This has been a busy couple of weeks for me, both on this site and off. I have been working full time during the days but also busy on this writing blog in the evenings. I have created several new pages for this site to make it more navigable and added them to the top menu and the side menu for everyone’s ease. Be sure to check out the schedule page – I will from now on be publishing to this schedule as best as possible. The most important update will be my Saturday updates as these will be the updates that I charge to Patreon for – none of my other updates will be charged to Patreon should you wish to support my writing. If you would like to support my writing by throwing a few coins my way to stimulate me to work harder please visit my Patreon and sign up as one of my patrons. There will be rewards of sneak previews and extra content for those who support me on Patreon.
Another challenge I had this week was the dilemma of trying to repair the damage I had done to The Monk and Humhyde by writing them under a time pressure. In both cases I was writing them very late at night and quickly just to get a publication out each day. I have abandoned this approach and decided that in the future I will allocate time specifically for my writing during the day so as to make sure that I produce quality writing consistently. Also, I have limited my weekday installments to just 1,000 words each – although my Saturday updates will be 2,500 words long. The purpose of these word limits on my posts and scheduled releases is so that I can write ahead several weeks in advance. This will reduce the pressure on me to publish material that isn’t polished enough to share. If I get enough Patrons I will increase the amount of material I post, but I still need to find out if anyone likes my writing enough to be my Patron.
I am having some problems writing The Monk. I am trying something ambitious for this project, something that was inspired by Plato’s work. Plato produced these wonderfully poetic dialogues that are clearly the work of genius. I don’t want to produce dialogues just like Plato’s, but like his works I want to create a work that improves the reader’s soul as they read it. See Plato’s goal was to produce books that improved the quality of the reader’s soul simply by reading them and I think he succeeded. So my goal is for people to read The Monk and come away from it more thoughtful and broadminded. My first problem is that I am finding it hard to fit a plot into it as well as philosophically thought provoking. The second problem is creating characters that are flawed, lovable, and can grow and improve themselves. I have started in earnest fixing the first problem and in the next few updates will tackle the second problem.
My other problematic piece is Humhyde. I wrote the first part two weeks ago but it was dull and bland. I rushed it out without properly planning any of it in advance and it was obviously mediocre. So I decided to start again from scratch this week. I will reuse most of the material I had in the first version of part 1, but included it into the story in a way that’s more entertaining. For example, in the first attempt I just drily explained the job of the hedge cutter in the middle ages. It goes on for a couple of paragraphs and during this time no characters or plot lines are introduced. In the new version all this same information is communicated to the reader but only after first describing a medieval hedge cutter, and then have him explain to another character what his role is.
By explaining this crucial bit of information about the story in this way I am first handing the reader a mystery: who is this person with an axe and scythe sneaking through the forest? The reader will be puzzling over this mysterious person and yearning to know some answers. When the answers come, they come contained in a dialogue with a new character. Here the reader is a spectator mentally present at the scene as though they were standing there; not a person reading a bland description from a textbook. Here I am tempting the reader to be more intellectually invested in the story by encouraging them to use more parts of their brain to see the story I am writing for them.
This isn’t just about weaving the characters, plot, and background together neatly, it is about communicating the most information with the least amount of words. This is the goal of my writing with Humhyde, creating a relatively short piece that is nonetheless dense in description, characters, and story. That way when it is finally finished a person can sit down and read the entire piece and feel like they had an epic adventure before they start to get too tired to keep on reading.
At least, these are the thoughts I have when writing and planning these stories, I rely on my readers to inform me if I have succeeded in doing so.