The End Of Days: Solitary Creatures Part Four

Edwin had suffered through twelve hours, thirty-two minutes and sixteen seconds of Marie’s personalised brand of bedside manner and he was about ready to throw himself at another pack of Hell Hounds.

‘Just sit still,’ she chided, tightening her grip on his Elbow.  ‘It’s really not that bad, and anyway, we wouldn’t be doing this if you hadn’t decided to get into a wresting match with one of those bloody monstrosities.’ She frowned and sucked in her bottom lip, focusing on the muscle squirming beneath the hand that wasn’t pinning Edwin in place.

‘Easy for you to say,’ Edwin groaned, as the muscle seized and spasmed. ‘How many times have you had to regrow your own body parts?’

‘More often than you’d think, now shut up or I’ll leave you like this and we can see how well walking around without skin goes.’

Edwin scowled but shut up. It wasn’t as painful as having the flesh stripped from his bones but it still hurt like a bitch. He closed his eyes and focused on breathing through his nose but the smell of blood and burning flesh crept in. He swore and opened his eyes.

‘You know,’ said Marie. ‘I wouldn’t have to do this if you hadn’t walked headfirst into a trap. This sort of work is tricky and you haven’t given me much time to fix you up.’

There was a pop as one of his nerves fused into place and Edwin nearly bit his tongue off. The world flashed white and he could hear the ocean roaring in his ears. Swearing he resurfaced, Marie looking up at him apologetically.

‘Sorry, I should have warned you that might hurt.’

Edwin swallowed the rising vomit at the back of his throat and tried not to pass out.

‘Yeah,’ he croaked. ‘A little warning would have been nice.’

Marie shrugged and returned to her work. ‘You’re the one that wanted speed and refused any tonics.’

‘I don’t want to sleep for the next week and a half,’ said Edwin. ‘I’m working to a deadline and I’d like to see Syms stupid face when he realises that we’re in time and alive.’

There was another pop and Edwin thought he might be hearing angels.

‘Just a few more,’ Marie sang, and Edwin wondered if she’d done the last one on purpose when he mentioned Syms. He clenched his jaw and decided to shut up.

.

.

.

An hour later Edwin was sat in Marie’s kitchen, trying to ignore the fresh, unblemished skin on his arm. He’d get a few scars on it eventually he told himself, then it would look just like the old one.

He distracted himself by examining the Hell Hound’s head sitting in the middle of the kitchen table. Sammy had attempted to prop it up, using the salt and pepper pots to keep the head from listing the left, and someone, probably Marie, had stuck a plastic tea tray underneath the severed neck to save the table from demonic blood stains.

‘You’re sure you tried everything you could think of?’ Edwin leaned forward and poked the monster’s head with his index finger before sitting back satisfied when it showed no signs of coming back to life and trying to bite him.

‘I’ve done everything that can be done in our current situation,’ said Sammy. ‘Marie’s pretty well stocked but there’s a few bits that she hasn’t got and I was trying to avoid burning down her house in the process.’

‘You could have taken things outside.’

Sammy shrugged and jerked his head towards the window above the sink.

‘Raining.’

‘Since when does that have an impact on spell work?’ Edwin asked.

‘It doesn’t. I just don’t like the idea of getting wet right now. Anyway, there’s no trace of a summoning spell on this thing.’

Edwin had been in the process of leaning forward again and froze mid poke. ‘No trace of a summoning- what- what do you mean there’s no trace of a summoning spell?’ Edwin could feel his jaw hanging open.

The door to the garden opened and Marie bustled back in, closing Edwin’s mouth as she walked past him.

‘We’re not catching flies,’ she said.

‘Like I said, there’s no summoning spell,’ said Sammy. He was grinning and Edwin was got the impression that he was enjoying this a little bit too much. He sounded almost chatty.

‘How can there be no summoning spell. Hell hounds don’t simply walk out of Hell, they have to be summoned and that leaves a mark, a way to trace the person who did the summoning. If there’s no trace then that means… well it means…’ Edwin flailed for an answer.

‘It means they found a way to eradicate the mark or brought the beasties out of Hell a different way,’ grinned Sammy. ‘It’s incredible.’

‘Yeah, incredibly annoying,’ said Edwin. ‘We needed that information to tell us where to go next.’

Marie made another pass and jabbed Edwin’s shoulder. ‘Drink,’ she said, and placed a cup of steaming, green liquid on the table in front of him.

