On the Completion of a Novel

The inaugural post for this blog has been a long time coming. It was initially scheduled along with Wind Rider being made freely available on the site. Something big got in the way of that plan. I began work on the sequel, Deep Dweller. Now that draft one is complete and I have a moment to breathe, I thought it would be useful to start here, while I still have many of the details of the novel writing experience fresh in my mind.

Deep Dweller marks my fourth foray into this particular jungle, and the first where I felt like I had a really good idea of where I was headed.  My first attempt was a mammoth project requiring a ton of research, and still remains my future magnum opus. Unfortunately for me, at the time I began work on it, I had no real notion of how to structure a novel. I vow that this work will see the light of day, but it is so important to me that I feel my writing chops need a bit of honing before I consider picking it up again. Ten years of my life passed me by the last time I made the effort. Hopefully you have already had the opportunity to be entertained by my second project. Wind Rider is freely available here, and was very important in making my experience with Deep Dweller a good one. Having source material of your own creation can simplify the writing process tremendously, though even with my own stuff there were many mad dashes back into the past to try and keep things straight. Charlatan is my third work. It sits in the hands of a few competent alpha readers at the moment. I’m sure they will do a superb job pointing out all of my flaws so that I don’t have to let the general public see them quite so glaringly. When that process is complete, Charlatan will be posted here at PatricBran.com  for your enjoyment. Look for it soon.

Now to Deep Dweller. This book was, of course, sitting in the back of my mind. The story of the Cracked Earth was far from complete when we last left our characters. I admit that it was not my first choice when I was looking for a new project after completing Charlatan. What drove me to continue the tale were some generous comments by my readers about how much they enjoyed the first book and how much they looked forward to learning more.

The idea for Dweller was already there. I had a notion where everything was headed when I first brought Dareth, Comarin and the others into being. Now, when I say I had a notion, I mean just that. The destination was a little fuzzy, but it was there. Not so the view of the winding path along the way. That is what these last few months have been about, finding my way along that path. While there is still much to  do, the important things have already occurred. I now know my characters better than I did when I started. They surprised me once or twice, but always had me nodding my head after the fact as though I should have known to expect such a thing from them. Now that I have experienced it more than once, I think that growth is the thing to really look for in the writing of an initial draft. The outline informs the plot, but the writing process teaches me who my characters really are. As I revise, I will attempt to take those things that I spent months learning and layer them just under the surface so that the cast is real and colorful right from page one. After all, no one will care about the fate of the Cracked Earth unless they first care about the fate of the riders and the canyoners who live there.

So where will we go next? Don’t let it spoil your fun, but I have to tell you, the story doesn’t stop here. Dareth will have other things to contend with before all is said and done. Those adventures will be chronicled in the final installment of the tale, currently entitled End Bringer. The title and that same fuzzy idea of a destination I spoke of earlier are all that exist of it now. But that’s how everything starts.

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