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I'm working on the final few pages of the second draft of my new novel today. This is my story draft, where I tighten the story. As usual, I had some detours. I outlined the second novel, which gave me a more complete picture of the first one; I wrote a short story about one of the antagonists, who I now know much more deeply; and I researched more, too. All good detours.
I usually write four drafts, but the first two are where most of the work goes, so I'm on track for a summer release of the first novel of a new series.
I mentioned in my newsletter that this series (and future series) will be part of an overarching cycle set in connected worlds. But each series can be read independently of the others.
The new series is urban fantasy suspense. More on this later...
Blue Prometheus is a fantasy novel by Ned Marcus. On a distant planet, three humans must fight the technology and black magic of a spacefaring empire…
Young Aina is a fantasy story set in the ancient forest and shows Aina learning to speak to the forest, as well as a formative experience in her life…
When I was stuck writing part of the climax for Fire Rising, I remembered something I'd heard Garry Kasparov say when discussing chess strategy. He'd explained that in chess, it's not always the number of pieces you have that counts, or even their power. Sometimes, although it may look as if you are at a great disadvantage, the positioning of the pieces can make the difference between winning and losing.
Thomas was alone and facing deadly enemies on the top of a fiery tower. I couldn't see how he could survive, let alone defeat his enemies. But then I thought about Kasparov's advice for chess. I imagined the top of the tower as a chessboard, with each piece having to act according to its nature—in this case according to the nature of their magic. I immediately saw a way for him to use the physical environment to survive the encounter.
The usefulness of learning new skills and experiencing the world in different ways for creativity and deepening new fantasy worlds is something I've known for a long time, but it still surprises me.
"Lucy watched a small yellow monkey in one of the giant fungi stare at them as their boat moved into the waterway. A constant drizzle fell over the swamp, and she wiped the water from her face; the tiny monkey copied her, and then they left it behind.
Thomas rowed while Chloris bailed out the water slowly gathering by her feet with her hands, and Lucy sat at the stern searching for any signs of intelligent life in the forested swamp.
“Need to eat,” Chloris said. She leant over the side and tried to catch a fish from the channel. It slipped through her hand. The thought of eating fish from this turgid grey river made Lucy feel nauseous—and thankful she’d become vegetarian. But still, it was better Chloris eat fish than humans."
One of the quieter moments on the journey to the centre of the planet in The Darkling Odyssey.
Here's a 25 word short story I wrote for fun—fantasy of course...
Enjoy some fantasy quotes from famous fantasy authors and others…
Ned Marcus book covers for the Blue Prometheus series—past and present.
Young Aina and Fire Rising have both been chosen for the Kobo Best Indie Cover of 2019. Young Aina has reached the final of the Best Indie Book Cover (fiction/nonfiction category) for 2019, and Fire Rising has reached the final for Best Indie Book Cover (science fiction). Voting is open now—if you like the Young Aina, Fire Rising or any other cover, you can add your vote here—