Edict Thoughts or A Ramble on How I love and Hate the Novel

Edict is a novel that shouldn’t exist. And I’m not trying to be dramatic. Truth is, after writing Hy’Ruh-Ha, I never intended to write a sequel. I wanted to write this mystical and rare fantasy novel that only a few fantasy writers have managed to accomplice and that is the standalone novel. With the kind of novel that Hy’Ruh-Ha is, my desire was understandable. It’s slice-of-life fantasy. A story that accounts a single moment in the live of two elves. It stared out as writing exercise. However, the idea of it grabbed my attention. And because I’ve no true self-control, I found myself wanting to write it.

The dialogue in my mind was: “This shouldn’t take that long. It’s very doable. All I just need is a good story. Make a few decisions on my timeline and good to go. I’ll get it done in a timely manner, it’ll be great.”

I went through at least four different concepts of what I wanted to story to be about. Two different tests based on the choice I made then scrapped that to start on the what was Fight Song draft 1 It was terrible. And thus, the reason why this novel shouldn’t exist is because I had to re-write it from scratch and saved maybe like 3% of the novel.

My history with re-writing drafts is simple, I never finish them. I start them with the intent of trying to troubleshoot where I went wrong and usually I’m off. I’m looking at symptoms and not the condition. However, when I take a step back and stop fixing the wrong things, I can see the flaw. In these cases, the flaw is a piece of the core of the story. The foundation of it. I call these flaws a “structural failure.” Where the cracks in the novel can be followed to a single epicenter, usually part of the core of the story. The fix is to improve the core usually means removing a core aspect of said story.

However, in my experience with structural failures, entire plot points unravels and become unusable. Removing those parts breaks the idea I wanted to convey. I was never good enough to figure out how to fix them. I rather use the story as a learning experience and try not to repeat the mistake again than go through all the trouble of going back to the drawing board. Yes, I’ve written many of a novel as just a pure learning experience.

However, Edict, didn’t follow the trend of my messing up and letting go. In fact, I thought the novel had potential. I did hate every bit of it but it had potential. So Fight Song was re-written with two false starts and thus Fight Song 2.0 was written. During the time of Fight Song 2.0 was when 2017 hit. And that was just a bad year for me three ways. The biggest of them was my dad dying. Writing became a crawl.

During this time, it was reaffirmed to me that my creative energy is tied to my emotional energy. Negative emotions such as sadness, sorrow, frustration, and anger stops me from writing. These are emotions I can channel in a neutral state during the writing process, however, theses thing don’t inspire me or drive me to us writing as an outlet for them. I like writing in a neutral state and that state didn’t return until nearly the end of 2018. And when I decided to dig my heels in and finish the draft. Once again, I hating it, but liked the potential it had. There was a lot I still had to fix. Not to mention a title switch.

Fight Song was based on a different themes. Mien’s edict before was about convincing him he was worthy enough as a chanter and he was shown he could do great things.  However, my issue with that ties in with my dealing with Vlory, the character of a thousand iterations.

Seriously, as mentioned, Vlory was an older adult, an elf, a child, neth, a non-chanter, a huntress, and a controlling mother. When I landed on her being a villain, killing her never felt good story wise. No matter how I re-rolled her or her motivations, killing her just felt bad. Like I was making the wrong choice. And I had to stop focusing on her and focus on Mien and what his edict was about.

It went from having to kill her to having to save her. It felt better because it made more sense for Mien’s edict. For better or for worse, he rather prevent than having to react after the occurrence has happened. And if he was just reacting to what was in front of him, it shouldn’t be about defeating another.

So with that in mind, Fight Song 2.0 became Edict. My handling of Vlory became something different with another purpose that wasn’t adventure fodder. Kiao’s and Oeric’s part went from elf vs nature to elf having to reconcile with fellow elf and unreasonable mercenaries. Soletus got 15% worse at handling himself, and Mien became Mienier, and Oeric was allowed to be 25% more sassier.

