On Creating an Epic

Define `epic` – ambitious, grand, classic, larger-than-life.

This is what I wanted to do – produce something big, ambitious, classic, larger-than-life, a stage bigger than our own where my stories could be played out.

So how did it happen? I started with failure. My first attempt at a novel went prune-shaped about three quarters of the way through. I lost the plot. Too many holes. Ineffective opportunities to link the important plot points and bring conclusion or closure. I’d failed through lack of planning and wasted a whole lot of time. Turning this negative into a positive was a must.

So I started anew and got down to some serious planning.

Since early childhood, when my parents revealed to me the secrets of the movies, about how special effects and monsters and film ghosts were all just trickeries of makeup and clever filming, my interest in the paranormal world was instilled. Always a sceptic, I loved, over the years, looking into news reports of UFOs or poltergeists or strange, unexplained happenings. Knowing `The Truth was Out There`, I realised I had the means to create my stage – an otherworld where everything paranormal exists and is accounted for.

This world would be called Heart – an anagram of Earth. Heart is the control centre for our mixed-up Earth, its population of Balancers and Adepts forever striving to right Earth’s wrongs.

I made a list of the paranormal, supernatural, and mythical, and began slotting them into Heart’s physiology, inventing a plausible cause/history and a meaning for being, for each element.

This was taking shape, and I realised more layers could be added. Heroic balancers who had become adept at the art of mojo manipulation became just that – heroes, each in their own right yet each with fallible sides and promise of chaos.

Every edit and rewrite brought fresh ideas: I worked in nods to my inspirations and to my family and friends. I worked in some symbolism for numbers freaks, worked in some history and some grins for older readers, worked in so many ingredients that even Mary Berry would have been proud.

This plan, this supposed epic, was looking good, but I had to be careful not to copy or become cliché.

So my witches and wizards became balancers, magic became mojo, fairies became mice with wings and my stage was looking promising. It was time to add some props and some flesh to the world of Heart and I began with some four feet x three feet cardboard sheets, applying notes, sketches, clippings of the latest paranormal events happening in our real news, pictures of celebrities to help my story characters take shape. Stephen Fry, for example, played the part of the delightful Mr Purse – The Sky at Night’s Sir Patrick Moore took the part of the slobbering deformity that is Charlie Babbage – Billy Connolly played Sue the camp giant – Christina Ricci fitted the part of Stella – the list goes on – these pictures were taped to my boards and their characters began to take shape.

My sketches and ideas grew. I wanted to use everything paranormal, wanted to link it all together, wanted to go one step further and bring time-travel through dimensions into play, wanted to THINK BIG – ambitious, classic, larger than life.

One year later and my new world stood before me. Its ethos firmly in place; its inhabitants bustling with their lives and traditions. The stage was set, and, by this time, I also had my story. Well, not a full story. I had a start and an end and half a dozen possible middles. It was time to write.

It took a year to write Kimi’s adventure, and while I was doing that, something unexpected and wonderful happened. Teacher and fellow author Anne Stormont had read the opening chapters on youwriteon, said she was excited by the writing and invited me to be virtual resident author for her school’s writing groups. After handing Anne her hand back, we all got stuck in. The pupils pushed Kimi further than ever, made their demands on how the story should go, how Kimi should act. They told me what they loved and what they didn’t; they helped give Kimi a better shine than I ever could have on my own.

I took a step back and looked at my epic. I was satisfied. It was a good production. Solid. I liked it and my beta readers begged for more. It was time to submit.

After twenty rejections, one agent took a nibble. They loved the writing, and the story, but wanted it condensed, stripped by 40%. Production costs need to be kept down, they said, especially for a debut author.

I took this as good news, looked over the plot to see how I could take some things out and reduce page time to others. Yes, I thought, this is achievable. I went to work, stripping away from scenes, removing scenes, all the while with my eye on a heavily reduced word count.

After five chapters – I stopped. This was not my book, my way, my story, this was not my Kimi. So I slept on it for a day or two before declining to go any further. I wanted Kimi the way it was. It had to be that way. It was my classic. My epic. Vain and stupid? Maybe. Maybe not.

Kimi’s Secret went on to win one of youwriteon’s BOTY awards along with the offer of publication.

I decided to take up their offer and get Kimi out there.

Then a second magical event. Nuance Words asked to let them get involved with Kimi, to help get Kimi seen by the many. After handing the wonderful Jill Marsh her hand back, she and her team got to work and in two shakes of a dodo’s tail Kimi had a website, a Facebook page,  podcast, a soundtrack, and the activity continues…school competitions are underway, and Kimi is out there growing a fan base, selling well, earning most excellent reviews…

Hudspith has the imagination and the style to keep his characters three-dimensional and his story interesting and eventful in a setting that’s well-realised and colourful. In the end, the tale is brought to a very satisfying conclusion, a clever reworking of the start of the story that’s intelligent, professional, creative and worthy of a great deal of praise.”

 

Kimi on Amazon:

UK

Kimi’s Secret: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005ZCQ91W

Kimi’s Fear: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00A9R61N4

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USA

Kimi’s Secret: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005ZCQ91W

Kimi’s Fear: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A9R61N4

***

GERMANY

Kimi’s Secret: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B005ZCQ91W

Kimi’s Fear: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00A9R61N4

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FRANCE

Kimi’s Secret: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B005ZCQ91W

Kimi’s Fear: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B00A9R61N4

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CANADA

Kimi’s Secret: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B005ZCQ91W

Kimi’s Fear: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00A9R61N4

***

SPAIN

Kimi’s Secret: https://www.amazon.es/dp/B005ZCQ91W

Kimi’s Fear: https://www.amazon.es/dp/B00A9R61N4

***

BRAZIL

Kimi’s Secret: https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B005ZCQ91W

Kimi’s Fear: https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00A9R61N4

***

ITALY

Kimi’s Secret: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B005ZCQ91W

Kimi’s Fear: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B00A9R61N4

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