I’m writing this quick post, since I haven’t done an informative post for a while, and feel obliged to do so. Also, its quick cause I’m going to cook dinner in a sec, and rest my brain from writing! This is more of a quick update rather than a meaningful, sincere post about what I think about when writing.
So while I was in Tenerife, my editor had a look through what I had written, and completely scrutinised it! Which is a good thing! Some of the stuff I had recently written I felt wasn’t my best, although she did like my fight scene, yay! But anyway, the main part of the book (now being rewritten) was ripped to shreds as it wasn’t: A. Coherent, B. Engaging. I was told that she was lost and confused at quite a lot of it (bit concerning) with some parts having not enough emphasis, and other parts having to much, so a simple concept of give and take. It was clear to me where I went wrong, and what I should have done, which I suppose is a good thing, if I can acknowledge my work as not in-keeping with what I’ve already written. Another good skill to have, the ability to scrutinise your work, to make it as coherent as possible. Currently rewriting the negotiations, which happens to set the scene and foundations of the series, I feel more confident about what I’m doing, and how I’m doing it.
In terms of other parts of the book that were criticised, were things like: this has already been mentioned, why don’t you change this so it has a better effect, I thought this was this, why have you put this here, makes no sense. That sort of thing. I guess, as you progress with writing, and understand and acknowledge your writing style, you begin to realise how much you need to change in the early parts of your writing/book; and since I’m taking on a load of suggestions, I’ve changed quite a bit in the beginning. Thus, everything that I’ve posted (all the excerpts) from ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’, will inevitably have been changed to sound more dramatic and engaging.
Sorry if you liked the excerpts before, but, I promise what has been scrutinised and edited, and edited again, will be better and more coherent! Exactly what I want!
Now to go and cook Rigatoni All’ Arrabbiata Con Salmone! Yummy!
At daybreak, the convoy was in full flow. Maria and Davos were in their personal carriage, driven by her secret lover, the guards were on horseback bringing up the rear of the convoy, in-between the carriage and the front riders were various advisors to the Plysters, who were fundamental to Davos’ negotiations with the Fermata’s, and at the front of the convoy was Nathanial Plyster, Davos and Maria’s eldest son. Nathanial was a tall and proud man, whose appearance resembled many of his mother’s features, his personality emulating his father’s. Nathanial had light brown hair, that covered his temples, the top of his forehead and the top part of his ears. His blue eyes were deceiving, they gave the impression he was a soft and understanding character, but behind them, deviant and illustrious ideas that could cause so much calamity to Pravum. Davos was proud of his son, but continuously reminded him that the Fermata’s were not their enemy, but soon to be under their leadership.
Nathanial looked forward to the day that his family would become Pravum’s reigning monarchy. He had a lust for power and strived for it in any circumstance. The only problem in his life was his bastard sister. In his eyes, an ugly bitch who had no place in Pravum, and deserved to live in the dirty lands of Integer. How he hated her and her presence. But he hated the relationship between her and his mother. Nathanial often wandered how such an abomination entered the world through her, an attractive lady married to the must proud and zealous husband, with respectful children. He hated the fact that his mother had given birth to Raelyn. He hoped one day his father would force Maria to disown her, then the annoyance would no longer be around, even though Raelyn was riding at the back of the convoy, away from sight.
Riding alongside Nathanial was Davos’ personal advisor. Ligal and Nathanial had always been friends, Ligal took care of Nathanial whenever his parents were away from Mentior, or working and couldn’t offer the attention he needed. On many occasions Ligal would personally train Nathanial how to wield a sword and how to defend himself in dangerous combat situations. Nathanial was a natural at handling his sword, and Ligal was impressed by him. Ligal shared many stories with Nathanial, which further inspired him to become a conqueror and follow in his father’s footsteps. Ligal could be mistaken for Nathanial’s father if it were not for Davos’ existence. The pair trusted each other implicitly with personal opinions and stories of their activities when not attending their duties to Davos.
