State of the Savage: January 2015

by Keith Savage · 4 comments

Faces of the Royal Mile

The new year has arrived and with it comes my first State of the Savage post of 2015. These posts always go outside of the norm here on Traveling Savage – they’re generally not about places in Scotland, per se – and give me a chance to update you on the state of my various projects. It’s also a good excuse for me to push back from the laptop, draw a deep breath, and take a high-level look at where things are going. The past couple of months have been busy with all projects ramping up. Things are moving ahead. And mostly, I feel good about the prospects of 2015.

Ok, enough jibber jabber. What’s new?

Scotland Trip-Planning Consultations

I don’t know what happened when the calendar turned to January, but I like it. The number of requests for my Scotland trip-planning consultation services – and the number of visits here – have exploded this month, and I have stayed very busy helping prospective travelers nail down their Scotland plans. It has been so much fun brainstorming ideas and discussing logistics with folks who are so excited about their impending trips to Scotland. There’s also been a lot of validation for me, personally, that what I’ve created here with Traveling Savage is a positive and useful resource. The truth about blogging is that it’s a pretty lonely pursuit where you propel words into the void and hope they stick to some brain matter. The consultations have proved to be a welcome foil. The best part? The happy customers. 🙂

Book Progress

My in-progress book turns three years old this month. I am knee deep in my first draft (which is actually my second draft, if you’re counting) and writing furiously to have the entire book drafted by the beginning of May, when I leave for Europe (see below). Writing a book is a long road – imagine that – but I think especially for one on an epic scale. After writing my zero draft, it took me nearly a year to articulate the problems I sensed in the draft and rewrite the plot, almost from the ground up. Now, I am nearly 68,000 words in and around a third of the way done writing what I’m calling my plot draft. There will be subsequent drafts, passes through the text that focus on other aspects of the novel: Characterization, description, theme, etc. But they will be much faster drafts than the plot draft.

I am very excited about the revised plot. You see, I wrote the zero draft about a concept but the story itself – you know, that reason people read – was severely lacking. Now, I have a story-driven novel with a strong conceptual underpinning. I don’t have a slick elevator story yet, but the novel is an epic historical fantasy deeply informed by Dark Ages British history. Both of my protagonists are female. I have three months to finish the final two thirds of the draft.

I can do it. I will sell it. I will watch it on a screen one day.

I suppose I should explain why there’s a photo of this stone below. This is the famous Towie Stone, a wondrous carved ball found in the Scottish town of Towie and believed to be an artifact of the Picts. It is around 5,000 years old, and some believe it is the first representation of the Platonic Solids. The Towie Stone, and other carved stone balls like it, play an important role in my story. Isn’t it fascinating? What purpose could it have served?

Next Trip!

I will be returning to Scotland this Spring! This May I will be exploring northern Argyll, Appin, and Lochaber. This is an area of Scotland I have driven through countless times from Skye back to the central belt, but I haven’t stopped and explored all this region has to offer to my satisfaction. You can expect loads of gorgeous west highland photos, castles, distilleries, and accommodations. The coolest thing about this trip is that our friends from Technomadics, who we first met in Scotland four years ago, will be joining Sarah and me. Look out!

More details to come. Until next time, sláinte!

ChristineNo Gravatar February 21, 2015 at 10:40 PM

I discovered your blog today while browsing options for a Scotland Holiday. We – a couple – are thinking of travelling there from Australia sometime in June-July 2016 and staying in a cottage overlooking a lake somewhere and using it as a base for further exploration of the highlands…looks like you have a great resource going here.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 22, 2015 at 3:42 PM

Sounds great, Christine!

AlexNo Gravatar January 29, 2015 at 11:03 AM

Gotta love when things start coming together like that. Good luck on the book man!

De'JavNo Gravatar January 29, 2015 at 10:09 AM

Just started following your blog. Great to hear things are coming together for you. Keep up the good work hopefully in the near future I’ll be traveling to Scotland and will be using your tips.

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