Hey everyone, great news! As of yesterday (July 24th) I started writing the fourth book of the Sword of Dragons!!
And I have to say…book 4 has been a challenge to get settled. And I use that term instead of ‘get started’ because it’s been a rambunctious little book for a good couple of years, and settling on one overall story has been a challenge.
Since book 3 has only been out a week (as of today!) I don’t want to spoil what happens in it, but I CAN spoil a bit what was originally going to happen…that is to say, one of the heroes was meant to turn villain!
It wasn’t an ‘all of a sudden they’re the bad guy’ kind of thing, but the first step in a journey towards evil. I was looking forward to the story line, but within months of when I intended to start writing the first draft…it just felt more and more wrong. Until I realized, the character I was having turn evil would never, ever do the things I intended him to do. It was very much against his established character, and while yes, people and characters evolve, it was so much the antithesis of him that I just couldn’t.
So I decided to change his journey completely. There are hints of where he might have gone still present, but otherwise that story thread was put to bed. And then I had a brilliant idea of how to end book 3 (the final page, actually,) and that meant…most everything I had in mind for book 4 was officially unusable.
Worse still, all of this meant that all of a sudden, book 4 had no main villains or central antagonists of any kind.
Changing Directions, Remaining on Course
So, as strange as it sounds, I found myself in a conundrum – I had an overall story arc for the series that still needed certain things to happen in book 4, but everything underlying it needed to change to reflect the new reality everyone finds themselves in at the end of book 3. And I needed a central villain.
So for most of this year, I’ve been restructuring it. And in the end, it was a friend of mine who made a suggestion to do something that I had already planned for in book 5 that helped me (thanks Nick!) The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of pushing the event up to book 4. It fits very, very well with how book 3 ended. Furthermore, it not only brings a central villain to the fore-front, it reveals THE villain of the series.
It also means that the series may end up only being 5 books long. And I’m okay with this. In fact, it feels right. Secrets of the Cronal felt more epic and more like a halfway point than I thought it would be, and I feel like if I try to string along the series much longer, book 4 will feel anti-climactic compared to 3.
On the flip side, for as big (page-count) as Secrets is…I think books 4 and 5 will end up even longer. No matter what, I don’t wish to short-change characters and their arcs, and there’s still so much to tell for all of them.
What does all of this mean? Well, here’s one teeny tiny spoiler – the Darksteel Army, of whom we saw a little bit of in book 3, will become a lot more prominent in book 4. Including the mysterious, clawed leader. We’re going to find out a lot more about her from the very beginning of book 4.
That’s all for today! I hope you all are enjoying Secrets of the Cronal!
Thanks for reading,