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I think I've bitten off more than I can chew . . . posted 23 October 2004 in Writing TipsI think I've bitten off more than I can chew . . . by TakLoufer, Candidate

I know this will sound rather strange, but The Prince of Nothing has inspired me to write my own series. The primary reason for this isn't so much the books themselves (though they are good), but rather because the they are Bakker's first.

Before I go on, allow me to explain my history with fiction and writing.

To be honest, I rarely read fiction - at least not any more. In junior-high and high school I constantly devoured science fiction, reading a book every two or three days. Mostly by Philip Jose Farmer, some Heinlein, some Asimov, some Arthur C. Clark, Dune, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, several post-apocalyptic books, some crap by Harry Turledove and S.M. Stirling, hell, even some (yuck) Alan Dean Foster. Out of all of these, though, the book that has had the biggest impact on me was Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany. I read this at age 12, and I was never the same since. I would be a much different person if I never read this book (Dhalgren is where I got the name "Tak Loufer" from).

I always wanted to write, but I never managed to get beyond the first few pages of whatever I had put my mind to. Oh, I had ideas, I would play around with all sorts of concepts and characters and stories that might have been; but it was so much more fun to read the works of others. I'm a lazy procrastinator. The farthest I ever got in a writing project was thirty pages of a fanfic for the anime series, "Neon Genesis Evangelion." But my progress slowed as my interest in the show cooled.

After high school, I became obsessed with the mind-body problem, and my reading content became almost entirely composed of books concerning consciousness, quantum physics, philosophy, with the odd book on history now and then. For three years I read no fiction.

Then, hearing how Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series was "a lot like Dune," I decided to give it shot. I read all three books within the month. And then read them again.

ASOIAF inspired me to write, but I was always under the impression writers should start small with short stories or maybe a novella or two. The problem was that I wanted, in the back of my mind, to write something with a much bigger scope, but I didn't think I could handle it (and this may very well prove the case).

Looking for something to tide me over until A Feast for Crows comes out (which, if I were to guess, will be the winter of 2006), I read on the ASOIAF forum about a new book called The Darkness that Comes Before. How could I turn down a book with a title like that? TDTCB and TWP stirred up my modivative and creative juices for two reasons.

1) If Bakker can jump right in and write a trilogy (?) on his first try, and write it this good, why can't I?

2) The work has philosophical undertones that bring to light the "big questions" such as volition and morality. This compelled me to think what I issues I could explore.

I've had the idea for my story developing in my mind since at least 7th grade, though the setting and characters have changed over the years. But, after ten years of conceptualizing, I've finally decided to start putting the ideas to paper. But the devil is in the details . . .

The problem is that in order to be able to justice to my story, I'll have to do a lot of research. And create a world map. And come up with names for all of these characters. And there are a lot of characters.

I think I've bitten off more than I can chew. <!-- s:? --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_confused.gif" alt=":?" title="Confused" /><!-- s:? -->

Anyway, I'm currently coming up with names for my characters, but the map problem has got me stumped. I've tried drawing a map myself (I have the general idea in mind), but this has proved frustrating, as I'm no artist (or, at least not a good one). And there is the problem of drawing a map that is supposed to be a globe; the northern and southern regions would be necessarily distorted.

Does anyone know of a good computer map creator? I don't really want a random map generator, as I have the general ideas in mind, but the details . . .

Also, while I am fairly well versed in history, I'm going to need to do some in-depth research on everything from the Russian Revolution to the Great Depression to WWI, WWII, Vietnam, the counter culture movement . . . among other things (currently I'm reading up on Howard Hughes).

Does anyone have any recommendations for books over the Vietnam conflict (and WWI &amp; WWII)? And a good computer map program?

-Thanks view post


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