Tag Archives: High Fantasy

When Inspiration Strikes – Developing The Next Novel

Hi everyone!

Whenever I start actually writing the manuscript to a new novel, by that point it has been at least a year or two in the making (the one exception so far being the Chronicles of the Sentinels.)  I first come up with the general idea, either for the story or for a character, and start to unravel the entire story surrounding that idea, as well as back story to go along with it.

So it shouldn’t surprise me, and yet it still does: I’m smack in the middle of 2nd edition edits, still need to finish writing the first draft of book 3 of The Sword of Dragons…and suddenly inspiration strikes, and I start unraveling the entire story for book 4 in my head!

Not to say I don’t already have a general idea of all six books anyway, but I mean actual full story details.  And the best part is that I started coming up with the details when I started thinking to myself, “how can I start to give the supporting characters more attention?”

And it just started unraveling in my head like the story was already there in my mind, I just hadn’t brought it forward to my conscious thoughts yet.

What’s really exciting is that, just like  with my 7-year run on my fan fiction, things that I wrote in the earlier books are coming together to create the new stories.  Things that happened in the first 3 books as well as The Orc War Campaigns will become important in book 4…some things I didn’t even mean to make important later on!

I get so excited when this happens!  I love that, somewhere in the back of my mind, everything is connecting together from the beginning and building on the foundational story.

The Importance of Supporting Characters

Image Source – http://sunniersartofwar.com

More and more, I’m learning just how important supporting characters are.  Often times supporting characters become fan favorites in stories.  Samwise Gamgee, for instance, or Ron Weasley.

In the past, this was something I struggled with.  In my fan fiction, I focused a lot on the two main characters, the Captain and his first officer.  To the suffering of all other supporting characters.  I started to rectify this in the last two seasons, but I realized this was something I should have done from the get go.

For The Sword of Dragons, I tried to ensure I at least had good back stories setup for Reis, Sira, and Dalin.  Yet I feel like I still haven’t given them the time and attention they deserve.  That’s definitely changing starting in book 3, and most definitely now in book 4.

But, I have a question for everyone: are you usually willing to read a longer novel due to more time and attention being given to supporting characters?  For instance, book 3 of the Sword of Dragons will have about 1/4 of the chapters devoted to Reis going on his own adventure without Cardin or Sira.  Plus several other chapters branch off for other supporting characters.

All of these instances are integral to moving the main story line forward, and I think that’s probably the key: any time a novel goes to a perspective of another character, it must be with a legitimate purpose, and not ‘just because.’  What do you think?

Status of 2nd Edition Edits

I have less than 100 pages of edits left for Rise of the Forgotten, which means I’m more than 2/3rds through it!! :D  I’m excited, I really like how the changes are affecting the flow, I think it’s making for a much more enjoyable story.  Of course, that’s my own opinion, I just hope everyone who reads it will agree :)

Much to my surprise, so far I’ve reduced the word count of book 1 by 1400 words!  I’m kind of glad to see this overall trend, though, mostly because I’m trying to get rid of redundant phrasing and make each paragraph have more impact.

I haven’t had time to work on maps.  I also just realized that the artist doing my character sketches, Centalynn Artworks, should be back in country now, so I need to go back to review her latest iterations and make choices to send to her.  I don’t currently plan to include any character sketches in the novels, but I’d love to have them on the website as soon as they are finished :)

That’s all for today, thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

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