The Mad Chronicler has slowly gained popularity over the past year, and so naturally a good question to ask me would be So why change things up? I feel like it’s an important question to ask, hence why I’m dedicating an entire blog post to it.
The long answer? There are two separate approaches when someone discusses the construction of books. It goes back to that old writing adage that to write well one must also read well. Read for the experience, and write for the practice.
I’ve read a lot over the years, and continue to do so as best as I can. As a reader trying to help the novel market become more unique, I draw on what I’ve seen in terms of overused tropes, strategies used that led to success or failure, etc. My new book reviews on Goodreads hopefully show this explicitly. And I could go on and on about the nature of books from a reader’s standpoint, offering advice and instruction on how to create novels based on how it should look at its final draft.
However, it seems wrong to claim any sort of knowledge on the subject when I haven’t yet been published. I can’t claim what will or won’t work well on the market when I haven’t yet seen how my own opinions would fare, page-bound, on the shelves. Furthermore, considering my current book is a work-in-progress, and my process for writing even more so, it’s difficult for me to say anything with utter certainty regarding the construction of books from an author’s standpoint.
What does all this have to do with TMC? Everything. The Mad Chronicler had plenty of different subjects, but the one I focused on most was the theories of writing, how to write well, trying to understand why certain things are done in fiction so we can better understand when to replicate tropes and when not to, and so on. My 8 Character Archetypes post on TMC has been by far the most popular, most viewed. Lists get you a lot of views, apparently. Still, I steered clear of more of those posts, not knowing why beyond feeling like I was sacrificing some moral of mine.
Now that I understand what moral I was trying to keep intact, I realize that the entirety of TMC’s posts did in some way have to do with instructions on writing novels. Except they had to deal with how I thought novels should be written, because I can obviously only work within the framework of my own creative mind.
It still feels important to me, trying to help people really new to this business, trying to understand why something works in one book but not in another, why tropes are so successful, how to most successfully chase after that elusive idea of originality. But I can’t do it under the guise of Teacher, not when there are already so many voices out there saying This is how you write a book, or Write a book in 8 easy steps (as if that’s even possible).
What I am choosing to do instead is write blogs that focus on the idea of novel writing fundamentals — characters, world, plot — just like TMC did, but in a way that’s clearly showing the development process of a single person. The main character of the new Princess in the Tower posts is someone who is learning how to use her magic to create new worlds or alter her own. Her process is her own, of course, and that’s clear in the fact that she’s using magic to physically build new worlds. However, these types of posts still allow me to address issues that I find in what I’ve read and what I’ve written, to continue instructing in the way that I can, based on what relatively little experience I have in writing and what relatively plentiful experience I have from reading.
Plus, I have a promise to upkeep. “Give me a pen, some paper, and a little bit of time, and I’ll write that creative story for you,” remember? Until my own novels are published, I hope this gives you a little bit of an idea of what I hope to achieve as a bona fide author.