix another, or plan for a new short story contest deadline, yet always stay productive.  My professor and a couple of my favorite writer’s do not believe in writer’s block, and I shall follow that path.

Ultimately, I selected one science fiction short story that I’ve had for a while to edit and repair. And for the first book, I’m going with a fantasy novel. When I run out of ideas on the book, I just to the crime noir piece for fun, or the tedious edit of my western from a screenplay to manuscript.

It was brutal picking my fantasy story over my crime fiction novel, and the western for first one to completion.  I love and fear all three future books equally.  The initial effort to go out the front door has to be solid enough to push this beyond a cute hobby for the old writer guy. Or so says the ego.

The fantasy story won because my female protagonist called to me the most.  But I have to admit, anything fantasy I wanted to shy away from, because it is one of my beloved genres.  When I think of elves and dwarves, they are J.R.R. Tolkien’s, not mine.  Fallen knights are George R.R. Martin’s and not mine.  The dragons I see in the skies are Anne McCaffery’s and not mine.  The shadows in the dark still belong to Robert E. Howard and not me.  And the magician I see is Raymond Fiest’s Pug, and not mine.

So, I backed off a high fantasy concept the book originally held. Instead I have generated a character driven piece far closer to a medieval vibe with some hints at fantasy elements.  I am merely an apprentice on this day, and not quite ready to challenge my masters of epic fantasy just yet.

However, the setting does include knights, the political intrigue of monarchy, lots of fire, swords and a really, really bad guy I like a lot. Female protagonists are more plentiful these days, yet, still somewhat rare in the medieval/fantasy books I’ve seen.  Mine is pretty cool, I like her resilience the most, and she reminds me of me and how fast I had to grow up.  While too young to be a Red Sonja prototype or not yet cynical enough to be a Beatrix Kiddo type from Kill Bill, she is a tough kid.  I am cheering for her to win the day.

I’ve gone through three working titles over time, and spent way too many hours trying to find one I like well enough, since I have to see it everyday.  It had a latin title at one point, which is cool, but I seemed to be the only one who knew what it meant, that’s not good.  Then it was a super generic title I hated — no title with princess in the name worked for me.  Besides, Princess Bride haunts my brain in a good way.

After overthinking it too much, my book is currently called, The Last Duchess of Soahren.  Well, it at least sounds slightly better than Duchess Badass, but she kind of is.

The outline is complete, the ending is my favorite part, the cool flashback scene has been added, and I should have a manuscript ready to go through copy editing over the next month.  With some luck and good cover art, the query letter will follow.  The odds are generally against literary agent love at this stage, but I will attempt to find it.  Should that falter, then self-publishing, both hardcopy and digital via Amazon is the backup plan.

All easier said of course, than done, but my substantive first foray as a storyteller should be shared one way or another this summer.