Rewrite some wrongs

Since this is supposed to be an authorial weblog rather than just some random chit-chat (though there will be plenty more of that, I’m sure) I guess that I should spare a quick word for what I’m up to at the moment.

In short, bits and pieces. After a very productive meeting with my editor at the Black Library, Lindsey, I’ve got a few projects lining up for the coming months. My priority at the moment is the upcoming rewrite on Malekith, which is due for release at the start of next year. As you can see from the link, there’s some splendid cover artwork.

Malekith has proven to be a real challenge, in the best possible way. I’ve already gone through two major rewrites and it’s a real lesson in ‘think before you write’. Although the broad events of the novel will be known to those familiar with the Warhammer background, finding the right way to portray them required some extensive reworking. The events in Malekith cover hundreds of years, and there’s so much cool stuff in the Sundering as a whole that I’ve had to complete change the way the trilogy is going to work just so that I can get the best bits in. Even then, there’ll be stories not told in full that I might get back to in the future.

The second hurdle was in the titular character. I have lamented to friends in the past the occasional tendency of tie-in authors to develop their own characters to the detriment of the big story or characters whom they are supposed to be showcasing. This is perfectly understandable, because sometimes it is difficult to get as enthused about a character essentially created by someone else, especially when one is trying to put a unique perspective on events that may well already be well known to the reader. Despite previous rants and a keen awareness of this  phenomenon, I myself originally fell into this trap with Malekith.

It wasn’t ‘Malekith’ then, but rather ‘Flames of Treachery’. The events of the Sundering were told through the eyes of various Elves across the 23 years of the civil war. This was all well and good with two exceptions, and things came to a head in a discussion about the novel’s title. In the original plan and the parts of the first draft I had written, Malekith was not a central character at this stage of the story. However, Black Library were keen to call the book Malekith, as part of the Time of Legends series’ focus on influential characters from Warhammer history. Through the back and forth of the debate I had the sudden realisation that I was writing the wrong novel. Not just for BL, but for the readers.

The Time of Legends novels are all about these famous and infamous heroes and villains from Warhammer and opening a window into their lives in more detail than has been managed before. My story wasn’t like that at all and I realised had the potential of disappointing readers who were expecting something else. With the scales having fallen from my eyes, I set about planning the whole trilogy again, from scratch. Now three pivotal characters dominate the storyline, the trilogy is more thematic rather than chronological and hopefully the individual books will also hold together all the better for it. Still, there’s quite a lot of work to be done – the book hasn’t quite escaped its non-Malekith origins and needs retelling in parts from the Elven prince’s perspective. Remember the commandment: Thous Shalt Rewrite. Again.

On top of that I’m writing a short story, planning another short story (both about Space Marines, one way or the other), and fiddling around with some longer-term ideas for a trilogy dealing with the Eldar. That’s just the BL stuff, of course. There’s lots of other ideas floating around at the moment, I just need to find the time (and a hammer) so I can nail some of them down.

Currently Reading: The Mammoth Book of Short Science Fiction Novels; The Book Thief; Beowulf

Currently Watching: Dirty Sexy Money; The Kill Point (Lost has just finished and I’m waiting on the back-up from the US writer’s strike to pecolate back onto the schedules).

Currently Playing: Bioshock on Xbox360; Civilisation 4 on PC.

Mouse Update: Not seen him for the last week.

Published in: on March 25, 2008 at 2:25 pm  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Gav Thorpe, has recently started his own blog. He’s even put gone to the effort of writing an interesting post. The post in question is this one, and what particularly interested me was his discussion of the […]

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  2. This is *exactly* the same problem I’ve had with _Nagash_. Hands down this has been the hardest book I’ve ever worked on, for the very same reasons you’ve cited about _Malekith_. I’m really glad to know I’m not the only one.

    Best of luck with the trilogy. I’m really eager to see the book!

    Mike

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  3. Nice blog Mr Thorpe. New Eldar novels would be most excellent.

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  4. Hello, Mr. Thorpe!
    First of all I would like to beg a pardon for asking an offtopic question.

    Once on the Specialist-games web site you was kind to answer my question about Adeptus Mechanicus universal laws (issue with double eight law). Moreover you not only answered my question but posted the whole list of AM laws.

    The thing is that sixth law from that list and sixth law from Explorator Warband article are not the same. =(

    6. Knowledge is the supreme manifestation of divinty
    and
    6. Understanding is the True Path to Comprehension

    I would like to ask you to solve this dilemma, please.

    And – of course – I would like to congratulate with the blog’s start! One more good place on the net!

    With best regard from Russia

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  5. Of course it would have been good to read this before starting work on Heldenhammer, but even then…I think it concentrates nicely on the big lad’s life. Time will tell… I plan to write a big response to this and Matt’s Magna Carta epic on his site. Some I agree with, some not so much.

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  6. Gav,

    I spoke (err… email/message/thinged) to Nick Kyme directly a few weeks back firmly praising the excellent work on “Grudgelore”, and I thught it best to pass that on to you too. It is easily one of the best background books published by the BL and a true successor to the 6th Ed. Dwarf Army Book in terms of…defining dwarfen stuff.

    In any case: Excellent work, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having it as a companion whilst reading Nick’s “Oathbreaker” (which in itself has put me in a mood to look eagerly back at “Grudgebearer”, and those conspicuous ‘other’ dwarfs…).

    Regards,
    Xisor/Frank

    P.S. Might any dwarfs show up early on in “Malekith”?

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  7. Hey mate,
    Looks like all the cool kids are blogging (sorry, weblogging)these days. Some interesting stuff up here already, Thorpey.

    And how good is Bioshock! Gotta love the houdini splicers…

    Oh, and for the mouse, get yourself a cat. Plus, cats = good company for freelancers.

    Speak soon,
    Ant

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  8. Bioshock is indeed first-rate. Good (disturbing) setting, great visuals, atmospheric sound, nicely paced and evolving gameplay. I have to admit a soft spot for the Big Daddies – when they’re not filling me full of rivets or drilling holes in me, that is…

    GAV

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  9. Xisor – Thanks for the praise, I really enjoy working with the bearded ones. There’s plenty of dwarfs in Malekith, though of course from a somewhat more elven perspective. I had to wash my hands in a Macbeth-like manner after writing some of it 😉

    GAV

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  10. Hi Gav,
    I really like what you’re doing here, its good to be able to communicate with an author such as yourself.

    When rewriting, how can you decide when you have re-written enough?

    Bioshock is far too much fun. I am steadily on a quest to finish the game by using only telekinesis (when i have the choice or don’t need another plasmid) and have found that i dont quite take it seriously anymore. Psy-blasting a bag of fertilizer (in arcadia gardens, just after you encounter the houdini splicer that leads you through the halls) at a big daddy hasn’t quite worn off yet. Ah memories.
    Have you played mass effect yet? Amazing game, absolutely breathtaking.

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