Forcing a smile, Edwin brought the cup to his lips and pretended to take a sip. He heard her sigh behind him.

‘I don’t know why I bother,’ she muttered and left the room. Edwin put the cup down.

‘Look, what you’re suggesting is that someone used massively difficult magic to summon demon hounds from Hell and then used magic that’s even more massively difficult to eradicate any trace of them being the ones to do so.’ Edwin dug his fingers into the skin between his eyes, rubbing at the headache forming there. ‘You realise how ridiculous that sounds? The research and power that would be required would be phenomenal.’

‘Yes,’ said Sammy.

‘So…’ Edwin continued. ‘There can’t be very many people who can do that. Can there even be anyone who can do that?’

‘Three, perhaps four.’

‘In this area?’

‘No, three or four in the world,’ said Sammy. In this area it’s more likely to be-‘  he broken off and counted out two fingers before shaking his head and putting the second one down. ‘One. There’s one person who might be in this area.’

‘Might be in this area? You’re not sure.’

‘People move,’ Sammy shrugged. ‘I’d suggest we try and do a locator spell before we head out.’

‘Won’t he be cloaked?’

She will be, but her ex-husband won’t.’

‘You think he’ll tell us where she is now?’

‘Most likely,’ said Sammy. ‘But he might want us to kill her in exchange for the information.’

‘Well we’ll see about that.’ Edwin pushed his chair back and stood beside the table staring at the Hell Hound’s head. ‘Hey Marie, would you mind-‘

‘Just leave it there!’ she yelled, her voice bouncing down from one of the upstairs rooms. ‘I’ll feed it to the pigs.’

Edwin and Sammy exchanged a look.

‘Huh,’ said Edwin. ‘I guess they will eat anything.’

.

.

.

Amelia Wranthorps ex-husband had been easily to find and even easier to convince into giving up his ex-wife’s whereabouts. He didn’t even ask them to kill her, just pass on a series of increasingly angry, bitter messages that Edwin had promptly forgotten.

When the truck eventually eased to a stop in front of the grey block of flats Edwin had worked out that there were six hours left before Syms deadline passed. Looking up at the broken windows and litter strewn steps he came to the conclusion that it was unlikely they would manage to sort everything out in that sort of time.

‘Didn’t powerful warlocks have castles once upon a time?’ he asked, squinting over the steering wheel. Sammy stayed quiet and Edwin hummed in agreement. ‘Yeah, I suppose times are tough on everyone with the economy and all, but still, this place?’

He checked his phone again but the app was showing that they had reached their destination.

‘We do get to see some lovely places don’t we,’ he sighed. ‘Right, let’s be getting this show on the road.

.

.

.

The old woman was small and wizened, like an apple left in the sun too long.

Edwin hadn’t spotted her at the first. The bare light-bulb had blow the moment he tried to flick the light switch, and the rest of the room was a jumble of broken furniture and smashed glass.

She sat hunched in an green, wing-backed armchair that had seen better days, her tiny frame swallowed up by the shadows and a pair of curtains that had fallen from the railing on the window behind her.

Her eyes followed him. Quick but unseeing.

‘They said you’d come,’ she rasped. Plumes of dust escaped with her words and Edwin heard Sammy edging around the room to try and find a path to the chair.

The old woman was dead. Not dead like Syms, but reanimated and preserved just long enough to parrot back a simple message. Rather like a super creepy answerphone recording. Sorry we’re not in. Leave your message after the corpse’s howl. Edwin kept his distance, letting Sammy get close up and personal with the dead old lady.

‘They said you’d come,’ repeated the woman. ‘Said you would come to stop them. That if you survived the first test you were to be given the choice to leaving well enough alone. If you did that you would be allowed to live until the End of Days.’

‘How generous,’ said Edwin. ‘Did they happen to mention when that might be?’

‘They said you’d come,’ started the woman. ‘They said you’d come. Said you would come to stop them-‘

Edwin watched as Sammy’s silhouette raised his hand and traced a symbol in the air above the woman. She turned to dust.

‘Just brilliant. Someone murdered our warlock.’ Edwin shook his head and toed a broken coffee table with the tip of his boot. ‘Well at least she won’t be raising anymore Hell Hounds.’ A photo fell out of its frame and eight faces stared up at Edwin. The Old Woman and what looked like seven grandchildren. ‘Come on,’ he said. ‘Let’s go.’ He turned for the door and realised that Sammy was still standing by the old woman’s remains. ‘Hey Sammy, let’s go.’

