Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Fantasy Language For My First Novel

We have all had the experience of reading a fantasy novel and found that we don't know how to pronounce the names of the characters and places we are reading. Does it matter since we ARE reading and not trying to speak those words? Well yes, many people do find it an issue, so we should make sure that as writers we are not  giving readers cause to put down our work.

Before I actually started writing my first novel, I did what all writers should do and defined my characters and the locations, etc. I decided that I wanted to use names which would be different enough to indicate their other-world origin but not so different as to be a problem. There are many name generators on the internet, expecially for fantasy writing but everyday and historical novels are also well catered for.

A short list for fantasy name generators is:-
I was very picky about the names I chose but once I had a few, I found that I could envisage the way the mix of consonants were looking and how they might sound. OK for me then, but do potential readers see things the same.

One of the features with yWriter5, which is the software I am using to write the novel, is a digital speech engine. Maybe a little eccentric but hearing the words I have written, read out aloud by even a machine is quite different. And does give some idea of the need for punctuation.

But in this context, the speech engine is having difficulty with some of my fantasy names. I will, as requested by a friend on Facebook, be including a pronunciation list so it shouldn't be a problem, But the fact that the speech engine is having problems may indicate one or two rethinks.

Just a couple of issues:
  • The protagonist Eadwyne is pronounced (by me) as Ee-ad-win; and has a slightly welsh sound to it. However the maching reads it as Eeed-wine, A very straange sound to my ears
  • I have a character called Dinbar, for some reason it is read as 'bar. I.e no first syllable at all
  • Taienge has two syllables as far as I am concerned (Tie-enge); but the machine insists on one, Tynge
Of course this will be covered by the pronounciation guide I will include. So I am not getting too uptight but I will be reviewing the names at some stage. I might need the search and replace function in yWriter5 before I am finished.

Monday, 24 February 2014

My First scene with dialogue

I am not sure that it is entirely riveting but agaikin this is a first draft and a long way to go before I get around to revising, never mind editing thte text. This scene starts with our protoganist relaxing and playing a strategy board game with his friend.

This image is of a nine-mens-morris game (public domain)

So to the scene I am sharing today:-

Eadwyne was relaxing in the Royal Apartments on the top floor of Castle Candir, far away from the hidden corridors off the cellars far below. He enjoyed playing an old game which his father had taught him many years ago, Moving shaped stones around a marked out board in a manner such as to capture your opponents playing pieces. He enjoyed it but also felt it taught him strategy and patience. His opponent today was his friend and Commander of the castle guard, General Bryssan Firaes. Bryss, to his friends also commanded the standing army of Mericandir and was fiercely loyal to Eadwyne. They had grown up together and knew almost as much about each other as they knew about themselves. Both men had spent their lives so far in the service of their country and fully expected that this would be their life.

The game was going badly for Eadwyne. He was in trouble; although this was no reflection on his playing as Bryss was after all, one of the finest strategists in the land and bought his skills to any activity he was involved in. But help arrived before things got too bad. A page knocked urgently outside the chamber door.

"Enter", called Eadwyne, "What news?"

"Sire, reports have arrived that an ambassador, with a meassge from King Taienge, is soon to arrive at the Castle with grave news."

"Is that all we know?" queried Bryssan, "How far away, how soon will he arrive?"

"My Lord, we should make ready, he comes in haste and will be here within the hour at most", answered the page.

Bryss stood up, the thoughts of his win evaporating, " I will go below and start to make the necessary arrangements. Would you like your body servant sent to help you make ready Sire?"

"No need Bryss, if it is bad news and that important I have arrangements of my own to put into place. I have some idea what this may mean and it could be that we have little time to waste. But you may go ahead and make way for the ambassador. Bring him to me as soon as he arrives; and get food and drink sent up for him."

Eadwyne took a moment to himself to ponder on this development. He had heard privately that Tainge, his Liege Lord had been worried about incursions to the west of his kingdom from insurgents and rebels from the Western Isles. Although small in number their raids had been causing problems and it looked like they may have become worse. Still, he had better wait to hear what news the  ambassador bought with him.

