Writing

Revision & Creative Gestation (or Indigestion)

Good morning Archer’s Aim readers, and happy Monday. Every book an author writes is different, a unique work that is custom in every way. My firm belief is that every book is approached uniquely because it is simply required. At least, that’s been my experience.

When it comes to my current book which opens a new series code-named Reformed Mage, I’ve taken a very different approach than my last several books. Much of what I wrote for The Bow of Hart Saga began several decades ago, and while there was an update to the writing, the characters and world-building, the work was well known to me. Reformed Mage began just a few years ago and quickly grew from a kernel of an idea into a full manuscript.

There were several demands on me when I really began writing this book during 2017. At the time, I was out work and wrote a fifty page sample for an agent. Later in the year when both An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow were completed, I began work on Reformed Mage, moving as quickly as possible. My intent was completing the book because I was out of work at the time and, in addition to keeping me busy, it was the next project in line.

The following year began better with a new job, but I continued writing Reformed Mage and finished it within several months. Because I never stopped to do much world-building, the draft was very rough, and even rougher because I dictated which can be challenging for a fantasy novel without some extra effort put into developing the software profile regarding pronunciations.

After that was completed, I also completed the initial draft for another book which begins another series which I refer to as Black Glove. This second book is currently waiting its turn and I hope to get back to it very soon since I enjoy it as much as the current one. I ran both of these through a fast content edit, while skipping the world-building for later. However I knew these books needed a content review by my editor so I sent Reformed Mage to her.

My editor is very good at what she does and has quite a lot of experience developing a wide range of projects for a traditional publisher back in the day. I’m lucky to have this editor so when she returned the manuscript to me with all of her notes, I paid close attention. I’ve learned over the last several years not to take my editor’s critique personally. On the contrary, I’ve always felt that my editor’s professional background is worthy of me paying close attention to her insights, especially since I’m paying for the work.

In this case, my editor gave me some very valuable information. Because Reformed Mage is such a long draft, she suggested I split the work into three books. This suggestion was something I was considering anyway due to the length. Additionally, she gave me suggestions about reorganizing the flow of the events and I agrees this would fit the organization into three books very well. I took these into consideration and quickly reorganized the manuscript along these lines.

This high-altitude view of the book was an easy adjustment, but other observations proved more challenging to me creatively. I suppose many authors might simply crawl into a fetal position at such challenges and wonder if their book is even worth the effort, but I don’t. Content edit requires a critique and a thick skin. But the suggestions and the questions were real and challenging. The reasons why this proved to be more challenging is because I had not stopped to do more world-building and character development. The answers needed needed more of these elements expressed. This meant going back to the drawing board and beginning work to reassess everything about the book which was now three books.

I quickly determined that I needed to focus on the content intended for the reorganized first book which was simple enough. But then began a period of questioning myself about the characters and the world. My editor had done an excellent job in asking me a lot of questions which pointed where the holes in the story hid in the proverbial high grass. At this point, I entered what I like to think of as creative gestation (maybe indigestion?) about the work.

The process began with letting the manuscript lie by for a while and making notes on ideas to the questions as much as possible. From these notes, I began putting together more information about the world and characters that make up this fun, new fantasy series. Over several months, I began to put together quite a lot of formation and take time to learn more about all kinds of details which had not been part of the original work.

The months have gone by and a sense of frustration set in and, I suppose, this has turned in motivation. At this point in time, I find myself coming up with quite a lot insights about my characters and the story which were not evident several months ago. These new details will greatly enhance the book and the series far beyond what it was previously. So this time of creative gestation (maybe it is indigestion) has been very useful and will more than likely add a great deal to the book, making it even more fun and entertaining to read. I’m even at a place where I can begin to share some of details with readers as I talk more about the book itself. I know, I know, I should have done all the work long ago but the book needed writing immediately and it’s my task to revise it accordingly. Books to arrive in their own, unique way.

Look for more information about Reformed Mage in the coming weeks and months. I hope you will continue the journey with me as I build toward book. My only wish is that I had some artwork to share but that will arrive soon enough.

Thanks for reading the post today, please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments and I’ll get back with you as soon as I’m able. If you’ve enjoyed the post today about my creative process, please share it on social media or even reblog it so others can read it too.

Interviews With Tordug Part 3: The White Arrow

The following post is a fictitious news report based on events from The White Arrow, Book Three of The Bow of Hart Saga:

The Grendon Bugle/Free-Press
“The clear call of truth with the rising sun.”

Date-line: Auguron City
By Maroch Karkholm, roving reporter on assignment with the Grendonese mission to Auguron on behalf of Princess Limbreth.

Maroch Karkholm here, reporting on events as they unfold in Auguron City. This reporter has been on assignment with the royal emissary sent to find the missing Princess Limbreth. After many days of waiting and filing interest stories about the culture of Auguron and its citizenry, word arrived that an army of trolls marched west toward the city. After several weeks, the main force of Auguron’s eastern garrison arrived by fleet of river-boats.

