Fantasy Novels

Halfway in a Series

Every time I lift the pen to write my mind wanders. Oh what a journey it’s been! From the first inkling of an idea to the decision to publish. I was busy writing as the wind rattled outside. The old house creaked. While the moonlight shone through the window as the trees swayed. I settled in a warm and cosy place that had seen better days. There was one part of a journey in the midst of a series preparing to unfold.

Characters

This time there was trouble ahead with an antagonist that had been underestimated. Half the novel had to be re-written. Never expect your villains to do what you think they will. There was also another pressure. The time had come for the main character to return. To the land left far behind, but not for the intended reason.

Discovery

As the story moves forward more of the past has been revealed. This is where I admit to being more of a pantser than a plotter. A magical cloud has been lifting as every little piece appears on the page. One part of the journey is known and the other is yet to be discovered. If anyone had told me that the characters have a habit of taking over the story. I would not have believed it.

A Story Awaits

There is a world of fantasy. Filled with scheming smelly dragons, secretive wizards, and feuding sorcerers. Waiting for anyone who loves to curl up on the couch and become lost in the pages of story.

Writer Thoughts

Time is a Novelty

Time NoveltyIt is always fun when diving back into an unfinished story. Now where did I leave that character? What did that mean? If you are like me then the mind will weave clues into your writing that only make sense later. Resembling a magical trail of bread crumbs spread throughout the pages. A clue with no meaning re-emerged to take over the story. It is not the first so I clung on for the ride. That is why editing waits until after the first draft is finished. Things have a habit of reappearing much later. As a writer it can feel the same as being in a tug-of-war. On one hand I think I know what is happening and then everything goes topsy-turvy. I have lost count of the times I thought, did I mean to do that?

Falling into a Scene

There is only so much planning that can go into a scene to mix all the ingredients together. Then the wait begins and the suspense builds to find out how the pieces will fall. When almost halfway through the story a formidable villain appeared. Through a sequence of events the scene lies in wait. All the pieces of the puzzle ready to fall into place. I do not like predicting an outcome so I think of multiple outcomes before a fight scene. Halfway through a series and I still let my protagonist rise and fall by the final flow of a scene. There have been a few times when characters have not wanted to live or die as per the outline. Once an outcome is written in first draft it stays. That is one line I do not cross. There will be no resurrecting of characters here.

Fall Out

This leads to the next problem, what if a character lives? For some reason villains don’t want to die, who would have thought? The best thing about going into a fight scene with many outcomes is that the danger is real. There is more at stake. If I am not sure who will win then it will not be clear until the end. Have faith in your characters and let them achieve on their own.

Save

Worldbuilding Tips

Story Lines

Story LineStory telling can take on a life of its own. Halfway through writing the series there was a question that needed to be answered. This meant putting the pen down, saving the draft, and taking a journey into the past. It is a difficult task keeping the backstory out of a series.  Yet the background demanded a novella. A few short sentences that held the scene needed to be told. Yes, I begin with writing a sentence for each story. A small idea swirling outward from a story, to a chapter, and finally down to a scene. Except for one thing, when the idea has had so much time, and so much thought one sentence is enough.

Backwards to go Forwards

At no stage had the thought entered my head. The backstory would be enough to hold the span of a novel. Even a novella was stretching the idea. Yet in the distant past of a series a chain of events impacted on the main story. The series was packed away. Expectations began to unravel with a few differences. The protagonist was not the same, and neither were the main obstacles. In the midst of the story details began rising to the surface. These linked the past to the main story. A complex set of events spanning across time began to reveal with a few small twists.

Results

Was it worth going back in order to go forward? The short answer is yes. For a series with a plot embedded in a sequence of events it helped to keep focus on the main obstacles. There was one unforeseen downside, having to start a story from scratch. If you are anticipating being able to dive in to a backstory at the same pace allow more time. The biggest drawback was re-building the old world. Where changes meant having to rethink how the landscape had been altered. Alliances, communities, and the immediate problems had changed. Amidst all this a past revealed itself taking the form of a novella.