He then called a page, "Ah, Gafton; please find that old rogue Dinbar and tell him I need him urgently"

No doubt about it, dialogue is definitely something else. I know the grammar needed but I have never written dialogue before and it feels really strange.

On another front I am still researching facts and figures of moving an army around on foot, on horse, by wagon and by ship. The figures I am finding are beginning to create a second round in the design of the world I am creating for the story. The major problem is that I did not size the locations on the world and have had to reduce the size of the countries in which the action occurs. Still, facts are facts and I don't want my armies to spend too much time marching around.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

My first novel - research

I really jumped into this novel writing feet first.

I have been researching a few facts today for the opening scenes. Facts such as:-

  • How far does an army march in a day?
  • How many men would be in a medieval - middle ages army?
  • What sort of rank would an officer be for a given number of men?

Just to get the facts right is nice but the answers to some of these questions will have profound effects later on in the novel. For example, I plan to have my protagonist hiding whilst fighting a guerilla war. How large an area should the country / continent / world be which I am designing. I can draw a map and add names and locations of major towns / villages / etc but it couldn't happen on a football pitch. And conversely, if too big how would the troops get from place to place in a reasonable time.

I am beginning to find that I need to make lots of assumptions about things which at first seemed straightforward. I need to take a step back and get my locations properly designed for the plot which is mainly in my head at the moment.

I am writing, but leaving some things to be filled in or sorted later. Of course some things cannot be treated like this and need the facts correct in the first place. I am learning as I go along and will be watching out for these instances.

BTW how far would an army be expected to march in a day?

It depends on many things but 10 - 20 miles a day seems to be reasonable. At a push trained and fit troops could probably do 30 but not everyday.

And how many men in that army?

Again location is so important, warfare in Europe was very different to that in the far east at that time. But consider Europe; an army of 10,000 (large for Europe in say the begiining of the 100 years war) there would be between 200 and 1200 knights or mounted fighters. With say 3000 mercenaries and 5,500 peasants or the equivalent. But this number would probably be doubled when all the supporting trades are taken into account. From Cooks to blacksmiths to Fletchers (who made the arrows).

And last but not least, a company (80 - 200) would be commanded by a captain or major. A regiment of 3 - 5000 would be led by a colonel or a brigadier general. But these are probably modern ranks. Many of the officers in the sort of army I am thinking of would be aristocracy, so more research needed. Ah well, back to the drawing board.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Room Of Magic - Writing my first Novel

If you have followed this blog with me, you will know paart of the plot and the importance of The Room Of Magic. Here is a first draft of the scene in which this room is first described. I appreciate that it needs much doing, but it is almost a matter of writing down what is in my mind, before the idea evaporates.

Bangs and flashes from Dinbar's experiments would have disturbed the inhabitants of Castle Candir if he wasn't esconced in the nether regions, deep below the castle in the ancient rooms and corridors which were built directly into the rock upon which the castle had been erected. Dinbar had been exploring these corridors for some time and had actually found the room known as the Room Of Magic. It was actually a library full of scrolls, manuscripts and ancient books; most of them had seen better days and the rest were not far behind. If the knowledge contained in the spells and incantations was to be saved, it would mean a lot of work salvaging and catalogueing the works contained in the library.

Dinbar was the Royal Magician and also friend of King Eadwyne  of Mericandir, and indeed of several of his forbears before him. Which as you might infer meant that Dinbar was quite ancient himself but as he kept telling everyone, there was life in the old dog yet.

Dinbar recognised that the knowledge in this so-far secret room needed to be handled carefully, in the wrong hands it could bring disaster upon the Kingdom, he had even kept his discovery from Eadwyne, so that there was no danger of even the fact that the  location was known should become accidentally revealed. Until he had it all under control, he wanted to keep it very firmly under his own hand for safety. He could recognise from the spells that many types of magik were represented here. Transmutation, Lycanthropy, transfering matter through time and space, invisibility, mind reading and thought transference were all there. It was even implied that invulnerability and raising the dead might be possible. The ancients must have been a terrible race with knowledge that had become lost in the mists of time.

