It’s getting close to three-year-anniversary since I started writing. It brought me to think a bit about how it started and how it went and to see how I changed in that regard. Doubt is still pretty much constant companion yet it is more often accompanied by hope. I hope that during those three years, I learned something and that each draft is better than the previous one.
Now, where I see the changes?
When I began, what I liked the most was writing action scenes. Just as some of the strongest and bravest warriors, I was excited for the prospect of seeing them fight, to cut demons down in droves and emerge victorious, to show that they are willing to do anything to protect their people. But it could only go on for so long… Later, it was probably the third draft, I realized several things.
That there’s only so much for variety.
As exciting as it might’ve been to see the heroes slaughter demons and fight any other dangers, I eventually realized that even a combat scene needs to have a purpose. It needs to lead to something. And that if it’s just cleaving dozens of demons in half, they get boring because of lacking variety. In the worst case, they become predictable, enough that even I was frowning on some of them during internal proofreading.
Eventually, I went into each battle scene, looked at how it went out and if it added something. Eventually, three chapters got the axe. I took the good bits of them and used them elsewhere, merged some. I went into more details when it came to species of demons, something that was long overdue. I actually had the heroes be challenged instead of effortlessly carving their way through, something I did not want to see in the early days.
That sense of danger is good.
Seriously, at this point, my most favorite part of what I’ve done so far is the final battle of the second book. I can’t really say much about it for potential spoiler reasons but I am strangely proud of how I had some of those characters tested.
Leaving the topic of battle scenes aside, I initially feared dialogues. Hell, I am a very silent person in reality. Writing moments where the characters have prolonged discussion was scary at first. It’s still one of the things I doubt myself the most and I’ll surely try to ask for feedback on that part but I hope I learned much since.
I also learned to enjoy writing parts that give hints of the backstory, something the second book will be rich on. Delving into the history and secrets of my own world became quite fun instead of the horror it was at first, fear that I’ll get lost in my own backstories and contradict myself. I know that I’ll need to make a few checks for consistency anyway.
I also feared the parts where character interaction was to show details of their relationships. Again, it’s mostly because of the fact I am quite a loner. And I was to write characters that dislike others for complex reasons that might involve jealousy, greed, prejudice and many other reasons that could weave together along with the backstory. Yet, I came to enjoy it as well.
The most challenging part was in writing romantic relationships and eventually intimacy. If I ever had a feeling that I have absolutely no clue what I am doing, it was in these moments. In fact, when a fellow and trustworthy gamer was given the opportunity to be the first reader and reached the specific part of the story when two characters get intimate, the first question I asked her: “Did it make at least any sense because I could not know myself?”
But isn’t writing fantasy about just that? About what you fantasize it could be like? Part of me would say it sure is. Other part of me, of course, doubts everything. As I keep telling myself, only time will tell.
Anyway, I’ll wrap it up here. Maybe I’ll go into more detail at some point, delve into different aspects separately. I’d also welcome any comment on these matters – there’s nothing that ever helped me with my meager confidence more than seeing that someone might be walking the same path – and has any experience to share.