After a few hours of drinking and socialising, each party within the convoy went their separate ways to their tents. Davos and Ligal remained in the main tent drinking into the night. Maria knew that it would be hours until the two of them finished to rest for the night, which made her happy that she could spend some time alone, at least, that’s what most people thought. Before the drinking, Maria had talked with her bastard daughter, Raelyn, asking her how she was and whether Melissa or Nathanial were giving her a hard time along the journey. Even though Raelyn was a bastard, and children who were bastards were always treated badly and frowned upon, Maria loved her daughter dearly, and didn’t care about what others thought about their relationship. Raelyn was Maria’s most beautiful and loving child she had given birth to, and that’s what made Davos and the rest of the family hate her so much, because she was the smartest and most strong-willed. It infuriated Maria’s children that Raelyn was the best out of all of them, but she was only the best because of the way Maria had brought her up.
It was a little past ten o’clock, and Maria was undressing in her tent to rest for the night. Untying her boots and emerald green dress and placing them on a chair in the corner of her tent, she picked up her white nighty when there was a knock on the wooden post next to the tent flap. She spun round, a slight smile appearing, and a glimmer in her eye, she would not be spending the night alone. Maria walked over to the tent, and gently pealed part of the opening back to see who it was. She knew it wasn’t Davos, since he doesn’t know the courtesy of knocking, it was her assistant, hers and Davos’ horseman. Maria smiled at his presence and he bowed in respect of seeing her.
So after a weeks vacation to Tenerife for fieldwork, I am back, and with a lot of inspiration with what I saw out there, and boy oh boy, did I see some awesome stuff! (probably because I do Geography). Going to places with exotic and exciting landscapes and landforms is by far, the best sort of inspiration you can have when writing a book, especially when you need to describe the scenery. It was amazing! I couldn’t be more happy if I tried! Looking around Mt Teide was absolutely mesmerising! The landscape was unbelievable, and complex, with the climate making it so much better! On one side of the island you have a vast, hyper-arid, sparse desert environment, then on the southern side, a myriad of vegetation, stretching so far! It was also amazing to see how the vegetation changed as you climbed the volcano (I won’t go into detail, since this is a blog about a book, not a scientific blog). The volcano was the best part (hence why I went to go and do my project up there), but also wanted to grab as many pictures as possible, since the landscape in Integer will almost certainly emulate that of Tenerife (scroll down, you’ll see what I mean). For all writers out there, imagination is great, but reality is even better where inspiration is concerned! Those who wish to write about places so exotic, so different, so out-of-this-world, I urge you, when considering your next holiday, don’t go to some extravagant city, or a place with a nice beach and climate, go somewhere that has amazing geography, geology, and geomorphology!
In the meantime, enjoy these images from my fieldwork trip!
(and a picture of me).
I’ve only been on wordpress for a couple of months now, and got a notification on the first week of March, saying that I had received 100 likes for my content! I know this, to some of you, may not be a big landmark, but for people to read, admire, and like my content and ideas means a lot! I’ve put so much effort into this project, and love every single moment when I’m writing! Obviously, I’m still going strong, releasing excerpts from ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’ up to three times a week. They’ve been quite successful, getting quite a lot of views, but all I can say is a big thank you to everyone who has viewed my content, and liked it! As a small celebration, I am very excited and pleased to announce the title and front cover of the sequel to ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’. Everything in the first novel sets the scene for books to come. ‘Arrows of Fire’, will be mainly based in the Deep Woods, focusing on four characters. That’s all I’m saying, making it very ambiguous. So please, to all my followers, and people who like this post, enjoy the front cover for the next instalment of the ‘Right of Legions’ series.
On the long road from the central lands, where the one-hundred -and-fifty-year-old Mentior city lies, House Plyster were making their way to Praevalidus to deliberate the stronghold’s stance in the Plysterian monarchy. The party had been travelling for one-and-a-half weeks since they left Mentior, a city constructed in the wake of the Plysterian. Davos Plyster, heir to the Plysterian throne, was of average height, with a rounded, but not too large, belly, big arms, dark brown hair, and a short beard. His eyes a dark shade of brown, wide with a deceiving look, that also makes him look illustrious. He was a zealous and persuasive character who held firm on his beliefs and opinion, and ignores those who oppose against him when the matters are insignificant.