‘Just a minute.’ Sammy was frowning at the dust. ‘I think she’s been dead a while,’ he said.

‘Well yes,’ said Edwin. ‘Even I can tell that she’s been sat up here a while, I mean…’ he trailed off and thumped himself in the forehead with the heel of his hand. ‘She’s been up here a while, which means the spell in the church was too young to be one of her’s. She’s not the warlock we’re looking for.’ Edwin groaned and sank into the remains of the settee. ‘That means we’re looking for someone else.’

‘Someone else with the same sort of power,’ said Sammy.

Edwin nodded and let his head drop. The faces of the old woman and her grandchildren smiled at him. He reached out to turn them upside down. A moment later her turned them over again.

‘Sammy? What are the chances of another warlock with the same level of power being born in her family?’

Sammy lifted an eyebrow and turned his gaze towards Edwin. ‘The chances? All the warlocks with this level of power are related. Families like to pair off promising individuals to create stronger offspring.’

‘Sounds like a recipe for inbreeding,’ said Edwin. He brushed the thought aside and held up the photo. ‘Let me rephrase the question. What are the chances of one of her grand-kids being able to raise Hell Hounds with no summoning trace?’ He watched Sammy’s face over the top of the photo. ‘Yeah,’ he grinned. ‘That’s what I thought.’

He flipped the photo and studied the seven younger figures.

One of them had managed to raise a pack of Hell Hounds and wipe all traces of the summoning spell from existence. Now the question was if they did it by choice, or if they were working for someone else.

‘Ready to go Sammy?’ Edwin asked. He stood and tucked the photo into his jacket. ‘It looks like we might have to put a pin in Syms deadline for now. We’ve got seven warlocks to find.’

‘Should we call for backup?’ Sammy ploughed his way across the room, wood splintered beneath his boots. He rooted out a biscuit tin from beneath a bookcase and shook the crumbs onto the carpet before returning to the old woman’s ashes and using the lid to scoop the majority of her into the container.

‘Nah,’ said Edwin. ‘We’ll be fine.’

Accepting the tin from Sammy he followed the other man out of the flat.

So far that week he’d almost been killed by Hell Hounds, regrown most of his forearm, and was currently carrying the ashes of a dead warlock of the highest power. What Edwin didn’t want to say was that he had a feeling they were the reinforcements, and he doubted there was anyone else after them.

Yeah, he thought. If they cocked this up, things might just go really, really wrong for the world. 

End of Days wrong.

 


Link To: Solitary Creatures: Part One

November: There Might Be Time To Save This Year Yet

If we were having coffee then the first thing I’d be telling you is that this year has not gone to plan, but then again, no year ever goes to plan and I suppose that’s part of the joy of life.

It’s the end of October and with only two months left in 2016, I’m trying to work out what exactly I have achieved for myself over the course of this year. In all honesty, it’s nowhere near as much as I wanted to, especially when it comes down to my book and my blog.

Featured Image -- 4666At the beginning of this year I wanted to revamp Headquarters, but it quickly became apparent that I didn’t have the time to do this without taking time away from my AAT Qualification or my book. So instead I decided to focus on those two things and leave Headquarters for another year.

Then in June I moved house and further delay was added to everything on my to do list as the mania of shifting my life from one property to another took over with all the wonder of solicitors, estate agents and mortgage advisers. My time was spent looking over surveyor’s reports and decoding the cryptic foreign language of contracts. For a few months, there was room for nothing else and the book, my course, and my blog fell by the wayside.Whereas 2015 saw significantly more views and visitors than 2014, it looks like 2016 will only just manage to catch up with the 2015 numbers. Which seems a little strange as I posted over 100 more posts this year compared to last.

All in all, 2016 hasn’t been the year I expected it to be, and moving into 2017 I realised that I won’t be in the position I wanted to be in. I will still have my AAT qualification to complete, Headquarters is still languishing semi-complete, I haven’t had the time for things I wanted on Writing and Works, and there’s that little event called a wedding that I need to plan for 2018. So what am I going to do? I’m going to re-evaluate.

 

It’s important to set yourself goals with a timeline. They help to propel you forward and give you a finishing line to aim for. But remember, if you suddenly realise that you won’t hit that goal it doesn’t mean the end of the world. You just have to re-evaluate where you are, and how you get to where you want to be.

