It’s Over 100,000!

On Tuesday June 13th, Earldust crossed the 100,000 word threshold, and is speedily reaching its conclusion. At this rate, it’s looking like I’ll be done between the end of June and the beginning of July. I’m postulating that this draft will be around 120,000 or 130,000 words, but it’s a pure guessing game. Though my approach to writing places a lot of value on fore planing, most major decisions are made while typing in front of the computer screen.

For the past week or so, I’ve been writing two thousand words of fresh material a day, sometimes more, depending upon the type of scene I’m dealing with. I aim to write for between two and a half to three hours, and despite many cups of tea, the process is quite grueling. You’d be surprised at how tiring churning out words is. I start off by editing the previous days work, touching up on a few points. It’s by no means a thorough edit, but it helps me keep in mind what I’ve done before, so I can avoid continuity errors, both in new and previously produced content. I’ve been reasonably good at catching errors before they turn into plot tumours, but a full edit of this draft will be necessary to write out the wayward passages that deviate from The True Faith!

Of course the awareness that this is coming to an end is also leading me to think at the back of my mind about possible sequels. Firstly, this book will be written in such a way as to make it work as a standalone. Each story arc must conclude itself nicely by the end, or face the wrath of the editor. This does not automatically preclude me from writing sequels, but it does limit the scope enormously.

An easy enough method of pulling a new plot out of my hat, is to challenge the presuppositions made in concluding this novel. Perhaps in solving the challenges faced in Earldust, the protagonists created the groundwork for new and fresh problems? Unfortunately I’m not entirely sure that such a novel would do anything more than rehash old themes in a very similar way. The scope for creativity is quite weak.

A more interesting idea I think is one I thought of while reading Brandon Sanderson’s novel, the Alloy of Law which is set many centuries after the events of the original Mistborn trilogy. In the preface of the novel, Sanderson argued that fantasy worlds should not remain stagnant, that rather they should progress just like our world, over time. It’s a rather compelling argument, and coming from the fantasy world’s coming man, one we would be unwise to ignore.

This type of approach seems much more attractive to me now that I’m reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. This novel spans over centuries and is told from the point of view of several different characters, but with a few details and themes linking each individual’s story to the next.

Given that the world of Earldust goes through a short but dramatic period of transition, it would be interesting to study what the implications of this would be… say 200 years in the future. Whereas Cloud Atlas shows our planet develop in a linear fashion, I’d be interested to examine two separate possible future Rodaria’s. What type of political system does it have, how has society and technology progressed, and what are the people like? Most importantly from the plot’s perspective, what type of challenges does this world face? And do these link to the events within Earldust itself?

I’ve had a lot of fun with Earldust so far, and this far from being over. I’d like my future projects to build on this novel, but not remain a slave to it either.

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