Behind the ScenesDark Age

The Quest to Complete a Fantasy Novel

My new novel is called Dark Age. It is set in a mythical ancient Britain around the time of the Bronze, just at the dawn of the very early beginnings of the Iron Age.

But this land is closer to Middle Earth than the real ancient world; there is magic flowing through the pages and just a hint that the might be Dragons!

It follows the journey of a reluctant hero, Bre’Enna after her brother swears an oath she is pulled into questing with him and thus their journey begins.

Quote Dark Age 6I have had this story on my mind for many years. Even before I wrote Mask of the Highwaywoman I had a few scattered notes about the world, the journey, some of the themes I wanted to explore, but most of all I had a clear vision of the young Bre’Enna. Fearful but brave and with a good heart, she will be forced to go through many trials before she finds her destiny.

The scope of the story and even the landmarks on the adventurous journey have been in place for a very long time. But the story of how these links become a chain of events eluded me.

My first outline was a very rough ‘this happens here’ list and from that, I expanded the scenes. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

But when I came back to look at the draft I realised that I had not let the characters tell their stories, I had imposed a story upon them.

Some people talk about the difference between a ‘pantser’ and a ‘plotter’ – those who write a detailed plot and stick to it and those who have no plot at all and write by the seat of their pants.

a little research

I think I must be somewhere in between.

I have caged my characters and they don’t like it.

What I need to do now is hand them the map and let them find their own way.

So, I have deleted 90% of my first draft. I’m back to around 5,000 words of outline. But even though it seems that I am further than even from my goal of completing the book, I think the truth is that I might be closer than ever.

Have you ever found yourself going backwards before you can go forwards? Even if you’re not an author I’d love read your story in the comments!

To keep updated on my progress and even have a chance to get the finished book before it hits the shelves, why not join my Readers Group? You’ll receive a copy of Gretel: A Fairytale Retold just for signing up.

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