Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Accidental Gods Day one: 15686 words

In my previous post, I said I'd be posting the material I wrote to my blog in an effort to keep myself honest. I've changed my mind about that for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I still believe that readers are precious beings who shouldn't be abused by making them read through a first draft, typos and all. Second, the whole "keeping myself honest" reason is a little stupid. What the hell do I have to gain by lying about my word count?

There's also the fact that I'm writing the first draft in a mostly linear form, but plan for the final book to have a non-linear structure. So, yesterday, I wrote all of Cut-Up Girl's life story from her early childhood to age 17. Tomorrow, I'll be writing about her years as Chopper's partner; Friday, I plan to tackle her celebrity years after her secret identity is revealed. Next week, I'll be writing her end game, where she unravels the lingering mysteries of her past and goes through the important confrontations that will allow her to put her past behind her.

In the final draft, my goal is to interweave all the four major plot lines so that the narratives are unfolding simultaneously, or at least as simultaneously as is possible in prose. So, a scene from when she's twelve might transition to a scene from her twenties then lead back into a scene from when she was seventeen as key events trigger memories and connections for Cut-Up Girl as she narrates her own story.

I've never tried producing a book with a non-linear structure before, but welcome the challenge. I'm doing a lot of things differently with this book, trying to break away from the standard ways I normally construct my chapters and plots. This is a risky move... I feel like I've gotten pretty good at writing novels built around conventional plot structures. But, you can't grow as a writer if you don't try new things. Most important, the structure is really growing out of Cut-Up Girl herself, whose personality is somewhat fragmented. She's someone who has trouble explaining herself to the rest of the world, with everything she reveals about how she made her life choices only raising more questions. You won't be able to see her by studying a single thread; her threads have to be woven into a complete tapestry for us to see the whole picture.

I feel good about tomorrow, confident I can do 15k again. The next section of her life is the one I feel I most understand, though it's also the trickiest content since its the part of the book that focuses on the least likable character in the book. Chopper is just a creep; a sadistic vigilante with a racist streak and a pervert to boot. But, he's also the man Cut-Up Girl falls in love with during this part of her life. I've got less than 24 hours to fall in love with Chopper myself, so that I can show him as something deeper than a stereotype. A tough task... but that's what makes it interesting.


Unknown said...

The book sounds interesting. It'll be interesting to read a book of yours with a different style.

James Maxey said...

Thanks. In some ways, I'm trying to do with my novels the same thing I did with my short stories. People who've read There is No Wheel know I vary my style and structure vary from story to story, based on the narrative voice that best reveals the character. I've played around with voice and POV in my books--there's a big difference in style between Bitterwood and Greatshadow. But, I still tend to start at the beginning and end at the end and keep events in their proper order though the middle. There's nothing wrong with that approach at all! But, I'm going to try to build this story with emotional connections as the guideposts, rather than linear time.

Mr. Cavin said...

This whole stunt is a real showstopper, Mr. Maxey. Plus, and probably most importantly, I think the story sounds great. Can't wait.

James Maxey said...

Thanks, Cavin. You'll be happy to know that I'm now another 15,561 words closer to the finish line.