Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Gates of Nottingham, Trials and Tribulation

In honor of my week long book blowout, I am bringing you the first of my posts wherein I discuss the actual process of writing the novels which are now free on kindle. This post is about The Gates of Nottingham and tomorrow's will be about So Many Secrets.

****When I started writing The Gates of Nottingham, I did not have a plan. I had a few scenes in my head, some major plot points, and vivid images that I wanted to incorporate into the text. As a result of that ,  the original drafts were quite a mess.

I ended up with mountain of pages that did not make it into the novel available now. The story was originally meant to follow King Richard from his prison in Austrian and on through his journey back to England. I had thought that it would be an interesting subplot, but found in the end that it detracted from the Robin Hood story by pulling the reader's concentration from an already character-laden plot. This was a seventy page cut and I was not even done with it yet when I decided to pull it. All in all, I would say that over two hundred pages were gleaned out during early edits, before I had even written the ending.

Likewise, the characters were a work in progress from their early forms. The original draft of the first hundred pages contained a shy, somewhat passive Robin Hood whose hand was forced by fate. In the end, I found that having events leading the plot rather than characters resulted in a weak story, so Robin had to be changed.

An omniscent narration was given up to give each scene from one character's perspective only. This resulted in a patch work of actions, knowledge, and ideas that allowed the novel more depth. By the mid-point, all of my character's schemes were falling into plot points like dominos and the second half of the novel turned into an easily written, action packed ride.

I froze out right before writing the climax of the novel, the last bloody battle scene. With nearly five hundred pages written, I got scared. I had done so much research into the weaponry and battle techniques of the era that I found myself unable to pick what information to use. Meanwhile, each of the warriors had their own unique fighting style that had to be incorporated. My panic (or as I like to call it- strategizing) lasted over two months. I mapped it out, watched medieval movies, and edited the work I had. Sir Guy's fate changed a dozen times if it changed once, as did each detail of the scene from the weather to the arson to the crossbows.

Finally, with one song playing over and over in a loop through my ear phones, I wrote the thirty page climax in four hours. I felt that to stop even for lunch would stop my pace in the most important scene in the novel. This was where I wanted it to shine. When all of the lies and intrigues stopped and enemies were forced to at last meet honestly and face to face.

That was not the final ending in the journey of writing this novel. While I will not spoil the ending, I will tell you that it was re-written just a month before the release. And yes, the novel was edited again and again until I could not stand to read it anymore.

So, I bring it to you now, the result of over two years of work for free this week. It was my earliest writing and my baby, the writing journey to which all the rest have to compare themselves. For me, it was a wonderful experience and I hope it will be for you as well.

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