Insane Fantasy begins July 7th

Insane Fantasy: The Crater Lands

I recently finished creating the cover for the first episode of Insane Fantasy. Considering my lack of artistic skills, I think it turned out pretty well. I would of course have preferred to commission an experienced artist, but couldn’t afford that. Also, it took me a little over two weeks to create, which feels like too long to me. But a good chunk of that time was spent just learning how to use Krita to draw vector art, figuring layers and masking and the art of B├ęzier curve editing. So hopefully the next cover won’t take so long, but who knows?

Assuming nothing drastic interrupts my editing over the next few days, I plan to release Insane Fantasy: The Crater Lands exclusively on Kindle this Thursday, July 7th!

As stated before, this is a 29,000-word episode, an installment of a larger serialized story. I’ve already started work on the next episode, and it will be my focus of attention after this first episode is released.

Moonblessed, update 3

I have finally finished the first draft of part one of my next novel. I wrote in my last post that I was hoping to release the novel in parts, each part being between 20K and 30K words, before releasing it as a full novel. Part one comes in at 29,300 words. Granted, it’s a first draft, but I don’t expect it to change drastically. I’ve been calling the novel Moonblessed, but I think I’m going to change that now. Moonblessed doesn’t really work for what’s going on in part one, nor is it general enough to work as the series name. I plan to call the series Insane Fantasy, and part one will be Episode 1: The Crater Lands.

The description for this first episode goes something like this:

Thirteen year old Coptivon lives a dull life growing up in a crater in the Crater Lands, apprenticed to a lazy innkeeper. So when a strange owl appears half-dead near a crater’s edge, Coptivon is more than happy to take him in. But he soon learns that the owl is a Spirited one, and he’s on an outlandish quest of his own to end the Storms of Insanity that have been ravaging the lands, stealing people’s sanity and turning them into empty-eyed airheads. Though the owl is adamant about rushing off on his own, Coptivon sees this as an opportunity to escape the doldrums of the Crater Lands once and for all.

Episode one actually follows three characters, but I think it helps to keep story descriptions to the main protagonist. For the sake of this blog post, however, there’s no harm in revealing a bit more, I suppose. Aside from Coptivon, the other two characters are Moonwing the owl (mentioned but unnamed in the description) and Krockallatus, another thirteen year old boy in another part of the world.

Moonwing is an old owl who’s found “the Moonblessed”, a legendary sorceress who he believes has the power to restore sanity to all who lost it. He’s also trying to refound the Night Sages, a small group of people dedicated to finding and fighting the Stormgiver, a mysterious sorcerer thought to be conjuring the Storms of Insanity. Moonwing feels responsible for the deaths of a number of children twelve years ago, after which the Night Sages disbanded, so when Coptivon begins asking questions about his mission, he’s very reluctant to say anything.

Krockallatus is a sort of evil version of Coptivon. He too is an orphan growing up in a dull place he loathes, working in a tavern in the slums of a city called Paraville. But rather than being grateful for any companionship he can find, he kicks puppies. When Krockallatus finds a parchment dropped from the pocket of a mysterious traveler, he becomes convinced that it’s a recipe for a potion that will give him the power to turn into a dragon. Seeing this as a ticket out of his directionless Paravillian life, he sets out to steal the necessary ingredients to make the potion.

I still need to work on a second draft while I create a Kindle cover for the episode. I’m too broke to hire an artist at the moment, so I’m going to try to come up with something myself. I’m not much of an artist, and most self-drawn covers on indie-published books look atrocious, but financial necessity necessitates that this is the road I must take, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.

I hope to have the episode released sometime in the next week or so… but, as I was writing this post, our dishwasher broke and sent hot water spewing across our kitchen floor and raining into the basement. So that’s nice. The great dishwasher disaster of 2016. And our air conditioning is still broken.

Moonblessed, update 2

It’s been some time since I’ve updated this blog; my job has weird hours which prevent me from getting into a regular writing routine, and so I just haven’t been writing very much at all. (I’ll also admit that I have an addiction to watching movies in my free time, which isn’t helping.) But I’m slowly making progress on my next fantasy novel, tentatively titled Moonblessed. Just yesterday I finished the rough draft of the fifth chapter, bringing the overall word count to about 16,600 words. The pace of the story is certainly slower than that of Son of a Dark Wizard, but I’m having fun with it, and I hope the slower pacing won’t translate into less fun reading.

Because I’m only about a tenth of the way through my list of planned scenes, I’ve been thinking about serializing the novel, releasing it in parts of about 20K to 30K words each. Serializing a longer work of fiction of course has a rich tradition in the novel’s history, with its advantages for both readers and writers, and I’ve been wanting to try it for a while now. My hope is to price each installment at $0.99 for Kindle, but the real purpose would be to try to attract readers on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, which is a bit like Spotify for books, where subscribers could read each installment at no extra cost. (Writers are paid a small amount for each page read.) At the very least, I’m hoping it will help me stay motivated to write as I look forward to being able to release new installments much quicker than having to wait until I finish an entire novel.