It was a race against time to save as much of this knowledge as possible or at least that part of it which could not be seen as trying to copy the gods' power over man and his life on earth. The magician had investigated much of the information which was in documents which could withstand being handled, albeit very carefully. He had arranged and catalogued it as best he could and was now involved in actually trying out some of the spells; hence the flashing lights and loud noises. The working of magik was accompanied by the release of copious quantities of energies that he hardly understood. Far removed form the relatively simple forms of spell making which he indulged in. As a magician, he was a very good politician. He understood people and how to amaze and shock them with quite simple results. But even so, Dinbar was probably the only man in the country, and maybe the whole of the world of Wragrond, who could begin to understand what was happening in the Room Of Magic.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Progress after first two weeks with my first novel

Because it is my first novel, I am taking it fairly slowly, trying to be sure I know what I am doing before I spend a lot of wasted time. So where have I got to after 11 days since making the decision.

Well the first thing is that I am so glad that I looked at software which could help me. My first inclination to simply use a notebook; but I am finding it difficult to find stuff in ther already. Oh yes, it is not that full that I cannot trawl through the whole thing to find something but with no index and ideas being written down as soon as they enter my head, it has become a convoluted mess.

With iWriter5, I can control it all. As soon and as frequently as possible I transfer all those notes and ideas to Iwriter and it becomes so easy to look them up - usually. But any problems are due to my not yet being adept in using the software and knowing where I put things. So One up to iWriter. Did I say that I have registered my copy by making a donation to the author, well worthwhile.

It is very early days but I have very clear outlines for the first three (of 25 planned) chapters and have outlined the story by creating a number of scenes for each of those first chapters. I have added all the main characters although as the story unrolls, there may be more - but not too many; and identified a few of the lesser characters. I have described and sketched (or chosen suitable photos) for the early locations to help give me a feel for them, and I feel that the structure of the novel is coming together nicely.

An example of one of the locations are tunnels below the castle, through the cliff face. I have used this photo I took of "The Smugglers Tunnel" at Shaldon, near Torquay in the UK. Of course I had to edit out (very roughly here) the electric lights.

NOW the nitty-gritty, I have started drafting the first chapter and feel very happy with the way it is shaping. Not that many words so far, only about 1500, but I am getting the skeleton down. As it is my first time I am picking my way very gingerly - I am sure I will speed up in the very near future.

I have also made a rough estimate of the work ahead:-

The novel will be say 100,000 words
25 chapter will require 4000 words each on average
Each chapter will need 8 scenes of 500 words

I feel that I have made a good beginning although I have not really set myself a timetable yet. As I said a strong start is more important for me than a quick finish. But a chapter a week will give me a goal of 6 months, unless I up my output; can I get editing done within that time scale? That is another question!

Just for the record, here is a review of the length of some different fiction types:-
  • Flash Fiction: <1000 words
  • Short Story: 1,500 - 30,000 words (often less than 15,000)
    • anthologies: 5000 - 6000 words
    • magazines: 2000 - 3000 words
  •  Novella: 30,000 - 50,000 words
  • Novel: >50,000 words (likely to be 80,000 - 100,000)
    • Sci-Fi and Fantasy upto 120,000 words
    • often first novels are shorter

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

My First Novel - first draft of "the magical mishap"

Ok -  time for the writing to begin in earnest. So far I have been writing notes about the characters and locations; and writing possible outlines for the first three chapters. I posted some screenshots from the yWriter5 software that I am using. Here is how it looks after this very first draft of the first real writing I have done.

Note: chapter 1 has 430 words so far, from the scene I have named (for convenience only), The Storm. The software keeps track of word count for each individual scene, and total for each chapter and the whole novel. There are many other reporting function but I won't mention them here, yet. BTW in the list of scenes N denotes scene notes have been included in the description.

Now my major issue so far is the point of view (POV) or viewpoint from which you are writing. I am not yet totally certain how far a scene should be broken down. For example, There are three main characters in this scene, although one only appears as a result of the accident, and no one else knows about him. Should I write from the point of view of one of the characters OR should I break the scene down further and tell the story of each of the lower levels of the outline from the main character in that level.

