July 29, 2014

A bit about my new book ...

Whoot-Whoot! I'm now a college graduate - an esteemed alumna. Lately I have shifted from writing short stories to working on my novel- thus I have not been posting what I write. I have been playing with the idea of writing a book for awhile now, the idea developed slowly beginning with an interest in high school which (to my genuine shock) remained and continued through college. My exposure to Medieval literature as well as Fantasy film gave me the idea to turn my Eastern European tale into something less contemporary in nature.

Many of the Fantasy elements I am using are inspired by
Medieval texts such as the Aberdeen Bestiary
(rather than) the genre fall backs of dragons, dwarves, & elves
As of late last night, I am now 119 pages into my Historical Fantasy Fiction novel(s). I was originally planning on writing just one but once I got started filling out the blank white pages with those magical little things called words, I realized that my story has become much more complex than I expected and would probably work better if I slow the plot down and allow the characters to develop in a more timely (and endearing) fashion.

There are a variety of characters and personalities including
Vladonik Svanek- the stubborn farmer and former fighter, caring for his own children and those of his wife on the family property in the East
Ivan Svanek- (Vladonik's little brother) - spontaneous & carefree, with a passion for both love & revenge,
Katyanka Kozlov-  the strong independent woman whose greatest fear is that she will be forgotten
[I have to work on developing her more deeply as right now she feels like the Bran of my story who is there but without too much going on (why, yes that is a Game of Thrones reference)] She is of peasant birth but tries to climb the social ladder.
Rolf Thaygrin - an ambitious Western Duke with his eye set on the throne
Mercovena Thaygrin- the multiethnic daughter of Rolf, part of the Ancient bloodline, a (white) witch of sorts, quiet and generally easy going (though feisty). She is of noble birth but accepts a stoic philosophy as she travels East to escape persecution ... [she is one of my favorites and holds a disproportionate amount of focus which I must work to balance more in revision]

These are the primary individuals which (at least the first and second portion of) the book revolves around though of course there are many more characters which appear including nosy and prying neighbors, scheming in-laws a suicidal wife, adopted children, a racist queen, The Guard of Haethon Hall- (Rolf's right hand men who can never seem to agree with one another) both the loyal and honorable Raudavik and the loyal but dishonorable Galerith.
Right now I am writing it in the Third Person Limited point of view - alternating between focus on the main characters listed above. [I am thinking of altering my approach to combine Third Person Limited with Third Person Omniscient but I'll know more once I finish the initial manuscript(s).] Everyone's story overlaps and interlocks like delicate threads which together weave an intricate tapestry of life and struggle within the kingdom.

The themes and messages behind my writings depend on the way the reader views it. In my opinion, it is Historical Fiction with Fantasy elements - as such, it doubles as an allegory for Pagan/ Catholic relations with a range of approaches to Religious conflict from passive tolerance, outright discrimination, Pope St. Gregory the Great's-style of integration and everything in between. I am trying to craft it carefully so that rather than being (Historical) Fantasy Fiction it is instead Historical (Semi-fantastical) Fiction. But to the individual viewing it as belonging to the genre of Fantasy first, the aforementioned historical allusions are likely to be lost and it will likely appear to be thematically Libertarian or else not noticed at all (though really I suspect only the 50 Shades & Twilight crowds would not notice these things when reading).
A very rough preliminary map / geography diagram
I'm currently working on something more detailed & substantial 

The story itself is a tale of ethnic and religious (therefore cultural) tensions in a kingdom where two dominant religions reign (with 2 sects in each - so really 3 or 4 religions) between roughly two to five cultures (depending on how one divides it) each which creates a sort of continuum of political ideologies representing a mixture of both traditional Liberal values (with "big government" policies) and Conservative/Libertarian values ("small government" with an emphasis on municipalities or something comparable to state's rights and of course lower taxes). I am a stoic at heart and so I think some of that philosophy also flavors the text in some places (especially towards the middle).
At the moment I am faced with the task of figuring out how to keep all of the story lines advancing at a somewhat even pace. I am currently trying to avoid huge gaps in time - each chapter takes place over the course of a few weeks (in some cases a few days) but I either need to add a ton to middle of the book or else to jump several years.

Well - that's all I'll say for now. I have quite a bit to work on today - I feel decently motivated today so I'm setting the goal for either 1200 - 2000 words or four pages of outline & some much needed structure work.           

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