Earldust: The Story So Far, And The Story To Come

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you have probably noticed that I haven’t updated it for over a month. In that case, rest easy, your admin hasn’t become slothful – rather he has been putting in a lot of words somewhere else. Whether this effort has been misplaced or not is up for debate, but about nineteen hours ago, I completed the first draft of Earldust in its current form. Given that I’ve surmounted one hurdle on the long road to Where?, I feel that a bit of nostalgia is in order…

A Short History of Earldust:

When I wrote the “explainer” for this novel first, I labeled Earldust a political thriller set in a fantasy world. This more or less still holds true, although a good dollop of legal thriller has been tossed in for good measure. It mainly centres around a character named Camillia Montclane, who is trying to get to grips with the plot (of the same name) of a shadowy character named Oliver Curlofa to destabilise the monarchy and take control of the Empire.

I started writing the novel in 2010, as a purely fantasy novel, but without any bells, whistles and magic and more gritty political intrigue. It had grown out of a novel I’d written in 2009 with the horrific-sounding title of The Demons of Draco Drim (the story is much worse than the title). However when I completed a draft of the novel that summer, I was quite dissatisfied with it. There were a lot of plot holes for a start, and I’d developed a character who was very politically aware, even though the setting shouldn’t have made her so. I decided to scrap the final quarter of the book, and heavily edit the rest.

Throughout 2011 the book largely remained on the back burner. Firstly, I had my Leaving Cert exams to worry about, and the heavy preparation for those exams left me quite exhausted. It was only when I made it to college, that I had a chance to think about it properly.

While in college, I focused mainly on editing what I had written before, and on character development. I developed backgrounds for each of the main characters, something which I had stupidly omitted before.

When I finished my first year exams in mid May, I had was fully prepared to give the book another shot. I began by editing every chapter I’d written before, cutting out unnecessary parts of the plot and bulking up on what was important. Sometimes I replaced entire pages of text, other times I just reworded things that I found especially annoying. However this wasn’t a comprehensive stylistic edit, it was more to adjust the plot for what I planned to do later on. By the time June rolled along, I was ready to begin writing. It started out quite slowly – around a thousand words a day, then it grew to two thousand and by the middle of July, I had hit three thousand at some times. I didn’t write every day, just most days of the week.

Since June, I’ve added approximately 60,000 words to the novel. It’s not quite the writing marathon of summer 2010, when the novel grew from 11,000 words to 81,000… but it’s not far off. Most of what I’d written back then didn’t make much sense, as studying Early Modern European history and a module of Political Science taught me. What I’ve written now is a lot better, even if it’s far from perfect.

What now?

Well as you can imagine, like any essentially first-draft manuscript, Earldust needs a lot of work. It’s not as plot-hole ridden as the piece I wrote back in 2010, but it’s got a number of inconsistencies of its own. There are a few characterisation issues to be solved, and the prose itself is pretty horrid in many parts. I started writing this book when I was 18, and in the past two years my vocabulary has grown quite a bit. Some of my word choices from 2010 make me squirm at times. I’ve also tended to over-rely on dialogue, and this problem hasn’t gone away yet. I need to find more effective ways of conveying information, and use them.

I’m going to take a two week break to focus on other things, and then I’ll start planning a comprehensive redraft. I’ll start off by targeting plot holes, and then those of you who were silly enough to agree to read it will get the first peak. I hope it doesn’t rob you of your sanity, like it’s almost robbed me of mine. 🙂

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