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Posts Tagged ‘Fang Marsh’

I’ve been working through some serious questions for the last few weeks, so I thought I’d lighten up this time and just chat about what I’m working on.

I’ve nearly finished the first draft of my novella, Fang Marsh. I say nearly because, while I’ve reached “the end,” the last quarter of the book is very rough. I skeleton-drafted through it in order to get to “the end.” Now I have to go back and fill in the gaps. Fully describe, amp up emotions, make motivations clear, all that stuff. It should take me another week or so. I’m looking for about 35,000 words, a really good length for a novella.

After that, I’m switching over to the self-publishing process on my second Minstrels of Skaythe novella, The Cursed Grove. I’ve been thinking of a Thanksgiving release for it, but it could be ready sooner. With curses in the title, it could even be a Hallowe’en book. That might be pushing it, since this isn’t a standard horror novel. So that’s something I’ll have to decide.

I’m also working on various non-writing projects around the house. The garden season is basically over, which means I begin taking things down and prepping beds for winter. In addition, we decided to slowly transition our yard from mostly lawn, which takes a lot of care and feeding, to a more sustainable landscape. This requires digging out beds, laying pathways, transplanting, and so on. It’s hard work, but fun.

I hope all of you are working hard but having fun, too.


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I mentioned that as Fang Marsh develops I have to make some decisions about the plot and the outcome. The most significant of these is about the magic my mages wield.

In the series, Minstrels of Skaythe, mages rule the land through fear and oppression. Their power is based on lethentros, an energy born from entropy and death itself. Because their source is so dark, it inevitably destroys them. Either another mage kills them to seize their power, or they go mad and their own power consumes them.

The Minstrels, who seek to bring hope to the land, use a different energy. Their source is vitalis, the energy of pure joy and life itself. With their power, they can heal all injuries and create hope in the hopeless. However, people who are healed by them develop an attachment. They can no longer live in the despair they knew. This power to literally change who people are is a grave crime to the Minstrels.

What I have to decide is whether vitalis can cure a mage who has channeled lethentros. Meven’s foundling, Elldry, is using lethentros after experiencing a deep trauma. It makes him volatile and paranoid. Meven wants to teach him to use vitalis instead. I have to figure out if this is even possible, and what the consequences may be.

I’ll have to confront this same question at other points in the series. Enemy mages may want to seize the Minstrels’ power for themselves. Others will be offered healing and have to decide whether they want it. Ultimately, if the Minstrels confront the evil overlord, Dar-Gothull, they might try to heal him instead of fighting back. Will that work, and is it ethical?

By the end of Fang Marsh, I will have to decide what happens when vitalis meets lethentros. It should be an interesting discovery!


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This summer I’ve been plugging away at the next Minstrels of Skaythe novella, tentatively titled “Fang Marsh.” Yes, that’s the one whose title I’ve been trying to figure out. I’ll get there, eventually.

Meven, a mage who rejects her society’s cruel way of life, stumbles on a traumatized child, who is also a mage. She takes this foundling with her, hoping to save him from the madness that eventually claims most mages in Skaythe. Meven herself is very closed-in and doesn’t recognize that she might need help, too.

That was all planned. What I hadn’t planned for was a house boat full of water folk whose lives she might affect. The authorities are going to come looking for Meven. (Thus keeping up her tension and danger.) If they hide her, the consequence will be severe. I want to establish the possibility that the water folk may betray her, even though they are good and kind people.

There’s also a young man who is smitten and will keep turning up, despite her rejecting him. Shonn doesn’t know she’s a mage. I have considered that he might be the one who betrays her, after learning the truth. Or, he might be just the man she needs. I haven’t decided.

So it’s going slowly, but it’s going. What had been vague ideas and outcomes need to come into focus. And I know that they will. I’ve learned to trust my muse over the years.


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