Let me try to make that clearer:

From above, the draft outline is as follows:-

  • chapter
    • scene  - The Room of Magic
    • scene - A Call to Arms
    • scene - The Storm
    • scene - Fear escapes and hides
Now read my first draft of The Storm :-

At the mustering parade, Eadwyne was reviewing his troops from a metal podium and things were going well. He was thinking that his Liege would be pleased with how quickly he had raised such a fine force. Perhaps it could have contained more men but many had to be left behind to tend the farms or because there was not enough time for the training which would have been necessary. Dinbar had appeared with enthusiasm claiming he had a spell which would ensure the safe return of the army from the fighting, he was going to take the opportunity this parade offered to bless  the assembled troops.

During the casting of the spell, a storm blew up suddenly but no one really noticed amid all the pomp and finery. That is until a lightning bolt flashed into the parade ground and landed near to the dias. There was an explosion of great ferocity which threw Eadwyne into the marching throng. Who in their turn were dazed and deafened by the explosion. Helping hands flew to Eadwyne but were luckily not needed as he had suffered no real hurt. But too many people were trying to pick him up and dust him down and assess him for broken bones.

Against the castle wall, away from all the action stood a lone figure who had a vague similarity to Eadwyne but his features were horribly deformed, as if by the way he was showing hate and fear at the same time. He backed away from the centre of attention and slipped unnoticed through a doorway, into the castle.This hideous figure, seemed afraid of being seen and stayed in the shadows making his way to a hiding place; wanting to stay away from prying eyes. He seemed to know that he simply had to prevent himself from being discovered.

Outside in the sunlight, the storm had disappeared as quickly as it had arisen, order was being restored. The blessing was forgotten and preparations went ahead for the journey through the Kan Pass, to join the main army of King Taienge as it marched to the Western Isles. Transport consisted of horses and wagons for the lucky few; the rest would march. Provisions for wagons for the journey through the Pass, was not a priority as it was very difficult terrain and impossible to make by wheeled transport. The troops made their way to the main door off the parade ground and assembled outside ready for the journey. Finally all were in position and Eadwyne gave the orders for the march to begin.

And my quandry?

Should I extend each of those paragraphs (I have no doubt that that will happen anyway) and write them in a different way to be more from the POV of the main character in that para. It is a crucial part of the story so I need to make it an important and memorable scene (or series of scenes). Should the outline be continued in this fashion:

  • Scene/L1 - The storm
    • scene/L2 - the parade/blessing POV Dinbar, the magician
    • scene /L2 - the storm POV Eadwyne
    • scene /L2 - FEAR hides POV FEAR, the evil twin
    • scene /L2 - Aftermath and departure POV Eadwyne
    • scene /L2 - thoughts of Dinbar as the army disappears into the distance POV Dinbar

As I write this, I believe the real issue for me is the terminology!  Perhaps I am not yet sure what a scene actually means. A location or a character? Thinking of a play, the scene can change as actors come to and go from the same location. That seems to be the answer. I have read that getting the POV right can be crucial and depends on what the writer is trying to achieve. I must do a little more reading/research on this issue.

Thanks for bearing with me and it does seem to help having someone to chat to (as it were), more soon.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Taking a step back, to re-affirm the design stage

Expanding the 15 word description of the novel.

Note: This is a direct transcription from my notebook (handwritten) and is basically the suggested stage 2 of the Snowflake method for designing a novel. This is to extend the single sentence into five, each describing a part of the story; an introduction, at least three major disasters and the ending.

First a quick look at the first sketch of my new world, from that same notebook. Just for fun :)

It is a watery world, this sketch shows the main island continents, with names and the locations of a few major towns. The names are probably temporary (I can always use search and replace later to change them; but having something to use makes it easier to write about them). So, the world is called WRAGROND. Directly above that name is the largest continent ALENDRYA, and the shaded part of that  (almost centre on the image is King Eadwyne's land of MERICNDIR. Two towns are shown, called CANDIR and TE-CANDIR. The former is the capital and is the location of CASTLE CANDIR, the royal palace which plays a major part in the early story. But now back to the extened description ....

