One thing any artist will tell you, is that it’s all about layering. And they’re correct. I’ve been painting, drawing and writing music for my entire life, and it took me all this time to draw the parallel. When I’m painting a picture, I don’t go straight in and start adding all the detail with a fine brush. I make some sweeping thin pencil outlines. Ink the important bits, wash over with blocks of basic colour, build up shadow and texture, then add the highlights in last. The same with music, I’ll pull out a guitar, find some tasty chords, throw a beat on it, sort out a melody for the lyrics, and the rest is just embellishment.
At the moment, it’s far from the polished and sexatronic supertome I wanted to create, but I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter. It’s pencilled, it’s got the colour washed in and a bit of shadow for definition. The next pass is going to be some texture, hiding the mistakes, painting over the bad bits. Then I’ll had all the magical highlights, the sparkles in the eyes, and then it will be good. I hope.
One thing I have found however, is my voice, I think. I started out wanting to be Robin Hobb, then I wanted to be Scott Lynch, then I wanted to Mark Lawrence. However, it was uncomfortable, it was forced, it was vile. I was never going to be able to transport people into my world, like some kind of multi-sensory dreamscape like Robin Hobb, I was never going to be as witty and sharp as Scott Lynch, and I was never going to be as poetic as Mark Lawrence.
I’m sure, if I ever finish this, and by some amazing luck, you actually get to read this, you’ll probably see these influences as plain as day. I don’t think that’s usually a bad thing. I hope though that you’ll see me in there, my own voice and how much I felt myself thinking and feeling like Rorick. Not that I would ever want to actually BE him. He’s a massive wanker, and a liar, and a braggart, and also not as much a hard man as he thinks he is.
Anyway, I’m going to read other people’s fiction for a while now before I start to edit this. My longsuffering other half has also agreed to be my alpha-tester. She’s a hardcore fantasy fangrrl and can read a three-hundred page novel in about half an hour. She’s read all of everything ever, Jordan, Goodkind, Gemmel, Martin, Tolkien, Hobb, you name it, it’s in our dining room. She’s under strict instruction to be brutal, honest and even evil if needs be. Wish me luck, the easy bit is over!