Friday, December 9, 2011

News on Hemlock and the Dead God's Legacy

Photo by Albion Europe.  licensed under
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.
First, a news update on the forthcoming novel "Hemlock and the Dead God's Legacy".  I've got about four or five chapters left to write.  I thought I would be cutting it shorter than that, but I have realized that I need to add a bit more content to get a good, smooth plot arc.  Of course there is lots of fighting, scheming, and magic in the story.  I think it pairs well with the original story, and I'm certain it is written much "tighter" than Hemlock and the Wizard Tower.  For starters, much of the world building is already established.  And when I do additional world building in this novel it is all told through action.  There are no long passages with world building exposition or long monologues.  I think it will be a much easier read.  I'm going to try and make a final push to complete the first draft before the end of the year.  Wish me luck! 

Next are some brief observations from a journeyman writer.  If you are a writer then they might be of interest.  Your mileage may vary...

At some point I think all writing falls back on established archetypes and societal norms.  This is true of contemporary writing as well as science fiction and fantasy.  Whether a character is a priest, a star ship pilot or a warrior, a reader will form some basic assumptions about the character based on real life and the pop culture stories and myths that have preceded it.

From time to time I've found myself falling into the trap of relying too heavily on "prefab" character archetypes.  I think this is where an author runs the risk of having a flat plot or a cliche storyline.

For example, I was recently writing a sequence where my protagonists are fighting some enemies.  I immediately settled on trolls for the enemies since they are a good fit for the setting.  But I found myself having a hard time getting through writing the chapter.  I was bored with it and I hadn't even written it yet!  It turned out that trolls were precisely the wrong answer for this.  So I erected my mental scaffolding, and went back to imagineering the sequence.  And what I ended up with was far, far better than trolls.  Now I am really looking forward to writing this part!

Authors can derive some support from the conventions of their genre, character archetypes and societal norms; but I think readers are really looking for novel and distinctive stories and characters.  It's not easy to consistently deliver that as an author, but in my experience the results are very satisfying and much more fun to write.


  1. Very excited that the continuing story is coming along. Can't wait to check it out!

  2. Thanks, Scott! I've been meaning to add a link to your giveaway. I'll do that now.