About twenty-two years ago, in an effort to hide from the sadness of my son going to his father's every-other weekend (it was a lot to get used to... the house being so empty), I began working on a fantasy novella. It was a wonderful "coming of age" tale set in the fifteenth century, or there abouts. It had knights, wizards, giants, betrayal, honor, and loyalty... all wondrous components to an epic tale. But it was missing one critical thing... battle scenes.
I'm not a violent person. Although I can be sometimes easily irritated, I'm slow to anger. It takes a lot for me to become physically retaliatory in a stressful situation. I'd much rather walk away. I'm not a terrific fan of blood, guts, and gore... but I understand the need for such things in certain genres of writing. Yet, even with this understanding, I have tremendous difficulty putting those scenes to paper. It's difficult for me to embody the emotions of those scenes enough to convey them to the reader.
Drake isn't a fan of violence, either. So the book sat on my shelf, waiting for the day that perhaps I could find a way to incorporate the necessary evil my story lacked.
Well, lots of time has passed, and I've written other books, and achieved many other goals on my to-do list of life. And still, this fantasy thing waits.
Well, recently, I had a discussion with a writer friend who is also a Viking. Similar to those people who you may see at the Reconnaissance Festival, jousting and sword fighting for a living, Erik is a Viking. When I spoke with him about my writing dilemma, he offered to help.
Last week, we met to go over the plot outline, the characters, and identify the holes that needed filling... most of them battle scenes. We spent four hours engaging ourselves in this world I had created, and adding elements to those areas that were flimsy or simply not evident. We talked about moving the characters forward by defining their roles and personalities, and we talked about the topography of the world I had built, and how it would impact the battles and the people. We spent four hours crafting and laughing and sharing an excitement that is unique to writers when they are "in the zone". Our final conclusion was that we could make a spectacular story even better, if we wrote it together.
I've never collaborated with anyone to this degree before... I've never opened up my work to another's creative brain and allowed them to go tromping through and change things... adding and deleting as the transition of story evolved. But I must say... if my initial collaborative meeting with Erik was any indication of the future of our work together - this is going to be a great deal of fun! I believe that this story will grow into becoming the story I had always envisioned with Erik's keen understanding of the things that don't connect for me. And most importantly, I think that you, the reader, will benefit more than we will. It's going to be an epic tale that you can really sink your imagination into and get lost for a little while.
So, watch for more updates as the process continues... and if you encounter Erik Rurikson (aka Ingvar Rurikovich Vidfari), clap him on the back for a job well done!
Diana Kathryn Plopa
I love being in love; writing; reading; mammals of nearly every kind, and especially micro-humans! Come enjoy my world with me - Secret Decoder Ring not required!!