Two down, one to go…

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Saxon Scramaseax, halfway between a knife and fighting sweord.

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Two? Two what I hear you cry? Two of the three pivotal battles that occurred in 1066, resulting in the end of Saxon rule of these islands, which I’m currently writing about. Do please try to stay awake!!!

In this case I’ve been working my way through the battle of Stamford Bridge on the eastern edge of The Vale of York. While students of history will know that amongst the dead that day were two key historical figures, In my WIP Autumn 1066 I’ve had a little fun killing off a particular nasty fictional individual of my own creation.

Some scholars would have you believe that there never was a bridge at Stamford back in the day, and that the only way to cross from one side of the Yorkshire hamlet of Stamford to the other was via a stone ford across the river Derwent. But I see no logical reason why a wooden footbridge was not erected. It makes perfect sense for the safety of those trying to cross the river when it floods. So during the battle I installed a wolf-coat on it.

If you remember the BBC television series ‘Dad’s Army’ about the Home Guard in a fictitious town on England’s channel coast, you will recall Private Jones, played by Clive Dunn. Being a veteran of the Battle of Omdurman in Sudan (1898), Jones was fond of recalling the battle. He had a particular saying – “They don’t like it up em sir!” referring to being bayoneted. My wolf-coat would tend to agree…

Apropos of killing him off, I began thinking about an idea for anyone interested in crime writing. Imagine that your main character is a writer, just like yourselves. What if they wanted to creat the perfect undetectable murder? How would they go about it? What if they discover that whatever they write, people do? So all your character has to do is write about murdering someone, wait for a day or two, before deleting the words, leaving absolutely no evidence pointing any investigator in their direction.

So crime buffs, feel free to explore the idea. If you do write a book using it, please add the words – from an idea by Jack Eason. Hey ho, it’s back to work, writing about the Battle of Hastings and the few days before it awaits.

More later

😉

Been doing some thinking

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I’m still working on the first draft of my work in progress Autumn 1066. More specifically, the second of the three battles apposite to the story that occupies each and every moment of each and every day for me.

That does not mean endless hours spent writing. Rather the complete opposite. A story like this requires a lot of reading and forethought before hesitantly offering up words. If you want to do a story like this justice, writing a historical fiction based on actual events is not as easy as you may imagine.

While I’m now in no doubt whatsoever that the story will be short, the thing I’m really loving is looking at whats going on in the minds of my fictional characters from their eleventh century perspective. Despite the nine hundred and fifty one years that separate us, when comparing the Saxons and us, we’re not so different.

While I’m writing the book in present day English, not its eleventh century equivalent, I am using Saxon names, types of weapons and titles. For me this is fast becoming less about writing a book as much as conducting an intellectual exercise, purely for my own edification. While that may sound strange, even perhaps selfish to you, writing a book like this one is just that – an intellectual exercise governed by rules and regulations, unlike the freedom of writing an ordinary fictional story.

Now I’d better get back to where I left everything in abeyance in the second battle yesterday…

More later

😉

How much artistic license do I employ?

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That is my current conundrum

I’m at the stage where I’ve begun writing about the second of the three battles in my latest historical adventure Autumn 1066.

While I have the facts, or should I say what is assumed to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I’ve mention previously, the only account was written by a scribe fifty years after the battle – someone who in no way could ever be classed as a reliable, let alone impartial eyewitness.

At best the facts are sparse. At worst, woefully inadequate. While the fate of the historical figures involved is largely accepted by historians, what isn’t known is the fate of the ordinary participants in the battle. Because of the lack of written documentation, I now have to use artistic licence to give a flavour of what I believe they went through. This is the time where I begin the story within the story. For it to work, both the fictional and the historical stories must now blend into one, yet be separate in my mind as I write.

Surely that is a given I hear you smugly cry. I agree – it is. But, and its a big but, what I must be careful about is that the inner story does not wind up taking over at the expense of the historical. That is not so easy to do, and will require a lot of discipline on my part.

Why did I choose to wait until the second battle? In truth I don’t know. Except, the first battle occurred before my fictional characters enter into the story proper. Maybe once I’ve reached the conclusion of the first draft, that may change.

