Blog Archives

Building a Shared Universe

In letting Series2:Book 1 (which I haven’t totally settled on a title for yet, but I’m leaning toward “Loyalty Betrayed”) settle for a few months, I turned my attention to planning for another part of the Griffins & Gunpowder world. Typically I’ll take this time to write short stories that expand the world in some small way, or give background to a character or situation. This time it was all about world building.

The problem that I ran into was that I had two different story ideas that I wanted to work on: a political intrigue drama and a criminal empire story. They’re both set in Post-Series 2 Andivar, so they already shared a bit of the same storyline so it was a natural leap to have the two loosely connected.

What I’ve found in laying the groundwork for this shared storyline is that a timeline is essential, even if characters from the two stories never cross paths (though in this case, the two stories will cross over at least a couple times, though the interaction in the early going is minimal), it’s important to keeping everything straight. Especially in the age of the internet where readers congregate to put together theories and compare notes.

Have you read any good shared-universe stories? What were some of the things that you liked or disliked about them?

Took A While

But I’ve finally finished marking up the first round of edits for Series2:Book1. This was a “high-level” pass looking for story holes, missing information, too much information etc. I did a little line-by-line editing too, but it wasn’t the focus since I’ll be rewriting quite a bit.

I have to say, it felt good to get this done so I can move on to making the changes, but I’m always astonished/ashamed of the amount of red ink that I lay down in a first edit pass. It’s only a first draft, but I thought it was a lot better when I wrote it. I guess that’s why they tell you to leave a book set for a while before you edit it.

Now I have to go through and apply the changes and then I’ll make a second pass, which will be more line-by-line in nature.

On another note, I’ll developed half a dozen new story ideas (some set in the world of Zaria) that I think will have some promise. They’re WAY down the list, but at least they aren’t knocking around in the back of my head while I’m trying to work forward. =D

In the Interim…

The writing on Loyalty Betrayed is complete, but the book is far from ready for queries, so I’m taking my own advice and letting it sit on the shelf for a little while before I pick it up for rewrites and editing.

In the Interim, however, my mind keeps spinning. I’ve decided to take this time to try something slightly different.

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New Work in Progress is Complete!

As of approximately 1:30 AM Central Time, my new Work-In-Progress is complete!

Loyalty Betrayed clocked in at 118,718 words spread across 62 Chapters and an Epilogue.

The first few chapters aren’t where I want them to be, so the next thing on the list is the arduous task of rewriting the first few entries and then going over the whole thing for complete edits. I plan on leaving this alone for a little while, so in the meantime I’m going to plot out the next story and the short stories built around this main character.

Eventually I’m going to submit this to agents and editors and hopefully get picked up. We’ll see!

 

The Cerberus Rebellion Cover Redux

So I’ve got the cover for The Hydra Offensive sitting in my email inbox, just waiting for the reveal, so stay tuned for that.

But with the new artist for the cover came a new set of typography. Trevor over at trevorsmithart.com did the cover for Hydra and gave me some ideas for typography, which my lovely wife was kind of enough to use to update the cover for The Cerberus Rebrellion

So here’s The Cerberus Rebellion with new typography.

booksoldiercoverREDO

Tell me what you think.

And let me know if you’d like to receive an Advanced Review Copy of The Hydra Offensive. It’s coming soon!

All of the Pieces

The Centaur Incursion is 10k words deep and The Hydra Offensive is nearly through Round 1 of Paper Edits. I don’t have classes this summer, so I should be able to tear through my workload on both of those.

There, I started with an update!

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Constantly Evolving

Something that I’ve learned as I plot and write the stories of The Ansgari Rebellion, is that stories are more a living creation than a static work.

While the core of the series has remained essentially the same, many of the details have morphed and changed.

Characters have walked into the story from out of nowhere and insinuated themselves as cornerstones of the books in which they reside and those that follow.

Plot points have moved, from the beginning of the series, to the middle, and now to the end.

Even though I am a meticulous plotter, typically drawing up a book’s outline by chapter well before I start writing it, I’ve learned the benefits of being flexible with my story. My style has developed into a sort of hybrid: still heavily plotter, but with just enough pantser to allow for more story to develop and grow on its own.

In production news, The Centaur Incursion is underway! I’ve got 1,000 words written and more ready to come out as soon as I get a chance to sit down. Also, The Hydra Offensive is more than halfway through the first round of paper edits. I plan on putting it through a second round, in which I’ll break the chapters down by POV rather than by chapter order.

I’ll be looking for beta readers soon, so if you’re interested let me know!

Stories on Wattpad

I’ve posted The Red Dragon’s Gold and a few chapters of The Cerberus Rebellion on Wattpad, so have a read if you haven’t already!

RDGcoverCERBERUSrcover

In other news, plotting for The Centaur Incursion is nearly complete and editing on The Hydra Offensive is coming along nicely.

 

  

 

 

Add “The Cerberus Rebellion” to the Goodreads Gunpowder Fantasy List

Hey All!

I’m nearly completion on the first two rounds of editing for The Hydra Offensive (I’ve been doing a first-pass digital edit and following behind with a paper-and-pen round), so that should be going to edits very soon.

In the meantime, stop by Goodreads and vote for The Cerberus Rebellion to be added to the Gunpowder Fantasy listopia!

Evolution of Cities

Before the Industrial Revolution, populations were dispersed across nations. The number of people that could live in a given area was determined by the amount of food that could be produced close enough to the town/village and brought to market before it spoiled. Whether this was through agriculture, fishing, hunting, or livestock, food production was the number one determining factor of a population.

The Industrial Evolution changed that. As I discussed in my post on Agriculture in Gunpowder Fantasy, the reach of farms and farmers, and the ability to mechanize the production process, increased exponentially. This change left many farmhands without work. So they moved to the city, where new textile mills and factories were sprouting up to feed the Industrial machine.

Cities began to grow as more and more people poured into them from the countryside. But immigration wasn’t the only factor in the growth of cities. With better medicine and better food, more people were surviving for longer and having more children. Cities suddenly found themselves growing as much as 50% every 10 years.

On our world, this increase in population was strictly Human. But in a fantasy world, the immigrants and their children could be of a different species. Imagine a world where industrialization has suddenly rendered the majority of a dwarven city unemployed. Unable to feed their families, these dwarves move to the nearby human city, looking for work in the factories, foundries, and mills. They resent the fact that they have been replaced by machines and left to do the most menial tasks.

Imagine the tension between the two species, and any other populations that might live within the city.

This tension could lead to the formation of gangs as young, unemployed citizens roam the streets looking for fun, or to exact their own brand of justice on the world. The seeds of revolution could be planted, driving the nation toward civil war.

Overcrowding would also become a concern, as more and more people poured into the city, or were born into it. A city that had been built to house 10,000, within a generation it finds itself home to 30,000, many of them poor or uneducated. Sanitation would suffer and disease would spread. The city would tear itself apart as the rich hid within their houses and the pour died in the streets.