Sorcerer Rising Second Edition Changes

Holy crap. I wrote this post in May of last year. Please do not confuse my awe with pride, as I am ashamed it has taken me this long to thaw myself out.

The first sentence for the original post initially read, “In my most recent update for FayTown Calling, I made mention of the second edition I released for Sorcerer Rising.” I have no idea what post I am actually referring to, so sorry. But I did revise Sorcerer Rising early last year. The main purpose of that was editing, making sure that I didn’t just leave the quality of the book where I thought it needed to be.

The rest of this post is from May of last year.

Content changes were minor. Off the top of my head, there were a few scenes that I elaborated on, fleshed out. None were added, thought I did think hard about changing something around the ending. I have entertained that off and on for the past year, and maybe one day I’ll throw the idea out there, but for now I chose to keep it the same.

The BIGGEST content change I made was around two words, hardly even used in the book. One didn’t play into Sorcerer Rising’s plot at all, but will kinda be a big deal in FayTown Calling. The other played into Virgil’s past in a big way.

So, first I will start with Annwyn, formerly known as Pan. Mentioned a total of maybe five times in Sorcerer Rising, Annwn/Pan is the homeland of the Fay. Originally, Pan was a fill in name. I had a concept of the Fairy Continent, but no idea what I wanted to call it. Not until years into FayTown Calling (where I was still calling it Pan), while I was driving home from work, did I think of to call it what I am calling it now.

The second word, and the one I am more excited about, is Hyperborea. In Sorcerer Rising, you know this as Ander. I was never happy with this, must have changed it half a dozen times. At one point, I was calling it…alright, I just looked it up and couldn’t find it. No idea what I was calling it, but that’s how forgettable or terrible it was. Ander was a nonsense word to replace whatever that was.

Hyperborea came about after thinking more and more about the history of this country. As a recap, Hyperborea is small city-state somewhere in Europe (left purposely vague), known as the land of Sorcery. When almost all the rest of the world falls under the sway of the Guild, Hyperborea alone took its magics into its own hands. Through decades, some say centuries, of eugenics and breeding, they developed a population of mages. Their entire culture was built around magic, many called it a land of plenty. It was isolated from the world for much of its development, a utopia that many other nations had legends about. They were largely ignored, right up until they declared war on the world.

There was one last change, and that falls right in the beginning of a flashback chapter. I don’t want to give away anything, but the people from Virgil’s life before have had some name changes. I recently developed out those characters, who they were to Virgil and, more importantly, who they were as people.

Just wanted to recap those changes.

FayTown Calling Update

Had a thought on the way to pick up dinner last night. That thought cascaded into a multitude of others and I think I have figured out a major flaw in the current story, as well as a way to correct it.

Funny how this works. I have played a few different puzzle games throughout the years, one of my favorites being Unblock Me. It’s a game you can play forever without really doing anything. Often times I would get stuck on a level, so tightly that I intimately knew all the moves I could make. I’d have to set it down. I’d pick it up later and without even trying, knock out the level and the next dozen after it.

It is perhaps the Procrastinator’s Faith, but I am a big believer that I am never not working on something.

I’m letting it stew.

Anyway, I’ll be working on the opening to FayTown Calling while continuing to stew on the end. None of the opening changes where I want to go, just helps set it up. The last third of the book is something that I’m still puzzling it through. I have written two incomplete versions of it. Both are similar and I am starting to think that’s the problem. I had an initial way I thought this would end and I kept to it. Then I realized that wasn’t working, so I made modifications. They weren’t small, but they weren’t all that different either. I’m thinking I need to go in a different direction.

This is one of those times when I wish I was one person in a two person team. I could talk through the specifics of this, bounce ideas off them, and have someone tell me what they think is smart or stupid. Instead, I’m going to talk to myself on the way to work tomorrow. Luckily Memphis doesn’t really have a public transportation system, otherwise that’d just be weird.

FayTown Calling Inventory

Spent the weekend taking inventory of FayTown Calling. There is more work than what I’m about to say, and I’ll get to that in a minute, but the majority of the inventory pointed out the last third of the book as needing the most attention. This comes from my last push at this where I took out most of the ending I had written. I wanted to take it in a different direction then and still do. Now I just need to write it. There are a few other parts, but that’s the biggest section.

