Brook of consciousness

I call it "brook" because it's not a full on stream - it's just kinda there, tiny in the corner.

Commenting elsewhere, I pointed out one particular style element I'm trying to use in my book. When I first described it to myself (don't ask) I called it "writing from inside the character's head". Obviously missing that this is supposed to be the point of stream of consciousness, I just kept formulating my sentences in a way the character formulates sentences in his head. Still, the narration is in third person. Yes, it might feel an odd choice for such a personalised style, but I have good reasons for that.

So, when I'm "writing from inside the character's head", I'm not writing from inside one character's head all the time. I keep switching. Sometimes, when a situation calls for it, within the same sentence or paragraph. But more often, I point out how I wrote one particular fight scene. My main character notices a disturbing quality in the opponent and comments on it. And then, in the next paragraph, I switch to the enemy's point of view and write how he sees the protagonist. In the end, I had a couple of paragraphs when the points of view - and the emotions and sensations - switch between the characters all the time, in trying to show you how they both feel "in turns".

Some might find it odd, or bad, but writing it I liked to think of it as an experiment. This switching, "turn-based narrative" was something I wanted to try out and decided I like it. I think I will keep using it as I go on - unless some good, well argumented criticism proves me to be very wrong about using it.

Or maybe it's a good and commonly used strategy. Who knows, from my own experience it feels like something new, but I may be mistaken. Either way, for me it was an experiment that ended up favourably, for now.

It's not even a full stream of consciousness. I don't have, like, long ellipses and particles thrown all over the place. I just like to formulate my sentences like the thoughts inside the character's head, reflecting their feelings and sensations, while keeping the third person narrative.

Whether it ends up being successful or an unneeded experiment, time will tell.

Live long and prosper,


A single line which takes 15 minutes

And I don't mean a writer's block.

By the way, this blog isn't dead. I'm just not writing anything here if I don't have anything interesting to say. Yesterday I had the chance to do something 'interesting', so I'm here.

While writing yesterday I stumbled upon a single line which turned out to need some careful consideration. Many writers would just drop something that sounds reasonable in a similar situation, and then get it pointed out in all sorts of trivia sections about inconsistencies in their work, but I'm not that kind of writer. I like to care for small details like this and remain as consistent as possible. But sometime it means writing a single short sentence will take over 15 minutes of research and maths. Yes, maths.

If you're interested what that line is, I think three sentences taken from the middle of a chapter won't make publishers refuse the book, citing it as 'published'. So here's the 'problematic' line:

Look, my friend, I’d love to have that person removed as much as the other guy, but you must understand, I live in Elis. This is mainland, you know? If Dracaen sneezes, everybody over here catches cold. Figuratively speaking, of course. One bad word, and they’re all here within a week.
If you ever wrote anything professionally, you can probably spot the problem child already. "One bad word, and they're all here within a week". When I wrote the previous sentence and was about to write this time I hung my quill (figuratively speaking, of course) and thought "wait, so how long it would really take them to get from one city to the other?"

This is where the math comes in. Y'see, I have my own personal map of the world the novel is taking place in. The file is 2800x2800 big and is approximately to scale of 1 pixel = 10 km, meaning the world's disc is approximately 28 000 kilometers across (that's about 17 400 miles, for Americans). I had to take that scale into account and measure the distance between the two points representing the cities. Well, here's another problem, because my computer would probably be found outdated even by Silurians, about the only thing that could open that file was Paint. There's no line measuring in it, so I had to draw a rectangle, measure its sides and calculate its diagonal. Only then I reached the conclusion the distance between my cities is about 442 kilometers (275 miles).

Now that's done, I had to find out how fast an army marches. Sadly, Google is an idiot and searching for "military march speed" results not only modern speeds (with cars, tanks and stuff), but also understands 'march' as the month, as opposed to the rhythmic walking. Finally settling for the traditional walking speed of 5 km/h (is that 3 mph, Americans?) I found out the march would take approximately 88 hours. Given that's more than a day, I had to assume an army can march 16 hours a day tops (and that's very generous already!) and decided reaching Elis for an army from Lacedaemon would take 5,5 day. So, "they'd be here within a week", taking into account my estimations being probably too generous and my character not being a math geek.

Such a simple and short sentence, and it took so long to find out the detailed and reasonable answer to the dilemma it posed. I can tell why some writers may not want such a care for details, but I think I'm overall better from this experience. Not only I always wanted to care for things like those, but also it told me some things I didn't know about my world - like the country the story takes place in is roughly the size of Greece (which was surprisingly fitting).

Do you find a mistake in my calculations? Do you think I shouldn't care for stuff like this? Did you ever do things like this differently? I will happily read people's opinions.

Over and out.


