Monday, April 21, 2008

Evinden update

Time for an update on Evinden, I think.

Current word count: 77,905
Current page count: 221

Start date for project: 11 April 2001, allegedly. This is the oldest file I have archived on the computer relating to the project - a file called 'Ideas.doc'.

Rather terrifyingly, that means I've been working on this damned book for seven bastard years. Seven! That's quite clearly utterly ridiculous - there are children out there whose entire lives encompass seven years, and yet I've somehow managed to take seven years to write a book; in fact, to write half of a book, it's nowhere near finished yet.

One thing's for certain: if Evinden turns out well and I write more books, I dearly hope that they prove to be rather less ponderous in their creation. Of course, Evinden went through a bit of a funny early development in that it was originally to be a screenplay and had an entirely different structure, before before restructured in (I think) 2004 as a novel.

Still, with James providing spiffy feedback and a few select other people having read and enjoyed the book, I'm rather more spurred on to finish the damn thing than I ever have been before. The Eastercon 2008 convention also rather invigorated my writing spirit - I couldn't help but think this is where I want to be. Once I got used to the lingering nerd smells and the Klingon guy, anyway.

Reading over this Ideas.doc file is really quite enlightening, reminding me of where I was coming from in the first place. While it's changed vastly and become infinitely more detailed, some of the early notes make for an amusing list of "Fantasy Clich├ęs 101". This was back in the days when I hadn't read any fantasy, and before Fellowship of the Ring hit cinemas. A different age!

Check it out:

Basic ideas/concepts

  • Magic
  • Sword-fighting
  • Flying (flying characters, or flying vehicles?)
  • Hero’s Journey
  • Epic
  • Huge, towering cities
  • Demonic creatures
  • - invasion?
  • Dark/light? How ‘serious’ are we getting?
  • Mythology
  • History
  • Flawed characters
  • Characters have past connections
  • One character appearing to several, drawing them together?
  • - Mentor/wizard character?
  • Must protect somebody?
  • - on a journey?
  • - both physical and mental?
  • - Extending swords?
  • - must have!
  • - huge variety of extending cool weaponry!!!!!!!!
  • - Girl from above rescues Cut from work?
  • - City perched atop clouds (hidden)
  • - Waterfalls!
  • - Cut can save his people from the tyranny of the Telladors.
Not a particularly auspicious start.

I'm really not sure what I was thinking calling the lead character 'Cut'. I mean, there's no way a typo could have made that one embarassing, eh?

Monday, April 14, 2008

The wise words of Mr Gaiman

Neil Gaiman wrote an interesting thing in his journal recently:
"The worst thing in writing something for someone else, and I've found this several times over the years, especially in movies, is where you talk to an editor or an executive and you think that you're talking about the same thing. Then you go away and do what you thought you were talking about and hand it in and find that you were quite wrong, and while you were describing (say) a romantic comedy with ghosts in they were buying a scary ghost story with perhaps some love in, and nobody is happy and the project is doomed."

A very similar thing happened on a film project I've been working on since last Autumn. Having wrestled through four incarnations of the script, plus another two written by other people, we seem to finally be getting somewhere. Unfortunately my scripts were rejected, but that's how it goes sometimes (though that actual rejection process was...interesting, to say the least!).

So, yes, we're now on track, it would seem, which is rather damn exciting. The team is slowly coming together and some of the people lined up to be working on the film are awesome.

The project will be announced officially soon, at which point I'll be able to say more...

In the meantime, time to write some more of Evinden.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Battlestar Galactica is back with season four. Remarkably, it is still extremely good. In fact, it remains quite clearly the best thing on television - at least in as much as I am aware. It's also the best sci-fi for about two decades, irrespective of TV or cinema.

So say we all.

Creative madness!

The creative process is a pretty bonkers thing, especially if you're attempting to work in a group, with everyone bringing disparate and conflicting ideas to the table of what the finished article should be. As part of a film project I'm working on, this week has seen the most intense example of that process I've ever seen.

Remarkably, given how slow and ponderous I tend to be when writing creatively, I've completed three screenplays in the last four days. One was in collaboration with another writer while the other two were off my own bat. They're shorts, of course (I'm not that fast), but that's nevertheless the most creatively prolific I've been for a while.

It's partially helped by it being related to a larger project, of course, so that, rather than it just being for my own amusement, it's also intended to provide a solid foundation for the work of everyone else. Whether it gets to that stage or not remains to be seen, of course - I'm very happy with the third script, but I know other members of the team have their doubts.

It's an interesting exercise, to throw yourself into a script only to have it torn apart by peers. Painful, yes, but it most cases it does end up with a better final result, as long as you can pull yourself back together and look at the task from another angle - which is exactly what I did with this third script, abandoning the structure and characters from the earlier interations and retaining only the setting and themes.

I call the third script 'Katabasis', which is a vague attempt to sound intelligent. As I understand it, Katabasis has multiple meanings, all generally along the lines of 'going down' - most commonly with regards to going from the centre of a country to the coast, or a descent into the underworld. All quite apt, for numerous reasons.

You'll no doubt have noticed that I've not dropped any specifics about the project or the scripts - alas, until the project is officially announced that's the way it has to be! But with luck I'll be able to say more soon.

In other news, it's suddenly started snowing again. Time for jumpers.