Biggest section it may be, but not the biggest part. I said in my last post that I may not have been writing, but I’ve been thinking on all of it. That’s true, and I’ve got some themes I am going to need to streamline. Both from a storytelling perspective and from a Lore perspective.

Storytelling is a craft thing. I’m rusty but I’ll smooth that out with work and practice.

Lore, well, I cannot emphasize how seriously I take Lore. Virgil’s world is something I have been sculpting for seven or eight years. Things have been honed a lot, but it’s always been a living thing. In Sorcerer Rising, I introduced certain aspects of the world such as the Aether, the Guild, and the magic system (parts of it anyway). Mixed in were glimpses of things I intend to be larger, the Fay, the Order of the Ring, the Cathedral and the Sisters. The Fay and the Sisters of Truth play a central role in this story and in fleshing that out, I fleshed out more and more of my world, which changes some of the themes that I run into.

I want to ensure I get that right. I’m happy overall with Sorcerer Rising, but there were a few things about the end I just didn’t know how to wrap up. I obsess over my imperfections and have thought of a few different ways I could have handled that. I don’t want to paralyze myself with the thought that something could be better (because it can ALWAYS be better but never perfect, don’t let perfect get in the way of good, great, and done).

I have neither the time nor the patience for perfect, but it must be right.

Moving Forward

Looking at the last post in January and where I was then vs where I am now, I am shocked at how much has occurred. How much and how little. Two biggies, finished my MBA and witnessed the surprising early birth of our second child. All well on that front, couldn’t be better in fact, but little to no writing since then.

There are a number of reasons I could cite for not being more active this year. The two above took up a lot of my time but I could have made time and didn’t. Really and truly, my mindset has been the true deterrent. I posted on November 24th, 2015 that I would not be posting for the next few days. I needed to take care of some work stuff. There was a thing that was coming up and at the time I needed to focus until it was done. So I took some time off. That was true, but eerie to read now in August. Eerie because I have a visible indication of my thinking before and after that moment, with a massive eight month gap that painfully illustrates how long it took my to get past it. At the time I literally thought it was going to be a day. I realize I am being vague, and that is by design, just know I turned a milestone into a millstone and it has been weighing me down ever since.

That changed today. The millstone has been cut away and I have closed out an interesting chapter of a different avenue of my life.

I made a promise to myself that as soon as this thing was done, I was going to write. Tonight I began to take inventory of where FayTown Calling is. It has been a while, so I am looking at where all of this is to see what needs to be done. The good news is even though I have been reprehensibly negligent of my writing, I never stop thinking of this. Virgil’s world, his story, where I want this to go, has continued to evolve and FayTown Calling has been building up in my head. At some point in the past year I even outlined the series which helped me to frame the overall arch of Virgils McDane and where we’re going with him.

For the foreseeable future I will be taking inventory and developing habits again. I have to relearn some things and reboot. I will continue to post here to develop at least a few of those habits. I will also be writing. The blog is going to serve a big part of that, and in many ways than one. It needs to be a habit, even if I’m not writing about, well, writing. I always felt guilty whenever I posted something up here about gaming or movies or whatever because I was just leaving a visible evidence trail that I wasn’t writing fiction. The truth is though that I do more than write, and while I am going to be making a conscious effort to manage how much I am writing (or not writing), I also have other things I love to do and I want to write about them. Since I wrote my last post, I watched Mad Max and the Martian, went insane over the new Star Wars, binge watched House of Cards, Brooklyn 99, and Stranger Things, played Overwatch, Pokemon X, and Destiny, have continued to hate the execution of Pokemon Go and Nintendo’s business model as a whole, started reading comics in a real way, have read a ton of great books, and had all kinds of other thoughts on a wide range of shit.

Do you care? Hell if I know, but this is my damn blog and I’m gonna talk about it. Because I need to be comfortable talking again. Because I need to be comfortable about writing again and sharing where I am and using that to be excited about writing and telling stories and creating and making up shit and everything else. It’s all connected, at least the way I do it.

