Friday, February 27, 2015

First Draft Madness

As I said in the last post, I'm working on my first draft for my current WIP. I've discovered several things in the last few weeks since this manuscript is different than anything else I've worked on.

Unlike my previous posts, I might actually break this one up with a few pictures.

First off, I'm using the King Arthur legend as a base for my book. For those who don't know of anything past the quite trashy romantic retellings which have been circulating for hundreds of years, the original is quite different. King Arthur is rumored to have lived sometime in the late 500s to the early 600s. Arthur's name was originally Artorex and he didn't start out as a king. Rumor has it, he didn't even originally start out as royalty but as a duke.

It wasn't until the 12th century when the knights were introduced into the stories. They were brought in to add to the romance. A French writer first introduced Lancelot at that time.

Though the original legend first tells of Arthur succeeding the throne from his father, King Uther, at fifteen, Arthur is in his twenties in my story and his father is still alive. After several years of peace, Arthur ventured out from his home to begin conquering other lands. In his absence Mordred, who would later end up killing him, took over the throne and married Arthur's wife.

Merlin is said to have aided Arthur's father though in my story, he is a much younger man and spends more time with Arthur than King Uther.

I am only bringing bits and pieces of my research into the story but I felt it would be necessary to know in order for the time period to feel right. Research has never been my strong point and having to do it for something soooo old is hard. Everything I bring into the story I have to go and look up. Real searches of mine: when were saddles invented? What did they call dresses in the 600s? Did they have boots in the 600s? Did the women wear veils in the 600s? 

These questions come up right in the middle of a sentence and I have to write them down on a note for research later. If I stopped writing to research every time I had a question, I'd never get my first draft written.

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I've looked up a lot of pictures to try and get a feel for the clothes they would'v worn but the popularly recreated medieval times are nothing like what the people in the 600s would've worn (from my understanding). I've saved a lot stylized paintings which give me a picture of the romanticized times. I have a Pinterest board full of them and am saving character pictures for my character wall. Now I need to go and buy some corkboards. I'm working on character profiles right now which are super hard and not my favorite thing to do at all!

The picture to the left is a popular one usually found when you search for this time period. The dress would be really wrong for the 600s but I like the picture. It makes me feel like I'm there.
Knight and Lady

My critique group has been really kind about my first chapter and gave me some great pointers. I'm planning on reminding them this week that it's an ugly ugly first draft and I really just want critiques on the plot and characters. The writing is going to be bad and the phrases will be repetitive and passive. I want to remind them of that this week because my second chapter is, well, a first draft chapter.

My last point of awkwardness in the POV. I'm writing in third person which I'm not comfortable with. I'm strongly considering switching it to first person when I do the second draft.

Oh, and one last thing. King Arthur's crest is NOT a dragon! As anything else, that's the romanticized crest but out of all the things I read, the one I found the most was three gold crowns against an azure background.

Back to my book. I've distracted myself long enough!

-Anna Leigh

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