Tag Archives: writing tips

Thoughts on Writing – Trickster God’s Deleted Scene from “The Shadow War”

I’m not much of an April Fool’s Day fan, but it seemed like the perfect day to post a deleted scene from The Shadow War, one which involves the trickster god, Isahna.

While I loved the scene, I ended up cutting it from the book because we didn’t really need to see Isahna’s point of view and it wasn’t quite matching the tone needed at the point in the book where it was relevant.

Be warned, there may be a few minor spoilers in this, but since this scene was cut in mid-edits, a few things have changed as to what is actually happening behind the scenes.

The overall event does still happen, though… much to Isahna’s displeasure.

Deleted Scene from The Shadow War:

Isahna held the precious oil-skin bundle in his hands. He toyed with the fabric, savoring the anticipation of seeing the shodo’charl in its full glory. He couldn’t use the stone, not yet, but once his shadows had killed the minor gods, their combined powers would give him what he needed to harvest the stone’s power—and maybe even figure out how the whole “time travel” part worked.

Or maybe he’d just dangle the stone in front of Shevanlagiy’s nose and watch her throw a jealous hissy fit. Maybe he could even work a blood deal out of her. A little more info about her past in exchange for this handy-dandy all important stone…

He grinned.

That would be worth her rage, surely.

He rubbed his hands together, made sure no traces of shadow magic were on his person, and then tossed the oil-skin back.

His jaw dropped.

He didn’t have the shodo’charl.

In its place was a piece of shiny black obsidian. Beside it, a small roll of parchment tied with a thin, curly ribbon.

Isahna tore the ribbon from the parchment and cast it into the swirling mist around him. The ribbon vanished, lost forever to the fog of the Immortal Realm.

He unrolled the parchment. In Cirenan script, each letter written precisely by a careful hand, was a note penned to multiple recipients:

If Daernan: I apologize for the inconvenience of taking this stone, but it is needed elsewhere. Too easy that a god might trick you for their own nefarious purposes.

If Cafrash: I apologize that I did not stay and guide you from Shevanlagiy’s plans. I realize you must be hurting now, and I shall try to end this as soon as humanly possible.

If Shevanlagiy: Please go back to your realm and leave us alone. You have caused us enough trouble. Thank you.

If Isahna: *See Daernan above. Oh, and I am thrilled to proclaim that I have made the first move.

If anyone else: I highly advise you avoid pick-pocketing powerful mages. On the bright side, you now have a decent sized lump of obsidian which you might sell for a small fortune.

Isahna cursed and shredded the note. He twisted his lips and tapped the table, trying to decide what to do now. The note was obviously written by someone familiar with his work, and if he were to guess, the culprit was one Nihestan Nivasha.

Did the man still have magic?

After the whole chesnathé incident, Isahna couldn’t be sure.

He rapped his knuckles on the table, then nodded decisively. He would “let slip” Nihestan’s presence to Shevanlagiy. That ought to keep her busy. With her out of the way, Isahna would have no one to stop him from taking over Cirena with his horde of shadows.

But he sure would have liked to dangle the stone in front of her nose.

Another time, another time.

Happy April first… and I hope you enjoyed the scene. 🙂

Have you ever deleted any scenes from your stories? If so, why?

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Thoughts on Writing – Developing a Fantasy Language (Interrogative)

For my short story, “Stone and String,” and for The Wishing Blade series, I’ve been trying to develop a functional conlang (constructed language) to add flavor to the world and for use as plot points. However, I ran into a problem… how do I ask questions in my Cantingen language?

See, I’ve been developing this over a period of time. Figuring out potential words and jotting them down for future use… figuring out a grammar rule (researched a whole slew of grammar rules from various languages to figure out the previous grammar rule)… and adding them to the dictionary as I go. I already had verb conjugations figured out (at least for an imperative style phrase in present tense), numbers, possessives (sort of) and adjectives. Apparently I already figured out adverbs, too, but hadn’t realized it. (And so I jotted that down, too).

But then it hit me that I hadn’t figured out how to ask a question in the Cantingen language.

I considered not having them use questions at all… then decided that would be just a bit too bossy for them. While word magic based on the language isn’t likely to use questions (though Isaac has challenge me to figure out how they might make it work) since it’s based on commanding magic to do what they want, the casual speaker is going to want to ask questions.

So I did some quick internet research on interrogative language stuff… (it may become quickly apparent that while I am trying to learn what the various mechanics are, I have trouble remembering the names for those mechanics)… and began formatting how to create the questions.