Gonna finish this up with an apology. Because a lot of people, more than I ever thought would be interested in my writing or care enough to ask, have inquired about Virgil and FayTown Calling in particular. I have been missing in action and ignored that reader base. I am not the most sociable person, especially when it comes to my work. Just the thought of considering these inquirers “fans” (note that I just called y’all a reader base) makes me uneasy because I feel it insinuates hubris.

So, anyone who has read Sorcerer Rising, and especially if you have inquired about FayTown Calling or anything else regarding my writing, I apologize for my lack of response or attention. Please know, I am honored by anyone who has given me their time and/or money. I am terribly uncomfortable accepting praise. Words always fail me in writing those types of responses, which usually leads to my neglecting to respond at all. What it always boils down to is simple this, thank you for reading my work and I am glad you liked it. Behind those words I am literally going insane with joy and could go on and on and on about how much these message mean to me, but that pretty much hits on the root of it.

As for the status, I am too early to give a timeline. Just know that I have reprioritized this in my life and am very, very interested in getting it done in published. Partly because I have a clearer idea of what I want novels three, four, and five to be.

As I progress, I will update here. Can’t promise pretty but one of the things I have learned in the past several months is that those first, stumbling steps are ugly and oftentimes painful. And that’s okay.

November Update: NaNoWriMo

Ugh, this is only the third post this year. I would start with some big, philosophical heartfelt communication about writing and creativity and discipline, but I think that’s mainly what the other two were. I’m tired of doing that (though I bet this post shifts toward that in the end).

So here is where we are.

FayTown Calling continues. Writing progress is painfully slow, mainly due to inconsistency. It’s been a busy year, my job, wife’s nursing school, the progeny, blah, blah, blah. Look, if you have read this blog at all, you know I’m busy and that’s why the second novel still hasn’t come out. All those things are true (though my wife is now officially done with school and I COULD NOT BE PROUDER!!!) but it’s real easy to use life as an excuse. I wish I could say all my free time was going toward writing, but it’s not.

I can find time, it’s just about discipline.

So, here’s how I’m going to deal with that. The keyword of the month is accountability. It’s embarrassing for me to be writing a post like this again, with publication still well over the horizon, but it’s a lot easier to do it when it’s only the third time this year, and that’s exactly why I’ve done it that way. It’s much easier to come on here and throw up a post with a bad status update every few months, vs keeping a daily tally.

Part of the original function of my blogging, and the website in general, was to serve as a log, so that I could record progress and make that information available to any who might be interested. High level, it’s a lot harder for me to not write if I am making said lack of writing a matter of public record.

Which sucks, but accountability usually does.

It being November, a month well known in our circles as National Novel Writing Month (an event I have always wanted to participate in), I thought it would be the best time to start with this.

So this post will go up roughly two in the morning on Nov. 1st (something like that, not sure how Daylight Savings will affect it) and my goal will be to write sometime Sunday. But whatever I do, or don’t do, there will be an update by tomorrow night. That will continue, these updates. Can’t guarantee they’ll be long, whether I’ve done a lot or not, but it’ll help in forming the habit and keep this on my radar.

All of this is intended on finishing out the month with a solid draft of FayTown Calling. I can’t even say where it is right now, but I know I’ve got some work to do. If I don’t finish, I’ll keep going.

Every day.

That’s a big promise, one I am very uncomfortable making. Not even really sure how I’m going to do it. Work hasn’t gotten slower, and all of the things I’ve referenced keep going, plus the holidays. But that’s my goal and I’m going to do everything I can to get as close to it as possible.

So here comes the philosophy damnit. I’ve used this before, and I don’t know that the attribution is correct, but it hangs over my computer at work and it’s one of the most important things I’ve ever heard. I’d rather fail trying to succeed, than keep ignoring this and let this continue to slip by.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo

FayTown Calling is only the second Virgil book, and I have at least five other stories for him planned. A few of those, I know probably aren’t even sequential, that is, I know they are later in Virgil’s story and there will be other books I haven’t thought of yet beforehand. There are scenes I have thought of for years that I don’t even know where they fall, characters waiting to be created, villians ready to rise, and a world ready to be explored.

I don’t want to always be getting around to it.

So I’ll end with this.

See you tomorrow.