Ok, so I’ve left Camp NaNoWriMo for another year. It’s a really good challenge to keep me focused on writing every day. What it stops me doing, really, is reading long books (I can read something that takes me one or two days), and writing other stories (like flash fiction, or character interviews). However I did have a long train journey at the start of the month, and that made me think, not only of how the story went, but other stories as well.
Firstly, I’ll leave Adventures with Victor aside for a month or two, then get down to editing it. The dream sequence will almost certainly come out, since I left it in there to keep my word count up. Victor does make a reference to something he dreamt, though, so I need to amend or delete that too. At present there are a series of ‘what’s happening elsewhere’ chapters, which may or may not belong in the final book. It’s quite common these days to have more than one point of view in the same book, so having a third person narrator popped in among Victor’s own narrative is not too weird, I don’t think. As for what else needs a big edit – well, I’ll read it when it becomes fresh again. But if anyone is interested in beta-reading this version, and giving me constructive feedback, just let me know. I doubt whether I’d take up offers from anyone who hasn’t read and reviewed most of the first four books, though. It features characters from all of its predecessors!
More immediately there is a project I’ve been working on for a while that needs a NaNoWriMo style push. I’ve discussed it with my writing group and decided on the approach I’ll take now to my dad’s memoirs. He dictated them on tape, and I transposed them onto a website some time ago. They make fascinating reading about the Imperial Airways flying boat service from London to Durban, South Africa, seen from the point of view of the ground staff. Whereas I was trying to put the best bits in and link them together as an editor, I now think writing my own version of his story, with supporting anecdotes from his own memoirs, might be both easier and more enjoyable to read. The other way is more academic in style, and I don’t think that’s how it should be.
A third project is to make children’s stories about real guinea pigs. I’ve had people say for some time I should turn the guinea pigs’ blog into a book, and I had an idea for a series of books, letting them tell about their adventures in their own way, geared towards younger readers. I need to read more books for younger readers first!
Does this mean the end of the Princelings series? Not quite. While I was doing Adventures with Victor I was torn between explaining the developments in the world of the Princelings and just telling a good story. It doesn’t pay to be too clever. I think the last half of the story where you can see the castles adopting the changes in technology around them works quite well. But it isn’t the story. I know what the last story is, but I don’t know what stories happen in between. In a way, I’d like to do Dylan and Dougall’s story – The Princelings of the North – but I haven’t got a setting for it yet. When you start out with a series set in a fantasy world, it’s quite easy because you make things up, including the history and the rules, and the way people interact. Now those things are set, and some of the current affairs are dictated by other events (the time tunnel is a huge constraint). So getting a good story for a book that’s later in the series is hard. I’ve heard people criticise the fifth and sixth Harry Potter books for this reason, but I still think they were good stories, they just had to fit in all the things that needed to happen to get us to the seventh.
What I’ve always planned, though, or thought would be a good idea, is to collect the short stories about the Princelings world into one volume of The Chronicles of Marsh, or some such title. So I’ll probably keep writing about developments in the world as short stories, and maybe keep the full-length book just to the last one. Dylan will be furious he doesn’t get his own book, mind.
Oh, and I want to write a pony book! I have an idea all mapped out…