The Writing Journal #51

This past weekend, I finished reading the first book in the Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire series. I deliberately held out on reading them until the TV series was at an end so as to avoid any sort of spoilers for the show – I enjoyed the sheer shock of seeing the Red Wedding “blind” that I wanted to ensure I got that same reaction again – and thanks to my very generous sister who is lending me the books (she’s very keen to emphasise the word “lend”), I can now start to chip away at them, tome by massive tome.

As a fantasy/sci-fi fan in general, there are many things I love about the Game of Thrones mythology that started in the series and has been solidified by the books. The level of detail, the epic scale, the intricately crafted characters and, of course, dragons. But something that struck me specifically about the book is how it takes you inside the thoughts of the characters whilst still being written in the third person. Whilst I find there’s nothing wrong with first person prose – many fantastic books are written this way, and it is a great structure for connecting the reader to individual characters – I personally prefer third person narrative because I enjoy seeing events unfolding on the larger, more external scale (perhaps influenced by the cinematic side of my brain). It’s the approach I have applied to all of my novel attempts, including the one I am writing now, but one of the things I have struggled with is finding convincing ways of revealing inner thoughts that goes beyond a prescriptive list of thoughts and feelings. George R.R. Martin manages to take the best of both worlds, where things are often described for what they are on the epic, external scale, but always comes back to the personal, intimate thoughts and perspectives of the individuals experiencing them. Each chapter is named for the character whose perspective we are sharing, and is written with its own unique style/language to help clearly show the lens through which the events are framed, yet it can still give the reader the whole picture as it happens without the bias of opinion first person can often result in. It’s an approach that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed thus far, and one that is already starting to have a positive impact on my novel, in much the same way the TV show had on my scripts (despite the controversies that still surround that eighth season…).

Target Number 1: Spend a minimum of 20 hours editing the novel

Another six hours added to the novel this week, taking me up to 10hrs 21mins for October so far. It leaves me needing to add another ten hours in ten days, which hopefully puts me in a reassuring place for meeting this target this time around, but with the mood-board still needing a fair bit more work, as well as other avenues to be investigated for other projects, I still have to be wary of complacency in these last few days of October.

Target Number 2: Complete the visual mood-board for the feature film.

A narrative is finally starting to emerge with the mood-board after much pondering and collection of information. The process has been very similar to stone masonry of all things; starting with a huge chunk of research and data and chipping unnecessary bits away until the real image starts to appear. I’m still some way from having the finished article in place, but the route to getting there is becoming clearer the more I work on it which is a very useful step in the right direction.

At the halfway point of October (in Writing Journal terms, at least) both projects seem to be in good health, and are certainly in better positions than they were at the beginning. Let’s hope that same progress continues and can be celebrated after the second half is done and dusted…

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