First off, I knew that I couldn’t use tone to imply that something is a question. That’s because word magic is intended to be read and still be clear… without the use of a question mark. I didn’t want to mess with swapping sentence structure around to make a question. And I didn’t want to inflect the verb in order to suggest that it’s a question.

Somehow, the result ended up reminding of an elementary school English lesson:

How does the dog run? The dog runs quickly. The dog runs how? Quickly.

And thus I decided on these rules:

  1. Questions are to be phrased so that the interrogative portion of the question replaces the who/what/etc portion of the question.
    1. (Ex. The dog runs how? vs The dog runs quickly.)
  2. To form a question, the who/what/etc suffix is attached before the word quéth, thus forming the phrase which replaces the part of the sentence in question.
    1. (Ex. nanlli mean “how,”quéth indicates that the sentence is question. Together, they create nanlliquéth.)
  3. Because the question is indicated in the sentence, there is no need for a question mark.
    1. (Ex. In English, it would look like the person says: “The dog runs how.” It should read flatter, without the rise in tone that a question in English would have. )
  4. Yes/No questions simply attach quéth to the verb in question.
    1. (Ex. hasil is “dog” and nivé is “to run.” “The dog runs,” translates to Hasil nivétra. If you say “The dog runs?” in English, you would say Hasil nivétraquéth. in Cantingen.

 

The questions ended up looking something like this:

 

Who – ka 

Who is that girl? Edyli is that girl.

Kaquéth dratethol ali doran. Edyli dratethol ali doran.

*
What kas

That sound is of what? That sound is of leaves.

Ali runin dratetha so kasqueth. Ali runin dratethtra so inarame.

*
Whenvésa

We leave when? We leave soon.

Yliav vésaquéth. Yliav jano.

*

Whereuru

The scroll is where? The scroll is in the box.

Kev dratethtra da uruquéth.Kev dratethtra da vari.

*
Whyji

She weaves why? She enjoys to weave.

Walol jiquéth. Kaviol wal.

*
How  – nanlli

She weaves how? She weaves quickly.

Walol nanlliquéth. Walol naf.

*
Yes/No Questions

This is the girl I seek?

Éda dratetholquéth doran somaria.

It’s still rough, and probably needs some polishing, but that’s what I have so far. It came in handy while working on The Shadow War. While there aren’t anyone asking questions directly in the Cantingen language, there are a few times when the main characters are speaking to people who are from the Cantingen Islands. Knowing how their primary language worked, I was able to change the sentence structure to add to the voice of those character.

For example, there’s a scene that takes place at the marketplace outside of Ashan.

The merchant bowed politely to the horses. She spoke softly in a Cantingen dialect, nothing Toranih understood, before finally turning to her customers and smiling. “Something attracts your eye?” she asked. Her Cirenan speech was articulate and careful, common among the Islanders. A rich blue sash wrapped around her hips and across her slender, bronze shoulders. Her dark hair had been pulled into loose curls and silver ribbons.

Daernan gestured to a pastry with a flaky, golden-brown crust, apricot paste, and streaks of yogurt frosting. “I’ll have that.”

Though I use the question mark here to mark correct English grammar, note how the question is phrased… “Something attracts your eye?” rather than “Does something attract your eye?” or “Do you see anything you like?” Theoretically, you could read it as a statement: “Something attracts your eye.” But if the merchant were to be speaking in the Cantingen language, she would use “quéth” to designate the question. “Eliaved nicolquéth naenlli.” (Literally, it translates to “Unknown sweet bread attracts your attention.” but the merchant knows enough Cirenan to phrase the question in a more familiar way).

* * *

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂 Have you tried constructing your own language, and if so, what problems have you run into?

If you want to read more about conlangs, I also have a post about Developing a Fictional Language (Cantingen) and Developing a Fictional Language (Maijevan).

2 Comments

Filed under Writing

Thoughts on Writing – Using a Roleplay Game to Develop a Novel’s Backstory

Now that Distant Horizon is out in the world (Yay!), I thought I’d talk a little about how the story came about–specifically, how a role-play game led to the creation of the backstory of Distant Horizon. Granted, a lot of the campaign stories aren’t visible in the first book,  but they still played a role in the backstory of the world.

It started in 2010…

Actually, no. Let me go back just a tiny bit further. It started with tabletop role-playing that involved a group of friends in college. We all lived in the same dorm, so we met in the evenings to play various games with different people taking the part of gamemaster. At times we had several games running throughout the course of the week. How late they went into the night depended on how early we had to get up for our first class the next morning.

