Friday, March 5, 2010

Halfway to the First Goal: Some Reflections

First of all, I never really thought I would make it to this point, halfway through the amount of text that most of the internet seems to suggest is standard for a first novel submission (around 100,000 words). Second, there is no way in hell I can tie up the storylines I want to in another 50,000 words.

Which is pretty much fine with me. I don't think genre fiction, particularly sci-fi and fantasy, really hold to those submission standards. It would seem that the opposite is almost true, that these genre publishers actively seek out the next series to be as big as The Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire. And the reasoning is sound: when new books come out for either of those series, they are immediate best-sellers. Something about the fantasy genre lends itself to reader loyalty to certain series, even if they get stale (Like WOT did in the middle books) or stall out completely (like ASOIAF has).

So with the notion that a series ends up being a type of investment with dividends for a publisher, I think that what I am currently writing here (Garenol and Malus, etc.)opens itself to the opportunity to be a multiple volume story (I think using the term 'epic' self-referentially is asshole-ish). But the story would become every large in scope eventually, spreading from my current handful of characters to dozens, eventually hitting every part of this created world, and detailing what will become a world war.

But that is far down the road. I am not posting progression today because I really need to build an outline of where I would like this to all proceed. I can already look back into the consolidated text and find logical fallacies or contradictions in motivation or chronology, so I know that I am going to have to have a reference frame proceeding forward. I find it amazing how even something that I am basically creating out of my head can quickly become chronologically incorrect, or contradictory. For example, last night I went back and read through the three pieces that I have written so far about Michael and Yen, and already I am itching to rewrite, as those characters have evolved in my mind already to the point where I wish to edit their initial appearance. But I know on some level that if I go back into the text already to begin self-editing that I will never actually finish at all. So if you (all three of you) notice a logical fallacy, or contradiction, or timetable mess-up, please make a note of it somewhere and let me know after I decide I have enough to actually begin to edit for submissions, which I will announce.

Another thing, in the interest of full disclosure. Most of these stories are either an amalgamation of the time I spent in high school playing a highly modified version of Dungeons and Dragons with a close group of friends, or they are plots I have created using those characters along with my own. Some of the characters were ones I played, others were played by friends (both from the original game in high school, and in college when I used the source material to run another group), others are my own creation. I have yet to show this writing to the members of this original group. I figure that most of the fellow players, like myself, would find it acceptable that a character they played in the game would be somehow remembered this way, even if I am taking a number of liberties with the character's and the storyline as a whole, which I am.

However, the vast majority of the background material (geographical, political, mythological) here came from a single person, who ran the games we participated in during high school. It was his hand that created the nations and many of the characters I will eventually reveal. I am really banking on his benevolence when I reveal this as something I may try to profit from. Although nothing has ever been published, I definitely feel a moral obligation to receive the approval of this individual in particular, and the group of players as a whole, before this ever advances any further than a vanity project on a small blog. Even to the degree where a percentage of any realized proceeds would be involved, I will want to get the approval of these individuals before I send any of this material beyond this current, not for profit, medium. At a certain point, I would not be able to say with any honesty where homage and devotion to collaborative story-telling end, and outright theft and plagiarism begin. So some of what I write will have occurred originally as a collaborative narrative with a background and context created by another individual, and thus I do hold an obligation to the other individuals involved in that process.

Here's to hoping that they are nice about it.

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