First of all, I need to apologize for the paucity of blog posts in the recent past, ever since the announcement – I will point to the growing progress bar on the right of the screen as my excuse, but given that I have now passed the half-way mark, and got through the nightmarish 'second quarter' which is the most difficult part of any book. The first blush of enthusiasm is gone, and the second wave of excitement towards the finish is yet to arrive, and all you have left is hard work and nervous tension, always a heady mix. Today was extremely difficult, a critical chapter – first encounter with the villain, hence not much progress today...but it should get a lot easier.
Writing a tie-in novel has been an extremely interesting process; it reminds me a little of when I was writing non-fiction, as I am constantly referring to the books to look at scenes and ideas. Spells are one example. I'm sure we've all read, in the past, books where it has been obvious that someone has cast spells out of the old Player's Handbook – well, in this book, I wanted to get it right, so that the character could be created – but not make it obvious. Which has meant going with some of the more unusual spells, and I will be very interested to see if people get them all! I read a scene over with one of my beta readers the day before yesterday, and even telling him that it was a spell from the book being cast, he had no idea which one.
The trick – as I said before – is to write something that follows the outlines and the precepts without being obvious about it. I've found myself pulling in bits and pieces from games that I've run over the years, some of the more cinematic moments. Heck, I actually put something in that a player pulled in my game on Sunday, simply because it struck me as an excellent idea and would solve a little problem I had been facing in a chapter!
The best thing about writing this tie-in so far? The Bestiary. That has to be absolute; its the resource I am using most regularly, and it is a fantastic source of inspiration, both for this and for future novels in this setting – I'm already looking forward to the next one, and I haven't even finished this one yet! This is my second fantasy novel (the first is currently unavailable, something I intend to sort out at some point in the not-to-distant-future) and it feels a lot more comfortable to work in. I've been running games for...a very long time, twenty years, on and off (great, now I feel old) and it has given me a base familiarity, a resource to draw upon. I have to face it – when it comes to fantasy, no matter what else I have read, watched or listened to, D&D is where I am coming from.
As usual, 'discovery writing' is throwing me some interesting surprises along the way! I started off with a great, solid concept for an ending, which I have now totally discarded as something I preferred occurred to me about a week ago! What's more, the new ending sets up the sequel, pushing the one I had intended to write out to the third, or even the fourth book. (Which is nothing unusual. I've about decided that my original second 'Battlecruiser Alamo' book plot is not going to happen until 2017 or so. At this rate I'll have beta readers on Mars before I get to it!)