By The Sword #3

Posted: February 28, 2011 in By The Sword, Novels

The novel, at this stage, was somewhere around 20,000 words. About two-thirds of the story was down in paper, or so I thought. This would make for a very short book. I reassured myself by thinking it would need a number of rewrites, and this was not even a first draft. That worked.

As mentioned, Billy has fled to Japan by this stage (around Chapter Eight). He is pursued by crime analyst Grace Andrew, to liaise with the Japanese police. This was easy to dive into at first. I visited Japan twice, and my wife had been out there for a year, so it was relatively familiar ground. The only trouble was the way the story turned into a bit of a passive travel log….Grace does this, sees that, as if it is somehow inevitable. Also, it was lacking some depth. Still, I cracked the 30,000 words mark, and got to what was effectively the end of the book. But the last third was a bit of a passenger-seat journey and not really nailbiting stuff, other than the end.

Once again, a book came to the rescue. Samurai: The Last Warrior, by John Man. This is an entertaining factual account of the samurai culture, in particular the period around the Meiji Restoration, based on the famous (in Japan) Saigo Takemori. More people should read about this samurai…his story is fascinating. It sparked off some other ideas about Banzai Billy’s philosophy, his influences and backstory. I weaved this in to the last few chapters, ping-ponging between Billy and his pursuers. This helped enormously, and the story leaped to some 43,000 words. There it sat for a while.

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