Saturday, 23 February 2013

[Novels] Getting Started on that All Important First Novel

That is one of my many writing goals for 2013. Everyone has that one good book in them and as if trying to establish myself as professional freelance writer is not challenging enough, I want to add author to my list of achievements. At the end of  the day I am a writer and each type pf writing whether it be news article, copywriting, short story or even the ultimate nemeses that is the novel in waiting, present a plethora of challenges that a writer with the calling cannot and should not ignore. So without further ado it is time to blow the dust off all those novel ideas languishing in development hell and help them see the light of day. 

Quest Story (Possible Trilogy)

I have always been heavily influenced by eastern philosophy including Taoism, Buddhism and of course Zen. The principles of these revolve heavily around self-discovery, essentially letting life experience be your teacher rather than be dictated by dogmatic scripture. Much of the stories and teaching of eastern philosophy contain plenty of intrigue and mysticism, with ample material for a story arc. Bruce Lee penned a script for a film called The Silent Flute with the idea of showcasing Zen Buddhist ideology. Sadly he died before he could do so although the script was picked up, polished and turned into a film five years later which although didn't quite match up to the Dragon's initial expectations. Nevertheless it provided a breath of fresh air to the usual revenge martial arts flick. 

My quest story will draw equally on such influences, centering on a young lad travelling the wastelands on a spiritual quest. The young protagonist will make some friends along the way, face an assortment of trials (some of them deadly), and learn a few lessons, some harsh others humourous. Bonds will be forged and broken, and just about everything will be thrown at our young hero, designed to test him and help him grow all at the same time. This is the project I have set aside for NanoWriMo 2013 and already I have sketched out some outlines and characters. There is still some tweaking to do before the marathon event in November. Initially I want it to be a stand alone story but leave just enough scope for further stories and into a complete trilogy.

I also hope to flesh out some of the characters and the world the novel will be set with a short story or two. Some will be prequels whilst others will be side stories in conjunction with the main one. 


I was never a big fan of Westerns as a child mainly because I had read extensively about the history of the old west and how badly the American Indians were treated. Whether they were Apache, Sioux, Mohawk or Pawnee I always sided with the Indians even when they shot a dozen arrows into innocent members of the wagon trains and scalped the soldiers who tried to push them into reservations. I am esepcially a big fan of James Fenimore-Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales (with my favourite being Last of the Mohicans) in which the Native American is by and large treated with a bit more respect. 

Scout will definitely be a trilogy set in and around actual events with a Mohawk scout for the British Army as the hero of this series. This will be more action orientated (as much as a book can be) with adventures that will pit the hero against an assortment of enemies threatening his allies, friends and family. A real authentic wild west adventure with the Native American at the heart of it all. This has stuck in development hell principally down to research. I know my American history fairly well but the key is in the detail and although the story is fiction, the setting will be ingrained in history. The last thing I want is Simon Schama berating the historical accuracy of my published work.

There are other ideas in the pipeline but these are the ones I would love to see finished and who knows possibly in print donning the shelves of Waterstones and Topping Book stores. Unlikely but hey I can dream. Just seeing the stories come to fruition will be rewarding enough and considering this is coming from the author himself, I am eager to see how they turn out.

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