I am writing the new novel, GOD OF RAIN, to the same formula as the three Malvern novels, as it is a semi-sequel to those books. That is, it follows one of the secondary characters of the trilogy, the Mora warrior Hito.
Before I wrote most of the narrative I knew that I would be aiming for around 60,000 words spread over four sections and sixty or so chapters. I knew each section would have its own arc. This was the plan for each of the Malvern tales and I came very close to my goal on each of them. Yes, one had sixty-one chapters, the length varied from 57,000 to 64,000 words, but they fell into line with no great difficulty.
This method borrows some from Michael Moorcock (google his advice on how to write a novel in three days). He in turn borrowed from any number of pulp writers, Edgar Rice Burroughs included. The thing is that there was a plan before I wrote, a loose outline, a direction I wished to go.
And characters. The characters come first for me. Or perhaps I should say the physical part of the stories comes first, not only the people but the setting, the culture, the landscape, even the economy. I need my foundation before the story can be built. This is just the way I work, the way I think.
Then the characters can find their adventures. As, again, in the Malvern novels, there is a first person narrative. But whereas Michael Malvern, castaway on a ‘coast of spears,’ told the first three stories, this one is narrated by a native of that coast. That, of course, changes the tone. Hito is going to see things differently due to cultural differences.
But also differences of personality. That is perhaps even more important. Malvern was an artist and a man who wandered restlessly. Hito is more grounded, more practical, more ambitious. His story comes when those ambitions lose their importance for him and he can find none to replace them.
The first section, the first quarter of GOD OF RAIN is pretty much in finished form and came out to around 14,000 words. That’s about right for it, but I know the word count may grow slightly as I continue to edit. There will be passages where I feel the need to add a few words for better understanding. I will almost certainly plug in bits of description here and there to accompany the action. But for the most part, it is complete and will need no radical changes. On to the next part now.
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I should mention that I now have a dedicated author page at FaceBook. I don’t know if I needed it but it’s there anyway: https://www.facebook.com/stephenbrookeauthor/