Oy, brain. Work with me here.
A little while ago, I talked about hitting my 100k goal on the Epic Fantasy and having to up the goal to 125k because I wasn’t finished yet. Well, I did it again. Hit that goal on Saturday night, so I’m going to have to up the goal again.
Technically, I don’t have to have a goal, but I like having one to write to. There’s a giddy sense of accomplishment watching that bar slowly inch it’s way over. Not to mention when you’re done and it’s that solid green…
People’s reactions have been wonderfully supportive. It’s been pointed out that 100k is small for an epic fantasy. Heck, 125k might be too. I realize that epic truly means epic, and it’s not unusual for such a story to fall over the 150k line all the way up to 200k or even 250k. There’s nothing wrong with that. Especially if you’re an established author in the genre. I know it’s going to take as many words as it takes to tell the story I want to tell. My desire is to keep the word count down simply because I think it makes for a leaner, crisp story. A lot of authors would write the story and leave the rest to edits, but that’s not my style. I like to present the strongest, most polished first draft possible.
Some might call my entire approach a ‘rookie mistake’. They might be right. I might be crazy. But it just might be a lunatic you’re looking for…
Right now, I’m writing scenes that were outlined in only the vaguest sense of the word and taking them in directions that never occurred to me until I started writing them. I love it when that happens.
I still want to finish this draft by the end of the year. Which means I need to get writing.
I leave you with this bit, recently written:
These thoughts caused her to toss and turn for hours. When sleep did come, it was light and easily interrupted by an elbow from Lorna, or a cold foot pressed against her leg sending shivers up her body. At some point, Min drifted off and found herself standing on an island surrounded by a calm sea. The air was warm and carried upon it the scent of brine and heavy salt. A quick exploration showed that she could walk its edge in just one hundred steps and come full circle. Nothing on the island except sand, but she did see what looked like a path of stones leading out into the water. A quick jump to the first stone and she was off, taking each next stone one at a time and moving at a steady run. Above her, the stars shone muted, yet reflected brightly off the calm water.
She found another island, slightly larger than the last, and quickly made her way around the edge until she found more stones out in the water and continued on. More islands, each larger than the last. Bits of carved stone appeared here and there, jutting up from the sands like fingers clawing up from below. Always there was a path of rocks out into the water leading to yet another island. Each time she set foot on an island, she felt as if she was rising above the last.
The last island was the largest, and cut down the middle by the ruins of a tower surrounded by a jungle that had grown up unchecked by human hands. Here, she felt the echoes of a battle ringing on the wind, and saw the proof in the still raw scars laying jagged along the landscape. A line of rocks and earth kicked up like a mountain range to her right, a deep gash on her left looked as if a clawed hand had reached down from the heavens and rent the earth. Staring at the tower, she realized that it was still in the act of crumbling, almost as if it had just fallen a moment ago. Dust moved up at a snails pace. Bits of stone cracked and broke away from the larger mass, tumbling out at different speeds, some quick, some slow. Above the wreckage, a pair of dark clouds shot away, dancing back and forth and swirling around each other until they disappeared on the horizon. Deep within the rubble, a faint light shone through the cracks in the stone. She knew it would soon be swallowed and crushed. This made her feel suddenly sad.
A deep rumble and Min sought the comfort of holding her swords firmly in her hands. The blades appeared, glowing soft as the moon. The right blade flickered from her own, stout blade to one made of jade and intricately carved, then to the smokey sword Agden carried and back again. Behind her, the rumble sounded. Min spun, blades held before her in a guarding position. A tiger stood before her. The beast was nearly as tall as she, with orange fur patched here and there with white areas, and great dark stripes all along its body. Its ears were alert, eyes fixed on her, head slightly below it shoulders. One great paw reached out and clawed the dirt, followed by that deep chuffing noise; thrum-thrum-thrum.
“Go away,” Min warned the tiger. “I do not want to fight you.”
Again, the chuffing noise, and the tiger began to pace back and forth.
Min did not lower her guard. While the tiger paced, the tower gave its last gasp and collapsed in on itself. A great belch of dust and debris flew up into the air, and the faint light at the center of it all went dark. Distracted, Min was unprepared for the attack when it came. The tiger moved with an unnatural speed, blurring forward to push her to the ground. With another chuff, it placed large paws on her shoulders, pinning her down.