Category Archives: Chronicles of the Sentinels

Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy

Hi everyone!

Last night, I finished the 2nd revision of book 1 of the Chronicles of the Sentinels!  :D  This was an exciting milestone, because it means that I finally, finally get to share the novel with others!

Every single milestone in writing a novel is exciting to me, and as I’ve said before, the actual writing stage is my favorite.  However, the idea that new eyes will get to read the story is so exciting to me!  What will they think about it?  How will they interpret it?  All of the subtle little subtext I put in, will they see it?

Most of all, I hope that it sparks the imagination of those who read it.  I hope they finish this relatively short novel and go “That was exciting!  Where’s book 2?”

In fact, I’ve already sent my novel out to I think 8 beta readers (and am about to send it to a 9th :) )  I am so excited and looking forward to seeing their responses!!

The Titles of Chronicles

As you can see from the title of this blog article, I finally came up with a name for the 1st book, simply, “Legacy.”  I reserve the right to change that, of course, but I think it fits the story nicely :)

More than that, I kind of have some ideas for titles for all 3 books by keeping to the simplicity of it.  So while every novel’s title will begin with “Chronicles of the Sentinels,” the individual book’s title will be 1 descriptive word.

I don’t want to reveal all of the titles right here, for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is I may change them after writing the novels.  Also, there is a certain hype that comes with revealing a novel’s title, so I want to save that for when I’m hyping the 2nd and 3rd books :)

So, book 1 is officially called: Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy

What next?

Well, for starters, I wait for beta readers to finish and give feedback.  I hope to hear back from at least a couple of them before the writing conference.

Image Source - http://www.rmfw.org/
Image Source – http://www.rmfw.org/

The next milestone is the Writer’s Conference in September, and for that, I need to start researching how to pitch a novel, and start practicing!  2 weeks isn’t a long time to figure out how to do something I’ve never done before.  However, if I continue to treat this as part of the writing process, IE: put hours into it every day, I’m confident I’ll be ready :)

Do any of my fellow writers out there have any advice on pitching a novel in person?  What are your experiences?

Oh, and before I forget, the numbers from revision #2!

Chronicles of the Sentinels – 3rd Draft by the Numbers

There may still be some revisions after I get feedback from beta readers, but here it is, as polished as I can make it right now :)

Word Count: 72,970
Page Count: 226

That’s almost 100 words more than the 2nd draft, so there was a net increase.  Interesting since there were, in some cases, whole sentences I removed, others I tightened up.

Thanks for reading, everyone!
-Jon

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Chronicles of the Sentinels – 1st Revision Completed!

Hi everyone!

I’m happy to announce that I’ve completed the 1st revision of Chronicles of the Sentinels!

1st printed copy of Chronicles of the Sentinels book 1
1st printed copy of Chronicles of the Sentinels book 1

What does this mean?  Well for starters, it means I’m one step closer to sending it out to beta readers.  I continue to follow my writing process, which I wrote a two-part article about, and so tonight I printed out a hard-copy of the manuscript and will begin the 2nd proofread tomorrow.  I usually catch a lot more and red-ink in a lot more revisions in this step, plus I just like reading paper better than on a laptop :)

When I told one of my friends that I finished read-through #1, she asked me, “So what did you think?”  Well, I like it!  For starters, it made me laugh throughout the novel, not non-stop but lots of little moments here and there.  The fact that I’m laughing at it when I wrote it is pretty good: I don’t usually do that in my own novels.  I hope beta readers laugh as much as I did :)

It’s actually the shortest novel I’ve ever written, the previous three novels were all high-fantasy and usually well over 300 pages.  So it packs a lot of punch for only 220+ pages!  A lot happens, including some awesome character moments!  I don’t know if it is because of all of the pre-writing work I did or what, but all of the characters and their interactions came out very well, in my opinion :)

Image Source - http://branislavboda.deviantart.com
Image Source – http://branislavboda.deviantart.com

I think Emmi definitely goes through the most difficulties in the story, however not only does that pave the way for character development in book 1, it opens the door for a lot more in book 2!  I think the development for Chris and Alycia is a lot more subtle, so I’ll be interested to hear what readers think about each of them :)  There’s so much I want to talk about in the novel, but I don’t want to spoil it all for everyone!