 

As I said, Shadow Dawn is not where I wanted it to be by the end of 2016. My motivation has slumped and died with no signs of reviving any time soon. Finishing by the end of the year looked impossible. If I throw myself into blogging every day I could possibly bring the site stats up, but I would burn out and not have time for anything else. No doubt the content would suffer and instead of enjoying writing posts I would stress about them. Along with everything else this dilemma started to send me into a tail spin.

So I took a step back. I asked myself ‘what is the thing I really want to see finished by the end of the year? Why is this not where I want it? What’s holding me up?’

The answer was my novel. The reason it wasn’t where I wanted was because I was still trying to write bits of the story that I didn’t properly understand. I had a beginning and an end but the middle was a sort of mushy mess that didn’t make much sense at all and the ending was more of a wistful hope than a solid finish.

So I closed down the document holding my draft, and I opened a fresh one.

Instead of spooling out another chapter that seemed to be heading towards a cliff of empty, black nothingness, I wrote a synopsis.

Well I say a synopsis. It was my version of one. My 2,000 word, broken, jumpy, question riddled version of one. But it’s done the trick.

 

Going back to the drawing board can be tough, but remember, without strong foundations the whole house ends up collapsing.

You need foundations, even if they’re made of post-it notes.

 

I now have a four page document that details my story from beginning to end. It tells me how and when the characters interact, where in the time line they are and how I get from beginning to middle to end.

I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t easy to write. At times I wanted to smash my forehead into the keyboard and give up entirely. But in the end it was done and I had something that I felt proud of. Something I could use to finish Shadow Dawn before 2016 comes to a close.

Which is why I’m doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do two weeks ago. I’m going to do NaNoWriMo.

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You’ve heard the phrase ‘kill your darlings’? Well completing this draft of Shadow Dawn means rewriting most of it and adding in a huge amount of content. At least 50,000 words worth. So NaNoWriMo seems like a great motivational tool for getting that done as forcing myself to write every night for a month is how I got to the end of the last draft.

I’m not going to put off writing until November as I’ve got the first six chapters under my belt already and I want to get chapter seven done this weekend. This will mean that I start NaNoWriMo with about 20,000 words and I’ll then add another 50,000 words on during the month. Those 20,000 words won’t be included in my word count for NaNoWriMo as that would be cheating and I want to prove to myself that I can win NaNoWriMo if I put my mind to it.

Right, now that I’ve said NaNoWriMo so many times that the word no longer holds any meaning, I’ll finish up with this.

2016 has not been the year I expected. It’s been filled with excitement and it’s been filled with sadness as well. However, I have survived and I have got to the end a better person than I started. Even if I don’t hit any of the goals I’m still aiming for, I know that I at least got half way there.

This blog and my book are two things I feel passionately about. The book because it’s part of that dream I’ve had since I was five, and this blog because I’ve been able to explore other styles and forms of writing while meeting amazing, supportive people who inspire and motivate me.

2017 will be a new year with new challenges, but I will be the one who chose how I face it, and I still have time to change how I feel when this year ends.

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Confessions Of A Bookworm: September

It’s the last Wednesday of the month so it’s time to take a look at the books I’ve managed to get through this month.

What Am I Currently Reading:

uk_the_last_wish_newLast month my fiancee and I watched the film The Last Witch Hunter and I really enjoyed it so my lovely fiancee went out and bought me the original book that the film was based on.

I started reading it this morning and so far it’s pretty good. It’s quite different from the other fantasy books I’ve read. There have been a couple of spots where I’ve had to go back and reread a page to try and work out how many people are involved in a situation.

I’m getting to grips with the plot but I’m trying to keep my expectations from the movie out of mind. The book isn’t that long and so far it seems like a nice read and it’s nice that it was my fiancee, [who loudly complains about how many books I have], decided to buy this one for me.

What I’ve Just Finished:

This month I got a fantastic surprise. I’d completely forgotten that ‘Empire of Storms’ was due to come out so when it turned up on my doorstep I was super excited to dive right in and not only that! It’s not the last book in the series. That means there should be a follow up next year for me to devour.

The book itself is over seven hundred pages long so it took me a few days to get all the way through the book, but because of its length I wasn’t left feeling like the book ended too quickly. Sarah J Mass used the length to bring together all these little threads from the previous books and the collection of short stories that prequel the series.

