Note: I’ve tried to make this a spoiler-free review, and as you’ll soon read, I’m only in the second book, so if you are so led to comment on this post, please try to leave it spoiler-free for all future readers and viewers! Thanks
There’s no question that anyone who writes is influenced by the entertainment they consume. Sometimes it’s more obvious than at other times, but all of us want to write in genres we love and we can’t help but be influenced by what we’ve read and saw and listened to. In that spirit, I thought I’d post on what I’m currently reading. It’s a nice break from talking about my own work for a while.
Right now I’m working my way through George R.R. Martin’s iconic “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, better known to most of the world by the HBO show based off the series, Game of Thrones. I realize I’m more than a little late to the party, but for several years now I’ve been working my way down the NPR top 100 sci-fi and fantasy list, where the series is listed at number five. Despite the popularity of the series, I elected not to read them until I got down to number five in the list. Needless to say, it’s been a while.
I’m currently nearing the end of the second book, Clash of Kings, and I haven’t seen any of the television series, but I will say, the first book is an incredible achievement.
I’ll start off with what I like. What I love most about the book is its structure. I love the multiple viewpoints throughout the story and I love how well they are balanced and how each keeps the story moving and the pages turning. It’s a structure I like in many books, but rarely is it done as well as it is in Game of Thrones.
I also liked how the fantastic elements of the story are more subdued. This is a land where magic has largely passed down into legend, and I’d argue that most of the book barely qualifies as fantasy. Outside of a few events through the book, it could almost be medieval fiction. But when the fantastic elements are introduced, you are so invested you accept them without question.
Finally, I loved how the story avoided common story lines in fantasy. I’ve actually read a bit about this, and it’s certainly intentional. I want to avoid spoilers, but in his series heroes don’t always come out on top, and evil people aren’t always defeated. You really don’t know what will happen to the characters, and that makes the suspense much more real.
There is little I don’t love about the book, but I do have some worries. As is sometimes the case, I worry some of the strengths of the first book may morph into weaknesses. First is structure. While I loved the structure of the first book, I worry that as the cast of characters becomes larger and larger that the structure will become unmanageable. Second is the unpredictability of the story. Again, I don’t want to say too much, and I will have to read much more before I come to a decision, but I wonder how the protagonists of the story (the Starks) will come out of everything. Only time will tell.
I’ll keep people updated on my thoughts as I continue to work through the series. Until then, keep reading!
I hope that everyone is having a fantastic week this week. I thought that this week I would take a moment to let everybody know what’s happening here at Waterstone Media.
The first exciting news is that sales of Nightblade continue to exceed my expectations. I’m so grateful to everyone who has purchased the book. It’s currently (as of the time of this writing) sitting at a 4+ star rating on both Amazon and Goodreads, and I’m thankful to everyone who has left their feedback. It’s a nerve-wracking experience to put your work out into the world, but it’s awesome to see people enjoy it.
Right now there’s a couple of exciting pieces of work happening here. The first is that Nightblade is being readied for print distribution. Right now the book is being formatted for print and will be submitted shortly. Once I have a more solid release date, I’ll let everyone know if you’re interested in it.
The second exciting piece of news is that I’m in the process of editing the second book in the Nightblade series. The book is still untitled, unfortunately, but I’m making my third pass through the book before it gets sent off to the editor. I’m hoping to release the book in September of 2015, but we’ll see how long the process takes. Once the process gets closer to completion I’ll put the book up for pre-order and announce it officially. Keep looking for more information here on the blog and on twitter.
Finally, the last piece of news is that I’ve started working on a new book as well. This book will be quite a departure from the Nightblade series. It’s a sci-fi series that is going to be fast-paced. I hope you’ll all enjoy it, even though it won’t come out into well into 2016.
To everyone, thanks again for reading, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
In my post last week, I talked about how Nightblade had originally come to fruition. It was 160,000 words, and I was proud of it. I’d written novel-length works before, but this story felt better to me than any others I had ever written.
After writing Nightblade I sat down and wrote a new novel in 2013. It was completely unrelated to Nightblade. It was a different world and a different genre. All in all, it was also pretty bad. There’s a good idea there, and someday I may go back and rewrite it, but as it stands now, it will also never see the light of day.
It was in 2013 I discovered the Self-Publishing Podcast (SPP), a podcast put on by three authors all heavily involved in self-publishing. Much like my discovery of Nanowrimo, SPP opened up my eyes to a new world I’d never thought of before. I wasn’t a kindle owner at the time (I still love my paper books, although my attitude is beginning to change), so I never really thought about self-publishing.
After hours of listening to SPP, I was swayed. I’ve got other friends who are writers who are interested in trying to be traditionally published, and someday I may try, but right now, being traditionally published doesn’t hold much appeal to me.
It’s always been a dream of mine to be a writer. I don’t have an inspirational story where I quit my job and gave up everything. I’ve got a family to support, so until I’m making healthy money writing, I still go to a day job. But I’m excited to have my words out in public.
It would still be a long time before I published Nightblade, but the decision was made in 2013, and it’s only been a matter of time and effort since then. Since then I’ve written two more novels which finish the story began in the first. I’ve made several rounds of edits and now the book is out, and I’m grateful for each and every one of my readers. I hope you enjoy the story.
Since I’ve published Nightblade, one of the most frequent questions I’ve been getting from readers and friends and family is what motivated me both to write the story and to publish it. The story about deciding to publish is probably a post of its own, but I’m excited to share a bit of the backstory behind the writing of the book.
As I’ve mentioned in a few places, I’ve been writing since I was a young child. I wrote silly action and adventure stories that were more or less copies of what I had just read or watched. They were fun and embarrassing, and if I can find them I’ll post them someday here on the site.
Since high school I’ve been attempting to write a novel. Like many wannabe authors, I probably started over a dozen different stories, or started the same story a dozen different times. I never got more than a few thousand words in before I realized it was crap and would tear it up.
That all changed in 2011, when I discovered Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month. Nanowrimo is an event that happens every year in November when aspiring authors set out to write 50,000 words in a month. I didn’t actually participate in Nanowrimo, but as I researched the event I came away with two revelations:
- All first drafts are crap.
- It’s better to write and get the story down on paper than to wait for the perfect phrase.
Not exactly earth-shattering revelations, but it released me from my own self-designed prison. In 2011 I committed to writing 50,000 words, whether I liked them or not. I sat down and started writing every day. When 2011 ended I had my first novel, which is untitled and will probably never see the light of day. It was a horrible, horrible mess, but it was 65,000 words, and it was a novel.
In 2012 I sat down to the keyboard again. I’d proven to myself that I could write a story, and now it was time to see if I could write a good story. I set a daily goal of 1,000 words and went to work.
I finished the first draft of Nightblade in October of 2012. The first draft was a sprawling 160,000 words, far and away the longest piece of fiction I’d ever written. The first draft is pretty different than the version published today. Many of the changes take place in the ending, and I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there were other substantial changes.
- In the first draft, neither Akira or Orochi had any chapters or scenes dedicated to them.
- I also had an introduction to each chapter, describing the Three Kingdoms in a bit more detail. I liked the introductions, but they didn’t work in later drafts.
- The ending was quite different, something I may write about someday.
When I wrote Nightblade I wasn’t sure that I would publish it. I was proud of my draft, but several more events would have to happen before I was convinced publishing was a good idea.
I’ll share more in future weeks!
Thanks for stopping by! I’m excited to announce that as of August 3rd, Nightblade is officially out on Amazon. This story, the first of a trilogy, has been in development for several years. It’s my first published work, and it will be the first of many.
Nightblade was originally written in 2012. I’d written several novel-length stories before it, but it was the first one that I felt deserved a chance to see the public eye. Since 2012 I’ve gone over and edited it several times as well as written the other two novels in the trilogy. I’ll be releasing them in the next few months.
As you can see, the website is very much under construction. I’m hoping to make a ton of improvements in the next few weeks as well as add a lot more content. I hope to see you around.