When we had the launch party for The Book and the Blade, my mate Mitch did an awesome job of MCing, filling any potential awkward silences on my part by asking questions. One of those question was, what are you working on at the minute? The answer then (and still now) is a comedy fantasy called, Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Orcs?! This is a story that came about after a conversation with a friend’s partner (now also friend) the first time we met. We were chatting over a mutual love of Lord of the Rings (of course) and he mentioned the scene from the movies where the orcs shout, “looks like meat is back on the menu, boys!” We talked about the implications of this one small line. Not the cannibalistic tendencies of the orcs as evidenced by the word ‘meat’, but the deeper implications of the word ‘menu’. The idea ran from there and tickled around my brain for about a year. I finally started writing in November 2022 for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). I wrote mine and Stu’s conversation down as best as I remembered it as part of a prologue and went from there. In November, I wrote 51k words. Then I didn’t look at it for four months.

For the last two weeks, I’ve largely been bed-ridden, and certainly housebound (which is shit! I’m on holidays!) so there’s been very little else to do apart from think about, and occasionally write about, orcs. We’re now up to 68k words, the prologue has gone, and I think we’re approaching the final act.

The story is a massive piss-take, while also being a love-letter of sorts, to my beloved fantasy genre. It contains every trope you can imagine; from the golden-haired hero to the nefarious dark lord, to elves in forest and dwarves in mountains, to witches, wizards, trolls and unicorns. Speaking of unicorns…

The main protagonist of my story, however, is none of the characters mentioned above. This story is written from the point of view of a young orc called Gary, and his best mate, Frank. They find themselves, as the tropes of their world dictate, pulled from pillar to post across a fantasy-scape that leaves no cliché unturned (or subverted). This, ladies and gents, is what happens when you devour Gemmell, Eddings, Pratchett, Tolkien, Brooks, Jacques, Cornwell et al from a young age (while also developing a sarcastic-prick trait a mile wide).

But I like it. Sure, I get the feeling I might have gone a little “too Alex” with this one, but it’s only the first draft and it isn’t finished yet. Who knows how things will pan out?

Oh, and fun fact, my wife tagged me in this post this morning…

My reply was “are you f*cking kidding me?!”

For those keeping track, a similar thing happened a month after I finished writing Rock Zombie (still, by the way, in some sort of publishing-development hiatus) a story about a zombie and ghost coming from the same dead guy. Kel found a meme shortly after with damn near the same idea!

I’ve decided this demonstrates one of two things – I either have my finger on the pulse in an almost savant-like manner, or I have never had an original idea in my life.

Hopefully, there is enough unique humour and bastardisation of Latin to get me a pass with Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Orcs?! (The dark lord who dies in the very first chapter is called Dark Lord Dominus Tenebris III… translation… Dark Lord Lord of Darkness III. Pratchett, it is not! :-D) And if that isn’t enough, my world has a wall, no one has done that before, right? Look, I’m not messing around here… it’s called The Threshold… you have to cross it to get to the main highway… The Road of Trials.

Additional fun fact; I did something stupid today (I know!). One of my favourite podcasts is called The Failing Writer’s Podcast, and in their first episode of season 3, the fellas put a call out for anyone willing to send in the first three chapters of a work in progress. They haven’t decided what they will do with any they might pick…critique it? read it out? take the piss? review? Either way, I figured, sod it, why not? Nothing might come of it, but it will be fun to find out if I really have gone too Alex with this one. We’ll wait and see.

Anyway, so that’s what I’m up to. I expect to finish the first draft by the end of April. After that, who knows? If you’re working on something yourself, please let me know!

Thanks for reading.

The Book and the Blade | Albert The Great Australian Dragon | Reindeer Games | Pleased!

I'm always keen for a natter…

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