I was introduced to RP games through the Savage Worlds system, starting with a fun-though-inevitably tragic (the sacrifice of my favorite giant zombie dog, Snuffles…) zombie apocalypse. I had intended to watch the other players while completing my physics homework, but before the game began, I was intrigued by the various miniatures and the gamemaster’s premade characters. He had extras, so I asked to join in.

The rest is history. I eventually decided to run a few of my own games. After the first failure (where I’d had a whole story plotted out… which was, of course, destroyed as players will destroy any plot by not going the intended direction), my primary games were a Star Wars game (I amassed quite a few of the RPG books and had them spread out across the table or floor during these games for reference), and a couple superhero games.

For the superhero game, I, Isaac, and a group of friends brainstormed what powers we might have. We placed the powers into four categories, then rolled a D4 (four-sided die) and a d10 (ten-sided die) to determine what our powers were. We fiddled with the system a bit (the base we used was Savage Worlds), and did a bit of “winging it” when determining how the powers worked.

Soon we had a team of well-meaning but absolutely terrible superheroes who caused far more destruction than good. One of them obliterated a bank robber’s head with sonic scream. (*Sigh. You were supposed to take him alive.*) One nearly electrocuted himself at a hidden night club after attacking a dancing mech. (Your job was to buy a special edition teddy bear from a vendor there, not assume the whole place was hidden front for a Japanese mafia.) One bent reality… (And he was the most sane of the group). The other kept getting distracted because he wouldn’t stop flirting (But hey, we need NPCs (non-player characters) who can help out with questions, right?). Needless to say, they drove their team leaders crazy… once by driving their car right out the top of the Super Bureau’s headquarters.

In relation to Distant Horizon, I can firmly say that these guys are part of the reason that the supervillains were able to convince everyone that the superheroes were the bad guys. But that story arc came later.

In a different campaign that ran about the same time, the superheros were a smaller team, and rather more effective at their missions… including to the point where they were sent to recover a set of special pendants that had strange powers, including the ability to slow time when four of the five pendants were in close proximity. *Cough.* These pendants make an appearance in Distant Horizon, as the most powerful members of the Community now have them in their hands.

In a different shorty-campaign that used the same power set but was run by my husband (mostly because I’d just had my wisdom teeth removed and I wasn’t in the mood to do much talking or heavy thinking), a group of airship pirates stole an airship and went through a few too many portals in attempt to uncover a precious jar of blueberry jelly… which might not have actually been blueberry jelly. They might be the reason the Community exists in the Distant Horizon universe. There was a lot of tweaking to that story arc, though the blueberry jelly reference remains.

In most these cases, there are a lot of seemingly random events (okay, it was probably pretty random even at the time), but it provided a rough basis for a background… one which Isaac later twisted and developed as the basis for Distant Horizon.

That being said, there’s a lot of stuff from the original campaigns that are not being included in the novels for the sake of plot and consistency, but overall, the games were a lot of fun and helped to build a semi-consistent world of powers. We could see which powers were broken (a much later campaign that used alchemy/enchanting proved where that needed a lot of fixing), develop out how different factions might interact, and then extrapolate from there to consider where it might go next. And now we have fodder to reference in regards to the origins of the world which can help enrich the setting.

Now, you won’t see much of these plots in the first book. Most of the characters are far enough removed from these events that all you’ll hear is an occasional reference. Still, it helped build the power system and let me drop clues that will become more relevant in later stories and companion novels.

Once I finish Little One’s story, (a Distant Horizon prequel I plan to work on after Glitch and Fractured Skies have been released) then you’ll see a lot more references to these campaigns. I had quite a bit of fun placing in those Easter Eggs in the rough draft. But that one also has a more quirky (though dark) tone than some of the other stories set in this world.

Isaac and I have continued to use role-play games to develop stories and worlds, but I’ll have to go into more detail about that in another post. For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this one. Have you ever used RPGs to help flesh out a story?

2 Comments

Filed under Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Wheee… it’s been a busy month, and I almost forgot to write up a status report. So here we go, an end of the month report! (Which means I should probably try to schedule the December report sometime mid-month. We’ll see if that happens or if it ends up being end of the month again).

Here it is!

