All Flames Cast – Tymun I

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The doors closed behind them, and Tymun grimaced. Meto, next to him, grunted.

“Am I the only one less than satisfied with what that was?”

“That? That was a farce,” Tymun growled. He ignored the small whimper that came from Artius, behind them. “We will never get answers. Or restitution.”

Meto snorted, shrugging his wide shoulders. “We’re soldiers. When do we ever get what we want?”

“When? Right burning now, that’s when,” Tymun responded, moving with long strides down the hall, hoping to leave the building as soon as possible. “I want a drink, and I intend to get one. We didn’t get to celebrate last night, and that needs to be remedied.”

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All Flames Cast – Eritan III

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Eritan’s throne room was much larger than any of his audience chambers, even the one used just that morning for his meeting with Selonius and the other priests. This was more of a hall, with towering obsidian columns lining it, reaching to the vaulted ceiling above. Noble men and women clustered along the sides and around the columns, bumping elbows with high-ranking military men and priests in robes of blue and white and black. Their whirlwind of colors made a contrast against the stark black tiles of the floor and the black iron ornamentation along the walls. Even the tapestries were mostly black.

Eritan himself wore voluminous black robes, with wide, stiff shoulders to give him a more intimidating outline against the throne. He was used to the intricate carvings on the marble of his seat, the flames burning stoic and steady and white above his head. He could grant the priests that much, at least. Their decorations for his throne did lend a nice effect and put his features in shadows. While much of the hall was lit by flames hanging high in the air along the columns, the dais upon which sat his throne was mostly kept dark, with the exception of the flames above and behind his head. Eritan liked the setup.
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All Flames Cast – Eritan II

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Eritan tried to relax. It should have been easy, closed away in his private library as he was, reclining in a pillowed chair with his favorite history in hand. The Sword and the Flame, it read in silvery letters on the front: one of the most thorough accounts of the rise of the Letaalese Empire. Covered was everything from Pirinaan’s rise in the north, to the first battles against the Heartan overlords, to the first Emperor Eritan’s political maneuverings. Eritan liked those last the most, of course. His namesake had been a splendid ruler and a better politician; he himself did everything he could to emulate that first emperor of Letaal.

But things just weren’t cooperating. While Eritan the First had drawn allies to his side and conquered recalcitrant territories with the aid of Pirinaan’s priests, Eritan the Third was finding that process to be much more difficult, even with the expanded resources of an entire empire, rather than the limited power of Jinda. Instead of fighting against pliable peoples like those in Heart and Tuul and Icefall, he was stuck with the intractable Tin and the wild Roeteli. And of course the Nera Nashan to the north, who were now attacking any Letaalese who dared ride north from Barrier. Continue reading

All Flames Cast – Harael VIII

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As a little bonus celebration for finally polishing off the last of the Harael chapters in All Flames Cast, I give you Harael’s eighth chapter…where things really start going crazy.

It was hard to concentrate with terror pulsing through him. It was one thing to pray on top of a wall, protected from harm by dozens of feet of stone and metal. It was quite another to be only a few dozen yards from nightmares come to life, rending the flesh of comrades with teeth like razors and claws like thorns. Hisses intermingled with screams. The disturbing thud of dead flesh hitting the ground permeated the square. Continue reading

The End of NaNo – AFC Update

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Well, November has come and gone. Unfortunately, I didn’t reach my goal of finishing the first draft of All Flames Cast this month; I wrote a touch over 50,000 words out of a projected 90k. It was an eye-opening month, however, and I learned a few important things about both the writing process and the story itself.

The main thing I discovered is that I can’t let myself sacrifice narrative pacing for the sake of word count. NaNoWriMo is a great idea, and works very well for a lot of people; I’m certain it could work for me if I kept to the spirit of the month and didn’t dedicate it to a preexisting project of mine. However, with a book like All Flames Cast, which is the product of years’ worth of worldbuilding, notes, and outlining, using a word count as a goal became a bit of a distraction. I had to constantly stop myself from letting my characters ramble, despite the padded word count it would give me. The pacing of All Flames Cast has been enough of a struggle as it is; slowing it down and letting it wander in order to fill out a word count isn’t the way to go.

However, the end result of all this is that I now have a much better idea of how I want the story to flow, and I overcame a major obstacle in keeping my writing on track. On top of that, of course, I am 50,000 words closer to finishing the first draft. Even though I didn’t hit my goal, I did finish Harael’s chapters, so another chapter will be popping up this week in celebration of that.

AFC NaNo Update – Week 4

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Happy (late) Thanksgiving, everyone! It’s a bit of a wake-up call to many of us writers, as it means that we only have a few days left of NaNoWriMo. And so, with the end in sight, I come to you with another update.

And it’s kind of depressing.

At this point, there’s no way I’m going to hit my 90,000 word goal. Between my late start, continuity struggles, and some hefty writer’s block last week, I am just too far behind.*

*But! I will definitely be hitting the 50,000 word mark, at least. I will be done with a significant chunk of the book, including all of Harael’s POVs and most of Tymun’s. All that’s left to do is finish off the climax for Tymun and then move on to Eritan’s stuff, which is the smallest of the three characters’ POVs. As a little bit of a celebration, I am going to relent and post another Harael chapter at the end of the month. It’s pretty crazy, and really kicks off the action for his storyline. Keep an eye out!

All Flames Cast NaNo Update – Weeks 2 and 3

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Well, last week didn’t really go as planned. I hit a major wall with All Flames Cast, and the result is that I am now way off my mark for getting to 90,000 words this month. I had a pretty big day on Saturday, trying to get back on track, but I still have a lot of ground to make up.

A big reason for this is where in the book I am. The parts I’m writing right now are smack dab in the middle: mostly exposition and character-building and setting up for the fun stuff at the end. The problem is, it’s easy to find myself rambling during stretches like these. I have had to consciously prevent myself from letting my characters go down tangents, even when it provides worldbuilding, because I need that page space to be spent moving the plot forward and helping the characters grow. I don’t want this to turn into a 250,000 word monstrosity. If I can keep the word total around 150,000 words, which was my goal from the beginning, I will be very happy.

So, as this third week of NaNo gets going, I find myself with a lot of work to do. All Flames Cast goes on, but we will see if I can really get to 90,000 words now. It was always a daunting goal.