A couple of days ago I finished a first draft. It’s about time.
See, last year I set myself the task of writing something along the lines of a fantasy. I wanted it to be funny too, though that is up to the reader to decide.
I chose, as I’ve mentioned before, Pearl Barley a twenty something trainee exorcist, who’s hair is possessed by the spirit of a deceased hairdresser called Sharon – both an occupational hazard and something that is frowned upon.
When I started the book I just wrote and a few of you kindly had a read of the early ideas. One thing that became clear to me very soon was the need to break this down into at least two books and, as it’s turned out, three. It’s the first draft of book two that I’ve just finished.
Never having written anything fantastical, I decided I needed to do some reading. I alighted on another trilogy by fellow blogger D. Wallace Peach and her Unravelling The Veil series. In this we follow a goblin – Naj, an elf – Alue and a changeling – Talin on a quest to fight off the forces of Chaos (I don’t think that counts as a spoiler).
It’s an interesting exercise, reading while trying to see the stitching as it were. How does the author stitch a trilogy together? How does she leave off each book, allowing for a satisfactory ending yet pulling the reader into the next book? How does she salt the early works with the grains of plot themes to come? How does she hold it all together? Does she assume the reader of books two and three will have read book one or does she need to bring a new reader up to date without annoying the committed reader whose been along for the ride?
Diane does this in Unravelling and does it beautifully. The three novels are variably paced, allowing the reader sprint and then catch their breath.
In these books the author has built a totally imaginary world. I haven’t been so brave; mine is set neat Orpington in the nearish future. If there’s a near comparator it’s the Rachel Morgan: The Hollows series by Kim Harrison following the adventures of the eponymous witch in an alternate Cincinnati. Rachel had two constant companions, a Pixie, Jinks and a vampire, Ivy.
There’s something about this threesome, maybe. In my Pearl series, Pearl not only has Sharon but she also has her Portable Personality Enhancer, a mirror that gives life to her reflection who she christens Neddy after her middle name.
All in all, I will owe a lot to these two excellent writers. Also to St Douglas of Adams for writing the best sci fi fantasy series ever and Ben Aaronovitch for his Rivers of London series, chronicling the adventures of Peter Grant and the Magical division of the Metropolitan Police.
And finally, the next book off the ranks will be none of these. It’s a modern romance/mystery with a magical realism twist. The Art Of Spirit Capture is set in rural Sussex and follows Jason Hales who is trying to get his life back on track when he finds he’s inherited his Great Aunt’s cottage. Some of you may recall a short piece I did in response to one of the Late Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompts, on which this is based. I’m doing the final edit; then it’s off to the editor for a clean up and then it’s over to all of you. I’ll be after help with a blog tour in due course. Meanwhile, here are four possible covers for you to mull over…
Let me know what you think in the comments…