Encounter with FEAR.
  1. Eadwyne is called to raise an army from Mericandir to join his Liege Lord, in a distant war fighting insurgents and pirates. Before leaving his own Castle, Eadwyne and his army are to be blessed by his court magician, at which event a magical accident creates an evil twin of the king.
  2. The campaign goes badly at first and lasts much longer than expected. Eadwyne eventually returns home to find his kingdom ruled by the evil twin, known as FEAR, who has the ability to read peoples's dreams and nightmares and their worst fears are used them against them.
  3. Eadwyne is imprisoned when he tries to reclaim his castle and his lands and people, he is thrown into the dungeons with many of his followers.
  4. Eadwyne and the magician, Dinbar, gradually come to understand the source of FEAR's powers and his creation as a result of that accident.
  5. With the downfall and removal of FEAR, life returns to normal for the honest folk of Mericandir.
OK, so some of the single sentences are not quite that, shouldn't be a problem. I am just outling the story and that is the main consideration here. 

I will be posting regularly so don't forget to visit and find out how I am getting on with this my first novel. I guess my only problem is just how much of the story to include in these pages. I already have devised a theory for the way that "magic" can work (after all I am a scientist, and everything must have an explanation) and how an accident can have massive and unknown results. BUT should I make this depth of detail known before the story is written and available in book form. If I put too much into the blog, then  it might affect the sales figures. :)

But seriously, should I effectively serialise the book, or keep some of the best bits to be enjoyed by the ultimate reading experience. It is planned to make the book available for free as an eBook, at least to start with.

I shall certainly keep up with what I am doing, and sharing my experience of writing my first novel but as for more ..... keep coming back to find out.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Beginning of an outline

I have been thinking about the title and decided that the working title I was using was too long and unhelpful. My new suggestion is:-


This seems to work much better than the original, and for now I will be considering this as the one to carry the project through the next few months - or as long as it takes :)

I have been using yWriter5 to define the list of characters and locations putting the flesh on the bare bones, as it were. I have also got as far as an outline for the first two chapters.

This is my first sketch of the Castle in which much of the early action will be taking place, from my note book. Yes I am using a pencil and paper to make quick notes as I think of them - I have too much experience of good ideas being lost for want of making them concrete. I have also started mapping the original world in which the story is set. details are few so far but I will keep you informed in the weeks and months (?) ahead as the pertinent geography takes shape.

Name: Bryss (AKA: General Firaes, Commander, )     Full Name: Bryssan Firaes
Notes:     Desc: A tall and strong character who has risen through the ranks of the army and proved his loyalty to Eadwyne many time. He was rewarded with the role of the highest army position in Eadwynes kingdom. He leads the army and also heads the garrison at the Castle which protects the capital and main port of the land.
Has many fighting skills and uses them to protect hi friend and Lord, Eadwyne

This is a copy of a simple report on one of the main characters. So far I have identified and described 5 main characters (is this too many) and several lesser characters who I believe will appear in the novel. Other issues like goals / motivation / conflicts for the characters are being included as I work through the story outline. I think I made it clear in my last post that I needed to put some detail onto the bones of the story before I can get on with this task.

The room of magic (AKA: The ancient library)
Desc: A room recently discovered by Dinbar Bryer, the court magician in the bowels of the tunnels under Castle Candir. It contains many scrolls and books of ancient origin, which had not been seen or whose presence was only hinted at, as "treasures"; reputed to be hidden in this part of the castle. Dinbar has so far kept the library secret and is cataloguing the contents as far as he can. Many of its documents and books are falling apart with age and in danger of being lost to the world.

And this is a description of one of the early locations in the story. As with the characters, I find that I need a strand of the story before identifying which locations are required and then I can describe the locations more fully and develop the story. It is a chicken and egg situation. I do not honestly know where to start, but once I have then the elements feed off each other.

Now to the outline itself, or at least as far as I have got so far - and I am still working on everything which I was doing before this project, well except for Bubblews. I have decided that the frustration from that site is simply not worth the effort. It is very close to being a scam, but that's another story. I am giing to show three images, ALL OF WHICH appear on the main page of yWriter5. I break them up like this so that they can be read on this blog. The form of the outline is:-

  • chapters
    • scenes
      • scene descriptions (character strands, etc)

 The first image shows the chapter list, you add chapters as you need them but I started with 25 so that I can dip in when I feel like it. The order can be moved easily if necessary. Note chapter 1 and 2 have four scenes each so far.