The landscape of the world that Sarah J Mass has set her books in comes into focus more in this book and I loved how she hadn’t tried to simplify the politics and geography of the world to make a shorter series. Granted, there is room for a lot more elaboration but I enjoyed reading about how the world fits around these characters and how the characters are growing into a court.

I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything about the book away but I did have a couple of niggles when reading it. While I love the relationships in this book, there were a couple of moments where comments or relationships seem to be added in just for the sake of pairing everyone off. However, that didn’t really have much of an impact on the rest of the book and I still loved every page.

‘Legends And Liars’. I’m falling more and more in love with Kacha and Voch with every page that I read of this series. As you will see, the third and last book in this series is in my ‘What I’m Reading Next’ list and I can’t wait to get around to it. This book puts the main characters back on a more steady footing but it starts in Ikras but you don’t really find out much about it and it seems that it only starts there so you can see them getting back to Reyes from Ikras.

I do like how the second book ends in a place that could be seen as the end of the series. I think this gives the story lines more room to grow as the three books are no all focused on the same arch which I did think they were going to be.

Book three promises to be interesting.

Finally, ‘American Monsters’!!!! September meant two books from two of my favourite Authors. ‘American Monsters’ was the last in the Demon Roads trilogy and I would feel really disappointed about reaching the end of it if I hadn’t already heard that Derek Landy will be writing another series of Skulduggery Pleasant. But more about that little development another time.

I’ve adored this series and I’m gutted to get to the end, but it does look like it could be carried on at some point in the future. If not, it at least ended in a place where I felt comfortable that the characters had reach some form of resolution without everything tying up perfectly.

What I’m Reading Next:

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I’m hoping to finish off this series this weekend. After that I’m going to go through my bookshelves and try to get through some of the books that have been sat there for way too long.

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Confession Of A Bookworm: May

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At the start of this year I set myself the challenge of reading fifty books before 2016 was done and gone. You see, I’m very good at starting books, but finishing them within a set period of time is a trick I seem to have lost over time. I’m too easily distracted by shiny new covers in bookshops or fresh releases popping up on Amazon. The Goodreads Challenge seemed like a great way to push myself into focusing on my reading more and these WWW Wednesdays meant that I could share that progress with you all.

What Am I Reading?

I’m terrible at starting numerous books at once, so the other day I pulled out all of the books containing bookmarks and stacked them together on my bookshelf. I decided that until I had finished them all I would not pick up a new book, no matter how tempting.

I can’t say very much about any of them at the moment since I’m only a few chapters into most of them. I’ve got into the habit of snuggling up on settee on a Sunday afternoon and reading the hours away, so it shouldn’t take me too long to get through these.

Recently Finished:

This month I’ve managed to get through quite a few books and claw my way back towards being on track.

After You

Now I absolutely loved the first book by Jojo Moyes and this one was just as good. It’s not fantasy fiction so it might look a bit odd in the line up, but when you’re reading and writing in one genre, it is lovely to take a little break now and again. The characters in this piece were brilliant and it is funny in all the right places while maintaining a sense of seriousness when it needs to. It tackles how everyone, no matter how perfect they may seem, is generally ploughing their way through mess and confusion in the hopes of finding happiness at the end.

The Lies of Locke Lamora

This is a George R R Martin style book when it comes down to detail but it’s all focused in on a set collection of characters. You still have the bloodshed and the violence but in a much more compact storyline. It’s not a small book so you won’t finish it in one sitting, but if you’re looking for an epic fantasy fiction novel then this is one for you.

The Gathering Dark 

I like this book and I’ve bought the next two in the trilogy, I’m just annoyed about them changing the cover and the title of the first book but not doing the same for the others. While I enjoyed the story line, it doesn’t rate up to the rest of the books on this list. It’s a much shorter book and the length goes some way to explaining the lack of development for both the character and the plot line but I can’t help but feel that it could have done with being longer.

Desolation

Haha! I’m so happy right now. There are two books in this section that I had been waiting rather impatiently for, and Desolation by Derek Landy was one of them. The only gripe that I have with the book is that the relationship between the two main characters is very similar to the relationship between Skulduggery and Valkyrie Cain. There is even a car involved in the relationship. If it were anyone else then this would probably annoy me, but I love the way Derek Landy writes to the extent that I find it difficult to stay annoyed about anything in his writing for very long. It’s funny, dark and gory, everything you would expect from Mr Landy. This series is perhaps a little more grown up than his last, and I don’t have the same love for Amber as I did for Valkyrie. I mean Valkyrie! I suppose that’s the danger with writing such a good series of books, following it up will never be easy, so while Desolation and the rest of the Demon Road Trilogy is utterly entrancing in its own right, I’m stuck with the feeling of ‘but it’s not quite Skulduggery’.