Davos was sitting inside the Plyster carriage along with his wife, Maria, in the convoy to Praevalidus which was scattered with soft red cushions, with a wooden floor and two patterned windows on either side of the carriage. He was very pleased with its construction and she was very grateful that he ordered for the carriage to be made, making long distant journeys somewhat comfortable. Both of them sat opposite each other, eating lunch; the usual rabbit and potato stew washed down with several glasses of wine. The couple lived a life of luxury.
The convoy was a collection of advisors, guardsmen, maids, and of course the family responsible for the creation of the Plysterian. It stretched back one-hundred metres on the southern roads, with all personnel on horseback, riding two abreast. Davos devoured his food, eating more than he could chew, his wife ate elegantly and made sure that she ate her food, rather than pasted it around her mouth.
Anton Darus, head principle of the Tower of Mages, was standing in the library keep in the Red Dragon Castle, looking at the Legacies of Pravum texts. It fascinated him that people forgot the times when dragons were free to roam in the sky, when the first man tamed a dragon and established the Guardians of the Realm, all dismissed as legends and myths in today’s world. He continued to look at the titles of each book until he arrived at Legion Treaties: A United Pravum. The A-Z book of all the different signed treaties by each and every legion in Pravum. The book was thick with signatures that swore different oaths to separate legions. In Anton’s mind, the book was a masterpiece, unique artwork that demonstrated the significance of unity within the western region; but he noticed something that he had not noticed before and he couldn’t understand why. A treaty signed by Edward Fermata, who established the Guardians of the Realm, almost three-hundred-and-fifty years ago, stated:
Legion alliances can either by established through friendship, courtship, or from uniting in combat. Legions who are related are obliged to be united together in any circumstance and without hesitation, however close or distant the relation is, it is the family’s duty to uphold this union.
Signed: Edward Fermata
It wasn’t the treaty itself that caught Anton’s attention, it was the fact that only Edward had signed the treaty, whereas the rest of the articles were signed by all leaders of the nine legions. Anton quickly found a piece of parchment and wrote down the article to decipher it later on in the week. He sat down at one of the isle tables between two rows of bookshelves, while the soft light from outside illuminated the table and book in-front of him. How had he not noticed this before? Why was this so significant? And the biggest question of all, why had only Edward signed the treaty? He wanted to investigate further, find the records that contained all the main family trees, who courted who, who was born to who. This intrigued Anton a great deal, and it dawned on him that his sleep would certainly deteriorate because of it; but it gave him more of an excuse to visit Praevalidus Pearls, it’s not like this was uncommon, anyway.
“Withal Smyth, personal advisor to Isaac Fermata, was waiting for him in the Great Hall, scrutinizing the Pravum throne. Withal had a lot of respect for the Fermata’s, especially Isaac. He and Withal had fought together in the battle of Dalimaey, a ruthless and bloody battle against an uprising militia against the Dalimaey leaders. From the momentum, the militia they had gathered, House Plyster and Hillon would have lost, if it wasn’t for the Fermata’s support. Soon after, Davos Plyster suggested that Praevalidus should swear an alliance to the Plysters, so that nothing like another militia could ever happen again. Isaac and Withal begrudged the idea, the thought of Praevalidus losing its well-established traditions and victories was something that they couldn’t quite consolidate. Pravum, although a united nation, had never had a single man ruling all nine legions. They had in the past collaborated and worked together, even though each legion was independent from one another, yet some legions favoured others, some despised them, but the system worked. Praevalidus was always seen as the biggest, most powerful, and diplomatic legion in the entire western region, some legions accept this, some detest it.
Withal understood and recognised that Pravum needed one leader to rule and organise all nine legions, to work more closely to each other, but hated the idea that a family that was almost defeated, in the eyes of a Captain of the Praevalidus Guards, by a pathetic and insignificant militia would be the ones to step up to the plate. He also knew that not complying with their request would have plunged Pravum into civil war, with the majority of legions supporting the Plysters and only a few supporting the Fermatas, but Withal knew that if that was the outcome, he would remain optimistic that the Fermatas would win; after all, the Praevalidus Guards could easily defeat the poorly trained Plyster Conscripts.
