On The Horns Of A Dilemma.
By Rick Haynes
I woke up this morning, which, at my age, was an excellent way to start the day. My tea was ready to drink, my breakfast came along soon afterwards, and my mind wandered into all the possibilities of a good writing session, especially as my better half would be out with her friend on a girly-day.
As my wife left with a wave and a smile, I retreated into my man-den, turned on my computer, and started to type. I knocked out a Drabble within minutes and had it polished to perfection within the hour. After my hors d'oeuvres, I was in the mood for the main course. Unfortunately, the natural light had almost disappeared. A visage of wall to wall grey greeted me as I looked from my first floor window.
Mulling over my options didn’t take long. It was dark and it was going to stay dark. I could either, go down the pub, or improvise. Turning on the harsh light in the ceiling was just acceptable, but the even glow from my two soft reading lights perfectly illuminated my writing desk. Decision made then; it was time to write another few chapters of my latest novel.
But, and here’s the rub, my story was at a crossroads and I wasn’t sure which route to take. It would be too drastic to complete a U-turn, and if I pushed on and followed my well-worn, and, so far, favoured path, would my readers think I’m lazy and taking them for granted? Yet, if I turn left or right, would the plot line seem alien to my previous work?
It was a fine line to take, yet it was only the start of the many choices that I had to make today.
I’ve built up, and developed, an interesting and varied pool of characters. Some are well rounded like Captain Varr, others like Grona, are hateful and angry, yet all have played their part in making my books so readable. My new novel, Magic Never Ends, needs a strong story line and strong players. In battles, men and women die, but who should I allow to survive? And who will perish? It’s a difficult decision. If too many fade into darkness, will my readers find that acceptable, especially if a new glut of characters appear? The sentiment is worth noting as it’s madness to upset loyal readers. They bought my books, left some very nice reviews, and hopefully want more of the same.
Or, in reality, they want same-same but slightly different.
Some readers like long descriptive passages, whilst others like good dialogue. As I cannot please everyone, I try a balance between the two, but I do like a book with pace. Thankfully, this is one problem that I don’t have to worry about as no reader has raised any concerns.
I’ve already drawn a map as it’s the only way for me to gauge distances. But immediately, that throws up potential problems. Should a river be wide or perhaps shallow? Are the lands around flooded at this time of year? Is there a harbour near the mouth of the river? River crossings? Bridges? Fords? What about the hills and valleys, mountains and snow? How long will a horse ride would take? The list goes on and on, yet it is vital to get it right. I have to make the description of the landscape believable. Only then can I think of villages, towns, castles and the many peoples that reside in them.
In every chapter the plot can twist, turn, or continue straight ahead. I make the choices. Sometimes they are difficult, yet often they are easy as the tale is leading me faster than I can type.
Making decisions is part of being an author. The difficult bit is making the right ones.
My eyes are sore, my head aches, and my fingers are tired but it’s been a good day at the computer. I’ve thought carefully at every crossroad, checked my map and notes, and ploughed on with the story. I’ve only managed 3500 words, but I’m happy, for on reading them back, the tale continues to flow.
Today, my decisions appear to be correct.
I’ll take the bull by the horns and see where my imagination takes me.
No matter what happens, I know my ride will be fun.
Let me know if you want to come along.