Mid-Missouri Artists – Arts and Crafts Show: This was a local, one-day show Isaac and I attended. It went well, and we enjoyed talking to everyone there. We sold 4 copies of the Phalanx game, the cloth board edition, 1 copy of Magic’s Stealing, and 3 copies of Distant Horizon. I still need to run the numbers, but I’m pretty sure we broke even on the cost of the booth, and might have made a little profit, too. (Note: I factor in the basic costs of the individual items when figuring out the break-even point, as well as taxes and credit card processing fees). We also gave away 1 copy of Magic’s Stealing for the show’s raffle. Plus, the local newspaper ran a small article about Infinitas Publishing, so that was neat, too. 🙂

UCM Holiday Market: A local, one-day event that takes place at the University of Central Missouri. It’s scheduled for Wednesday, November 30th. We plan to have our current books there, as well as the remaining cloth boards of Phalanx. We’ve gone there before to sell art prints while I was majoring in photography at UCM, but this is our first time selling  our books and games.

Distant Horizon: The book is out and in the wild! Woot! (Seriously, I’ve read through it so many times that I’m glad it’s finally complete).

We did a book blitz with YA Bound Book Tours during the last week of October/first week of November, which helped get the word out about the existence of the book. In the meantime, a wonderful author friend helped us get the word out about review copies through an email form, and we’ve gotten quite a few reviews on Goodreads from that mailer. Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed Distant Horizon so far! You’re awesome! 😀

(Note: YA Bound Book Tours still has the request up for bloggers interested in review copies, so if you missed out on the mailer and want to request a free copy of Distant Horizon in exchange for an honest review, take a look ).

Glitch: This is the next book I plan to work on based in the world of Distant Horizon. It’s technically a companion novel, but it follows what happens to Tim after the end of Distant Horizon, and overlaps book two (Fractured Skies) in the series. Since Fractured Skies has major spoilers about the end of Glitch, and Glitch only has minor spoilers about Fractured Skies… I’m going to try getting this one done next. The good news: the first draft has been written and semi-polished for story plot. Bad news: It needs a lot of tightening and edits for continuity. The tone is also a bit different, as well, as Glitch is intended to lean more into the horror spectrum.

The Shadow War: Ebook pre-orders are up, with the release day set for February! This is the second book of The Wishing Blade series, and I’m in the polishing stages. Or… I’m in the polish-and-let-Isaac-rip-apart-the-plot-holes stage. After he’s finished reading the manuscript, I’ll attempt to fix the holes so that we don’t have as many “How It Should Have Ended” moments (which, if you haven’t seen the clips, which poke at the popular sci-fi/fantasy movies, you should totally look it up on Youtube. They’re entertaining and have rather useful points for writers to keep in mind). Anyway, The Shadow War is my major writing/editing focus at the moment.

Stone and String: I’ve got a few short story ideas in mind for this particular storyline. I had planned on writing them for NaNoWriMo, but got side-tracked editing The Shadow War. The freebie promotion days on Kindle Select recently ended (we had 13 downloads and 1 review… thank you!), and I’m planning on pulling it from Select at the end of the month. I’m hoping to put it on Smashwords sometime in December, which will open the ebook’s availability across multiple platforms.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: On hold. At the moment I’m focusing on the bigger projects, but I want to return to it at a later date. (Note… if you’ve read it thus far and want to see more, let us know! Nothing like having readers show interest to let us know which projects we should be prioritizing). 😉

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: We’ve got a few ideas of how to lower the base cost of the game so that we can have copies available at local conventions/events. At the moment, it’s only feasible to have it available to order online. More information on that in the future.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration:  Finished one cover today and I’m aiming to finish another cover/formatting project at the end of the week. I’ve been scaling down the amount of projects I have here so that I have more time for Infinitas Publishing projects.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

That’s all for now, and I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Ventures, Uncategorized

Thoughts on Writing – A Blurb for The Shadow War

I’m preparing to create the pre-order page for The Shadow War, the second book of The Wishing Blade series. I’m still in the editing phases, and it’s going to be a little while before it releases (I’m planning to set the release date for February, though I’m hoping to release it sooner). But I want to have the page up before I do the Stone and String freebie days from Kindle Select.

Before I can create the page, however, I want to have a blurb ready (those dreaded, tricky things that entice readers to buy the book). The Shadow War is a YA/Middle Grade fantasy novella (47,000 words), the second of The Wishing Blade series. (You can read the blurb for the first book by clicking here).

