The Novel: What Happens After (and why writing sucks)

I was going to write a blog post about this very problem, but my friend and fellow writer Jacob phrases it perfectly. Check out his blog!

Jacob H. Baugher IV

So, I wrote this thing called a book. It took two and a half years of my life to complete the current draft, not to mention countless of hours put in over the years to build the world, magic system, flesh out the characters, and give it a working (semi) interesting setting. It’s around 140,000 words, which were trimmed down and edited from about 300,000. Basically, it’s a big-ass book that has pretty much dominated my free time the last two and a half years. And it’s still nowhere near complete.

See, that’s why writing sucks — that’s why being an author sucks sometimes.

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Insert Book Title Here (coming up with a halfway decent title)

The other day I sat down to brainstorm a title for “the epic saga.” I sprung the idea of a brainstorm on my family just after dinner, and they accepted with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I brought a sheet of paper, on which we wrote everything we could think of.

That’s about the only thing I know about a good brainstorm. There are no dumb ideas. Write everything down. Having done this and put the general gist of our brainstorm into a handy sketchnote, I’m surprised I get anything sensible done on my own.

Here’s a handy key to the sketchnote:

Green: my sensible relative with writing experience. Blue: my reluctant relative who’s trying to decide if this is cool or not. Yellow: myself, the reason I’m having so much difficulty coming up with a title that isn’t a facetious tip of the hat to a Broadway musical.

In general I have a lot of trouble naming things, especially in a fantasy setting. While I have no skill for coming up with names that sound legit for their setting, I’m quite gifted in creating ridiculous names that I hope and pray no one actually has. Some examples include: Margery Cyclist-Hopkins Miller, and Alfred Staple-Giraffe.

I think I have these people to blame:

Monty Python Silly Party

And these people:

 Fry and Laurie Your Name Sir

My Amazing Fantasy Cartography Skills

Since time immemorial, I have been writing a series of fantasy books. I have come to think of it as “The Epic Saga,” but more accurate description would probably be, “Flounderings of a fool who thinks a fantasy with multiple time-jumps back and forth isn’t too ambitious for first novel.”

Anyway, when you’re writing a fantasy, what you really need is a map! Firstly because maps are really cool, but also so you can remember where the hell everything is. I found myself getting confused, so on a train ride home from Chicago through a blizzard, I tested out my mad cartography skills and drew a rough representation of my “world” as I see it. Not my best artwork, I admit, but I swore to create something every day. I never said if had to be good!