Work In Progress Challenge

TheFaulknerPortableI might have three articles in draft form that are currently percolating on the server, but I haven’t posted anything for little over a month. Reason being, I’m behind schedule and I’ve been setting them aside to focus solely on my WIP. And now I’ve been tagged by Bob Evenhouse to write about my WIP. Damn.

But, here I am, I’ve accepted the challenge. Why? Because it’s not a bad idea. In fact, it’s brilliant. It’s about time I talk about my work. I cannot keep it a secret indefinitely or hide it from the world. Not if I intend my stories to be read by anyone. I’m normally quite hesitant to talk about stuff that I’m working on for fear of losing it, or not finishing it or some other disaster happening to it, or to me. On the other hand, if I do this I give life to it and giving life to it would be nice. Participating in this WIP Challenge puts me on the spot and frankly, knowing me, that’s a good thing. Thank you Bob for inviting me to this challenge.

So, ladies and gentlemen, without any further nudging, here it is…

What is the title of your WIP

I’m running three projects at the moment. Two novels and one short story. The short story’s working title is “The Book” and I suspect it won’t change. The first novel is called ”The Spirit Bow” and the second one I haven’t really decided on a name yet. For purposes of this post, lets call it…er, “The Oath”.

Where did the idea for the WIP come from

The Spirit Bow began as a short story that I wrote over two years ago. I wanted to write a fantasy that took place in an antediluvian world populated by giants and gods and monsters. My interest started with the biblical references to giants. It fascinated me. Why wouldn’t it? So I imagined a world where these giants were running rampant and killing everything in their path, while in the shadows some unknown entity controlled them. This was the backdrop against which my story would take place. I wrote the story, but it felt incomplete, like it should be bigger. I started doing research, searching for references to giants in other cultures, reading up on various mythologies from different countries and ended up doing an in-depth study of Sumerian history. And while I was doing this something bit me. It changed the premise of my story completely, taking it into a different direction and I allowed it. I was just too happy to be along for the ride.

The Oath’s plot is still developing as I write this. Thus, to be fair, I can’t really say much at this stage, except that it has roots in history, which seems to be a habit with me. I wanted to try my hand at writing an urban fantasy tale, but didn’t want to do a run-of-the-mill vampire/werewolf story and so I went to history for assistance and I found something…

The Book is a short story featuring the same protagonist that appears in The Oath and the idea of it sprung from the same mythos.

What genre would your WIP fall under

Spirit Bow would fall under fantasy, while the other two would probably be urban fantasy or some sub-genre thereof, I guess.

Which actor would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition

Honestly, I haven’t taken my thoughts that far. I am still preoccupied with plot developments and my characters are still evolving so it is difficult to pinpoint any actor who would suit any of my characters.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your WIP

Wow, are we there already?

The Oath: Behind the fabric of our reality supernatural forces are at war with each other and have been since before time, and in the middle of this conflict is Sebastian Kaine, who, torn between loyalties to factions on both sides, must try to unravel the mystery of his family’s past and deal with his feelings towards a strange and beautiful woman who knows more about him and his family than he does. (Plot is still in development)

The Book: Sebastian Kaine wakes up, bound and bloodied, in the basement of his bookshop with two odd-looking thugs standing over him, insisting that he has in his possession the ultimate book of magic and he must hand it over or face a terrible death. It’s not a chapter from The Oath, but a little story on its own. Originally this book of magic would have referred to Lovecraft’s infamous Necronomicon, but I’ve changed that now.

The Spirit Bow: Ashur, son of a temple prostitute and a Gutean barbarian, falls in love with a Sumerian princess and wishes to marry her, but because of his lowly status as a mere commoner he will need to perform an act of great bravery and courage to prove to her father, the Lugal of Eridu, that he is a worthy suitor, and so Ashur sets forth on an epic quest to the Mountains of the Gods in search of the Spirit Tree from which he intends to cut and fashion a magnificent bow and present it to the king in the hopes that such a godly gift would impress the king greatly that he would allow the union between a commoner and member of the royal house, but Ashur will come to discover that finding the Spirit Tree is only the beginning of his journey.

Is your WIP published or represented

Neither. My short story is in its final stages of editing before I send it to a professional editor while the two novels are still in first draft. I’m currently searching for a suitable editor and cover artist.

How long did it take you to write

For Spirit Bow I’ve done six months of full-time research and about four months of actual writing. Believe me, given the amount of information out there, six months is a short amount of time for proper research.  For The Oath I’ve been mixing it up, writing while researching, all in all, probably two or three months. My short story kept me busy for a little over a month and I’m now editing it. I write really slow.

What other WIPS within your genre would you compare it to

I don’t know of any current WIPS that is similar to mine, but it could be because I haven’t been reading that much lately and the books I am reading are in a different genre.

Which authors inspired you to write this WIP

Everyone I have ever read who showed me the beauty and magic of words and stories. I need to explain. There is no one book or author that prompted me to write what I’m writing at the moment. I’ve always had an affinity for fantasy and its various sub-genres. But I can say the same of other genres too, including literary fiction. So my inspiration, generally and for future projects, will always include Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert B. Parker, A.J. Quinnell, Hammond Innes, Desmond Bagley, Louis L’Amour, Ernest Hemingway, Neil Gaiman, John Grisham, Robert Harris, Morris West, David Eddings, Ken Follett, JRR Tolkien, and a lot of others whose names I don’t recall at the moment. This is not and never will be, a closed list. All of these guys make me want to write.

Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in this project

My philosophy on life confuses me and the more research I do and the deeper I dig into our past the more confused I get. Writing is like having your own therapist. You unburden yourself, so to speak, and I hope that I’ve done my unburdening in a highly entertaining way that will leave the reader feeling good and wanting more. If I get them thinking about something, that would be good too.

In writing these stories, I’ve tried to find a middle way between my imagination and historical fact/theory. Who knows, maybe I am not that far off target.

One last thing…

Tag, you’re it:

As a final step of this Work In Progress blog post, I’m supposed to tag other writers who are then “it” to make a blog post of their own.

Here is my list:

Miranda Stork

Maxi Shelton

Update: Since writing this post I’ve published The Seals of Abgal, referred to here as “The Book” and “The Oath” is, of course, The Morrigan, which I’m currently editing, so there is progress, albeit slow. As for The Spirit Bow, it’s  still here, and I still do work on it from time to time. Once I have The Morrigan out I will begin in earnest with this one.

5 thoughts on “Work In Progress Challenge

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