1. bossfearless
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    bossfearless Active Member

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    BossFearless's "Fire Sail"

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by bossfearless, Dec 7, 2014.

    Working on the initial research stages of my second novel, second in a series actually. I've got my first book in beta reading stage right now and I feel very good about it, so I doubt it'll take much more beyond one or two rounds of scattered rewrites to get it ready to send out. With that in mind, I'm following the advice of Jim Butcher, that the most important thing to do after writing your first novel is to start writing your second. I like that guy, excellent taste in hats.

    So, one of the problems I had with the first one was that I really, really really like really really for real reals wanted to talk about it. To someone. Anyone. Wherever I felt people might listen. Pretty sure I ended up annoying the crap out of people on Facebook when I yammered about it. What I hope is that a progress journal on an actual writing forum will help me cut down on that and actually elicit some good feedback in the process. More than anything, this is going to be a jumbled collection of my own thoughts on where I'm at, what I'm doing, why I hate myself for not writing more, that sort of thing. I wish I had an actual real live person to talk to about this stuff, but I live and work in Saudi Arabia as a security contractor, so believe me when I say that the people in my life are not exactly rocket surgeons. Don't get me wrong, they have plenty of great stories about the time they knifed that one guy and the face he made when he died, and that time in the UC2w33 with the AWA-10 the DERPS and all the other acronyms I can't freaking understand, but they just aren't reading types.

    Now, this second book is unlike the first in that I'll need to do research. A large part of the story will take place on sailing ships (fantasy setting with steampunk influences), and while I've always had an affinity for raising a black flag and swinging to, I don't really know much about sailing. The cannons make a cool sound, though.

    Working title is "Fire Sail," meant as a play on Fire Sale because it follows shortly after the local mage academy burns to the ground. The overall plot is that, in order to facilitate a ludicrously dangerous experiment, a group of young mages charter a disreputable ship in a disreputable port to act as a floating, extra-disreputable laboratory because no city or academy will grant them the permits to do it on-site. As is the way of things with dramatized science, everything goes wrong and they blow the ass off their ship, end up being "rescued" by privateers and set on a collision course with Dark and Ominous Destiny, all that crap.


    I confess that I'm somewhat stumped on the story I want to tell with this novel. I know that it plays a critical role in the overall narrative, lots of important things happen here, and I have a few great characters and a truly hate-worthy villain in short-shorts. But I can't figure out where the book should end, how much time they should spend at sea, that sort of thing. I want to get into the action a little sooner than last time.

    No zombies, no necromancy, none of that stuff. I spent ll last book mulching zombies with magic and fighting of a poisonous super-zed, so this really needs something else. Also, the next book is going to be set in this kingdom ruled by liches and smelling of vampire piss all the time, so the reader really needs a break from the undead. Ninjas? Would it be excessively silly to somehow include ninjas? m I babbling? I'm babbling.
     
  2. bossfearless
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    bossfearless Active Member

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    Oh, so, I guess I should put down some actual numerical goals or something like I've seen in other journals.

    Title: Fire Sail (Working)
    Genre: Irreverent Fantasy with Steampunk influences
    Words: Zero, zilch, nada, research phase
    Expected first draft words: 75-100k
    Publishing: Traditional, refuse to self publish
    Agent: None yet
    Current phase: Bourbon and hookers, plus some research if I have time. You know, between hookers.
     
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  3. bossfearless
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    bossfearless Active Member

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    Okay, so, no words written yet. Bit I've decided how the book should start. MC is picking through the goods in a fire sale after he burned down the Academy by accident. His family is with him and he's basically showing them around the school while his brother is continually a douchebag. The question is how long to stay in Mirth before transitioning to Tempa. Every page spent in Mirth is potentially wasted. This book needs to open harder and faster than the first.

    So, first chapter in Mirth setting up the MC's state of mind and using his relationship with his family to make a big show of how much he feels unappreciated, to set up his unexpected camaraderie with the villain Sobek.
     
