It’s been over three weeks now since I finished my ecology job and began working full time on my ‘The Forgotten Gods’ book series. This aims to re-imagine the myths of the ancient British Gods and Goddesses from existing Welsh and Irish sources and to tell the story of how they were forgotten due to the Roman invasions, Christianity, industrialisation, science and capitalism, and to provide a vision of the future in which their worship is restored.
After completing the first draft of the first book, In The Deep, in free verse I went on to use that style for a first draft of the second book. During the process I realised it had got very long and that I couldn’t justify taking up so many pages with such short lines. Another realisation was that, without clear and detailed explications of the plot, character development, and a grounding in the landscapes of ancient Britain and of Annwn most readers, even those who know the Welsh and Irish myths, would likely be lost.
Therefore, I decided to go back to the beginning and rewrite In the Deep in prose. As I did so, I noticed there was a big shift in narrative perspective between the first section and the rest of the book. In the former I write the story of the birth of the Children of Don and the slaying of the Dragon Mother of Annwn in a combination of omniscient and third person omniscient. From the second section onwards, when I introduce the main viewpoint characters Vindos (Gwyn) and Kraideti (Creiddylad), I write Them in third person limited, thus going to into greater detail on their thoughts and feelings, whereas I continue to write Lugus and Uidianos (Gwydion) in third person omniscient.
I think I can get away with the shifts in narrative perspective. However, I recognise that the parts I have written in third person limited are much more engaging. Plus, the book is changing all the time as I go through and realise ‘ah, that wasn’t set up properly, that wasn’t explained, I know where I am in the landscape and what that deity looks like but the readers doesn’t, that fell flat.’
My aim is to write a book that is accessible to readers without any knowledge of the Welsh or Irish myths at all and that will be engaging and enjoyable as well as having mythic depth and doing justice to the stories of the Gods.
When I first set out writing this series I was hoping to have three books, in verse, finished within three years, when I need to start looking for paid work again. I’m now having to adjust my expectations. Half way through the second draft of In the Deep, I am at 45,000 words and sure it is going to be novel length. As such it is still very much finding its voice. When I have finished this draft, I will be in a better place to review the shifts in narrative perspective.
Having realised the book is in such early stages I have decided not to share any more excerpts in the public domain as they are unlikely to represent what it will be. What I have decided to do instead is re-open my Patreon account so people who want to follow my creative process and receive private excerpts from my work can do so in return for investing a small amount of financial support to help me buy more time for writing.
I’m judging it will take me one to three years to finish this first book, so I will be in for the long haul writing the others when I also have to work. It’s almost beginning to feel like a project of a lifetime, which isn’t a bad thing, as it’s far better than living without inspiration. In contrast here is a photo of some sweet peas, one of my growing highlights this year, beautiful and ephemeral.