In late October, I took up a challenge of sorts, three posts over three months to show more about my writing project. The first part was to introduce it, the second part – right here – is to show something about the project in progress.
Given the nature of this second part, this post will focus on the not-yet-finished parts of the Eternal Defenders trilogy.
1. How’s the writing going overall?
So, for those who may hear about my project for the first time: The first book, Eternal Defenders (Goodreads link), was self-published in October 2020. The second book, Secrets of the Eternals, is now in the fourth draft, where I’m facing some challenges about getting the pacing and continuity right, as well as issues with one subplot (which, in essence, stems from pacing as well). I also have a preliminary first draft of book three, Eternity’s End, written. I may still be on track to finish the trilogy before 21.7.2025 (10 years since I started), though it seems to be a tough goal to hit.
2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?
Usually the writing bursts when things just flowed. Especially major scenes at any part of the series. I can’t say anything about those for spoiler reasons but the final sections of all three books are among those.
3. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?
I’d say most of the main characters have a clear path and purpose, while the future of some supporting and minor characters is still open. Apart from Tyr’eshal Darkwood (the MC), my favorite is definitely Shianna Featherfoot, Tyr’eshal’s good friend and one of the main supporting characters – because I had no specific plan for her when I started, she’s pretty much writing her own story.
4. Has your novel surprised you in any way?
Several times, when it comes to the involvement of many mid-tier characters. Some evolved from small mentions to minor supports, some characters that were originally intended as minor roles managed to stick around until the end and take part in the final battle…
5. Have you come across any problem areas?
Well, the beginnings were full of problems, before I had at least some idea about what I’m doing. These days, it’s mostly pacing and dialogue (the latter because I’m an introvert, I suppose).
6. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?
The fact I managed to complete the story, even though the second and third books have a lot of work to be done before the story is ready to be read in full. And maybe also the fact that I actually managed to self-publish it rather than just throwing it into the depts of my HDD and leaving it there forever, never to be seen by anyone else.
7. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?
I don’t think I’d become any major character. I’m no hero. I’d probably be some “office rat” in the royal palace, probably in the cartography department, whether civilian or military. Not a place facing major decisions…
8. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!
You can read the prologue of book one here, and I shared some of my favorite lines from book one, courtesy of Goodreads’ Kindle Highlights tool. If I was to share my favorite from the draft of book two, it’s on the heavier side – the MC’s thoughts about death sentence, something I’ve already mentioned a while ago in a shorter snippet. For context: Tyr’eshal is the MC, Aegan is the leader of Magic-Breakers (pretty much fantasy version of SWAT units, focused on stopping dark magicians), Kasain is the head jailer (the boss of all prisons, so to say) and Vigellus is General of the Guards (in present-time world, he’d be the head of police).
Aegan nodded. “Execution would be strong message to the populace, to show we’ll not tolerate the Cult’s evil anymore.”
“And make those who remain even more cornered. They could be prone to kill anyone on sight out of paranoia, afraid of meeting the same fate if they are captured,” Tyr’eshal countered. “It’s not as safe solution as it sounds.”
“Your mercy is not what we need at this point,” Kasain persisted.
“Tyr’eshal is right,” Vigellus said. “Executing them all could be dangerous for the reasons he stated.”
Kasain turned to Vigellus. “What would you do, then?”
It was Tyr’eshal who answered Kasain’s question, not the General. “Execute those who would get more than five centuries, except of those who will be willing to cooperate. That way, the message to our people is given, we save money on feeding hundreds of prisoners, and those who have a chance to reform retain it – because those will be willing to talk.”
“A good compromise,” Kasain admitted. The others murmured or nodded in agreement.
“I’ll need to talk with my advisors about this,” the King said, “but I believe it will be mostly about the details. Focus the interrogation on the leaders. I want to have them out of the way first.”
“If I can ask, Tyr’eshal, I thought you’re against death sentence, this feels like a big change,” Vigellus said. There was a genuine concern in his voice.
“I was thinking about it on my way here,” Tyr’eshal said. “If we lock them up for half of their life or more, they will be bitter and without motivation to reform. This bitterness will grow over time. Sooner or later, we’d let caged monsters back into the world, at least some of them hungry for revenge. Death sentence feels like better step for safety of our lands in the long term, if it’s used in extreme situations like this.”
9. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far!
Early in the work (ca. 2015-2018), most of the characters had only placeholder names or nicknames, or were called by their title/position. It took me quite a long time to name most of them.
My book has dragons, but they weren’t a part of the initial concept, and they only make a direct appearance in books two and three.
Also, most character deaths are spontaneous. The exception is book one, where I needed quite specific circumstances to set up book two, and the very end (for obvious reasons). Any casualty between that… they died because it felt right for the story when I wrote the particular draft, not because I planned it. And it’s not easy to sacrifice characters for the greater plot.
10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like.
There’s no such thing as a “normal writing day” for me. I write when I’m in the mood and have time for it. Sometimes, that may mean a 6-hour writing sprint. Sometimes, that may mean not touching the project for two weeks. I do prefer to write during daylight, but it’s not a rule. I may listen to music, but that’s usually for editing rather than writing new stuff, when I tend to filter the music out once I get into the zone.
So, that’s the second batch of questions. I hope this may’ve given some insight into my project and the progress on it, and I’m already curious what questions will be in the third part – and what nonsense — I mean interesting facts — I may reveal in December.