Among this contingent of rangers were a Withling, a giant, two particular rangers, two dwarves and none other than Princess Limbreth. While this reporter has been unable to interview the princess, I have been able to sit down with one of the dwarves who traveled in her company these last months. What follows are the surprising details:

Maroch: I understand you’ve traveled with Princess Limbreth these last months. Can you tell us more your involvement and who you are?

Dwarf: I’m Tordug of Chokkra and I have been honored to travel and fight in the company of Princess Limbreth of Grendon, Ax-maid of the death-grip, the Silver Lady and Protector of Travelers.

Maroch: Excuse me, Tordug. Did you say you were from Chokkra?

Tordug: Yes, I did say that.

Maroch: Then you were named for the infamous former ruler of that fallen dwarven-realm? Or perhaps, you bare the same name?

Tordug: I am none other than the very same former ruler.

Maroch: My apologies for not recognizing you, sir. I have many questions if you have time to speak with me further. I do not wish to intrude.”

Tordug: I have some time before I must go meet with Captain Sarneth about the defense of the city.

Maroch: Then you must also have knowledge of the troll invasion in which we Grendonese intend to avoid being entangled?

Tordug: I do know much of the events and plans for the defense as a consultant to the captain. However, I’m not at liberty to speak of these details at this time so tread carefully with your questions.

Maroch: I see. And, pardon me for asking, but Captain Sarneth has no qualms about receiving your assistance considering your past history with the fall of your own realm?

Tordug: My past is exactly that, my past. However, who better to consult than someone who has known the tactics of the enemy from the past? I have no authority among these elves but they have accepted my offer of service and knowledge.

Maroch: When did you find out that the trolls were invading?

Tordug: Hmmm, I suppose that’s no secret. We encountered them while traveling through the Troll Heaths. We discovered their movements just after a snowstorm and the wandering star appeared in the eastern night sky. It was just after, well, other events. We hurried to inform the elven garrison so that the contingent might not be overwhelmed by the horde and yet warn travelers on the trade road.

Maroch: You say you and your party were in the Troll Heaths and discovered the invasion. That region is reputed to be rather dangerous. Were you aware that a member of your party was a member of the Grendonese royal family?

Tordug: Yes, but I found out only after we were well into our quest. As far as any of us knew, the princess was someone who chose the company of Withling Hastra.

Maroch: Ah, yes, some on Grendon have insinuated that the Withling abducted or bewitched the princess and-

Tordug: I can assure you that is not the case. Princess Limbreth accompanied Withling Hastra of her own choice. If you wish to know the reasons, you may ask her.

Maroch: I see. Well, there is rumor there was nearly an altercation with the Grendonese emissary, Count Dareth of Tinnewell, just after she arrived with the elven garrison. Do you confirm or deny such events?

Tordug: (He laughed, very hard and long). There was indeed a heated discussion between this Dareth and the princess in the street. They almost came to blows. I fear he would have soon found himself in danger from Princess Limbreth had not Captain Sarneth intervened.

Maroch: Wait, you say between the princess and the count? You do realize they are betrothed, don’t you?

Tordug: (He laughed long and hard again before he answered). If they are, it’s a rather one-sided affair, more on his hapless part, I should think. But what of it?

Maroch: You were there and Count Dareth was sent by King Hamgas to retrieve Princess Limbreth. Why didn’t you hand the princess over at that time?

Tordug: (Again, he laughed very hard before he answered). Princess Limbreth goes where she wants and with whomever she wants. And with I doubt it will ever be with this Count Dareth unless the one she does want doesn’t live through the coming attack.

Maroch: Wait, are you saying that the princes loves another man? Who is he?

Tordug: Oh, enough of these questions of idle gossip. If you want to know more, ask her yourself. All I will say is that she’s entitled to choose whomever she wishes. She is highly honored among my people as an Ax-maid of the death-grip and someone who has proven her bravery many times over in recent months. Good day to you.

This reporter has been unable to gather any other information about all these events or what happened on the adventure of Princess Limbreth’s. None of her companions, including Withling Hastra, have made themselves available even after formal messages were sent to them. However, it is clear that there is another man in her life of whom no one knows, mostly likely someone she met on her travels. That Princess Limbreth has won renown among the dwarves is of great surprise and will certainly please His Majesty. For now, all else remains a mystery to this reporter who leaves this very hour with the Grendonese contingent ahead of the invasion. One can only hope that the princess will see the wisdom of leaving with the well-trained cavalry sent to guard her return to Grendon.

From the endangered city of Auguron, this is Marock Karkholm, roving reporter and still on the trail of the mysteries surrounding Princess Limbreth.

Look for more of these fun reports about the series. If you are interested in The Bow of DestinyAn 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 link to find out more about The White Arrow where it can be downloaded for free via Kindle Unlimited:

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Interviews With Tordug Part 2: An Arrow Against the Wind

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 DestinyAn 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:

About the Author: