It tends to be something of an truism in writing fiction that authors will eventually discover they have a problem with the beginnings or middles or ends of stories: very few people are good at all three. My largest stumbling block tends to be beginnings. It’s taken me a long time to even work that out. The story will be all clear in my head, and I just want to leap in and get it rolling, and that tends to mean my beginnings can be confused, not obviously interesting, dull even. It means I often have to rewrite the first 10% or so of any story from scratch three, four or fives times after I’ve finished it.
Lately though, I’ve been noticed that I have a bit of an issue with endings too. Not that I don’t know how the story should end–a personal rule that works for me is never to start a story unless I already know the ending–but rather, I don’t seem to be able to judge exactly how long an ending will take to roll out, and I seem to be reluctant to end a story, writing in smaller and smaller snippets as I approach the final sentence. This is a long way of saying that the story now titled The House of Snow and Apples, which was meant to be about 25,000 words is now 35,000 words. I think I’m about 2-3ooo from the end, but I thought that was true when I hit 25,000 words, so what do I know? It won’t blow out into a full novel at least–I know that much. The story is winding down, it is just taking longer to resolve matters than I thought it would.
In other news, I’ve been playing around with a new, faster method for colouring hand-drawn work. Below is a partly coloured pencil sketch, The Trollwife’s Bargain, which I’ll post updates of as I complete it. Basically, instead of scanning, I photographed the sketch, then played around with levels in Photoshop. After that, I imported it into Corel Paint, but am working just with Gouache at 25% transparency above the pencil layer. So far, it’s creating a nice waterpaint/dilute ink feel, although I’ll probably add layers at 35% or even 50% to get some darker colours in there too.
Will update as the image moves along (the troll’s left hand is in the wrong place, incidentally, though I’ll be able to fix that up a bit with the colouring).
I’ve also created a gallery to house the cover art I’ve been putting together for The Winter King. The images end up so small on the covers that they are hardly visible, which seems a pity given the time that’s gone into them.