Blackbirds

I’m not sure what to say about this book if I’m honest. It’s one of those where everything seems to happen in the last few moment and them bam! We’re done.

The Novice & The Inquisition

I’m really enjoying this series. I’ll admit, I read the first few pages of Taran Matharu’s first book ‘The Summoner’ and promptly put it back down on the shelf. It wasn’t the books fault, it just happened to be one of those days that I wasn’t in the mood to read that specific book at that specific time.

Last weekend I pick ‘The Summoner’ back up, polished it off and promptly pe-ordered ‘The Inquisition’ immediately.

‘The Summoner’ manages to do something spectacular. It comes to a satisfying conclusion but also manages to leave you with a massive cliffhanger where you find yourself clinging by your fingertips, really, really hoping that the next book is out soon because the suspense is gut wrenching.

Just as with ‘The Summoner’, I finished ‘The Inquisition’ in two days. It was face paced, interesting and I really like the characters that Taran has managed to create. He also managed to surprise me as a few chapters in I announced to my partner that one of the characters was no doubt the traitor only to be completely thrown at end of the book.

There are bits where I found the book strayed too closely into ‘Lord of the Rings’ territory. The breeding of Orcs and Gremlins to form Goblins brought vivid visions of watching The Two Towers back to me but apart from that I thought the book did well.

Similar to ‘The Inheritance Cycle’ by Christopher Paolini, the book tackles issues of race and prejudice, a topic that at the moment is perhaps more relevant than ever. Not only does it tackle this subject masterfully but it also touches on gender equality.

Overall I’ve been really impressed by Taran Matharu and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Let’s hope it’s out soon.

A Court Of Mist And Fury

This book six hundred pages of pure joy and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. Sarah J Mass always amazes me with her writing and I spent my Sunday curled up with this book, devouring every chapter. I love the relationship between Rysland and Feyre and I’m so impressed with the way that Sarah J Mass tackles emotion in the books. There is no ‘and now everyone is magically over that horrible, traumatic event that took place. Yay!’ Instead, you get to see them working through it and in some cases, how it utterly breaks characters.

This books tackles a new treat, and the tension is there all the way through the book. Not only that, you have this amazing dynamic between Rysland and Feyre and as always, the message that women are strong and powerful in their own right. I am really impressed recently by authors who tackle this subjects and handle them with such finesse. The do not make an example, they make it normal.

What I’m Reading Next:

The God of Small Things is still very much on my to read list, as are the sequels to The Gathering Dark and The Lies of Locke Lamora. The author of Rise Of The Sparrow, Sarina Langer, was wonderful enough to write a guest post for Writing and Works so I’m also keen to read her new book. I’m only one book behind track for my Goodreads challenge now and if I keep up the steam I’ll be laughing come November.

If you have any recommendations based on the books listed above then please do let me know in the comments below, or perhaps leave your own mini review. I love hearing from readers and an important part of reading is sharing your thoughts after and working out what you can take from a book.

So, until next month happy reading!

 

Sarina Langer: Inside The Writer’s Head

This year Writing and Works has been embracing guest posts like never before. April saw a wonderful collection of bloggers talking about poetry and what it meant to them, with May slipping away already, we turn now to fiction and novels.

Sarina Langer has just published her fist novel ‘Rise of The Sparrows’ and has been lovely enough to agree to write a guest post about writing and what she has learnt about the writing process. You can find more about her and her book at http://www.sarinalangerwriter.com and find ‘Rise Of The Sparrows’ on the Amazon store.

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When Carol asked me if I’d like to do a guest post for her blog, I knew immediately what to write about. I started my own blog nearly a year ago, and it’s also nearly a year since I started to take writing more seriously.

I’ve learned a lot since then, and have enjoyed every second.

… Well. Almost every second.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but over the past year I’ve really thrown myself into it and embraced every aspect of it. Most of the process I love, and that’s what I’d like to talk about today-

The aspects of the writing process I love, and why.

The Writing Itself

I’d be in the wrong profession if I didn’t like the main aspect of it. You could argue that the editing is the most important part, but without the writing there’s no draft to edit. Without the writing, there’s no book. It’s not a step you can skip.