I still haven’t decided on a volume title for this first novel, and that’s starting to bother me.  It’s getting down to the wire and I really have to make a decision.  I think that’ll be the last hurdle I need to overcome before I send it to beta readers.  I want to give them as complete a package as possible.

Chronicles of the Sentinels – 2nd Draft By the Numbers

A little change from the 1st revision, which I had documented in this article.

Word Count: 72,872
Page Count: 226

I’ll be curious to see how big of a difference revision #2 makes :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon

Chronicles of the Sentinels – Excerpt from Chapter 10

Hi everyone!

So as promised, here is another excerpt from book 1 of Chronicles of the Sentinels.  Once more I’m over 8 sentences, but that’s okay :)

In this scene, directly following the attack in chapter 9, the trio have been brought to the Sentinel facility, and are learning about the Barrier and how magic works.

———————————————————————–

“It’s exactly why I told you to not use magic,” Thomas glared at Chris, which elicited a gulp from him. “Every time magic is used where there is a crack in the Barrier, it weakens it, maybe even makes the cracks worse.”

“How do you track cracks now?” Emmi asked, the first time she’d spoken since they fled Sixteenth Street.

“Some sort of cool technology?” Alycia asked, hopeful. “Something that somehow tracks the electromagnetic field that the Barrier generates?”

Shara raised her eyebrow at Alycia, “You really have watched too much television.”

Alycia’s face turned red and she looked down. “Sorry.” Chris unconsciously reached out and rubbed her arm encouragingly.

———————————————————————–

Thanks for reading!  Please comment below to let me know what you think.

-Jon

Chronicles of the Sentinels – 1st Draft Completed!

Hi everyone!

Today I finished the 1st draft of Chronicles of the Sentinels!  :D

I have been so very excited about this new project from day one, and I have worked on it at a pace I never thought possible.  However, the pace didn’t come just from how excited this story has made me, it came from a desire to prove to myself that I could write every day, and treat writing like a full-time job.  (Which means I’ve essentially been working 2 full time jobs over the past two months.)

The really awesome part is this puts me exactly 1 week ahead of schedule for my deadline!

Journal for developing Chronicles of the Sentinels.  Purchased from Barnes & Noble
Journal for developing Chronicles of the Sentinels. Purchased from Barnes & Noble

11 June 2014 was when I started this project, the very beginning when I first came up with the idea, bought a new journal for it, and started development.  I developed not just the story, but the entire background for what will be at least a trilogy, and wrote the novel.  That’s an incredible amount of work for just 2 months!

Of course, my work isn’t done yet.  I still have proofreading/revisions to go through.  Plus this novel will not be seen by any other eyes until I’ve finished proofreading, so beta-readers won’t get their hands on it just yet.

I will say this, though, I feel incredible about this entire experience!  And I am so glad that I’ve been able to share it with you all from day one.  Creating this blog when I did seems to have been inspired timing :D  And the journey is not over yet!

Image Source - http://www.rmfw.org/
Image Source – http://www.rmfw.org/

After proofreading, I’ll be sending the novel out to beta readers.  Once they give me feedback, I’ll make changes as needed and perform one last read-through.  And then I get to pitch my novel at the Colorado Gold Writer’s Conference!

I feel absolutely confident in this novel.  The plot, the characters, the writing style, everything came together so well, and I’m so excited to share this with the world.  More than that, I just have this feeling that this will be what gets my career going.  I think this could be my breakout novel :)

But, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.  There’s a long road ahead of me yet!  I hope you’ll all continue to stick with me along the way.  It’s like the song in one of my favorite novels and movies, “The Road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.  Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow, if I can…”

Searching for a Title

“But wait, I thought you already had a title?”  I do, for the trilogy.  Chronicles of the Sentinels will be the name for the entire trilogy or even the entire series if I decide to write stories beyond the trilogy.  However, each individual novel will also need it’s own names, starting with this first novel.