Is Edict the best thing I’ve written. No. Far from it. The story is rough. Instead of rushing to get it out, I needed at least three extra months to smooth things out and feel better about them. I could’ve avoided some of the exhaustion I started to feel if I had. I don’t like typing as I go as it proves detrimental to my writing. However, it helped because it forced myself to write through a lot of troublesome spots I was dragging my feet on. Like the latter half of part 3 and 4 as well as most of part 5. Overall though, I feel better about it. I don’t hate it so much as it’s a giant, “I can do better than this. I know I can.”

The story feels like now is the draft I would work on before I would post the story.

There are somethings I like about the novel. Mostly everything to do with Oeric. I liked showing him changed. I like having an involved parent character who isn’t a hindrance. I mean he was an antagonist in Hy’Ruh-ha. However, active parent characters are rare. Not just in YA fantasy but fantasy intended for adults/general audience. For some reasons, active older parental characters are uncles/aunts or unrelated. If they are present, they are antagonistic characters and usually when they stop being as such they die. In fact, the answer in most fantasy stories is for the mentor character to die. It’s kind of an annoying convention. I decided not to use it.

My reasoning  other reasoning for making him active as opposed to his original purpose was in Fight Song, he was pushed into a corner to be off-screen dad. After I wrote it, I realized that I was wrong it was letting him just sit there. He wasn’t even sick. He was just waiting. It was so uncharacteristic to the point I was baffled how I thought it was acceptable. In fact, I could feel his disapproving gaze on me for writing him like that. So Oeric was freed to do what wolf dads do best, hunt.

I like how Soletus turned out in this story given he is rather difficult to write. And this has always been the case. It’s his personality. It’s one that doesn’t come naturally to me. Mien, for example is very easy to write. He’s personality is more aligned to mine. Even Oeric is easier to write except I have him say too much on occasion.  Soletus on the other hand, was presented one way when he’s older, being calm, observant, experienced, firm, and very good a handling himself and those around him. That seems to be the opposite of what I’ve written. I suppose my thought on Soletus has to earn and gain those traits about him seems to hold strong. Also, I was writing from a character perspective, clearly there is some bias on the one he holds in the highest of regards.

Younger Soletus is just a lot more hot under the  surface than I thought.  And I never had a character like him. And early on, I tried to avoid him being so angry because I didn’t want to write an angry character. However, I already presented Soletus quite capable of loosing his cool. So I went with that and it became a balancing act of how aggressive is too aggressive. How far can he go? How far do I want him to go.

As for Mien. Hmm, the way I wrote this story wasn’t the way I wanted to write this story. I wanted to show more about how him being timbre sensitive effects his being. However, there is just so much going on around him that it became less and less opportunities to show it. There are a few nuggets in there and one I’m a little sad about having to write out. It wasn’t the place for it. I need Kiao and him a little further in their relationship.

As for Kiao and Mien. Things are going to plan but I really do need more work on it. A better foundation. However, welcome to the slowest relationship pay off you will ever see in existence. If I could’ve smoothed this story out, I think I might have something I like. However I’m a bit ambivalent on how I handled it at the moment.

I think this has gone on long enough.

Thank you all of those who read this story.

You don’t realize that about half way through this, my motivation had weakened. I really wanted to put this down for a break and probably would’ve unintentionally run away from it and entertained myself in finishing it without sharing it. Just give up on the entire idea of it. That the story was as bad as I thought it was. Because I felt good about Hy’Ruh-Ha. With Edict, it took a lot of work for me to start feeling good about. Then there are my personal issues like my low self-esteem doing a lot of talking and the “I’m stupid” dialogue popped up a lot while working on this story. I can work through it now. Often times in the past, I would be stricken for two weeks and not being able to write.  But it helps when I have encouragement to make it stop.

So thank you again.

So here are the plans. I’m not posting until the end of September or the beginning of October. I will make a post pointing you guys in the right direction of the new story as I can’t do as I did last time with the previous follow up stories. They need to be tagged different. The title is going to be called Changes. It will consist of three different stories that take place as some point in the future. The first one is about Soletus. The second on is about Kiao and the future of the infirmary with some special guests. The third needs a little focus but multiple Sheldmartins are in one place. What I would like to do, is finally have Theris address the reader. His name has been everywhere, I think it’s time to properly meet him.