These are the scenes in chapter 2. The main POV character followed by my short title for that scene. Each scene is automatically saved in separate files. Although I have written descriptions and entered characters and locations (also listed on the same main page along these lines) I have not yet actually started using the built in WP so non of the scenes have reported more than zero words. The software keeps a count of words automatically, and does some clever reporting of how you are using them. More about that in future.

The last level I intend to show here is the description of the scene, which itself can be further outlined if necessary. You can immediately see the description of the scene, the characters, locations, items and the goals of the scene. This last information could be crucial to the success of a novel if many commentators are to be believed but again more of this in the future.

OK that's enough for now, I have some writing to do.

My New Novel - time for a pause!

I did quite a lot of reading / research before I set ot to write my first novel. I did not have a plot or story in mind at the time and I was looking at the tools that were advertised as helping writers design their novel. In fact, I started testing them with quite simplistic ideas and wanted to see if they would really offer any help.

I looked at simple mindmap software which was great as a brain-storming tool but it seems that like all software, too many functions were simply superfluous to my requirements. It was just as easy to use a pencil and notebook. OK if I started to make a lot of edits, then my notebook began to seem a little messy and I did need to redraw. A free mindmapping software is Freeplane. Lots of features but far too many for my simple needs. Could work for you however.

I looked at Trello, which is a sort of on-line pinboard; lots of uses, in fact the link contains lots of ideas and I found the site via an articlec on writing an outline for a novel. However this was too simplistic. (does this sound a little like Goldilocks and the three bears?)

After this, I considered a word -processor, very simple and multi-layered; I could even start writing based on the  outline which was developed. But the aim of most tools in this genre was to keep track of not only the chapters and scenes but also the characters, locations, items (anything else pertinent to the plot) and 101 other things. Would a simple WP package allow me to do this easily? I have MS Word and had used it to write many articles; and I had always used an outline to write technical reports and an MSc and PhD theses. I had always managed before, but could I find an easier way.

My next trial was with Storybook. Another pinboard type of program but developed specifically for writers to aid in designing a novel. This keeps track of all those things mentioned above but I found it a little stilted and I must admit to having one or two issues. Firstly, there was no help available with he free download. Under the Help Menu were the choices to donate or contact, neither these nor the help file were accessible; simply giving a 404 not available error. The simplistic example file did not help a great deal, so I did not get very far with this at all.

After all these failures I hoped that yWriter5, a word processor, might be the one to ring the bell. It offers all that I could have hoped for. The main screen offers an outline based on chapters and scenes, and a datebase to cope with all the rest. Characters, locations, items. It has various tools and offers reports which may prove useful to monitor the efficiency of the writer. With the built in WP you can even write the basic novel in the tool. However it does not offer complete formatting so you will need to export the text ( several options are available) and use a more powerful WP package for tidying up before submitting to agent or publisher, depending upon your requirements.

Lastly, I had come across a method of designing the novel called The Snowflake Method, which I mentioned in my last post. I had said that I was hoping to follow this method to write my first novel, however after managing to get through the first few stages, I wanted to hop ahead. For instance, I could not list my characters without putting more detail  into my outline - which the method seemed to leave until quite late. So I am on the cusp of modifying the method to my own requirements. Each to his own as they say! I have been quite satisfied with progress so far and will give more details about progress in my next post.

One last, one very last note. The Snowflake Method suggests using a simple spreadsheet to define the descriptions of each scene. This does seem to have much to say for it, and I would probably have used MS Word and Excel together but I am slowly getting used to yWriter5. I will persevere with this software for a while as it does seem to have most of what I think I need without being too complex. It does take a little getting used to as any software but would be easier if it had an easier Help File. The help file has been written by a third party and is quite simplistic, based on a set of FAQ's.

So it looks as if I have a way to proceed, using yWriter5.

I will push on with my novel, and provide a little more detail of the introduction and the main characters in my next posts.

My new novel, stage 2

I said in my last post that I will be following a method, called the snowflake method to design the novel , and in my first post stage one was a single sentence of less than 15 words to encapsulate the entire novel.

The method uses the analogy of the description of a snowflake by fractals, i.e. a simple shape is made ever more complex by applying simple rules. Such as this image from a Julia set.

