Saturday, November 27, 2021

Wrath of Empire

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image. 




It’s been nearly a year since I last posted to WWW. Last time, I posted scenes from The Long Dark, which was published last Christmas. Since then, I’ve been busy drafting a new novel. Over the next few weeks, I’m sharing the opening scene from Wrath of Empire, a prequel to my first novel, Ghosts of Innocence.


“Is it wrong of me not to feel sad?” 

The question startled Lieutenant Chalwen ap Gwynodd back to the here-and-now. She'd been scanning the tree line and peering into the shadows, alert for anything out of place, when her attention had wandered. A fine stand of thousand-year-old Veshi oaks spread their gnarled canopy over a walkway leading deeper into the Imperial family graveyard. The play of light and shade had distracted Chalwen, a fatal lapse in a bodyguard. 

But here, of anywhere on the planet, was surely safe, and the hectic few days of the official state funeral had been exhausting. All the same, Chalwen cursed under her breath and carried out a hurried situation check. 

Prince Julian was still gazing at the plain memorial where the family had just interred the ashes of Empress Florence. He tilted his head as if in thought, gazing at the simple inscription carved into the rough stone. Chalwen struggled to read his mood. 



Sunday, November 7, 2021

Nearing the finish line

It’s been a while, but I can finally say I’m nearing the end of the line with my first draft of Wrath of Empire.

This one has been much more of a slog than I expected. I’ve had false starts before, where I’ve begun drafting and then stalled and set the work aside for a while before resuming, but once I’m fully productive and on a roll I usually reckon on about seven months to reach the end. This time around it will be closer to eleven months.

There are two obvious factors here. Firstly, in a couple of earlier cases, those false starts gave me a sizable foundation to build on, so when I finally resumed in earnest and ran through to the end I was already maybe 15% of the way there. This time, I set out in January with only a handful of scenes sketched out. Secondly, this is a bigger book than I’ve written before so naturally it will take longer.

But setting that aside, it’s felt much more like I’m pushing uphill the whole way. I’ve managed to keep up a reasonable pace, so it’s not like I’ve ever really got stuck, but there have been times when it’s felt like a struggle.

I blogged about some of the challenges earlier on this year, and since I last posted in August I’ve had some tough spells where I really couldn’t see how to tie things up. But happily things have been clicking into place in the last month.

I’m now at the point of fleshing out the last few scenes, and I’m looking forward to settling down and reading the whole thing through from beginning to end for the first time, to see how well (or otherwise!) it hangs together as a complete story.

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