Yesterday I sent the last book in The Lynher Mill Chronicles out into the world. Today I went and had a look through the notes I’d made for the first book, The Dust of Ancients. Oh, my word! I don’t remember exactly when I started, but evidently it was prior to 2002, and I suspect it might actually have been in the late 90s. That’s how long this story has been waiting to be told.
This is a short extract, from a notes document that ran to over 41,300 words – and that wasn’t the end of the book, either, I was still puzzling it out at that point! Some of the character names are different, but it was fun to watch the process of the plot being teased out of the mess of ideas I’d been struggling with. (caution: some profanity included in this extract!)
Big emphasis on Westcountry fairy legends…
Main change, introduce “SPRIGGANS” to guard the treasure that they have found. Use Folklore.doc to get ideas.
Also, does Laura need to be in America…probably, yes. She needs to be away from Jonathan.
But still need to know what/who the spirit is that’s inhabiting Jonathan, and why him – what’s the connection, is it using him as a weapon…and if so, for what and against whom?
Play up the images of “cutesie” fairy combined with utterly awful horror scenes. Lots of cackling, viciousness and tiny prickly terrors. Let’s have even the pretty fairies act as baddies somewhere along the line. Maybe the Spriggans turn out to be goodies after all? How about The Knockers? Maybe they’re the real baddies in this, they sound even uglier than the Spriggans, that’s for sure.
Is there something that Richard isn’t telling Laura? Maybe somehow he’s connected with all of what’s going on ~ maybe descended from whoever the spirit has a grudge against… too much of a coincidence, or all part of fate and her whacky sense of humour?!
How would that work?
How would the spirit have known Richard and Laura would get together?
Subplots needed; a whole take on the Spriggans and their job of guarding the treasure. The jar? What was in it? And why did it matter so much that the sodding thing got broken?
Dunno. It just did.
More subplots, involving Jim? Or some other families from the area on Bodmin Moor where the mine was? Maybe both?
Jim has to be involved somewhere along the line, as he’s the one who knows all about that kind of thing. Why would he have become an expert in that knowledge if he didn’t have a vested interest? Okay, so it doesn’t matter about Richard and Laura getting together, the factor that brings them to the end of the book in this situation is Jim and HIS history.
But isn’t it a bit of a coincidence that he’s Richard’s best friend?
Where is Jim from?
How did he meet Richard and when?
Maybe he’s the one who sought out Richard, knowing something about his history, but then the coincidence would be Laura. Shit. This is fucking awful.
Ooookay! Having written the short story version [The Guardians] here’s a thought: The jar which broke was the same as the one in The Guardians – ie: holding souls in torment. Naturally then, one or more may have gone into Jonathan, right?
Okay, so – Jonathan is now ‘hosting’ the soul of someone, we don’t know who, or how old, so we can play with that and change the events which scare him as a boy. Maybe he starts behaving oddly, feeling some kind of empathy with miners etc, etc. Becomes one himself maybe?
So, as you can see, I can get a bit sweary when I’m working things out! The entire document is in that same vein; gradually the story I recognise as The Dust of Ancients fights its way out of the morass, but it’s a long struggle!
Later, I wrote a blog post which you can find here, in which I muse over whether or not the story is finished, mostly because I’ve loved writing it so much that I can’t quite bear the thought of never visiting that world, and those characters, again.
There are now three books in the series, but now I’m faced with the same sense of loss – except that this time I know there will be more. I don’t think there’s another novel in it, but there will be stories, and maybe a novella or two, and I think these will be given away as either free e-books, or straightforward downloads from my website.
The short story mentioned above, The Guardians, is currently available on The Dark Archive blog, along with a short piece about the series and its origins. You will need to scroll down to see it.
The Dust of Ancients is, until tonight (Sunday August 2nd) free to download from Amazon.
The Battle of Lynher Mill has begun!