Sometimes writing is like being lost in the woods. If you lose sight of the path you are done for. The current work in progress is like that. Birds have eaten my bread crumbs and I don’t know the way home. I am actually writing the third ending for this tale.
The previous two endings ‘stunk like a skunk’. Oh yes, they did take the tale to the end, but they didn’t give me that feeling of having a real finale; an ending that leaves you wanting to read more. I like a tale that goes out with a bang, and makes you wish you knew more. I think that I have finally gotten it right, and I have it outlined; but now I need to get it written.
It is always a balancing act. How much information is necessary to tell the story? How much is too much? As a reader I love Robert Jordan, Tad Williams and J R R Tolkien because they were heavy on the backstory and that information was crucial to the stories they were telling. However, many of my author friends point out, and rightly, that sometimes those same authors go for a walk in the woods and get lost. This is why people either love or hate Robert Jordan. All the side tales and little stories that I loved were quite annoying to others and with the trend toward short attention spans, it sometimes seems that the long and involved epic quests are falling out of favor with the reading public.
And yet, these same authors remain high on the best-sellers list. This tells me that there is still a market out there for the odd epic-quest tale, and that is certainly the sort of book I gravitate to. When I write a book I always start with the question of what sort of book do I want to read? That is the only gauge we have to go by, and in the end if I have written a story that only I will ever read then it is what it is. Fantasy is a genre which has trends, and what is trendy now will be kicked to the curb when the next new thing comes along. But the solid, well crafted tales will still be the benchmark that the genre aspires to.
The trick is to follow the path, and stay out of the witch’s oven.