Friday, June 09, 2006

Getting Back to Work




Since day one of my blog, I’ve made mention of The Last VanDaryn, the book my wife and I are writing together. In all the time since, one thing I’ve never done is say what it’s about. While I do think it’s important not to give too much away, I recently realized my wife and I really do need to get more practice pitching our story.

So what is The Last VanDaryn all about? For that matter, what is a VanDaryn? The story involves three main players: Squire Isabeau VanDaryn, her adopted brother Mikhael Bek and an army of the undead known as the Dymnarae. The “First” and most powerful Dymnarae has returned from eons of absence determined to wipe out the ruling family of Iridia, the VanDaryns. The one weapon capable of destroying the First Dymnarae may only be wielded by a VanDaryn, and Isabeau is the last of her line. Mikhael, a young knight, has spent his life training to destroy Dymnarae. If he can’t fend off the rest of the Dymnarae long enough for Isabeau to battle the First, then Iridia will not survive.

For those who aren’t fans of fantasy, you likely read this and go, “It sounds like every other fantasy novel.” I wouldn’t completely disagree with this. There are a limited number of stories within any genre that work, and my wife and I would be fools to venture too far from the tree. What will set this book apart from other fantasy epics is the setting and characters, as is the case with most any book. What are these unique traits to our book? Well, now that’s the stuff I can’t yet reveal, because I want it to knock readers on their arse once they read it in the book. That and I do truly feel the ideas are strong enough that others would be tempted to steal them.

One of the reasons I’ve been drawn to write this entry is that my wife and I have been working on the book with a renewed fervor this month. Since the start of June, we’ve written almost 11,000 words, to bring the total word count to more than 34,000. I still find it frustrating that our word count is not greater. When the James River Writers Conference is held this October, my wife and I want this book ready to pitch. The conference offers a great opportunity for networking, and we’d be fools to waste that chance. The catch is that we’re also busy planning the conference and each working a full-time job. Oh, and did I forget to mention our two kids? All that hardly leaves much time to write.

What’s scary is that we’d let The Last VanDaryn sit neglected for quite a while. Whenever I do that with anything I’m writing, I get terrified I’ll find myself unable to “return” to that reality. In almost every case, that’s proven an unfounded worry. Mikhael Bek is perhaps the character I’ve written with more than any other, and that idea I couldn’t get back into his head is borderline ludicrous. Still, I encounter this fear with him, too.

The material I’ve written with Mikhael in this book feels stronger than anything I’ve ever done with him, and it’s easily some of my best writing ever. You might ask, so what about Isabeau? Why don’t I say the same about her? Don’t let my statement give the impression she’s not doing well, too. Frankly, to explain that will require another journal entry. I’ll write that entry later this month, and in that entry, I’ll finally explain just how two people can write one book… or at least, how my wife and I do it.

5 comments:

Sandra Ruttan said...

I am completely amazed at people who write with someone else, but look forward to hearing more about it!

Bill, the Wildcat said...

What's frustrating is that my wife and I had to find our own way of doing it. When I see a book with more than one author, I'm desperately curious as to how the two collaborated... to know if their method is the same as ours.

H.E.Eigler said...

Looking forward to your next post - I've always wondered how two people can write one book. I don't think I could work with someone else, it just seems too personal a thing for me to give up any control.

DesLily said...

Hmmm, reading the comments along with your post you've made me wonder just how it works with 2 writing the book.. if you hear of other experiences they would make good posts.. the ones I would be most curious about that I read is Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman of the Dragonlance series.. they sure wrote a lot of books together! Weis has written some alone too which makes me wonder even more..

Bill, the Wildcat said...

H.E. and Pat, I get the feeling I better do that entry on team-writing a lot sooner than I'd planned. Definitely, it's an interesting way to write.