Tag Archives: Novel

Annah Wooten's incredible artwork for the cover of The Fey Man

Announcing The Fey Man

At the wizened old age of thirty, the journey to this point seems long. It started with childish stories often aped from the books and films I loved. It moved through a terrible science fiction trilogy. It grew through short stories. Now it feels like it’s about to hit the milestone I’ve always been travelling towards: in just two short months, you’ll be able to buy my first novel: The Fey Man.

The Fey Man is an epic fantasy about a man’s quest to return to Faerie and the war that keeps getting in his way.

It’s been inspired by Scottish folklore, fairy tales, Arthurian legends and the film Armageddon. Yes, you read that right. Click the link to find out more about The Fey Man.

I’ve been writing this book for about three years now and I can’t tell you how excited and scared I am that you’ll be able to read it soon. I hope you like it. I’ll be writing more about it in the coming weeks but, for now, I’ll leave you with Annah Wootten’s incredible cover art for the novel. Isn’t it great?

The cover of The Fey Man

The Ballad of Thomas Rymour

I’ve been inundated (okay, asked twice) what the novel is about and, sadly, have given the same answer both times: you’ll have to wait to read it to find out. It’s cop-out answer but there’s a good reason for it. Ideas are fragile little things. Like butterflies. Or, if that’s too artsy for you, moths. The analogy will work with either: they’re alright until someone starts poking them. Then they stop flying.

That said, there’s certainly no harm in sharing some of the influences and so here’s a story that’s key to the novel:

Thomas the Rhymer was a young scallywag who fancied himself something of a minstrel and preferred to chase young women rather than do anything resembling work. One day he was lazing by the riverside, plucking at the strings of someone else’s lute when a beautiful woman on a white horse appeared. Struck by her beauty, he asked her name.

“We are the Queen of Faerie,” she replied. He asks for a kiss and she laughs. “Thomas, if you want a kiss you must come with us. We will take you to our land and keep you there for seven years. But for all this time you must say not one word. If you do this, then you shall have a kiss.”

Thomas was not one for doing anything other than his own will but he leapt up onto her horse without a word and thought nothing of the wicked smile that curled her lips. She rode away and he left behind everything and everyone.

Seven years passed and the only company he had was that of other faeries. And for a man whose fondest pastime was spent in the company of others, his enforced silence was a torture. At times he was so lonely he thought of breaking his vow just to say hello, or so angry that he wanted to rage and yell and scream. But for seven years not one sound passed his lips.

At last the seven years were up and the Queen came to him and said, “We are impressed, Thomas the Rhymer. We will set you free now and we will also give you a gift.” With this she kissed him gently and he found himself back home.

He soon discovered what his gift was, for he began to foretell the future. Worse still, he found that he had been cured of lies; he could speak only the truth. But, after all these years of silence, Thomas no longer had a taste for speaking. He found too that human company had little taste for him when he could not offer them the little white lies that polite society demands. And so, one day, when he saw a white horse in a clearing, he wasted no time in mounting it and riding away, back to she who had taken so much from him.

This is based on a real Scottish folk tale and one of the biggest inspirations for the novel. So let the guessing begin!

Begun-ings

So I’ve been writing for five days now and it’s going well. And by “well” I mean “words are being typed onto a screen.” I try to avoid looking at and thinking about what I’ve already written. I don’t want to start second-guessing and doubting myself. This is a first draft, and the only measure of success for the first draft is being complete and in existence. Measuring its quality is for the editing process.

To that end, I don’t intend to bore people with word counts or maddeningly vague progress updates. I don’t think that will interest anyone. I more intend to share any pitfalls and successes, the foibles of the process, and the inspirations and things that got left behind.

Or would you prefer to hear that today I wrote a thousand words, didn’t like any of them and that I’ve now introduced three of the main characters? Let me know.

Beginnings

As the woman once said, a beginning is a very delicate time. I’m all too aware of how true that is. I judge books quickly. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, on the first few pages. More often, by the first few sentences. So a beginning is not to be rushed into. So when I first had the idea for a fantasy novel, I decided to plan it. I figured out the plot, the background and the world. I fleshed out the characters and read lots of books that I thought would be relevant or helpful. But that planning process is seductive. It keeps whispering: “Just a few more weeks”, “You should think about the plot more” or “You can’t possibly start until you’ve read that book.”

Planning forever means that the writing will never start. Sometimes that doesn’t sound so bad. After all, the idea of the novel is perfect and untarnished by reality. And the fear of the blank page is a very real thing. It can only be conquered by writing on it.

Once I’d decided it was time to start writing, I nearly fell into the next trap: the set-up. I needed to sort my computer out so I wouldn’t be distracted, get an alarm that would wake me but not my girlfriend, read over all my notes, et cetera and so forth. Just like planning, the set-up is mostly a procrastination tool.

Just as the beginning of the novel is important, so is the beginning of writing a novel. But if the writing never begins, neither will the novel. And, let’s face it, none of us can think of a good novel without a beginning. Sometimes you have to ignore delicacy and just do it.