Last week, I shared what 5 things I added to The Bow of Hart Saga over the time I was writing the series. This week, I’m sharing what I removed from the series. This one is a bit tougher since I had to think through so many years development.
1. First on the list is a major sub-plot. Once I really re-booted my work on the The Bow of Destiny and the series, I added a major sub-plot where events unfolded in a totally different part of Denaria with different characters. It was pretty good writing but very unnecessary as pointed out by my editor. So, I removed the sub-plot but held onto it for later publication as a single book or a novella series. Hopefully, I can begin sharing some of that in the coming months as the early portions of this could easily be developed into the first two books of a shorter series.
2. Next, I dropped additional books. When I first planned the series many years ago, I wanted to write between seven and nine books. I trimmed that notion to five books and then to three. I think three books were enough to cover what was needed (reference to the Withlings intended).
3. The meaning of the Bow of Hart was next to be changed. At first, I intended to write it much differently (no spoiler here) but the more work I put into the current version, the more I knew it had to be twisted. That meant dropping my original intentions and I think that worked out much better. For those who haven’t read it, you need to and you’ll understand.
4. Along with the shift away from more books, the plans I had for a major war in the lands of Shildra and Grendon shifted north which made sense. Fewer books meant less time to move into other lands so I kept the series arc as simple as possible – anything else was pushing too far. I did not get to show events in other places like Shildra, Grendon, Hart, Rok and several others. Perhaps I can write another series about those lands (and, no, the previously mentioned content is not about these lands).
5. Lastly, I dropped a very convoluted beginning that spent far too much time with Athson being alone and making long trips to and from Auguron City. That left him involved with no one so there was less dialogue. Also, it was just boring so I settled on pushing the reader directly into Athson’s confusing reality and a single, straight-forward journey to the city with Gweld while moving the ranger station further away and adding a few stops along the way for better context and plot development.
So those are a few details that were cut, and generously so. I think it made the overall series better, more concise. As a bonus, I can also share that I split the initial first book since it would have been far too long, shifted the title to the second book and developed The Bow of Destiny title. That took some doing but it worked. Next week, I’ll share more details I added, especially in The Bow of Destiny that made the book better in my opinion.
The following post is a fictitious news report based on events from An Arrow Against the Wind, Book Two of The Bow of Hart Saga:
The Ezhandun Resistance Tribune
“Resistance News Dwarves Can Trust”
Date-line: Somewhere in the Central Drelkhaz Mountains By Cracked-Shield (true name withheld for security)
A rare opportunity has presented itself for an interview from an important personage and news from our scattered people from west over the mountains. Just a few days ago, none other than our former leader, Tordug of Chokkra, arrived with several other people of import in his company. They are on a quest which I’ll let him describe as well as deliver his message to us. This writer is aware that this piece may be controversial for many of our people still living and fighting hard against Rok but the message may prove to be of help to many, even those who harbor low opinions of our former leader.
Cracked-Shield: Word of you has been mere rumor for so many years. Can you tell us where you have been?
Tordug: I was saved by Makwi while fighting in the upper-southern halls where we were cut-off whe Cokkra fell. We escaped out a secret entrance but were still pursued by trolls so we fled west into the wilderness as best we could. After a time, we split up for more than a year but we found each other through scattered people living as refugees in Auguron. We agreed to do our part hunting trolls in the Heaths though none would rally to our cause.
Cracked-Shield: So, you’ve been fighting like shadows without the aid of any of our brethren warriors. Some would mention honor – even with Makwi at your side – as cause enough not to support your efforts. Others would commend you for continuing the fight virtually alone. What brought you over the mountains at this time?
Tordug: We joined a quest at the request of a friend but we didn’t come over the mountains. We entered Chokkra through the Troll Neath on our quest. We have seen, first-hand, the cursed desecration and destruction of our home.
Cracked-Shield: Through Chokkra, eh? Perhaps you were on an assassin’s quest for a certain wizard?
Tordug: If only that were true. But our friend is a Withling seeking a relic to fight against not only Corgren but Magdronu as well. As you have heard the tale already, some of our party barely escaped a trap, including Makwi.
Cracked-Shield: Yes, it is rumored a Withling accompanied you here among our resistance fighters as well as Makwi. You seem to be in honor raising company, even bringing us an actual Ax-maid. What can you tell us of this quest and this Ax-maid?
Tordug: Yes, an Ax-maid is with us. She earned the title saving an Auguron ranger from trolls. She even displayed the death-grip in the incident and several times since, including on her journey here with me.
Cracked-Shield: Death-grip you say? You have brought us some truly brave and honorable visitors. One can only hope that you bear news of hope?
Tordug: I dare hope that our quest will make some difference against the trolls and Rok as well as the dragon and his wizards. But we have yet to find the relic.
Cracked-Shield: Were you aware of the plight of our people here? How they are used for blood for the dragon?
Tordug: I had heard of these things. Several in our party, including Makwi, were rescued from such a fate. I am ill-pleased with the extent of this heinous problem. I will take council with Duliwe and Withling Hastra about these matters as time allows. But as you know, I rule no longer so my word is not law. Only the honor of my companions brings me gracious aid at this time. But it is necessary that we recover this relic for the Withling so that Magdronu may be countered. My great desire is that the power of Rok and the trolls will be broken over Chokkra by recovering this weapon.
Cracked-Shield: So, you offer your people hope after all these years of silence?
Tordug: I do indeed offer some hope though I do not know how it shall be accomplished at this time. I understand that many may given up on any possibility of restoration of Chokkra. Without this quest, Magdronu’s evil will only fester further throughout Denaria.
Cracked-Shield: Can you share more about this quest?