I write fantasy (and occasionally I dabble in sci-fi, too), which gives me free reign. If I want a red river, I write a red river. If I want forests where green-glowing night whisps dance in a clearing every night from 1am to 2am, I write that. All within reason of that world, of course. I want to go nuts but I want my readers to believe me, too.

Writing fantasy gives me the chance to create something magical, and bring a bit of magic into the lives of my readers. Those are the books I’ve loved since I was a child, and I want to be able to whisk my readers away in the same way my favourite authors have whisked me away.

My Characters

No story would be complete without its characters! I once read that a bad plot can be overlooked if the readers are invested in the characters, but it doesn’t work the other way around. A good story needs strong characters to survive (even if they don’t), and I love meeting mine for the first time.

If you don’t write you might not understand this, but for us meeting new characters is terribly exciting. We’ll be working together, after all, often for several years and it’s exciting to see how they develop and grow during that time.

New Ideas

The feeling only a new idea can bring is amazing, motivating, and feels like a fire that’s been ignited inside me and that’s burning its way through me. It makes my heart race and my mind leap. New ideas are full of opportunity, possibility, and they can still grow into any direction. It’s where the story itself is born and shaped – and we can take it anywhere (the promise of a new notebook if the idea stays exciting is pretty good, too – did I mention I’m obsessed with stationery?)

Creating a World

Come on. Do I need to say more? I create a whole world! From scratch! Who wouldn’t find this exciting? A whole new world, with its own magic system, its own religions, races, superstitions, beliefs, legal systems, countries-

I never said it was a small job, or an easy one. Creating a world that doesn’t exist isn’t simple, and a lot of thought needs to be invested if you want to do it well. If I’ve learned one thing from reading reviews, even on very popular books, it’s that people can smell lazy world building before they’ve

finished reading the first chapter. While a lacking world might not put them off completely, it might still sour the experience for them. Do I need to say more? World-building is important. And exciting.

Research

I’ve learned so much since I’ve started writing my book, and most of it I didn’t expect. Did you know that Lady Fern can be used to calm and heal cuts, burns and other minor injuries? Or that the Incas treated their children extremely well before they sacrificed them? Or that the Hawaiians used to have rather cruel human sacrifice traditions?

I do most of my research as I write and edit. You never know when things pop up that you need to look into, and I’ve learned a lot that way. Most of it I won’t be able to apply in everyday life, but I love knowledge and the research I get to do is fascinating.

The Edit

This is the part a lot of writers dread. Writing the first draft is exciting, but the edit is where we take it apart. Most of us will take time away from our draft before we start editing – some take only a handful of weeks, others take at least six months. I took one month away from mine before I started editing.

There are many different stages to this aspect. You edit yourself, very likely several times, but then there are beta readers and your editor, as well. Because you’ve written it you can’t edit the whole thing yourself. The plot twists no longer work for you, the surprises are no longer surprising, and small inconsistencies in your character’s behaviour don’t register with you. That’s because you’ve written it, and that’s why you can’t do it yourself. Someone who has never read it before will see it with new eyes, which is impossible for you to do.

Someone once said to me that the edit is where the magic happens, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s the most time-consuming and maddening part for many (dare I say most?) of us, but it’s also where we turn something that’s okay into something fantastic. It’s where all paradoxes are addressed, exciting scenes become really exciting, and where we fix all those little things that would have bugged our readers otherwise – such as consistency in our characters’ speech. They can’t have a scottish accent for most of the book, but not in two chapters near the end, for example.

Completion

Unwrapping the proof copy of your book and holding it in your hands for the first time is extremely satisfying and thrilling. Receiving the professionally drawn world map for your book is emotional. Seeing the finished cover design for the first time is an incredible feeling. You’ve created a world from nothing, and all those steps towards completion are proof of that.

There is so much to do – so much work that goes into this process – that you can almost forget how close you are to seeing it through. It gets very tiring at times, but receiving little completed bits here and there are small pushes of motivation towards the finish line.

You

I can’t say this often enough: The writing community – be that here, on twitter, on Instagram or anywhere else – is incredible. When I first chirped up nearly a year ago, the warm welcome was instant and it has been a wonderful and supportive community ever since. My fellow writers on every platform have made me feel very welcome and loved, and I couldn’t have chosen a better community.

If you want to write but are worried that no one will like what you’re doing, just say the word – we’re here for you and we will be your cheerleaders!