Monthly Archives: June 2008


The evolving discipline of a structured approach to story-writing seems to be paying off very well. Allowing myself ten days in which to write a plot outline under thirty chapter headings I was then able to start writing the first draft. A target of one thousand words a day does not seem too much of a problem. It is, after all, only a page and a half of A4 size at twelve point, and its keeps the creative juices flowing. After only ten days I have written four chapters of the novel “Who Holds The Lamp” and have begun chapter five.

The story is progressing in a way that I did not originally plan, but that is fine. It means that it is taking on a life of its own, as did Land of the Slow-Burning Fires. That one also evolved a very long way from its original concept, allowing a structual depth probably unattainable had I tried to force myself to follow the original plot outline. As it was I let the story write itself, and I am very pleased with the result. The same is happening with Lamp.

I can see how this can become addictive. The more I write, the complex and interwoven becomes the fabric of the society of the Calion Islands, the more complete and intricate the geography and history that forms the superstructure of the narrative. This is fun.

Meanwhile my Agent “Georgina” at Writers’ Literary Agency is running what she calls the Aggressive Agent Programme, which may, in the coming months, bear fruit. Who can tell? That is important, of course, but not central. The important thing is the story.

A good start.

Not only have I started off well, with many more than a thousand words a day, I finished chapter one yesterday. There has been no action so far, as the first chapter, An Idyll on a Canal Boat, has served simply to re-introduce the main characters and to give a little more on their backgrounds, especially that of Hael. She, I think, is going to evolve into a major player in her own right over a period of time. Perhaps not in Lamp so much as in the next one, The Bond of the Stormbird. Meanwhile, things are back on track and it only remains for me to begin chapter two.


It worked

I have now begun Who Holds The Lamp, the story of Talivan and Marac as they are thrust into unexpected political territory. The first chapter, An Idyll on a Canal Boat, is well under weigh and the target of a thousand works a day reached thus far. It can only grow from here. I know the beginning, the middle and the end of the tale, but there is a lot to fill in. The first fifteen chapters have fairly substantial entries in the plot outline, but the remaining fifteen a bit sparse in detail. One is now more than a heading as yet, but the tale will unravel with time.

Off we go again.

I finished the first draft of The Land of the Slow-Burning Fires on Queen’s Birthday, Monday 2nd June. It was with a feeling of immense, almost cathartic, release that I typed the last words. It is only a first draft, of course, and there is some considerable revision to be done – I have not actually read it yet – but the hard part was now over. So what now? I had at first thought that I would have a little rest, do some reading and then begin the editting process, but a remark made by Shangar to Talivan in the last chapter set me to thinking. And then Chapter Four emerged from my subconscious.

About a month or so ago I resolved to approach my writing in a more structured manner and attempt to write a minimum of a thousand words a day. I stuck to this discipline and ‘Land’ was finished accordingly, having taken about four months to write. But there was a flow-on effect. By insisting on a thousand words a day, my brain did not stop working. The creative process continued unabated. So, I decided, as the river is flowing, do not dam it. I looked at the notion that had arisen from Shangar’s comment, and the next stage of the story became obvious. I had thought that the voyage to consolidate the retinue would be the logical next stage, but no. The Bonding of the Stormbird will have to wait. The Holder of the Lamp must be set out first, because this will have very great bearing on the nature of the voyage.

Queen’s Birthday observance was on the Monday. On Wednesday the fourth of June I resolved to spend ten days noting down a plot outline. If I could arrange the tale within that time, I knew that I could then properly begin the main narrative at a thousand words a day. Here I am, ten days later on the 14th of June. I have the outline in hand to the tune of about three thousand words over thirty chapter headings and I am ready to begin. So, off we go again. Herewith begins the tale of the Holder of the Lamp.


%d bloggers like this: