On release day of The Sword of Dragons, I began telling the tale of how this epic story came into existence. This is part 2 of that tale, the first part can be read here.
Four Years of Writer’s Block
The path to writing the first 12 chapters of what was still called Sword of the Dragon was a slow but eventful one. I rewrote the first chapter about 3 times before I was satisfied, and then moved on from there. At the time, my system was to write a chapter, and then go back and proofread it before moving on to the next chapter.
Little did I know at the time that this was a mistake for me. It slowed down the flow of the story, and stifled my creative outflow. Wow, it sounds so technical when I put it that way…
It was right around the time that I graduated from college in 2007 that the dreaded writer’s block hit. And it hit hard. From 2007 until 2011 I wrote two chapters of the novel, and maybe only 2 short stories. It was the least productive time of my entire writing life.
What caused it? A multitude of things. But a big part of it was uncertainty in my life. I was graduating with a Bachelor’s of English, but I was dissatisfied with it at that time. I was already on course for switching to IT for a career, but was unable to secure a job right after graduation.
My life became chaos. I didn’t know where I was going, what I was doing, and my writing suffered for it immensely. I did eventually find a part time job that then led to a full time job, but even as I changed jobs and began to make incredible progress in my IT career, my writing continued to suffer.
Breaking the Chains – Inspiration Strikes
I’ve been told that pulling out of writer’s block is one of the hardest things to do for any writer, and until this had happened, I had no idea just how hard. But I did.
It wasn’t instantaneously, though. I began writing short stories again, but didn’t complete any of them. I had some false-starts on chapter 14 of Sword of the Dragon, and I went back and rewrote chapters 12 and 13 a couple of times.
In many ways, my move to Colorado was the best thing I could have ever done. I was unhappy where I was in New Mexico, I was unhappy in my job, and I had a lot of painful memories there. I was stuck in the past.
So I found a better job in Colorado and ran away from New Mexico. There was more to do where I moved to, better quality of life, and a job that didn’t require me to work 12 hour shifts. Massive improvements.
Within months, it started. I finished chapter 15. Then 16. Then 17. On and on it went. And before I knew it, Sword of the Dragon was completed in 2012!!
Changing the Title
So why did I change Sword of the Dragon to The Sword of Dragons? Because it’s such a cooler title? Actually I think I lucked out on it, because I was dead-set on the original title. I like The Sword of Dragons better :)
But the reason behind was simple: The day I decided to start querying for an agent, I did a search on amazon, and found a novel subtitled “The Sword of the Dragon.”
While published long after I first came up with Sword of the Dragon, I am not despondent nor do I believe the author knew about my novels, how could he? And the description of Scott Appleton’s novel sounds really cool, I fully intend to buy it and read it :)
Never-the-less, this required me to change the title of my series. It took me about 5 minutes of thinking (the first 3 of which was me getting over the fact that I couldn’t use my title) to come up with the revised The Sword of Dragons.
Rejections, Redirects, and Self Publishing
With the title changed and all references in the manuscript changed, I began the arduous process of writing query letters and synopses. After each rejected query letter, I reworked it. Checked out some awesome helpful websites (Agent Query Connect is the best! :D)
But no hits. This didn’t deter me. While I worked on finding an agent, I completed book 2 of the series, Burning Skies. Compared to book 1’s six-year development, book 2’s year-long development was insanely fast!
I took a break from the series when I came up with Chronicles of the Sentinels, but that was yet another incredible outpour of creativity: I developed, wrote, and completed 2 rounds of proofreading on the novel in 3 months!!!! It is safe to say that my writer’s block is really over, heheh.
But when a potential agent for Chronicles fell through, something sparked in me. I realized how annoyed I was at the whole process. And I kept thinking about Lindsey Stirling, who was rejected (quite brusquely) by the panel of “America’s Got Talent”, but through social media, was able to make a name for herself!
The key was when I asked my girlfriend one question: “Do you think I should self-publish? Do you think I can even do it? Can I make it as a self-published writer?”
Her unequivocal “yes” was that last boost I needed. :)
The result of that decision so many months ago? Well, you’ve all seen it. The Sword of Dragons :D
Thanks for reading!