As has been the case recently, I am struggling to come up with a good title.  I’ve toyed with some ideas, like “The Shattering” or “Shadows of Babylon” but I’m not sure I like either of those.  What do you all think?

Chronicles of the Sentinels – 1st Draft by the Numbers

After my proofread/revisions is complete, I have no doubt that these numbers will change, but the completed first draft is as follows:

Chapters: 25
Word Count: 72,526
Page Count: 224

This is right where it should be for a YA or YA-Crossover novel, so I am especially pleased with that :)

I know today is Sunday and I promised you all an excerpt every weekend.  So I’ll keep that promise.  Keep an eye out for later today, I’ll be posting an except from Chapter 10!

Guns vs. Swords – Writing Modern Fantasy

Hi everyone!

Tonight I wrote the climactic scene of Chronicles of the Sentinels, and wow, what a rush that was!!

Image Source - www.fanpop.com
Image Source – http://www.fanpop.com

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten such a huge rush from writing the climax of a novel.  In fact, The Sword of Dragons – Burning Skies had a heart-pounding final battle between two massive dragons battling in the skies above two armies.  I hope to some day see some artist renditions of that battle, because I think it was pretty incredible and the images are iconic!

This brings me to another interesting aspect that I’ve become aware of over the last few days – the difference between writing battle scenes in High Fantasy and Modern Fantasy.

Guns vs. Swords

Image Source - Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Image Source – Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Over the past decade or so, I have become accustomed to writing High Fantasy, and the battles involved swords, bows and arrows, Wizards casting elemental attacks, that sort of thing.

However, for Chronicles of the Sentinels, I have had to pretty much leave that behind.  While still a fantasy genre, Modern Fantasy is a whole other character.

Why?  Because in this day and age, battles are fought with pistols, automatic rifles, grenade launchers, and occasionally a knife for close-quarters combat.  Interestingly enough, I have more knowledge and experience using firearms than I do swords, so in a way it was something I should have been more comfortable writing about.

And yet, it was so radically different from what I’ve written in the past that I found I had to adjust how I wrote it.  At first I wrote those scenes like they were a military action novel.  Then I realized I needed to focus less on those aspects, and more on the characters and the action itself.  After all, my target audience isn’t the same as the Bourne novels’ audience (although those are pretty awesome books!)

Image Source - www.nexusmods.com
Image Source – http://www.nexusmods.com

On top of this, there was also the challenge of writing about modern technology mixed in with magic.  It’s not uncommon in High Fantasy (Skyrim anyone?) but enchanting an automatic rifle?  What happens when you do that?

I’m sure my novel isn’t the first one to have done this, but I’ve never ready anything like it before.  My initial thought was to go out and read how other writers did it, but then I thought, “No.  No, I don’t want to emulate other authors, I want to do this my way.”

I’m pleased to say I think it turned out pretty great :)  However, we’ll see if my opinion holds when I go through my proofreads…

In any case, I hope this is something quite original and intriguing to readers.  I love to capture readers’ imaginations, like so many novels have done for me in the past :D

Chronicles of the Sentinels Update

The final climactic battle took place in chapter 23, which leaves me with only 2 more chapters to write tomorrow :)  Keep an eye here for that announcement!

Word Count: 69,238
Page Count: 213

Good night everyone, thanks for reading!  :)
-Jon

Characters in our Hearts

Hi everyone,

Image Source - http://finalfantasy.wikia.com
Image Source – http://finalfantasy.wikia.com

As a reader, I know how invested I can become in characters.  Perhaps just as much, if not more so, with video games.  I’m not ashamed to admit that a certain character’s death in Final Fantasy 7 brought me to tears.