Well I’ve got a battle to write. More later

😉

Never make assumptions

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Just to let you know that the new story is progressing as expected. As of yesterday, I’ve written two thousand words. Most of what I’ve collected together so far is from the often dubious historical accounts written fifty years after the event, which I have previously mentioned. It’s thanks to them that the idea for this story planted itself firmly in the forefront of my mind, refusing to budge. I find that certain stories have a tendency to do that. They demand to be written. Who am I to argue when a story chooses me? It’s Kismet…

Once I am satisfied that I have trawled all of the relevant historical accounts for the necessary background information to at least give my historical fiction a certain degree of legitimacy, then and only then will I begin writing from the perspective of my fictional character’s involvement on opposing sides in the story. If I’m honest, that’s when the fun begins for me.

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The day before yesterday I sent a read only copy of the historical background information I’d written so far to my mate in Abu Dhabi, believing he might like to see what I’m up to.

Unfortunately like a lot of writers of my acquaintance, he completely got the wrong end of the stick. Instead of perusing it first to see what it was all about, he immediately began critiquing. He complained about the length of some of the sentences, not to mention his difficulty in coming to terms with the period names I’m using. He was also less than complimentary about a couple of instances I have added into the mix of notes as they occurred to me, concerning some of my character’s interactions with one another.

There is a lesson to be learnt from this. Don’t send a sample of what your writing to another writer without making it plain that it is not being sent for the purposes of criticism. By the same token, as the recipient don’t automatically make assumptions when a fellow writer sends you a sample of what their new story is about. If they want you to cast a critical eye over what has been sent to you, they will make it plain. Before you engage your inner editor/critic/grammar nazi, take a long hard look at what has been sent to you in the first place. Then take a breath and step back from the incorrect assumption you made. You will find it beneficial in the long run.

Making assumptions is to be avoided like the plague. As the recipient may I suggest that you simply read it to get a feel for what is currently occupying the sender’s mind and nothing more. I thought I had made it plain to him. Apparently I hadn’t – lesson learnt on my part.

One last thing – have I got a title in mind? No, not yet. That usually suggests itself once the story is well underway. Certainly not at this extremely early stage of the proceedings…

😉

The first progress post

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Does this place look familiar to you? If you read Forgotten it should do…

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Well I have begun. At the moment I’m in serious re-reading mode concerning The Forgotten Age. So far I’ve carefully worked my way through the first two chapters. I’m not just reacquainting myself with the characters, but also what happened in, around and beneath the Giza Plateau, as well as on the surface. I’m also making note of the seemingly random clues which most will have ignored, not appreciating their significance or even rejected as possible red herrings.

I always leave vague clues in every book I write. No doubt I’ll do the same thing when I come to write the sequel, just in case another is required by you in the future.

If you’ve already read Forgotten through thoroughly you will have noted the significance of above picture. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING REGARDING IT IN YOUR COMMENTS. TO DO SO WOULD BE A MONUMENTAL SPOILER ALERT FOR NEW READERS!!! For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, do yourselves a favour and click on the above red link, get a copy and read it!

That’s about it for now. I’ve got more re-reading to do. More characters to catch up with both good and bad, plus more of those subtle clues to gather together…

😉

New Science Fiction Novella Progress Update

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If you love pure science fiction, then I hope you will enjoy reading The Next Age, the latest in my ‘Age’ series of eBook novellas, once I have finished writing it that is. Currently I am working on the beginning of Chapter Six. Meantime here is its cover, and the prologue to titillate your curiosity.

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There was a time when mankind thought he was alone in the universe, largely thanks to the lies fed to him for thousands of years as fact by his religious leaders. Down the many millennia of his existence, he was browbeaten into believing that an all-powerful God made man in his own image, and that his was the only intelligent species to be found anywhere in the firmament. From the eighteenth through to the twenty-first century, the same lies continued to be reinforced by equally narrow minded philosophers who also believed that man was alone in the universe.

Back in the twenty-first century it was proposed that it would take at least one hundred thousand years travelling at the speed of light to journey to the other side of the Milky Way, given the consensus among theoretical physicists and learned figures in the world of astronomy at the time. They also believed it would not even be possible for man to travel safely through the minefield of our own planetary system for many centuries to come, let alone uncharted space. They were to be proved wrong on both counts, when unbeknown to them an artefact from Earth’s twentieth century appeared on the opposite side of our galaxy. Somehow or other it had only taken a mere one thousand one hundred and thirty seven years to get there after finally passing beyond the Solar system’s outer limits in the early part of 2013. The fact that it was relatively unscathed when found, given all of the hazards hidden in the darkness of space which it undoubtedly had to negotiate, was a miracle in itself. Because of its discovery in another planetary system, in 3150 the Earth was visited by a representative of the sentient species who discovered it. His arrival immediately rang alarm bells throughout the world’s religious communities.

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                          Keep an eye on this blog for future updates…