Life, the universe and ... oh, whatever ...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Inspiration and other ideas for novels

Another few thousand words and I will have finished a first draft of book number 10. It quite often feels a bit unreal that I’ve written 10 books this year. Or rather, 9 books this year, and I spent almost a year finishing the first one.

As I have mentioned earlier, I sometimes miss having time to do more research. I want to spend more time reading books about the Viking Age, and the sagas of that time. But, the little time I do get to read teach me something new all the time. Some of it I can use in the books I’m writing now, but I also now that what I’m learning now will really be helpful the day I get back to writing full time on my “Dreamland” novel. This is a novel that I’ve been working on for quite a few years now. I haven’t actually written that many pages on it so far, but it’s been in my head for more than ten years. It is a fantasy novel that partly takes place in our world, as we know it today, and partly in another world that some people have the ability to travel to when they sleep. And this dream land is loosely based on how I envision that Norway was in the Viking Age, and also on Norse mythology and creatures of Norwegian traditional folk stories. The first time I thought of this idea I was completely taken with it, and since then it just won’t let go. These days unfortunately I haven’t got much time to work on it. I throw a few thoughts in its’ direction from time to time, but mostly this, and other ideas for novels, will have to wait, for now anyway. 

I do though find inspiration in many places, often in the media. I found an article in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten interesting. It tells about how they’ve found Islamic coins from around the year 800 in the Eastern parts of Norway. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

They’re going to excavate one of Harald Finehair’s farms

The big national newspaper “Aftenposten” today writes that archeologists are going to excavate on of Harald Finehair’s farms at Avaldsnes on Karmøy. I find these news very thrilling because I am reading “the saga of Harald Finehair” these days as research for both book 9 and 10. The young king Harald is involved in book number 9, and for book 10 I can reveal that so far it looks as if the battle of Hafrsfjord might be involved. I can’t be completely sure though, I’ve only written the first 5000 words on book 10 so far, and even though I am pretty sure what direction the story will go, sometimes I get surprised.

The excavation is exciting news no matter how my own story ends up. 

Monday, December 01, 2008

To read and to write

Today I’ve spent most of the day reading about the Vikings: history, clothing, food, and society – all sides of life as it was back then. This has given me some ideas, not only for book number 10 that I will start writing tomorrow, but also for later books.

I have had most of my focus on the synopsis for book 10 today. For those who doesn’t know: a synopsis is kind of a detailed list that I write for the whole series and for each book. The synopsis for the whole series now is about 30 pages and keeps growing. Some of the future books have very detailed synopsises, while others only have a year for when it starts and perhaps the name of the main character. This morning when I got up I only had the main details for book number 10 on the paper, but after having spent the day really thinking about book 10, the rest of the story has also come to me. I now have a very detailed synopsis, and I’m really looking forward to starting writing the book tomorrow.

I hope the first 1000 words will come easily to me. In my writing I don’t always start at the beginning, sometimes scenes come to me in parts and I write them as I see them. But with all the books in this series, so far I’ve written them from the beginning to the end. Some times it does take me a couple of days to think and feel before I decide where a book starts, but when I’ve first found those first 1000 words, then the rest of the stories have been coming to me fairly easily. 

I sometimes do find time to read other things than research too; yesterday when I went to bed I started on a book by Stephen King: Duma Key. It seems promising so far. Since I write books in the so-called “entertainment genre” many people might think that those are also mainly the kind of books that I read. There are a lot of earlier series that I’ve appreciated: “The Legend of the Ice People”, “Livets døtre (Daughter’s of life)”, “Ulveøyne (Wolf eyes), “4 søsken (4 siblings)”, and I have read the 3 first books in a current series: “Sønnavind”, and I quite liked it. But, I worry about reading books in this genre these days. Even though I write in another age than most of the other series, there are a lot of common things between books in the same genre. I am afraid that if I read other series right now, I might, even without knowing, end up copying things that I read that I like, and I really want to avoid that. Of course, most books written are at their basis copies of something that’s been written before, but I think it’s easier to write a new story, my own story, if I don’t read “entertainment literature” now. Besides, it’s not really a huge secret that my own true passion for literature is within the genres fantasy, science fiction, crime, mystery and horror. I have almost all of Stephen King’s books, and thus it is no big surprise that I’m now reading one of his books.

So, that was today, and tomorrow book 10 is waiting, and I’m excited.