I am now just over half way through writing (I think) the sequel to ‘Reconquista‘ and I’ve just been to Jerez to concentrate on doing more. At just over two hundred pages, I’m getting to a particularly difficult part.
Like the Battle of Tarif-Al-Ghar in the first book, there is a big set-piece action scene in the sequel. Such elements are notoriously hard to get right, especially when, as in this and the earlier book, the action is viewed at roughly the same time by a number of different characters located in different places. So quite a lot of work has to go into establishing overall exactly what happens, where and when, before determining who can see, and hear, what and when.
One group of my characters is inside, so their view of what is happening is restricted to what they can see from a window and what they can hear. Yet others are caught up, separately, in parts of what is happening.
Being able to portray an ‘epic’ event in this way is one of the advantages of having a group of characters from whose point of view the story is being told. A single protagonist, or central character, might give the reader a more immersive
experience of that character, but cannot show more than what a single character hears, sees or feels and, unless they have an omnipotent position, that is necessarily limited. That’s not to say that such a viewpoint would have less power, it could be very powerful ( that would depend on the writing ) but it wouldn’t give the reader such an over-arching view.
It depends what the author is reaching for. I have realised that I like a whole to be created by a sum of parts, as in the twelve inter-locking stories in ‘The Village’, my previous book. ‘Reconquista’ was similar, though a single tale, it had multiple strands within it. At some point I am going to have to move away from this structure, though, for the moment I’m happy with it – having multiple points of view also enables the author to create lots of excitement, which is what’s required in an adventure story.
I did lots of writing while I was away, but there were one or two remarkable distractions which will find their way into the book ( I will blog about those separately ).
As November is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month I’m not the only person writing. There are people all over the english-speaking world writing novels, just as I am. Take look at the NaNoWriMo web-site to see what it’s all about. Check out the NaNoWriMo Development Programme too, for people aged 17 and under. Last year over 633 regions across the globe took part. So far this year 15,689,293 words have been written (there is a counter showing the number of words on the site). The deadline for all the writers is 11.59 on 30th November, when they all plan to have written a novel of at least 50,000 words.
The sequel to ‘Reconquista’ is going to be longer than that, but I will think of all those NaNoWriMo writers for inspiration, as I look out at the amazing ‘super Moon’, which was even clearer in Jerez than it is in London.