My as-yet-untitled book continues to be written at a reasonable pace. I had a vague idea of 20 chapters in mind, though it looks like it may end up being briefer. Presently, I’m up to chapter 13 (4 pages into it).
I’m not one of those authors who draft a pretty thorough and methodical chapter-by-chapter plan before they start writing. That’d be quite helpful, but I veer too much off into tangents to be that constrained (not that tangents are necessarily bad; they offer opportunities for light relief, character development and so forth).
Before starting, I spent quite a lot of time creating a background for the story. Its mostly within a city (Highford), so I spent my time on the specifics of that location and only wrote a fuzzy background of the nearby nations (Kuhrland, Felaria, Denland). Having an idea of the social hierarchy (armed groups, mages, nobility and so forth) makes it easier later on to write fluently and consistently.
All the main characters have been introduced, from the haughty mages to the cold Dame Hélène and the self-interested Captain Urquhart. There are a few secondary characters too, such as the captain’s two lieutenants, and the preening chevaliers.
Writing’s been a shade slower than usual over the last few days, mostly because a rather sombre scene has occurred and I tend to find these especially grave scenes more troubling to write than light-hearted ones.
I’ve got a few specific plot twists/scenes in mind, one of which isn’t all that far away and I’m rather looking forward to it. The central plot’s climax is something I’ve got pretty sharply defined, although the aftermath is a little bit looser. (I’m a believer in not trying to pin everything down and writing organically rather than methodically).
The tone of the book is actually substantially different in some respects to my favourite modern authors (Abercrombie, Martin, Hobb). I’m pretty pleased with dialogue so far, which is light on swearing and old-fashioned (not 15th century, it’s perfectly understandable). There is blood and gore and death, but it’s not quite so prevalent as in the books of the authors listed above. It’s also peppered with little comical lines and scenes, often involving Captain Urquhart (he’s a bit like a cross between Odo from DS9 and Edmund Blackadder).
Anyway, that’s how things are progressing.