Every development associated with the Plysters, Withal’s urge and desire to conquer the central region rises, and soon, it will rise to a level which he will not be able to contain, the only thing stopping him from taking a regiment of guards from Praevalidus was Isaac. Isaac was someone Withal always admired, his calming attitude, bravery in battle, and his consideration towards others was something Smyth had always aspired to become, but however hard he tried, he could not change his character. He always wondered why he couldn’t change who he was, it was something that also puzzled Anton.
‘There’s no need to change who or what you are Withal. You’re an advisor and friend to Isaac, officer of the guard, and the men have the highest respect for you,’ Anton had said to Withal at one of their weekly pub visits. Withal valued Anton’s opinion, and whenever each other needed support, they would always find themselves at the Dragon and Sword Inn.”
“In the leader’s quarters in the tallest spire of the Red Dragon Castle grounds, Isaac Fermata was standing on his balcony, looking out to the mouth of the southern sea. His body hunched over while his arms rested on balcony wall, hands clasped together. Dressed in his working outfit, consisting of dark brown leather clothing, with the long-sleeved shirt buttoned together down the middle and trousers held up by his black leather belt with his prized Steelium buckle. He wore black rough leather boots, the top of which was concealed by his straight fitted trousers, tightly laced up. A small, dark grey Steelium broach that emulated House Fermata’s insignia, was pinned on the top left of his shirt. Isaac had long black hair that lightly brushed his shoulders and black haired stubble which hid the advancing wrinkles that exposed his aging face. The black hair only marginally covered the growing grey strands of hair that caused a rising fear within that he was getting old, far too old to play this game. Alas, he was only fifty-one years of age; his experienced dark blue eyes, was the only feature that wasn’t becoming a hindrance from his aging. The eyes, one of the wisest of all, had seen battle, victory and defeat, adventure, hardship, and the birth of his children, his proudest moment in his life. Brought up and nurtured in Praevalidus, his children looked up to their father’s successful leadership, both in Praevalidus and in Pravum.
It was the mid-morning, on the first day of the week, Isaac’s wife Kerrita, was led in bed looking at her husband, the troubled leader of Praevalidus. Naked under a thick bed sheet, the hot summer had caused a complete change in bed sheets throughout the city, from thick duvets to crisp thin sheets.
Kerri Fermata, the proud and strong-willed wife of Isaac, had a slender figure, with long brown hair that stretched down to the mid part of her back, which covered her breasts, when positioned onto her chest. She had narrow, piercing, pecan eyes that concealed her ideas and opinions of others, but could cause much discomfort when scrutinizing people who she did not appreciate.
Glazing in anxiety at Isaac’s stature, she swung out of bed and walked over to embrace her husband. Putting her arms around Isaacs stomach, only slightly above his waist, she placed her head sideways on his back, pressing her chest up against his body.
‘I know you’re troubled my love,’ She spoke softly, but was concerned. ‘Whenever you’re troubled you stand on the balcony looking out to the sea, as it were a more beautiful view than I’. She was always supportive of her husband, even when he was all distant and dreamy like this.
‘These negotiations will decide the fate of the stronghold. My leadership may dwindle, Praevalidus under different command… it’s not the best situation I want to be in, nor is it one I would endorse to anyone,’ Isaac replied nervously. ‘If I am at all distant, my dear wife, I think that may have something to do with it.’
‘House Fermata will always stand tall and true to the real leader,’ Kerri’s tone hardened, trying to sound confident in her words. ‘The people will acknowledge that. They don’t like change… at least not to this extent’.
‘That’s true, but the Plysters are gaining momentum, getting stronger every day, and if they convince the people of the city that a new monarchy is the right decision to make, generations of endeavour and tradition will vanish into thin air…’
‘But they won’t,’ Kerri interrupted, ‘this may be the first time a legion as tried to impose a new leadership without force, but the people know what the Fermata’s have done for the common folk. They’re not to be treated like idiots, which is what the Plysters do,’ she protested.