“But they aren’t real,” I’ve heard some people tell me.  “How can you feel so close to someone who doesn’t exist?  It’s ridiculous.”

Is it?  Sure they aren’t physically real, sure they don’t have minds of their own, but does that make our attachments to them ridiculous?  I don’t think it does.

As a writer, there’s an added level to that attachment towards my own characters.  Maybe that sounds strange in and of itself, but its true.  I mean there have been characters that I didn’t feel anything towards one way or another, but later on when I read those same stories, I realized that I didn’t develop those characters, and I wrote them poorly.

The truth is that when you invest so much imagination, so much time into developing those characters, both in your head and on paper, they earn a place in your heart as if they were real.  Or at least, they do for me.

Image Source - http://branislavboda.deviantart.com
Image Source – http://branislavboda.deviantart.com

Tonight, as I wrote chapter 17 of Chronicles of the Sentinel, I realized that I felt a little guilty about what I was putting Emmi through.  As I wrote what I think is going to be one of the most powerful chapters of the novel, I realized that I often put my characters through hell, as I think most writers do.

Which also brings me to another point – this special place in our hearts that our own characters have, it isn’t a bad thing.  Quite the opposite.  Why?  Because when our characters feel something, we feel it.  It’s that emotional barrier thing I wrote about in a previous blog article.

When we feel the emotions we want our characters to feel, I think a couple of wondrous things happen.  First, we’re able to more accurately write what is happening.  If we’re feeling it, we can describe our emotions and make them the character’s.  Second, this helps our characters come alive.  It makes them more real not just to the readers, but to ourselves.  They turn from two-dimensional characters to three-dimensional characters, figuratively speaking.

To all of my fellow writers out there reading this, do you have this same experience?  What about readers?  How attached do you find yourself becoming to characters in the novels you read?

Chronicles of the Sentinels Update

As I mentioned, I finished up chapter 17 tonight.  It was actually relatively short at only 5 pages, but it is one that resonates, and accomplishes a lot of things in such a short span.

Here are the statistics so far:

Word Count: 49,473
Page Count: 152

Chapter 17 puts me past the two-thirds mark for the novel.  Which means that while I had fallen behind before, I am now ahead of schedule again!  :D

Thanks for reading, and please, if you haven’t already, check out my facebook author’s page, and give it a follow while you’re at it!  :)

-Jon

That Insatiable Need to Write

Hi everyone!

So this past weekend, I wasn’t able to do any writing.  Aside from taking me from being ahead of schedule to behind schedule on my deadline, I also found myself wishing I could find time to write the entire weekend.

I’m not complaining, to be sure, I had a blast this weekend!  Exploring parts of Denver and enjoying the last day of the Colorado Renaissance Festival…I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend :)  I even went back to 16th Street Mall to check out the location for one of the scenes in Chronicles of the Sentinels!

However, when I opened up my laptop this morning at Starbucks and spent an hour writing before work, I felt re-energized and alive again!  It felt like something had been missing from my life for nearly three days, and I found it again this morning :)

I’m curious if anyone else has this same experience?  Where if you go too long without writing, you get fidgity and anxious, you become distracted by story ideas (okay, for me that’s almost always happening,) and when you look at your laptop or notebook and go, “…just five minutes!  That’s all I need!”  Of course, five minutes turns into an hour, turns into five hours…

I find that the more I write, the more I love it.  I’ve been writing for nearly twenty years (I think closer to 18 at the moment, but I’ll keep rounding up :p )  And now I’m writing so much!  I mean I’m literally spending mornings and evenings writing, usually at one Starbucks or another!

Chronicles of the Sentinels update

As of tonight, I have finished chapter 14 of Chronicles of the Sentinels.  Here are the statistics so far:

Word Count: 41,859
Page Count: 128

My word count and page count are right on track for my expected outcome of about 230 to 240 pages and less than or up to 80k words.  :D