So, there I was, sitting around at home, bored out of my mind. You know, because of the deadly plague of death, as foretold by prophecy. No dating. No going out to movies. No going out at all, really, except for work. Lucky me, my job is an essential service.
So, with all that free time, I sat down to work on a few things. At first I was finishing up the first draft of Memories of a Time Long Forgotten, the sequel to Memories of What Never Was. But I got to a certain part that was particularly tough for me to write, and I kind of kept putting it off for a while. SOOOOOO, I kind of stopped doing that. Then I started looking at my partial draft of Carrying the Weight of the World, the story I started last year for NaNoWriMo. I did some plotting and outlining work on that and I came to a really annoying realization. This book that was intended to be a standalone fantasy story, was, in fact, going to end up at about 300k words because there's a lot of world building that needs to be done, and a lot of character development done through flashbacks to set up the world, the several forms of magic, the current political climate, and the characters themselves. So I sat around and thought about what I could do to shave that down, and condense the story a bit. Then I thought, well, this character's flashbacks have a whooooole lot of the world building in them. Why don't I just write a novella about her backstory?
So I did that. And I had a lot of fun doing it. It's 28k words long, introduces several of the key characters in the larger story, and gives a very good grounding in the world that it all takes place in. It also showcases one of the three systems of magic in the world. In my opinion, it's a pretty good little novella. As I was patting myself on the back for a job well done, I thought to myself, well, that turned out pretty well, why don't I do another one for this other character.
So I did that too. And it turned out even better than the first. This one's 40k words, a bit heftier and on the longer side for a novella, but it gives all of the main protagonist of Carrying the Weight of the World all of her motivation and explains why she's the bitter, jaded runaway that she is in the beginning of the main story. It also explains the second of the three magic systems, all of the world politics, the current political climate, the state of the common people, and why the world is ripe for the massive rebellion that Carring the Weight of the World is about. Then I thought to myself, well, that was great, why not go for three?
So I did that too. And this one turned out okay. It's 31k words long. It's not the best of the three, I will admit. The idea of a child serial killer training to become a super assassin was kind of cooler in my head, than it turned out to be in writing. But it does go a long way toward setting up one of the major characters in Carrying the Weight of the world, and gives a look at another aspect of the world that leads to the rebellion, and also has some more world building in it. It explains why this largely Asian and Middle Eastern population follows more of a hybrid Middle Eastern/European set of customs and traditions. Then I thought to myself, well, there's a couple more characters, but one of them was included in the first novella, another's backstory needs to be woven into Carrying the Weight of the World, but this last one might make a good novella.
So I did that too. This one's the shortest of the four, at 23k words. It's the backstory for the villain of Carrying the Weight of the World, and it was probably the funnest one to write. Mostly because I had to take this evil, mass murdering crime boss, and turn her into the hero of her own story, and that was a fun and interesting project to work on. Also, I basically got to make a 9 year old supervillain, which was really fun to do. This one gets the last of the world building out of the way, and showcases the third and final system of magic in this world. And gives the villain of Carrying the Weight of the World her motivation.
So, with all of the world and character building I got out of the way in those four novellas, totalling a little over 120k words all together, I went back to my outline for Carrying the Weight of the World, and shaved it down by quite a bit. Now I think that I can probably get the story told in a still hefty 150k words, but that's a heck of a lot better than 300k. The bad news is that I have to throw out pretty much the entire 50k words that I already had written, as most of it was rewritten in the four novellas. But the good news is that I had a lot of fun. Probably more fun than I've had writing in a pretty long time.
So, now, instead of a standalone novel called Carrying the Weight of the World, I now have a series called Riftworld, which includes:
The Realty Engine (completed)
A Certain Necessity of Evil (working on final draft now)
The Fox King (first draft done, needs a lot of editing)
The Bastard Princess (completed)
and the novel
Carrying the Weight of the World (outlined)
I've got a few more weeks of editing on two of the novellas to do, but once I'm done with that I'll post all four on my website. And for NaNo this year, I think I'll take another stab at the new version of Carrying the Weight of the World.
As for the lizard, I was making a reference to the single worst Doctor Who episode since the new series began.