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I’m a day late in posting. (I try for Wednesdays and Sundays.) But that’s because yesterday I was actually writing that chapter in MAGE STORM that’s had me stuck for so long.

Mage Storm

It’s not quite finished, but it’s very close. I expect to have it done soon–by the end of the weekend at the latest–and then I can set it aside for a while and turn back to the final revisions on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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(Huh! Just now noticed that I’ve got ‘storm’ in both titles.)

I don’t really know–yet–what’s held me up on this chapter. Usually when I face this much resistance it’s because something in the back of my brain knows there’s something wrong, that I’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. Hopefully, I’ll figure it out by the time I’m ready to come back to it.

At least I know I’ll be more productive on the revisions to BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

Best Intentions

Well, I did have good intentions when I made my last post, but I still haven’t made much progress on MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Mostly, that because the plumbing broke again and it’s really hard for me to concentrate when I’m worrying about getting running water again. I’ve still got a couple of old house issues to work out.

The faucet in the kitchen sink is basically held together with tape right now, which is a situation that can’t last long. And clearing out under the sink revealed some other problems I’m going to have to figure out how to deal with. And there’s still that tree branch that has to be taken off before it comes down on its own–and does some damage. (Actually, the whole tree probably needs to come out, but . . . one thing at a time.) And that doesn’t include the normal maintenance. Old houses . . . .

Anyway, now I have running water again, I can start prioritizing and strategizing and figure out how to deal with these one by one. And make time to get back to finishing this chapter and moving on.

Lack of Progress

I have made very little progress on finishing this chapter of MAGE STORM.

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I was sure I’d get that done last weekend, but . . . nope. Just one of those weeks. Too many other things to do. Managing a couple of overdue promotions, starting the search for next year’s health insurance.

Nothing to be done about it but set aside some specified time for writing and stick to it.

The first of the critiques on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM is back.

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And, of course, there are a few revisions I need to make–some that will be easy, others that will require careful thought. I’m eager to get back to finish off that story. I really want to publish it either the last week of December or the first week in January.

So, now I’m working on finishing up the current chapter of MAGE STORM and making any notes that come to mind so that that story will be ready to pick up once everything’s in place for BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Also, FIRE AND EARTH is currently free, but just through October 15th–tomorrow.

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As I’ve sorted out how MAGE STORM and it’s sequels are going to work out, I’ve been thinking about the different kinds of series. There are several kinds. And it looks like I’m heading toward writing one (or more) of each. Not that I set out to do that. It’s just sort of the way the stories have fallen out.

The first, most obvious one is the trilogy (or duology, or tetralogy, or septology, or however many books the story needs to complete the arc). In this kind of series, each book tells a story, but together they add up to a bigger story. So, a trilogy (literally “three stories) is actually four stories—each individual book’s story, plus the overarching series story. The J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series may be the best example of this.

My DUAL MAGICS series fits this mold.

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A variant of this is a series in which the overarching story is about the world, not the characters. Someday, when I’m going to circle back and turn DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING into the first of the MAGIC AND POWER series, that’s what this series will be. Different stories, centering on new and different characters (though the earlier characters may well turn up as mentors—or something). In this case, the bigger story will be about saving one corner of that world. The characters in DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING made a good start on that, but the job’s not done (even though their character arcs are). 

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Then there’s the series that really kind of isn’t a series at all, but one big story told in more than one volume. J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings comes to mind. (I mean, really, I can’t imagine reading that series—great as it is—while it was coming out and having to wait until the last book came out to find out what happened to Frodo and Sam after Shelob’s Lair—and then having to read the whole story of the Battle of the Pelenor Fields all the way up to the Black Gate before the story turned back to let Sam rescue Frodo from the orcs.)

My BECOME series is not quite that bad, but, yeah, you need both books to make up the whole story.

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Last, but not least, the episodic series is more like a series of mystery novels where each book contains a new mystery to be solved by the same detective. In a mystery series, the order of the books probably doesn’t matter much at all. This kind of series exists in fantasy, too, but in fantasy the order of the books may be more of an issue. Each book is still a story in itself and perfectly readable on its own, but they may build on the earlier books, making it advantageous to read them in order, even if that’s not strictly necessary. Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series are like this—same, or mostly the same, characters, different problems, which sometimes grow out of the earlier stories. But the problems don’t add up to a larger story arc.

My UNBALANCED MAGIC series, starting with MAGE STORM, will be along these lines, I think.

Mage Storm

So is the CHIMERIA series, come to think of it. Someday I may circle back and write the third book in that series.

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Huh! Maybe, when I get MAGE STORM done, I’ll start a boxed set of series starters.

Progress at Last

Taking a break–meaning stepping away and not even staring at the words or the page–for a  couple of days was the right decision. That little bit of distance allowed me to see just what (tiny) element was really holding me up. A very minor change in the least important of the characters involved in this scene let me move forward–and actually is making the scene much better.

I find that very often, that kind of lack of progress is an indicator that something–often something minor–just isn’t working. A little change, or, sometimes, a big change, will fix and unstick things.

I wouldn’t say I’m roaring along just yet, but I am getting words down, which is a vast improvement. MAGE STORM is back up on four wheels and starting to roll.

Mage Storm

Cover Art

So, I did take the time to go work up the cover art for MAGE STORM. Here it is:

Mage Storm.jpg

I made a conscious choice to stay away from lightning this time, since the covers of the DUAL MAGICS series feature lightning, smoke, and fire:

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And the BECOME series also feature lightning:

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The plan with the UNBALANCED MAGIC series (subject to change), starting with MAGE STORM, is that I’ll use that same stylized dragon image against a different background–suitable to each individual story. There are dragons in the story–little dragons, big dragons, water dragons. And since this is a rewrite, I can easily work that symbol in and make it, if not important, at least recognizable. I think that will work to brand the series as belonging together.

Oh, and yes, I intentionally left the series number off. While individual stories may build on what went before, they should still work as stand-alones, too. This shouldn’t be the kind of series where it matters immensely in what order the books are read.

Now, back to getting the story written.