Feelin’ goooooood this week! I just wrapped up writing “How the Thrun Earned his Wings” (that little fairy-tale I’ve mentioned the last few weeks), and that feels great! This time around I tried out writing the entire thing by hand, and I think it made a difference.
What kind of difference? Not sure yet, TBD.
There’s definitely something satisfying about having a finished, physical copy in front of me. When typing (as I did for The Rule of Iron‘s first draft), I feel like it was easy to lose that mental grasp of size and space. Writing by hand, with each page going into the pile as I finish it, there’s really a sense of size.
Not that “Thrun” is long, by any means. Definitely felt longer for having handwritten it.
In the end, it came out to almost 20 pages exactly (which I think ought to fit into something like 4k or 5k words). I still have to type it up and find out – and that’s gonna be a chore. So for now, I’m pretty much celebrating.
I’d like to write by hand more often in the future. When there’s just a writing pad, a pen (because I like to live dangerously), and an empty desk, it’s way harder to get distracted. And man, am I easy to distract.
Don’t have a writing goal for this upcoming week, apart from typing up (and maybe quickly copyediting) “Thrun.” That being said, I reallllyyyy ought to get back to Rule.
On books, I’m almost done with The Book of Lost Tales 2 from Christopher Tolkien’s History of Middle-Earth. I’m not sure if I’m going to move on to the next volume in the series immediately after, or if I’ll read something else.
I’m starting to get the itch to re-read The Wheel of Time. That’s dangerous; I’m a fairly speedy reader, but it’s still literally a months-long project. My favorite series, but a bit difficult to just sit down and grab. WoT has been very influential in how I think about fantasy – namely, in what I do and don’t want to accomplish as a writer.
WoT, just like A Song of Ice and Fire, and other modern fantasy sagas, is this big, sprawling… thing. Both Martin and Jordan at some point lose track of, lose control of their work. That life of its own is part of the power of their writing, but (as anyone who’s read the middle of WoT will attest) it’s often as detrimental as it is powerful.
It’s important to me that Rule is a good, single book. I’ve got vague notions and ideas for sequel(s) and other stories set within the world (either connected or not), but for all that I love saga fantasy, I’m not sure that I want to write saga fantasy.
I want to figure out how to tell a big story in a small way.
The Lord of the Rings kind of accomplishes this. Hang on, don’t laugh – look to LotR, and then look back at the labyrinthine mess of WoT, or of ASoIaF. Would LotR have been better if it extended for five books? Seven? Nine? By the scale of modern fantasy, LotR is comparatively short at about 1,000 pages. The Eye of the World (book 1 of WoT) hits around 700 (I believe), and that’s not including the other 13 books.
What makes many of my favorite books good is how self-contained they are. Lord of the Rings, Dune, Mistborn, The Once and Future King, and so on are all excellent single volumes. (LotR was intended to be a single volume, shush with your quibbling.) While Rule‘s story isn’t nearly as big as any of those mentioned above, some of my other story ideas are pretty hefty. Just need to make them fit where I want them.