So I’ve been thinking about a blurb, and this is what I’ve come up with:

The kingdom of Cirena is under attack from an army of shadows—beings who can only be hurt by magic or fire. But magic has been stolen, and as the shadows spread, infecting all they touch, the last two ribbon mages race to the nearest port city to warn them of the impending invasion. One of those mages, Toranih, is among the few who can even see the Trickster-cursed army, and she’s determined to get magic back—no matter how much she distrusts it. But when she gets captured by the shadows and a secret is revealed about her future, her only chance of survival may be to fight the shadows from within.

While this may be what I use for my initial post of the pre-order page, I want to make sue it works in the long run. So my questions for you are these:

  1. Is the blurb intriguing?
  2. Does it reveal too much? Too little?
  3. Does it show clear goals and motivations?
  4. If you’ve read Magic’s Stealing, does it interest you in reading The Shadow War?
  5. If you haven’t read Magic’s Stealing, does it interest you in learning more or looking inside either of the books?

Thanks for your input! I appreciate it! 😀

I hope you find this post helpful for your own writings. What pitfalls have you run into when writing a blurb?

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Thoughts on Writing – Developing a Fictional Language (Maijevan)

Lately, I’ve been working a bit on my conlangs (constructed languages). I started out with the Cantingen language (a “word magic” system used throughout my The Wishing Blade series). I’ve been developing it over time, adding words here and there as required and every once in a while going on a spree to flesh it out.

While going through my latest round of edits on The Shadow War (book two of the series), I double-checked that my attempts to create sensical sentences were correct. Most weren’t, and I had to rewrite many of the instances where the language was included. But I had a chance to flesh it out even more in “Stone and String” (tentative title), a short story based on the Cantingen Islands. I’m super excited to be working on that soon, as I’ve just about got all the feedback from the people I’ve asked to beta-read.

However, that short story led me to thinking about other places in the world of The Wishing Blade that I might want to develop further. Namely, Maijev. It’s a large city in the land of Cirena, but unlike the rest of the kingdom, it has a reputation for being anti-mage and isolated. Mages usually avoid the place because there’s something about the area that burns at their skin if they try to use ribbon magic (word magic is unaffected) and generally makes them uncomfortable.

I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not they should have their own language. Would they only speak that? Probably not. But it did seem possible they would have one for when they didn’t want to be listened to by outsiders, so I started considering how it would sound.

I’ve based the appearance of some of the character’s names from Maijev on Russian names, and as such, used that as a starting point. I looked to see what differences there were between Russian and English (such as the lack of vowel sounds and the concepts of perfective and imperfective aspects). Then I took that and ran (in other words, what I’ve developed thus far of the Maijevan language probably doesn’t look a thing like Russian. I haven’t studied the language, so I don’t know much about it).

Anyway, I started out by writing a few notes about Maijev’s general culture, which could affect the language.

  1. They don’t acknowledge the gods, at least not separately, though they understand that they exist. They might categorize the gods the same as immortal monsters (gods/immortals should be same word)
  2. Magic is cursed. Or, if not “cursed” per se, it is considered something akin to “evil”
  3. Whatever it is coming from the ground that burns mages is what keeps them safe
  4. Competition is encouraged/fierce.
  5. High possibility of strong family bonds? (Might explain why the lord of the city adopts a mage for a son… never mind that he sorely distrusts mages)
  6. They acknowledge a feudal-like caste system
  7. They’re fascinated with technology/science/academia. (While the rest of Cirena is fascinated with magic and what magic can do, Maijev has more-or-less started into the age of the industrial revolution).

I decided that their language system would be very rigid and precise. It’s a phonetic language, and for the most part, you can tell exactly how to pronounce a word based on the spelling. Also, the sentence structure is organized in a specific format:

(Subject) (Negative, if negative) (Perfect/Imperfect) (Tense) (Verb)

I also decided on a few additional rules:

  1. No articles.
  2. Adjectives and adverbs use same word. “Quiet” and “quietly” are both digaev) but placement determines which it is.
  3. When there is more than one adjective or adverb, it is separated by “and” (vo).
  4. Adjectives are placed immediately after the noun in question.
  5. Adverbs are placed immediately after the verb in question.
  6. Verbs are not conjugated. A subject of some form should always be given to show who is acting.

Thus, “The small and quiet dog was digging.” becomes Nitilver vreg vo digaev ni miski natch.

  • nitilver – (subject) dog
  • vreg – (adjective) small
  • vo -(conjunction) and
  • digaev – (adjective) quiet
  • ni – (imperfective aspect) – shows the action was not completed
  • miski – (past tense) shows that the verb happened in the past
  • natch – (verb) to dig

Now, I’m considering removing the past tense word miski and simply replacing it with ni (imperfective – incomplete action) or gadi (perfective – completed action), but then, that would remove the ambiguity if someone didn’t use either aspect. But, if they like having a rigid society, perhaps they don’t have an ambiguous form. Haven’t decided yet.

