Queries and Synopses

 

If anyone ever tells you that queries and synopses are fun, punch them in the face. Then buy them a drink and sit them down, hold them hostage if you have to, and don’t let them leave until they tell you exactly how they approach it. I’ve been struggling with a query for the better part of a week now, and I don’t see any immediate end. The synopsis, too, is killing me. The hard part of any synopsis is boiling your story right down to the bones. I’ve had to toil with an 800 page story until the bare components equally a little under 2 pages. The really, really hard part is then making that 1 and a bit page reflect the voice of the story, at least to a degree. All of the subplots are gone. All of the secondary characters are gone. All the life and colour is gone. The only thing that really seems to matter is covering every major plot point, every major defining moment and making sure that each word, each sentence, each paragraph says EXACTLY what you need it to do, nothing more or less, and then making them all flow seamlessly into one another.

On another note; I’m looking into worldbuilding again, and I’m writing a story entitled ‘The Hanged Man.’ All good fun. 

Writing Like A Mother******….

Officially, I seem to recall that I began writing this story on Friday, 7th June. Now, this is fairly hard to dispute, since the creation date on the Scrivener file reads plain as day ‘7th June 2013,’ yet when I look at my page count, I see that the number is a pretty solid ’59.’ It blew me away, I have to confess. That’s a higher average than I’ve ever managed before. Not that I expect it to last forever. I’ve also reached the half way point in the 3rd draft of Long May Men Have Voices, which is also good.

As far as this story goes, it’s changed pretty dramatically already. I still expect it to be very much a work of ‘grey fantasy’ or ‘high-brow low fantasy,’ since both terms are applicable. I wonder if they exist in any recognised form, or can I coin them?  I quite like them though, they have a ring to them. Anyway, the story is becoming a bit of character investigation. I’m very much letting my two protagonists lead the way whilst keeping them to a pretty obscurely defined path. I think it’s working out quite well so far. I guess in terms of storyline, the basic premise has been approached plenty of times, but I like my characters. They feel new and fresh and big in a way that I was hoping to achieve with Long May Men Have Voices.

Regardless, I’m going to keep pursuing this story, letting my characters lead me blindly into the dark. I’m learning ALOT about character development along the way.

On the topic of writing a lot, and word/page counts though, I’d like to talk a little bit.

Applying any degree of research should pretty quickly deliver you to some interviews or Q&A’s with authors who talk about their writing process or writing habits, their daily/weekly/monthly word counts and all that jazz. I’ve just written around 20,000 words in four days. This is wonderful for me. I’ve never written quite so much, and remain utterly convinced that before long, that word count is going to dwindle a bit, and probably a lot before much longer. But, and I’m going to use caps here because I want to shout it from the rooftops. IT REALLY DOES NOT FUCKING MATTER HOW MUCH YOU TYPE IN THE SPACE OF A DAY. Just keep writing. Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t think ‘I’ve only done 200 words today, that’s shit,’ only to close your laptop, turn off your pc or throw your pen carelessly across your desk only to watch it slide across the surface to fall down the back.

If I write 200 words, I tend to think, ‘no, I want more,’ which leads me to write more. Sometimes I might push on to 3/4/5k words, other times I might struggle to push 250. Again, let me use caps here, to more effectively illustrate my point. IT DOESN’T MATTER. Write another 250 tomorrow, push on to 300, or 3/4/5k or any arbitrary number in between. The most significant thing I took away from completing the first draft of my novel, regardless of its quality, is that the page counts and the word counts will take care of themselves. As a writer, all that you need to do is decide what story you want to tell. and then tell it. It’s easy…. It’s slow, but it’s only as hard as you make it. Writer’s block is another story for another day, and one I’ll write about when I’ve encountered it.

Balls to it. In the immortal, paraphrased words of Janny Wurtz, if you encounter writer’s block, write yourself into a corner or in any way find yourself unable to push on, then retreat, re-evaulate, re-direct. As much as you may want your story to go a particular way, if you get stuck, you have to accept the painful and unpleasant reality that something has to change. It could be a minor thing, it could be a huge boulder of a thing that changes the course of your story so completely that you’re honestly, almost more tempted to struggle against the wall instead. Don’t do that. Scraping your knuckles into a pulp as you try to bludgeon your way through is just plain daft. Make the sacrifice, take the dive, change something.

Realisation

Upon said realisation, where I learned that there isn’t much point working on the second novel until I know whether or not I can sell it, I decided to start writing another new story with views to publication. This will take priority over the high fantasy and crime stories that I’m writing. I’ve been wanting to write this story for a few months, so I’m hoping I can do it justice. If all goes to plan, it’ll end up being gritty, violent and chaotic, so that’s good. It follows a pair of Ibeni Exiles (gypsies), a young soldier out for justice but struggling against his desire for revenge and a vicious assassin who faces humanity for the first time in her young life. All of them will become embroiled in a power struggle between the Queen, who seeks to stamp out crime in the city of Ond, and the criminals she is warring against. Drawing on yakuza movies that I’ve seen over the years, I am hoping to make it a complex and visceral examination of the things we do to survive. Fingers crossed. 🙂