It's not a novel, it's a TV series

Just in case: no, it's still meant to be a novel. Unless something really big changes, or someone convinces me my format works better as something else, this is still a novel.

I'm starting to get into the rhythm of writing. The first few days I barely pulled off a couple hundred words and kept getting drawn somewhere else. My brain is a mess - I can't keep my mind on a task for a couple of minutes. But no! I must do it! And I'm starting to get into it, I think. It will probably go downhill from there.

So I noticed something while writing today. During the self-editing, I went back to about the place I finished yesterday and just dropped in there a view-point break (ya know, the fancy asterisks in the middle of the page). Nothing special about those, but I went back to look at the previous ones and noticed really where I drop them. The one I'm talking about? Imagine there's a character getting right into the heat of the action. He avoids certain doom with an inhumanly powerful leap and lands in the midst of the enemies. BAM. ASTERISKS.

That wasn't a view-point break. If anything, that was some kind of sub-chapter. That was, for the lack of a better word, a commercial break. In a novel. That probably tells you much about me, and if it doesn't, I will. See, I grew up on TV. I'm from the generation which definitely watched more TV than read books, and it shows in the way I write. If I know anything about my style, it ends up looking very cinematic. Frequent cuts right into the middle of the scene, the "commercial breaks", dialogues sometimes dominating whole pages. That's a movie written down as a novel. Scratch movie - a TV series.

I have an extensive plan of what is meant to be written in this novel. As I look at it again from this perspective, it's essentially a plan of a TV series, but a written one. No, it's not a screenplay, it's a novel. Except episodic, and cinematic in style. I do hope to be a TV writer one day, but right now, this just shows my background.

Is that bad? Is that good? Is that the main reason of why this book is estimated to have such monstrous word count (which BTW, dropped to about 140,000 since the last post)? If anyone stumbles upon this post, let me know what you think.


The Tyrant Monster of Writing Land: Word Count

I know what some of you might be thinking. "The tyrant monster"? The word count is the most useful thing I've found in writing! It tells me if I'm writing not enough or writing too much, and thus if I will get published or how much I have to correct! I guess that's one way of looking at it. But to a person like me, it feels like a ball chained at my leg to keep me from going.

I'm an overwriter, meaning I write far too much beyond my limits. I wrote the first few scenes of my book recently and estimating how much the whole book will take (by comparing it to the detailed, extensive plan I've made) I calculated to end up at 300,000 words. I'm not kidding you. Three-hundred thousand words. That's two books in Lord of the Rings. That's probably half of the Harry Potter series. That's a seriously monstrous number. I have literally cried whole day because I thought of myself as a terrible writer who will never get published, and life without writing, dull old life in retail, is a life I don't want.

"But hey, it was just a rough estimation and you cried?" Yeah, first thing to remember about me is I'm a madman without a box. While you might find me rather Vulcan in self-control everyday, every once in a while I completely break up for the slightest fucking reason. I guess that's my pon farr, except for no mating going on. That one thing broke me into pieces.

Anyway, while I carried on and tried to write further thinking about that, the number is still hanging over my head menacingly. I know that if I hit anywhere close to it, I'm done (or have to find another outlet for the book - a short story series with a overarching plot? I don't know!) I know that I have to look out for it. But that's why it's my tyrant monster - it threatens me with a spiritual death if I don't follow its wishes.

It probably is a useful tool for many people. It definitely tells you the expectations and chances of getting published. That still doesn't make it good. At best, it's a necessary evil, like realising most people are in fact assholes, egoists and idiots at the same time. It's something I can't change. Doesn't mean I can't swear at it.

So yeah, take that, Tyrant Monster of Writing Land. I will find a way to topple your tower and rescue the princess (completely platonically, of course). One day, I swear, one day...


Some time ago I finally learned writing the foreword as a first thing in your book is probably a very bad idea. This isn't the book, though, and I thought some explanation of what I'm doing here would be in order.

This is a writing blog in a meaning of "I will write about my writing here", not "I will publish it here". I intend to get professionally published this time and earn something for it. You're free to follow my insights, or offer your own why you think I'm doing something wrong (because writing well about somebody is boring).

I've spent a good deal of time preparing for the task I've undertaken recently, even if I didn't know it to be preparation when I started. For at least over a year now I've been concentrating on reading. A lot. I've read actual books and novels, I've read the writing techniques and tips. I've watched lectures by published fantasy novelists about their craft*. All in all, good part of my life as a social failure I spent on perfecting my chances in getting something done. And by us, I intend to get this done. Follow me if you wish to learn about my progress and where this is taking me.

* - if by any chance you're Brandon Sanderson, know that you're my guru now
PS. This post has got the most hilarious link possible. No, I'm still learning writing, and I will be till the end of my days.