Stage 2 is to expand this single sentence to a full paragraph which touches on the novels introduction, the three main disasters (as used to design the novel, although of course there may be more) which affect the direction of the story and the actions of the main characters. And finally the ending, how the final disater is overcome and the ending of the novel.

Eadwyne's Encounter With FEAR*

Eadwyne recruits a force from his lands, to join his Kings’s army in a distant war. Before leaving his <court magician / friend / steward> attempts to use an ancient spell to provide protection for the detachment and ensure their safe return. He gets the spell wrong and Eadwyne (unbeknownst to himself) is <split> and an evil twin is created, to become his nemesis.
The war goes badly for the King at first, and lasts much longer than expected. Eadwyne eventually returns home to find his land is ruled by his nemesis who is known by the nickname FEAR. The villagers find their nightmares are stolen and their worst fears are becoming a reality.
Eadwyne is imprisoned when he tries to reclaim his castle and sentenced to rot in the dungeons with his band.
There is a successful escape attempt and Eadwyne gradually learns of who FEAR is and what is needed to put matters right. In the subsequent necessary <activities> Eadwyne becomes infatuated with a woman who helped with the escape, and makes her his lifelong partner. With the downfall and complete disappearance of FEAR, life returns to normal for the honest folk of Eadwynes villages. 
N.B. I have used the parentheses < > to bracket names, etc which I need to research a little more.
*A working title only
My biggest fear: PROCRASTINATION. I have already listed in my notebook two other ideas for plots and a way of finding more ideas from a dream notebook which I kept for several months a few years back. On the surface ideas which could be used in this novel ...... but still, I need to focus on one at a time.
I have been researching FREE software to help design the story, characters and landscape of the novel. I have found two or three which might help and I intend to select TWO to try out in parallel over the next few weeks. I will have more to say about these in future posts.
A last word:- the snowflake method is analogous to an outline but does include some helpful tips as you work through it. I will also be listing a few ways of creating an outline to balance the experience of creating this my first novel.
I should say that as the author of a number of technical reports/theses and many on-line articles, I would not attempt any writing project of a reasonable length without having a skeleton to build upon. I do however realise that writers like people are very different and individual. You must assess whether this process is the right way for you to progress. For example, I never seem to write poetry with any forethought as to where it is going. I start at line 1 and forge ahead - but that is another matter.

A new project - my first novel

Yes, that's right after over 50 years of writing non-fiction, lyrics and lately poetry, I am attempting my first novel. 

Sci-Fi and Fantasy have always been my favourite genres and so I have decided that one of these two will be the way I will go. I have been seeing so much of late relating to "how-to-do-it" that I started to wonder if I had it in me and the last session finally stung me into action. I have made promises before but never quite carried them through so I am making this public right from the start as a sort of rod for my own back. That way it might get finished. I have no timing in mind at the moment however, so don't hold your breath.

Of course, I may need to start another blog (this blog has been started to fill this role) to cater for this new direction for my creative writing but that is something for another day. I will be taking a few steps along the road before I do that (decided that a new blog had to happen sooner than expected, so strike whilst the iron is hot is my motto) .

Talking about a few steps, the early stages can be likened to outlining a technical report or thesis, of which I am very familiar but there are many references to the method for those writers less well-off. One article, called "The Snowflake Method" reads very well and I shall be particularly be taking note of the many aspects of writing which sound like very good advice to a sheer novice. Simpler although just as effective articles on outlining abound on the internet.

Step 1 in The Snowflake Method, is to write a sentence giving a top level overview of the novel. The sort of thing you will see when a book is advertised, so it must encompass thte story and the main character and the goals. So here is my second attempt. I needed to shorten my first, as the method recommends no more thaan 15 words. here it is:-

Our Battle-worn hero returns home from war to find his kingdom ruled by "Fear".

I am still not sure about this but each stage can be modified as you work through the method. It will do for now. I have put Fear into inverted commas because the antagonist will be an evil twin of our hero, created by a magical accident as he left to go to war.

But that's enough for now, I am eager to get on with the next stage, although I will be hoping to create the world in which this story unfolds from scratch, just a whim!

BTW, no title yet! I will sort that out as the story unfolds.