LONG POST WARNING! Wade in at your own risk.
Okay, so it’s been about twenty-four hours since I typed those wonderful words, The End at the bottom of my manuscript (okay, for me it was # # #). Lots of thoughts rolling around in my head about this book. So, in review, let’s look at the Top Ten Reasons why version 2 of Dragonsend will be much better than version 1:
1. Worst. Ending. Ever.
Definitely wasn’t the ending I’d envisioned I first imagined this story. There should have been some cool revelations and twists revealed at the end. Nope. Stuff just happened. And there was a big, overarching question that ran through the entire book, waiting for a cool answer to be revealed. Nope. It was answered, but like a question on a multiple choice test. Choice C happened. Blech!! No build up to the ending either. It was like a Star Trek 55-minute solution. Oh, shit! Only five minutes left, let’s end this! So lots of work to do there.
2. So. Much. Telling.
Some sections tell stories when they should be showing them. Will probably need to break these exposition lumps into chapters that show events from character POVs. Will give the book a lot more power. I’ve always known that, when stopped writing Dragonsend as a short story, it would be a series of books. I just focused mainly on Kieran’s story in this draft, but with each “history lesson” I wrote in the manuscript, there is a POV character I’m focusing on and a reason for their story. I need to look at all of these voices and see where they’ll fall into the series continuum. And then I’ll know if I even have the right ending (or even the right people present). This world is huge.
3. Too. Many. Damned. People.
Yep, so many people in this book, all telling stories and struggling for places. I need to figure out who needs to be where and when. I see six more books possible for this series, so getting the order of the events correct is crucial.
4. Where are the big, scary bad guys? All I see is the one guy.
All I showed was one bad guy, who is part of a huge group of bad guys. And these guys practice a magic that no one else uses. But I have almost no interactions with he Aegis or the Black Path they walk. So the terrible threat they pose feels forced and imaginary because the dudes aren’t around.
5. So, where’s all the fighting?
There’s a freakin’ war going on! Ongoing fighting at all Mendeval’s borders. Gotta show that.
6. Where’s the Magic?
Magic is the heart of this story, yet I don’t show nearly enough of it in the book.
7. Show Me the Dragons!
Okay, there’s a good reason why we don’t see them yet, but need to do a better job of showing them as integral and increase Kieran’s relationships with them. I want everyone to see him and the dragons as inseparable.
8. Pssst, Silverthorne, your Guardian isn’t doing much guarding…
Jadrian is called a Guardian for a reason, but she seems rather helpless and never strays from her Sacred Grove. Gotta fix that. Which may require me to dial down the viewpoints a bit. And I also need to make the distinctions between all the major players clear. And make it clear what a Guardian of the Paths actually guards. Some of these answers I didn’t know when I started writing this book, but now that I’ve reached some sort of ending of the first “story,” I’ve learned who does what.
9. Give the good guys more screen time
First off, there’s A LOT of good guys. Maybe too many? I need to evaluate all of the good guys and decide who may not need as much screen time and who many need more. Also, the Ebon Ward are the defenders of the Paths. The Sandrine’s army. I need to make the Ward MUCH more prominent, much more involved in this fight long before Kieran was even born. And throughout the book. I think that much of where I went with my ending might be the start of the events that will end the SERIES, or perhaps open the events for the last book. So, I need to spend some time drafting a better timeline of events, etc., and create short, dirty outlines for each book in this series. Each egg’s hatching will be a book.
10. Let the Hero fit in somewhere!
The one thing that Kieran wants more than anything is to belong somewhere, to have a place that feels like home. His was taken from him as very young child, leaving him forever longing for a home and family. So I need to make his joining up with the Ebon Ward and living in the Wardhouse feel more like family. Yeah, they’re a collection of Nor’lander mages and warriors, fighting to protect the existence of their magic. But because their blood links them in very close and personal ways, they’re just as much a family as they are an army. Which is just what Kieran is seeking. But there needs to be some sort of process to joining the Ward because of what’s at stake.
Well, here is your medal of courage under fire for getting to the end of this post. Lots of work for me to do, but it’ll be well worth the effort.