Its crazy how quickly time moves nowadays. 2020, the gauntlet of a year that would not end yet also seems to inexplicably be flying by. I find myself looking at and thinking about time, the quickness of how it passes and how often we retread the trails of our past.
I suppose that’s one of the themes in Grimoire. It took me a long time to find some of my stories deeper meaning. That’s why it has been collecting dust all these years. And in truth if I set down that initial two-thirds of the original manuscript in front of you, Grimoire as it is today would not be very recognizable within those old pages.
But a couple years ago I had a bit of a breakthrough, created new characters and kinda realized that the reason that Grimoire was not compelling enough was because I was starting in the wrong spot, about halfway through the story actually. I needed to go back to the beginning.
So I started to create new characters, fleshing out the story. That’s where I began to find some of those deeper themes. About consequences, lose, redemption, and revenge. The nature of love, family and what mistakes we make with the best of intentions. Once I found these wants and needs in my characters more pieces began to come into place.
Being new to the ‘writing scene’ and with no formal education to support this it is difficult to daunting to think that my story could either find an audience or be something that I can persevere through to the end. Grimoire is not a short story. And while I look for way to cut the narrative fat at its core its is a long form serial. It highlights the journey of those fighting along side and against the forces of evil. How best to tackle such an endeavor.
Being hugely influenced by comic books, pulp fiction and other literature classics I set out to write Grimoire as a serial very much in the vein of these older styles of fiction, like a monthly pulp magazine, being a bit of an artist I would design the covers as well.
That’s the artistic visionary talking.
As I have come to learn in the self-publishing industry is – spoiler alert: an industry. While there is definitely room for innovation and new dynamic ways of telling a story there is also the tried and true method which is how many have found their career in self-publishing. This means that those you try the ‘something new and different’ can easily fail. Yet, they can also find huge success by setting themselves apart, Andy Weir for example.
That can be a difficult decision to make.
Last time I said I was releasing the first book in parts, which I still intend to do. However I will no longer be approaching the story in ‘seasons’ as after struggling with writers block, themes, and a variety of other pitfalls, I’m going a more traditional route. This will help me establish some much needed positive routines around my writing.
This blog will as a result see far more activity as I feel that blogging this journey will really help me break through my narrative hang ups etc. I hope that these posts concerning the actual writing of Grimoire can help others work through their own writing journey when they can see that another writer suffers from the same insecurities and issues. By knowing what I’m going I hope this can become a discussion and forum for others who find themselves in a similar position.
In the last month I have gotten a dismal amount written to the page as far as the manuscript is concerned – not good. However I have made progress on aspects of the plot and outline I have realized that I have been shamefully over looking my characters. I need to make them more compelling, more alive, and while it seems like getting each word out is a horrible agony of writer’s block frustration I feel better even if its terribly written. Because no revision or edit could as worse as that version; so I have no where to go but up. But that’s a tough beast to grapple.
Its difficult to really give much frame of reference without even the first part of Grimoire out (I know, I know), but I got 1000 words edited last week, and should be able to crunch through the next 6500 this week if I can keep pace (see more below for an update). So I’m going to do my best to set the stage of what I am referring too.
But to illustrate my point; part two of Grimoire opens with Jonathan Augren a man whose story will become very important to the world of Grimoire. Originally the scene to introduce him and his companions was a stiffly written train scene. The characters were there, but with no real voice. Like a bridge scene in a movie where he characters need to give the audience exposition but do so with B-movie dialogue and nothing memorable. It felt like a checkbox of an introduction so I could get to a more exciting scene.
But that’s the thing – these character are exciting knowing where they came from and what they will go on to do. They become so big for the story even though they are not the main protagonist. But I want them to be as engaging to my audience as they are in my head.
It was frustrating, I kept rewriting it over and over and was till not happy with it. It wasn’t until I took a step back to think of the feeling behind what my character was going through. For any well-versed authors out there this may be common practice or a , ‘Well duh” moment but I realized it was something that I don’t do enough with all my characters.
Main protagonist sure, but side characters? Or secondary protagonist? Not as actively. This gave me a moment of pause and I thought about why Jonathan why on that train, what he was coming home to and how it felt for him. That gave way to how he feels about the friends he is going to visit. Now they were no longer physically in the scene but I could still introduce them via Jonathan’s inner monologue and narrative. By exploring his emotional connection instead of arranging the characters like pieces on a chess board it became a different experience. One that I feel is much better written.
Again this main seem mundane to experienced authors, but for new writers like myself sometimes you can easily forget why you fall in love with characters and their stories. The more important lesson perhaps is to not try and force your scenes or writing but be willing to walk away and come back, like a sculptor who needs a good night sleep for the current work to fully come into shape correctly. And that may means returning that clay make to a starting block to be reworked again, but its become necessary for compelling story I think. To string scenes together with no theme or character drive to motivate the scene forward it loses its soul. In some medium you can overcome this but when you only have the written word, the emotional connection to a character is vital to keep a reader invested.
At least that’s how I see it, and what I’m trying to be mindful of as I write Grimoire. So as far as status updates are concerned. I am still hard at work on Part one which should contain the prologue and the first three chapters – four chapters in all. The prologue can be found on Wattpad (https://w.tt/2QKB1kU) for free now and I have finished initial edit on Chapter One.
I need to find the best way to host everything whether this blog, Wattpad, Smashwords etc. I’m still very new to all this so if you have tips or advice please comment!
Anyways, so Part One has appox. 6500 words left to get edited before I publish. This version of Grimoire is what I would consider Beta Reader ready. So I would love any feedback you could give! Reviews welcome etc. Ultimately I want to tell the whole story that is Grimoire, but more importantly I’m committed to telling in the best way possible and seek to improve myself constantly even more so for an audience who wants to read it.
So next steps: I am hoping to have the rest of Part One in Beta within a week (really and truly). Part two is a lot of content with new characters and settings as well as continuing the story of Aurora and what she has gotten herself into. That being said, it currently clocks in at 4200 words which is only one and a half chapters worth of story. Right now Part Two will consist of around seven chapters if I had to guess. So there’s a bit to go, but with the release of Part One I would be excited to get the rest out either piece by piece or as the final book ready to go via your favorite storefront (still got to figure that out too).