  4. bossfearless
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    bossfearless Active Member

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    I think I've decided on a big change to the direction of this book. Instead of moving prematurely along the "main story arc" of my series I want to spend more time just having my characters run around and do their thing, explore the city of Mirth and develop the Clockers, the opposing faction to the Mages. I'm thinking about setting up a heist-like narrative that will go hilariously wrong and introduce a future love interest in a Clocker elf girl from whom Merrick will be stealing...something.

    The protagonist's motivation in this story is purely monetary at first. His housing stipend from the Academy expires at the end of the month, and all his grant money has been snatched away by various factions, leaving him suddenly beset by the adult world in all its soul-crushing rent-is-due glory. So the question is, to whom does he turn in his search for money? Possibilities:

    Thieves' Guild, seeing if they can use his talent for something, already established organization within the narrative
    Academy, which wouldn't have any real use for him and the dean kind of hates him anyway
    Family, not an option, established early on that his family treats him like shit in favor of his completely untalented and generally worthless older brother
    Clockers, at this point Merrick isn't one to reach across the aisle yet,


    Just had a thought. In the first novel I give a little nod to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series along with Discworld and some others (MC loves cheesy adventure novels). Given that he's still basically just a giant kid, maybe he decides that he's going into business for himself as a private detective because "that's what they always do in the books and it's awesome". And perhaps the client who walks into his "office" (crappy student apartment) is a clocker who's worried about something going on down at the docks. He goes out, starts looking for clues, gets arrested and finds out that you need a license to do this sort of thing.

    I want the big climax of the book to involve a fire ship, loaded with explosives and ready to do some old fashioned exploding somewhere. This is one very incoherent story so far.
     
  5. bossfearless
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    bossfearless Active Member

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    Accidentally wrote about a hundred words of the first chapter while trying to explain how to start a story. In this case, it starts with two dragons fucking on a coffee table.
     
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  6. bossfearless
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    Okay, so, basic plot premise is now that Merrick, having kind of fudged the delivery on his weight loss serum in book 1, is strapped for cash and about to lose his housing grant from the Academy. He's blown the last of his cash on a bit of drunken fun and awakens to find that his apartment has become infested with wyverns. They're like shitty little dragons. Upon going downstairs to inform the apartment managers and get pest control sent up (because once the novelty wears off they're really annoying), he runs into his mother and brother, who he'd forgotten are in town visiting for his graduation, which they missed because his brother Armande wanted to go shopping or something prissy and stupid.

    He finds out that he's broke when his family asks him where he's going to live now that his student apartment is no longer paid for, and he starts running around trying to scare up quick cash by whatever dishonest means he can. This goes poorly but is hilarious to watch, and garners him the attention of the Thieves Guild from book 1. Trout shows up and asks if Merrick wants to make some quick cash and help them on a smuggling run. The package is a bomb component that will go into that fire ship mentioned before, the intent of which is to touch off a nasty civil war between the mages and the clockers.
     
  7. peterhill160
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    peterhill160 New Member

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    This actually sound rather interesting, I've enjoyed reading your progress. It's funny and interesting at the same time. Keep it up! :)
     
  8. bossfearless
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    bossfearless Active Member

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    Added a new character, Hollow Bill. Used to be a mage until he miscast and all his insides wound up somewhere else. Now he's a natural smuggler.

    Can't decide if Tobe/Mr. Brown/Gray should appear in this story. He's kind of the big bad specter looming over the narrative but this one is largely self contained. I'm thinking of keeping him conveniently out of the picture, mentioning that he's off in another town prepping for this big experiment that will take place in the next book and catalyze the main story progression. Likewise Jasper is still walking on a peg and Jenna is pissed off at Merrick over her brother's shiny new peg leg. So that leaves me with the following established characters in play:

    Alice the baker
    Old Tom
    Dean Watson
    Bloodgorger Seth
    Poor Trevor
    Ill Will Trout
    Mouse
    Sigma
    Merrick (duh)
    Farraday, not really developed yet
    Possibly the lunch lady
    Red Mindy, but maybe she's off with Tobe

    Really won't use all of them, but it helps to write out the list. Then I can introduce Hollow Bill and probably a few Clockers for good measure.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015

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