D.V. Sheppard

The web-log of a duck-herding author.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Which I Prove Just How Bad I Am at Synopsis and Selling (IWSG)

I was thinking at this point in the much anticipated month of November that I would be lamenting about the infamous NaNoWriMo... okay, so I am currently very behind and that doesn't really make me feel like a winner - but truthfully I don't care so much about my word count as I care that my word count is suffering because... well... how do I put it... I guess I feel lost. 

I sat down to write the other day and got stumped. Which really shouldn't be a biggy - getting stumped is a part of writing for many of us out there. However, as I thought about it, I realized that I wasn't just stumped with my scene, I was stumped with my purpose. I have a pretty darn good outline for the remainder of my book (thanks to Wombat) - so it's not a matter of where I'm going - it's a matter of why I'm going there. I want my book to say something important, even if it doesn't spell it out as clearly as some of our old time fables. Right now, I look at my book and I feel uncertain about what I'm trying to say. 

Because of how my brain works and how I write, I know that I do well to hammer out the "what happens" and then add in the nuance when redrafting - but for some reason the lack of power in my manuscript is making me blue. frozen. insecure...... and I can't even blame it on hormones (I actually checked my calendar to make sure). 

After all, you know it's a bad sign when you're bored with what your writing. 

I get even more bored with super whimpering blogposts though - so now that I've confessed my blues, I think I'll take on a challenge. 

Y'see I've been tagged for The Next Big Thing Challenge by the incredibly talented and oh-so-entertaining Julie Touvi, over at From Pen to Paper. She's working her tail off posting on her blog daily for the month of November - and she's definitely worth following if you haven't already.

Now, I have avoided attempting to succinctly explain anything about my book thus far in my career (I know, I know, I'll be choking down nails when I have to start querying and pitching), so here's me doing my best to answer a few questions.

1. What is the working title of your book?
Unbanded   - Because my first book was called Banded... and  this is not it.

2. Where did the idea come from for that book?
I really only know part of the answer to this. In Banded, the cataclysmic event that  eventually required my dear heroes to have to do their hero thing was the eruption of an exceptionally terribly plague. Unknown to the main characters, the man responsible was the great Al'man Emerick, First Servant of the Almighty. Enraged by the murder of his son, Emerick struck out against the man responsible, unknowingly unleashing a disease that would not only kill hundreds of innocents, but  his daughter among them. So... while creating Emerick's backstory, Wombat and I came to fall in love with the extensively flawed holy man - and I intended on writing a prequel that would tell his story. The prequel turned into book one -and here I am. I don't know where the idea to make him originally came from - though flashes of memory lead to me think it was very different from what it is now - and if I looked through my old writings I'd probably find his beginnings within.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Epic Fantasy

4. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I have in fact done this.

 My main "good" guy, Emerick has been the hardest to pin down. If I could find the perfect mix between Robert Downey Jr. , Russel Crowe, a young Alec Baldwin, and James Dean you would see what I see when I write. 


My "sidekick" Curiel - easy - Luke Perry.


Oh-so-down-to-earth practical Peaches - Juliet Aubrey

The Almighty -  Edward Norton

Councilor Lourden, bad guy for book one -
        Gabriel Byrne

And the bad guy to span all books- The Antithesis - you just can't put a face to.

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
(*starts with the nails* )  Murdered and then resurrected by the Almighty in a time of ignorance and cruelty, the once undefeatable crime lord Emerick is refused his freedom, and set on a path of redemption in which he quickly finds that the whims of his deity demand the ushering in of a new age - an Age of Enlightenment. 
(Seriously bare bones. Someday I'll post a pitch that'll knock your socks off :)

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm aiming to get representation. I dream of being the next one-big-world--multiple-book-rockstar like Anne McCaffrey or Terry Brooks. I don't want to just write for myself though - so if no one else sees my vision, I'll project it myself :)

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Ahem, well... my goal is to finish it by the end of the year... and if that happens (come on NaNoWriMo - kick me into shape!) then it'll have taken about a year.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Oh, wow... well, I suppose you might find a similar element or feel in Redemption of Althalus by David Eddings, or Song of the Beast by Carol Berg. That's a tuffy.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Ideally I'll capture a depth in showing a man's redemption, but it is by no means an entirely solemn account. The characters are an unlikely sort providing plenty of banter and fun. In addition, for those like me that love being able to explore - both across distance and through time- a whole new world through the eyes of meaningful characters - heh, well, this is just the first installment.

Ah... I feel a little better.
Tossing the challenge along to Elise Fallson, and Andrea Franco-Cook if it so suits their fancy :) Happy November y'all!