What have I learned thus far about creating a fictional language?

  1. It was helpful to create a list of phonemes and sounds first. That way I could create words without worrying that I might use a sound later that I don’t want to include in the language. Conversely, once I started working with it, I realized I wanted to include a couple extra vowel sounds.
  2. It was also helpful to create the sentence structure and rules system before trying to create sentences. Now I know a bit more about what words the language even uses, and won’t be stuck rewriting sentences later.

However, I’m not a linguist, and I could be doing these things completely wrong (I wasn’t familiar with how imperfective and perfective aspects worked before I started toying with this idea).

And it might not even matter, because, as Isaac (my husband) pointed out, the Maijevan and Cirenan languages should be at least somewhat related. So I need to go create the Cirenan structure before I do much more work with Maijevan. On the bright side, since this time period is far from the “original” use of the language, and Cirena is a much more travel-oriented community, I might have it pull a few stunts from English. That is, itcan borrow words from the other languages, and have a few more “irregular” rules. *Shudder.*

But, given the mythology of their world… well, we’ll see what happens.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you tried creating any fantasy languages of your own? 🙂

6 Comments

Filed under Writing

Thoughts on Writing – How A Deleted Scene Turned into A Short Story Idea

Hello, again! I realize I’ve been silent for awhile, and I thought I’d give a quick update. See, I’m sort of between projects. Distant Horizon is being read by a proofreader, and I’ve gotten notes back for The Shadow War… and I apparently have a few plot holes that need to be addressed before  I can make much progress. That, and I finally finished the beta-reading project I’ve been long overdue on!

But that left me in writing-limbo. It’s not like I don’t have a bunch of projects to work on. (Trust me, I’ve got plenty of rough drafts begging to be polished). But I didn’t want to start anything big until my two main projects were finished.

And, well, I’ve been reading a lot about short stories and the concept of short stories and then I kind of decided… why not write a short story while I’m waiting?

It started with edits to The Shadow War. One concern had to do with the numerous point of view shifts. There are two characters in particular who had scenes, but, upon second look, I realized might not add much to the story itself (Never mind that I thoroughly enjoyed them).

My first thought was to take one of those scenes (since I rarely delete anything, I copied them into a separate document before removing them from the book) and flesh it into a short story from the point of view of one of the antagonists or semi-antagonists.

Problem with that was two-fold. First… spoilers. All the spoilers. There would be no way around it with the scenes I wanted to write. Second… background details that I wasn’t ready to explore. There’s a highly-detailed world behind The Wishing Blade, and not all the details have been worked out. The ones pertaining to the main plot are mostly in place, but some of the ‘how did this character get here‘ have not.

So I pushed those ideas out for now (Someday I want to write a novel or novella that looks at the antagonists of the series. I could have so much fun with their stories).

Instead, I started looking at areas in the world which interest me, but have nothing to do with the main story. Or, well… are only vaguely related. In this case, the Cantingen Islands. Remember that word magic conlang I’ve been working on? It features heavily in the rough draft of the third book, but from an outsider’s perspective. But I’ve wanted to do more with it, and actually take a look at their mythology and culture.

Enter the short story idea for Stone and String (tentative title). My goal was to write a short story between 5,000 to 10,000 words, with a cohesive beginning, middle, and end. And that goal has been achieved, completing the story at 8,000 words!

The story takes place in the Cantingen Islands, around the time of Magic’s Stealing but not tied to any of the main characters. It explores word magic to a degree, but focuses heavily on their afterlife, as the main character is a young girl who trades her death magic for a chance to see her little sister after an accident kills her.

The story is off to beta-readers now, but I’m hoping that edits go smoothly and I can publish it here in the next couple months. Hopefully it will tide readers over until I can finish The Shadow War.

If people enjoy it, I may write more short stories following the particular character. If not… well, it’s a stand-alone, so it won’t leave anyone on a cliffhanger.

Now, the caveat is that I plan on releasing the short story through Kindle Select so that it can be placed in Kindle Unlimited. Which means, at least for a few months, it won’t be available outside of Amazon. I’m curious to see if it might bring new readers to the series.

But the main books will continue to be available through multiple channels, as I prefer not to have all my eggs in one basket.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you tried using Kindle Select, or had luck writing stand-alone short stories? 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing