I've tried this kind of thing twice before, without success. Maybe third time will indeed be the charm.
So, though I am not suffering from writer's block, I do find myself stymied in my construction of Lying Swords, Volume One.
The story going forward is not a problem. The backstory, however, is giving me a lot of grief. Not so much what happened, but when it happened and the order of events. I've written some back story already, but I need another portion of the characters' history, and nothing is coming to me. I find this very frustrating.
When I wrote Prophecy of Honor, and Witchery, the back stories came easily and naturally. Not this time. I suspect part if not all of the reason is that those two stories were fully developed in my mind before I sat down to actually write them. And with Just Lucky, I told that pretty much in chronological order. All flashbacks were early in the narrative—like the one I just submitted as a short story—and eventually got cut anyway. The flashbacks in Saving Atlantis are also limited in scope and occur very early.
But I do not have the whole story of the Lying Swords in my mind yet. I discover more almost every day as I think about it, but the flashbacks here involve more people and more interaction than those of my previous efforts.
I have a page of notes I call "Saving Atlantis Prep." It's my notes on characters and plot points, mostly. I added a section called "World Timeline" with the intention of writing down the chronology of events before the "present" of the story.
I got nothin'.
I am sure I'm going to have to go back and wipe out at least a little of what I've already written and rewrite some more so that the timeline I finally decide on—the one that makes the most sense to support the current story—will be smooth and sensible.
At the end of last year I'd written about 14,000 words. I've added less than 5,000 words so far this year. Some of that is due to the week off for vacation, and the time spent shoveling snow, but a lot is simply the difficulty I've been having with the story. And this is only the first draft. (groan) This project will take longer than expected.
On the reading front, I'm still working on volume Seven of King's Dark Tower series. Since I only work four days a week, I only get two hours of reading time per week for this book, so it is taking a long time.
Meanwhile, the books at home are some of Piers Anthony's Xanth novels. These novels involve unlimited amounts and types of magic and an unlimited amount of puns. For example, a Nightmare is a black horse that brings bad dreams from the hypno-gourd, where the dreams are created. There is a drink called boot rear, because when you drink some you get the feeling of being booted in the butt. The world outside of Xanth (which is shaped like Florida, complete with the Kiss Me River and Ogre-Fen-Ogre swamp) is called Mundania.
So, the two types of fantasy fiction literature are about as far apart in tone and structure as is possible.
That may be one reason why I like fantasy. I haven't thought of that before right now. Romance literature, Westerns and Mysteries all have fairly restricted forms and plots. But fantasy and, to a slightly lesser extent science fiction, have limitless possibilities. I mentioned a couple of entries ago some of the fantasy series I'd recommend reading, and I'm sure there are many more. And if you read them you'll discover they are all very different in almost every category—plot, characters, tone, and the fantasy elements. Shucks, my two fantasy novels, though similar in style, employ a different tone, totally different attitudes and properties of magic, and even though the themes are similar, the plots are different.
Thank you for reading, and please continue to do so—whether my words or someone else's.