As I recently posted, I’ve set out to write something of a novel length – or around the 80-100k words mark. I mentioned that I was going to simply start and work out problems along the way – whether they’re plot, setting, system, character – whatever.
I have started – but hoo boy have there been hurdles and roadblocks of every description popping up left right and centre.
To name but a few:
- The entire naming convention – the main ‘race/culture’ of the book is inspired by Japanese culture and I’ve gone with names to match, but – and the big but, it feels wrong to lift this culture from the real world and use it. I am not lifting it in its entirety as I am not Japanese and despite my quite intimate knowledge and passion for the culture and history, I can’t possibly know enough to do it all justice. So by taking the cultural influence and the names – something just isn’t sitting right.
– As a sub-point here, I am not overtly using the names and language. Tatami mats for example are referred to as bamboo matting, and the characters may eat rice, and may admire a koi filled pond. I’m not dropping overtly Japanese names as I can’t see any reason to. And the names of characters while also Japanese inspired, I’ve gone for the more western sounding names. But ultimately, I’m thinking of renaming everything as really, it doesn’t matter. It’s just to satisfy my own jollies that I’ve named them this way.
- Characters – I have a solid protagonist, two antagonists and a variety of quite well thought out supporting characters, however I also have supports who are there to serve a purpose…but then are effectively useless. But the flicker of a flame is there – there’s this one guy in particular who I see great things for – I just haven’t yet been able to work out what they are. And there’s this other great character – but now he’s even muddier based on that last guy. Blargh!
- Plot – I know how i want it to end and i know how we get there, but the mid to three quarter mark is problematic. And more – I know there’s an entire sub-plot with sub-characters that needs to go in there, but I havent yet worked it out. This world has sizeable conflict, and rather than simply tell it, this sub-plot will show it. BUT IT NEEDS TO BE CREATED!
For every answer there’s at least 3- 4 more questions. I’ve re-written chapter 1 multiple times now and have a fairly solid chapter 2. I’ve tried to start chapter 3 but I’ve found myself going back to 1. I know this is a no-no, and it’s entirely possible the first chapter(s) might be outright dumped (if all the writing advice i read is true) – but I feel that I need a solid foundation from which to launch into the following chapters. I’ve been concentrating on finding the right voice with the protagonist and establishing the conflict. There’s a soppy element here early that I dont want to detract from the rest.
But hey – let’s see where this goes – hopefully somewhere.