Monday, June 28, 2010

The Other Book

So, after I wrote Forest of Lies (the rather lengthy story of the writing can be found in my new tab) I had about a dozen story ideas pop into my head, all related to the original. A prequel, involving Much. A sequel, involving Robin. Another sequel, perhaps involving Will. Yet another, maybe with Timothy. Etc. Well, one of them is the one I'm currently "working" on--a story that started out as a sequel involving the daughter of one of the main characters of FoL. It started that way. I called it The Bow. Then one of the minor characters proved more interesting then the main character when I ran the book through NaNoWriMo (yes, I have dirtied my hands in something so mainstream) so I started it over with her.

Enter Etched in Black.

Etched isn't really a bad book; I just can already see all the flaws that it has and, quite frankly, it freaks me out. All the editing I'll have to do!! PANIC.

So awhile back I decided to put it aside (I'm 45,000 words in) and work on editing Forest. Of COURSE while I'm in Iowa I WOULD get some desire to take up Etched again, after I had decided so heartily that I would leave it alone.

Now what to do? Am I just afraid of editing FoL? Probably...I often sit down in the front of the computer and am afraid of "marring" the Draft III with either chisel or clay (yes, I'm mixing some weird kind of metaphors). My mind runs blank. My pages of notes--editing thoughts I have, editing others have--sit on the desk (or in their various documents), mocking me.

What to do.

~Nai

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Problem with Names

As I see it, futuristic and modern stories (and yes, even fantasy) have a very nice upside when it comes to a fairly basic part of writing novels and short stories: names.

When you write historical fiction, there is always a pressure to be accurate. I found Names Through the Ages, and it has been extraordinarily helpful. One problem is the very few names available. I rejoice every time I get to pick a new girl name because they are in such better supply then the male names.

Once you get past that, though, there can be another problem to deal with. Origins. I recently read in a book (at least, I THOUGHT I did) that "Robert" was a name that came with the Norman-French invasion. Strange, considering it's listed everywhere as being of Germanic origin.

Anyway, before I investigated today and found that everyone says its of Germanic origin, I thought: wouldn't it be interesting if Robin's father gave his son this Norman name trying to fit in? This wasn't just a spur-of-the-moment thought, because I had also recently read that after the Norman conquest, the Saxon people began to change their names and the names of their children because of (to put it simply) peer pressure.

(Shows how much we've changed in 800 years, eh?)

But then, after starting a short story for an assignment I have here at the Iowa Young Writers' Studio--in which this particular name choice has very much to do with the plot--I find all this Germanic origin gobbly-gook. Annoying, to say the very least (before I read the book, I had it in my head that Robert was an Anglo-Saxon name...so I've been flipping back and forth a lot).

What to do about the assignment? I went ahead and called it a Norman name. Quite simply, I figured my teacher wouldn't know the difference, and I can fix it later if need be.

One thing that hasn't been flip-flopped all across the continent: Robert comes from words meaning "bright" and "fame." I still find this very fitting.

~Nai

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Welcome to Sherwood!

Eventually I'll figure out (read: ask my dad) how to "embed" things in blog posts, and then I'll come back to this post and add in the perfect YouTube video...

EDIT: Hello, it's April 21st, 2012, and here I am, finally, with the video: 


Hello there. I'm Nai.

I suffer from something I haven't found very common in the world I live in: an obsession with the English legend of Robin Hood. One thing I should make clear right off the bat is that it's more than the title character that has me hooked. In fact, if I let it, the main character have a tendency to annoy me (though I love him all the same). I love the whole thing, a lot including that it has to do with the coolest island in the world--England--the fact that he's been around for 800 years and is still going strong, and especially the fact that each writer can make Robin Hood their own.

I've done that. It's amazingly fun to enter the world of People Who Have Written A Robin Hood. It is a balance of familiarity and originality: making it your own but also making it recognizable. As a Robin Hood writer, I tend on the side of crazy changes, the familiar aspects often hidden like private jokes. That's okay with me.

So, writing and Robin Hood are two big aspects of my life, and Forest of Lies was pretty much an inevitable collision of two main interests. What I hadn't seen as inevitable--but should have--is the collision of the third aspect: my belief in a Heavenly Father who loves me. Forest of Lies taught me a lot about who I was, even though I hadn't planned that. It often seems the unplanned things are the most exciting, and this certainly was.

So after that, I'll admit something: I'm not quite sure where this blog will go. As I'm currently working on Draft IV of Forest of Lies I imagine it will occasionally (hopefully ONLY occasionally) indulge in whining, both about story aspects and the lack of sources about the year 1191. I also plan to give reviews about Robin Hood books I read--ones I've read several times, and ones I've just stumbled upon--as well as movies and TV shows I've seen. I may occasional indulge in things that you might find helpful if you ever decide to do the crazy thing that is writing historical fiction about the twelfth century. After that, who knows where else this will leave me? (And, consequently, what few readers I might ensnare...what? nay, that is not an evil laugh you hear.)

With a toast to the Merry Greenwood,
Nai
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