I wanted to offer a real quick apology for not writing a blog last week. House hunting has been extremely time-consuming and stressful and before I knew what was happening, last Sunday was over O_o
Onto the blog we go – are the best stories and characters born from emotion?
The thought occurred to me late last year when I was proofreading all of my books just prior to release. As I read through them successively and rapidly, I discovered that the most recent story, The Orc War Campaigns, felt better written and more engaging as a story. And I wondered why.
There’s probably many reasons, not the least of which is, it’s my latest, so all of the lessons I’d learned up to that point were ingrained into telling the story.
But also…I wrote the characters out of real emotion.
I know I’ve talked about it before, so I don’t intend to get into details, but as I wrote Amaya’s story and her struggle to move on from an emotionally abusive relationship, I used it as a way to explore my own attempt to do the same.
And in using my own emotions and fusing them into the story, I was able to better connect with her character, as well as Zerek’s and Arkad’s.
What resulted was a writing style that felt more relaxed, more intuitive. The writing flowed, and despite being 3rd person, it felt like the story was more from their perspective rather than an objective 3rd person describing the events.
I’m also happy to have learned that others feel the same about The Orc War Campaigns. In fact, despite being the longest book I’ve written so far, folks have read through the entire book in one sitting! That tells me I definitely did something right.
Applying These Lessons to Future Stories
So now the question is, can I take this idea and write the next book in the series the same way? Can I connect more with Cardin and Kailar and write in a way that makes it easier for the reader to connect with them?
The answer, of course, is yes. But it also meant I had to go back through the chapters I wrote last year and the year before and changing them…or in the case of Kailar, rewriting them from scratch.
Actually, I’m glad to have had this revelation. I came to realize that my original plans for Kailar were far too passive in book 3, and that I needed to drastically change things.
Originally she was going to be very passive, following Letan’s orders and only occasionally letting her temper take hold and spur her to more direct action.
That’s not Kailar. It never was. Part of what makes her such an engaging character is that she is an antihero. She wants to do what’s right, but isn’t held back by the same moral constraints as Cardin is. She is much more aggressive. And now, after the events of Burning Skies, she has the power to back her aggressive and straightforward nature with direct action.
And I have to say, I enjoy writing her a lot more this way! She felt two-dimensional before, this feels more natural for her.
Another bonus to having taken a break from book 3 was that I came up with new ideas for book 3 as well as later books that I could foreshadow in book 3, especially for Cardin. His journey in book 3 starts out feeling like it’s the same as book 1 and 2, something comes up, an adventure, and he just goes along with it.
Until something tragic happens.
The tragedies of book 3 were always planned, but they’ve become even more vital after a discussion I had with our friend (and wedding photographer) Danielle, about how she felt like Cardin was never really in any danger. His powers protected him, and always evolved to save him in a life-threatening situation.
And it’s true, the Sword of Dragons makes Cardin very difficult to hurt.
Everyone else, however…not so much. Worse still for him, being the Keeper of the Sword means that his actions never affect just him, or even just his friends. He also must contend with the new paradigm of Dark Magic, and what it means for him and his future.
Book 3 will be a very personal journey for these two characters, as well as for Reis. More so than in Rise of the Forgotten or Burning Skies. All with the backdrop of an epic story unfolding!