Isaac turned around to face his beloved wife, ‘My allegiance will always be to my family, the people, and to Praevalidus, I will not back down and hand the city over to Davos without deliberation. We will have this new monarchy go in our favour one way or another!’
‘Your respect for the Guardians is like no other,’ she looked down then back up at Isaac mockingly, ‘Even I struggled to try to get myself noticed by you… I still do’.
They both laughed, ‘Well a little friendly competition can’t do any harm, can it?’ he replied in a teasing voice, bowing his head down to tentatively kiss his love. She took his hand and led Isaac to their bed, climbing back in to cover her naked body with the sheets.
‘I’ll get up when Liana comes in to get me ready.’
‘I’m speaking with Withal and Palt later to discuss the terms of our deal and how to prepare the city for their arrival.’
‘How about red carpet at the eastern gates, confetti, and maybe some announcing music?’ Kerri said sarcastically, positioning herself comfortably in bed.
‘I’ve got a funny feeling that might give off the wrong impression, they might think we actually want them here,’ letting out a small laugh
‘So just a welcoming party then?’ Kerri enquired
‘Well, while we wait for our accomplices…’ Kerri said as she sat up, her hair over the front of her shoulders, trailing down to cover her breasts, ‘why don’t we calm ourselves down,’ gesturing for her husband to come and make love to her. Isaac turned to look at his compassionate wife who always supported him and his judgements, she was forty-nine years of age, and he still couldn’t resist her stunning beauty. He started his approach towards her.
‘Good idea…’ and he placed his hands on her cheeks, while she started unbuttoning his shirt, when suddenly, unannounced, there was a knock at the door, ‘…but…going have to be later tonight’, as he kissed her forehead and turned away and headed for the door. Kerri quickly tied her hair back and covered herself with the sheets as Isaac enquired who was at the door, ‘It’s Liana my lord,’ said the maid. Isaac opened the door and gestured for Liana to enter.
‘You haven’t been waiting too long have you Liana?’ Isaac queried.
‘No, not at all your Highness,’ Liana replied.
‘Okay then, I’ll leave you with Kerri then,’ as Isaac left, closing the door behind him.”
Recently, I’ve been a bit bogged down in doing work, and cycling. I’ve had two races this weekend, both in the rain and wind; was fun, and horrible simultaneously…England, who knew?! Anyway, I haven’t really been in the mind for writing my book, which is a shame because I love it. I think it’s because I’ve been busy with other stuff (cycling in particular). However, I still like to partake in book activities, so I thought I would take the opportunity, during this hiatus, to start the editing process…for the whole thing, from cover to cover.
For those of you who are writing a novel, or any kind of piece of literature, it’s quite daunting reading back through your work. I am no professional writer, or experienced, or classic writer, not at all, but I can imagine when any artist (used as a collective) gets nervous when said person is looking back through their work…how much needs to change, how much needs to be deleted, altered, added. So, I found out that this process requires more care and attention than actually writing (whether you think so, I don’t know). Reading through there were quite a few grammatical errors (the most annoying and fiddly), and things that didn’t fit in the entire plot. For instance, in a few paragraphs I mentioned about the Plysters arriving to Praevalidus ‘tonight’. Rings a few alarm bells. Scroll down, they actually arrive the next day….slightly frustrating, but not completely cataclysmic to the book’s plot, only need to change a few words here and there, then, BAM, it’s done.
I like coherency, I like things to make sense, and work in an ordered manner. Which is why editing is so critical! (it’s probably also caused by my slight OCD), but even then, that really helps.
I’ll tell you one thing, when you look at your early work, it’s interesting to see the style of writing you had back when you wrote that specific piece, and to see how characters develop. For Anton (the mage), I needed to change quite a bit of his speech, since it didn’t quite fit in with the character I had developed further down the line.
All in all, I was worried that when I came around to read through the book, to check for errors and plot-holes, I wouldn’t enjoy reading it…but no, because I enjoy my writing, I enjoyed reading it! Maybe this is because I’ve never embarked on a project as extensive as this before in my life, or I have low self-confidence. But one lesson I need to take away from this, in-fact all of you, is to be more optimistic and confident about your work!
You never know, you may surprise yourself!