Tordug: I can only say that it is a Withling-blessed weapon passed through a Hartian family over many generations. It is certain that Magdronu knows of our movements and intentions as does Corgren and his brother, Paugren. But the less said the better, I think.
Cracked-Shield: You have grown wiser in the years of your solitude while fighting trolls. It is said your fighting honor rose among us while you traveled here. What of this tale?
Tordug: Aye, our enemy has raised some creature of magic named the Bane. None can slay this creature without the help of a blessed weapon or the presence of a Withling. Hastra was not with us so I and the Ax-maid fought it when it attacked during a fight with a Rokan squad. I pushed it over the side of the mountain but it haunts us still.
Cracked Shield: A deed, well done then. Perhaps you will do more than offer hope in a blessed weapon to defeat our enemy and regain us our home free of the threat of our enemies.
Tordug: Makwi, our companions and I will do all we can to end the power of Magdronu and his minions. It will be done if I must breathe my last do accomplish it.
Ending note: Rokans have since threatened Duliwe with a force of their spearmen. Tordug, Makwi, Hastra the Withling and the Ax-Maid have left with other their companions on their search for the blessed weapon. We can only wish them well for our own sakes though many might harbor little hope of deliverance from such a desperate quest. This dwarf for one, hopes that Tordug’s determination will win him back his lost honor and, somehow, our lost home.
Also of note, Duliwe has reportedly sent a special force of artisans and fighters to block the high-road to the place of our old celebrations now used for the cursed sacrifices of our people. It is not an option we wish at this time, but certainly one which must be carried out if possible. We’ve played for time and survival long enough, perhaps it’s time we cut-off one avenue of Magdronu’s magic supply using our people’s blood.
This is Cracked-Shield, bidding all my readers hope in these dark times.
Look for more of these fun reports about the series. If you are interested in The Bow of Destiny, An Arrow Against the Wind or the newly released, final edition, The White Arrow, please click the appropriate link for the book-page. Following is the direct links to find An Arrow Against the Wind at Amazon where you can also download it for free via Kindle Unlimited:
Note: Fantasy Friday is a new feature for Archer’s Aim. This is a re-post, but for those interested, it’s useful. I’ll work on some new, fantasy-related posts to mix in with some of my older ones like this as well as some posts about new books in the coming months. Please feel free to share on social media or re-blog these posts. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!
This is the second of several posts revealing more about characters from The Bow of Destiny. You can read about Athson here. If you like dogs, you’ll love today’s post!
Spark was a rather interesting and late addition to The Bow of Destiny. You see, Spark is a dog but not just any dog. He’s a dog that only Athson sees while he’s not taking doses of his elven medicine, Soul-ease. You might wonder if Spark is real and so does Athson. However, Athson considers Spark an old friend who watches out for him.
The idea for this invisible dog came from my daughter who did some alpha reading on the book last year. She suggested adding a dog so Spark is what I came up with. In the book, Athson identifies this dog as a Mountain Hound but to you and me he’s a German Shepherd – or very much like one.
If you’ve read my bio you know we own two German Shepherds so you can guess the origin of this character. But there’s more to the characterization than just being like a common breed. Spark is actually based on both of my dogs, appearing more like our female, Chloe, while sometimes acting rather like our male, Sam.
Chloe & Sam
While Chloe is all guard-dog and ready for action all the time, Sam is more of a friendly bloke with a nasty side when necessary. But the unique quality of Sam is his way of communicating with us – he wags his tail for “yes” and doesn’t for “no”. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample of Sam (Spark)-talk which is through a series of yes and no questions (and of course you have to catch Sam at a good time since he’s usually easily distracted like most dogs by things like food):
Me: “Sam, is it cold outside?”
Sam wags his tail – and it is (or was when this happened).
Me: “Sam, do you like the cold?”
Sam wags his tail because he really doesn’t like the hot Alabama summer but thrives in what cold weather we have.
Me: “Sam, do you want to sleep outside?”
Sam doesn’t wag his tail because, while he likes cold weather, he prefers to stay near his people like most GSDs do. This question is one that’s meant to ensure he’s really answering rather than just wagging his tail in distraction.
Me: “Sam, do you like Chloe?”
No wag because Chloe can really pesters him and bites him often since she’s rather feisty.
Me: “Sam, did Chloe bite you today?”
Sam wags his tail. Funny thing about dogs is that, being like wolf puppies, the males often let females win. Sam is much larger but always lets Chloe win.
Me: “Sam, do you want Chloe to sleep outside in the cold?”
Sam wags his tail. Yep that’s right, Sam wants Chloe to sleep outside while he gets to sleep inside.
We often can ascertain if Sam feels sick (he gets colitis) or achy (he’s getting a little older now and is starting to get stiff joints). We even found out that Sam wants a pet cat though this is likely the fact that he actually misses the old cat, Becky, who was still alive when Sam came to live with us. The cat hated Sam but he loved her. But you get the idea – Sam talks in his own way. He’s rather intelligent that way and even plays tricks on Chloe to get her to do what he wants. Now don’t think that Chloe is dumb by any means. She recognizes aggression easily and can solve some puzzles that Sam just won’t bother with.
So guess who speaks Sam-talk? Spark! I have a number of instances where Spark reveals something to Athson about his surroundings that Athson just doesn’t get. But you, the reader, get to understand that Spark may just know more about what’s going on at times than Athson.
P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. His first novel, The Bow of Destiny was named 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews and is the first book of The Bow of Hart Saga. The sequel novel, An Arrow Against the Wind, was released in April of 2017. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, is due to be released during the Fall of 2017. P. H. Solomon also authored the award winning short story, The Black Bag, which won best published short story at SCWC 2012. P. H. is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).