Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
I received my first alpha-reader feedback on The Unicorn Hunters and it was positive… Looks like I hit my emotional targets in the piece. :-) Proofreading has left me with cleanup and editing to do before I send it off to my second trusted alpha, and I’ll be diving into that later this week.
Otherwise, my writing continues to roll right along. :-) I started an as yet unnamed in-between story as a warm-up and gear-changer while “imagineering” ideas for the next tale I want in my Libram Aetherea, The Orgcrist. It crossed the three-thousand word mark last night and might need a thousand or two more before it’s done. I had been aiming for something shorter, but a higher word-count than planned doesn’t really matter or make me despair so long as it’s working into a nice little story.
I had concerns about it when I reached a few pages deep, as basically to that point the story was: “So a wizard and a warrioress enter a bar…” However, even though most of the action is set in a smokey tavern, the tale is about the reader piecing together a bit of mystery as a company of adventurers eager to reunite with old friends instead find one member missing… and a stranger willing to fill the void his departure leaves in the party. Here’s a snippet from the second page as I’m introducing Izraeya, the woman seeking to join The Company of the Hidden Tower:
I think I’ve got some good characterization and mood going, and as the story starts it’s clear that Izraeya and her sponsor/friend Dirgten are hiding something from the others… But what? As I start work on the story’s climax and falling action, I think that I have an ending that will surprise a number of readers and say things in that unique way that only fantasy can.
Another thing that I like about this story has been that it prompted a bit of creative world-building for me in my setting of Burus. I try to place most of my fantasy stories in that world, but my gazetteer of the continent is deliberately sketchy as I let it fill-out and grow while I write about it. It’s fair enough to say that it is reminiscent of medieval Europe, with notable exceptions such as the existence of magic and other sentient species.
In writing the character of Izraeya, and her cousin Darro, I was able to envision and add more detail to Burus by expanding and adding a few new places on the map. The first was a filling-out of the plains region of Zacia, a kingdom of Burus roughly analogous to Portugal and Spain in Europe. I’ve now populated its arid grasslands with rough-around-the edges cowherds and fine horsemen: A dark-skinned folk that immigrated to the continent over three or four hundred years ago.
Bordering the plains to the south is the northern tip of a chain of semi-autonomous city-states on the southern coast of Burus called “The Principalities”… Places of thriving trade and seamanship under the ultimate rule of either the throne of Adril or Zacia.
I really can’t wait to write more about the peoples that live in these places. :-) These two pieces of world-building are going to help me greatly with the stories I plan to write down the road. That’s because they enable me to smoothly integrate some characters I’ve been thinking-up for a while now into the setting!
On Saturday I released the first part of The Old Man of the Elder Trees on Aethereal Engines, and it was very warmly received. :-) It’s a great feeling when you have new people discovering your work, enjoying it, and taking the time to tell you so!
Part two comes out on the 14th, and here’s a preview excerpt from it:
The girl’s scalp was gripped by a bony green hand that caught strands of red hair in broken black fingernails. Wincing, she was pulled closer to his hook-nosed visage that reeked of bitter fermentation. Dabbing a finger into the wooden bowl beside him, the child’s emerald eyes watched his withered digit poke forward dripping near-black purple before a chill touch smeared another sigil upon the fair skin of her face.
His eyes were pools of black surrounding shrunken green rings that pulled back and surveyed the marks on the child. Nodding, he reached beside the bowl and grabbed the long glass neck of a bottle. Raising it in the moonlight, he sloshed the contents within its onion-shaped base before pulling out a cork with toothless gums.
“Drink,” he said spitting the cork to the dirt.
Shaking her head, the girl squirmed away from the mouth of the bottle.
He pulled her forward by the hair, evoking a cry as he shoved the sour-smelling wine to her lips. “Drink!”
His hand slid from her scalp to her face, an iron grip forcing her mouth open before he poured a draught between her lips. Struggling, she choked down the fermented elderberries as his fingers pinched her lips and jaw shut.
“Yeh have no idea how costly difficult this preparation was to brew for meh… But yeh ain’t right without it!”
Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!