So if I do this, I only have a few more scenes to finish before releasing the first installment and seeing if anyone actually checks it out, or if I only get demotivated by the sounds of crickets…

Moonblessed, update 1

So the novel I’m working on (which is the start of a new series, probably a trilogy) is tentatively titled Moonblessed. There’s at least one other title I’m considering, but for now I prefer Moonblessed. I’m not sure what I’ll call the series itself yet. I finished the first draft of the opening chapter today, so that’s one chapter down and forty-seven to go! The wordcount is currently at 3,300 words. I hope I can keep at least some momentum going this week. Balancing my bizarre sleep schedule with my bizarre work hours can sometimes be a hassle, but I should still have free time if I can be disciplined enough to use it wisely.

This will be another middle grade sort of book. (Though, like Son of a Dark Wizard, I hope it will appeal to older readers as well.) Though there is some violence, there’s also a healthy dose of humor, at least if my corny sense of humor counts as humor. It makes it fun to write anyway, and I just have to get through a first draft. If I go too far with the humor, I can always reign it in with the second draft. I sometimes go out of my way to setup a stupid joke that doesn’t move the story forward and only clutters things up. On the other hand, I usually enjoy my own stupid humor a lot when I read back over my work.

Writing update

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been having lots of trouble getting another writing project started for a variety of reasons. (New job, time management issues, insanity.) 23 Dragon Teeth is on hold for now due to plotting problems. And I’m now cancelling the epic fantasy for which I had only written 6,000 words because I just finished completely re-plotting it (which took a few weeks). Changes are quite drastic. It’s now no longer anywhere near the scope of the previously estimated 400,000 wordcount. It’s 48 scenes. I’m guessing it will end up somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 words, though that’s tentative. I am not yet sure what the title will be, but definitely not Death of Ash, as the main arc of that plot-line is completely out the window. Anyway, this will be my next writing project. I should start writing sometime this week. Since it’s all plotted and I know where everything is going, only work, fatigue, and the random elements of life itself can get in the way (all of which can be formidable foes). There are only a few little details in the outline that need to be filled in first, but that shouldn’t be too hard.

Starting an epic fantasy

So my first draft of 23 Dragon Teeth currently sits at about 7,500 words, but this week I couldn’t resist starting on the epic fantasy idea I mentioned I’d been plotting in my last post. My outline for this epic fantasy is over ten times as long as my outline was for the 40K-word Son of a Dark Wizard, which means I estimate this epic fantasy will wind up reaching at least 400,000 words. Big word counts aren’t really that hard to reach, though; it’s very easy to write loads of bloated crap, it just takes time. The pacing is what’s difficult to get right. I’ve never tried something on this scale before, so we’ll see how it goes. I at least want to see how far into it I can get before my excitement for it fades. I’m currently only 2,000 words in. Not sure what I’ll call it yet, but for now I’ll call it Death of Ash.

23 Dragon Teeth, update 2

My first draft of 23 Dragon Teeth is now at around 5,800 words, and I’ve just started the catalyst scene. I’m not yet sure if I’m on track for the 45K-ish-word wordcount I’m aiming for or not, but I’m guessing I’ll go over it. Which is fine, I guess. I’m still writing slower than I’d like to be, but my creative energy has, for the last week, been partly stolen by interest in an idea for a long epic fantasy saga, so I spent quite a few hours daydreaming and plotting that out. Still a lot of planning to do on that project, but I may start writing it later this year; it’s been giving me the new-idea-excited-obsession-feel lately.

23 Dragon Teeth, update 1

I’ve finally started writing the first draft of my next novel, which I just finished plotting last week. It’s not the Son of a Dark Wizard sequel; it’ll still be quite some months before I start that. I’m starting another series, which will be three or four books in all. I’m not sure what the series title will be, but the first book will be called 23 Dragon Teeth. It’s about a teenager who’s descended from a mysterious family who have mind-control power over dragons, which he uses to try to save his village from intruders. Intruders who just happen to be… his family. Or what’s left of his family anyway. So there’s dragon magic, family drama, and sky dragon battles! A great recipe for a thrilling fantasy novel, I hope. I just finished the opening chapter this morning, so the first draft is officially underway.

It took me some four and a half months to finish the 40K-word rough draft for Son of a Dark Wizard. Since I’m officially going the indie-author route at the moment, I’m hoping I can be more disciplined about writing and finish this rough draft within a month. (I’m not going to stress it, though. Quality > Speed.) I’m again aiming for somewhere between 40K and 45K words; that wordcount seemed to work well for Son of a Dark Wizard; I think it’s a nice sweetspot for the sort of stories I want to tell.

Stormground, update 4

I still haven’t finished plotting this thing! But I’m getting closer. I’ve plotted the ending, so I’m now working backwards and forwards to connect the end and the middle. Writing will commence whenever I finish. (I’m currently focusing more on a sort of freelance programming project.)

While I still haven’t finished plotting, my friend and I did finally finish our co-authored short stories (one turning out to be a novelette). I’m really pleased with how they came out; they are definitely not stories I could’ve written on my own. Our co-writing process took a bit too long (almost eight months for two stories), but they are much more polished than anything I’ve written on my own.

Stormground, update 3

Still plotting away on this novel. I spent yesterday plotting my way through the novel’s midsection; I think the midpoint came together very well. The four main characters are following their own paths, which all then collide at the midpoint. I’ll be very excited to actually start writing! But first I must plot out the novel’s second half, which will also be complicated due to the attention needed to make the four character story lines collide once more in an exciting climax.