Guess what, my friends? NEW BOOK PARTY YEAH!
I made this for you. <3
If you’re interested in hear about how this book was imagined, read on… If you’re interested in my other series updates, scroll to the bottom. 😉
The story of DAGGER OF BONE began very differently, and like all good stories, it began a long time ago…
I’ve been writing since I was young. But I always had hard time finishing things. Don’t worry if you’re new here, I’ve thoroughly gotten over that problem. Twenty or so years of struggling with something will do that to ya. 😉 The beginnings of DAGGER OF BONE was the longest, most fleshed out story I had ever written. At it’s longest, it was over 300,000 words.
This primordial soup of a book was also where I began to understand how much story really went into a book. (If you’re wondering, more than a handful, less than a planetful. Give or take a truckful.)
I learned this because this early predecessor to DAGGER had way too much story. I was struggling to handle it all.
Way, way too much.
Your average novel, DAGGER included, is around 100,000 words, although 50k and 300k are both totally possible. So yes, it was about 3 times longer than it needed to be.
And I was not at the end. I wasn’t even at the middle. At least, I didn’t think so.
Much of this was inspired by what I was reading. Lots of fantasy novels have 200k+ words and dozens of point of view characters and huge tangents and sweeping storylines of grandiose scale. Much of that came through in the work. But juggling it all was a little bit insane… And I only had 6 main characters, which by some standards is not terribly wild for epic fantasy.
But it was wild for me. It was too much. It was more than I could handle at the time.
Also, I love page turners. I want a book to sweep me off my feet, and I wanted to do that for readers. But every scene and POV change becomes exponentially harder the more POV characters and storylines you include. Because even if they are all someone’s favorite — different ones are going to be favorites for different people. And one of them is always hated by some percentage of people. So it’s a risk, although of course there is also sometimes great reward. It’s a technique, a tool, and like any tool, it has situations where it excels and situations where it doesn’t.
But the point is, it takes more skill to write a page turner the more POV characters you have.
I also worked on re-imagining and expanding the magic system. The idea of the clanblades and everything behind them had always been there, but I fleshed out the details of the exact spells, the charms, the tree, and more.
Lara’s character was originally fairly different. Sometimes we change as a person, we grow, and the characters we once would have once written no longer speak to us. New ones emerge. Others like Nyalin and Su sharpen. Grel has pretty much always been — and probably always will be — the same.
The world and my place in it are also very different than when I began. If I were creating this world today, I might not have chosen to work in such a patriarchal society (although it’s far from the far end of the spectrum). Then again, you can’t criticize something without showing it. But this sort of world, and women’s continued struggle against it, have been huge themes in fantasy a long time, so it is fun to explore my take on it.
Ultimately I took this story, threw out vast sections, re-imagined the villain, poured some cement in a few mile-wide plot holes, and broke it apart into three novels. Possibly four. Maybe more than that, we shall see.
But I did not do all this until after I had set aside the story for a long time. I needed time to let my heart heal from the pain that I couldn’t tell it right just yet. Let my anger fade that I couldn’t make it what I wanted, or find the ending, or, well, lots of things… This struggle was part of what galvanized me to hone my craft further and to take a deeper look at plot and structure.
In the end, the story had to wait over a decade.
Now, I’m so happy to see it have come to life, in my mind and in yours.
What did I do while it was waiting? I set this grand mess aside to write a little book you might have heard of. It started with an index card that said something like “An enslaved mage has to kidnap a prince and falls in love with him.” I quickly titled it MAGE SLAVE. Writing it was not so quick, however. (Again, that was part of the learning process, things are a bit different now.)
Incidentally, MAGE SLAVE is on sale for 99c till the 28th, so if you haven’t read it, it’s a good time to check it out!
And for my fans of Audacity, I am thick in the trenches, this is about how it goes just now. You be the judge of whether I am the storm trooper or Han in this metaphor…
As always, thanks for reading. 🙂