Tag Archive: House of Mages

My Goals for the New Year

With a new year comes new goals, and mine are probably overly ambitious. But hey, “if you shoot for the moon you may land among the stars.” At least I’ll be farther along than I was. So, without further ado, here are my many goals for 2018.

1. Prepare The Dark War Trilogy for publishing

This was originally “Publish The Dark War Trilogy,” but after scheduling everything out I found that wasn’t doable, so instead I’ll be aiming to have them all finished and edited so they’re ready by the end of the year and I’ll aim to publish them in early 2019.

2. Publish House of Mages

I’ll wait to tell you the release date of this until we’re at least into 2018, but it’s toward the middle of the year. I’d like to have the editing finished by February, but I’ve given myself a buffer there because I’m not sure how well my parents’ schedules will accommodate that, and they’re helping me with it.

3. Read a novel per week

This is self-explanatory. I’ve also updated my blog schedule, so the second and fourth Thursdays of the month will be book review days, instead of the last day of the month.

4. Study the bible/pray for half an hour each day

Self-explanatory. I’m terrible at remembering to take time for this because I tend to get caught up in doing other things. Hopefully scheduling out my days since I have so much to do will help, instead of all the things to do distracting from it.

5. Publish The Heart of the Baenor

Part of this will be finding a new title, because the current title is pretty lame. Again, I won’t give away the launch date just yet, but it’s late in the year.

6. Get started on The Historian

This is a novella I’m planning that’s the backstory of Terlon Screll, Detren’s mentor in The Shadow Raven. This is scheduled to be started in October, and I’ll probably finish it during NaNoWriMo.

7. Win all three NaNoWriMo events

This one’s self-explanatory. I’d like to win April Camp NaNoWriMo, July Camp NaNoWriMo, and November NaNoWriMo. And I already know what I’ll be working on for each one.

8. Write 2k every day

Self-explanatory.

9. Do some Kersir worldbuilding every day

This is a fantasy world I’ve been developing that draws its inspiration from the Middle East. It’s a lot of fun to work on. You can read a little bit more about it on my “My Books” page.

10. Focus on one drawing technique each month

I’m not much of a visual artist, but it’s kind of a side-hobby for me that I use to aid in my writing. I’d like to get better, however, so next year I’d like to work on different drawing techniques.

11. Start making an income

I plan on starting toward this goal with short stories. My plan is set to publish three anthologies and three standalone short stories next year, in addition to the two novels mentioned before. The first anthology will be seven of the stories I’ve written as Christmas presents, and it’ll be published on January 15th. The next goes up on February 21st, and it’ll be a nine-story anthology called The Mirror-Hunter Chronicles, which is nine other short stories I’ve written as Christmas presents that all tie together. I’ll also be publishing This Is His Story on February 14th. Watch out for further news on all of those, and consider following my Facebook page for more frequent updates. There are others, obviously, but they’re later in the year and their release dates will be announced once they get closer.

I’m Publishing a Book Soon(ish)

*insert incoherent crazy-person noises here that portray every emotion ever* All right, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…

I will hopefully be publishing a book later this year. I have a front cover, a back-cover blurb, and I’m only $150 shy of being able to afford an editor. I still have to finish the draft I’m working on (#3), write an author bio, get a back cover, and then get my book to the editor, but I feel like I’m getting really, really close and there are so many emotions that come with that. This post will give you a glimpse of those emotions, a bunch of dates that are probably rather boring but I’ll appreciate having chronicled all in one place later on, and some information on House of Mages itself.

I started thinking up this story at 12:25 a.m. on May 10th, 2016, and it had a very different plot and plan from what it does now. So far it has been in the works for only a little over 15 months, which feels really weird for some reason. This is one of those things that feels simultaneously like it’s been so much shorter and so much longer a time than it actually has, and it’s really weird.

To begin with, the main character was an alchemy mage named Alark Meary and the basic synopsis was this: “Alark is a mage in a house of mages (a mage tower), and he starts to suspect the archmages of hiding something. Turns out they’re killing anyone who believes in Abba. Alark doesnt think this is right and sets about putting a stop to it, gathering other mages to his side. In the process he meets Abba.” (I wrote this on my tablet the night I came up with this idea, and I decided to leave in the grammatical error when I copied it, and I’ll probably do the same with the rest of these.) The plan was also for this to be a trilogy, and I had really cool titles for each one, and for the trilogy name: House of Mages, House of Thorns, and House of Elves, the books of the Mage of Thorns Trilogy. I’m disappointed I won’t have a chance to use those.

The other two summaries were, for House of Thorns: “Alark has uncovered a plot to kill all Abba’s followers, but now he finds that there is something much more sinister going on. The archmages are summoning demons to help them, and soon they’ll overrun Thesbia and from there all of Titania. Alark must rely on Abba and this will test his faith more than ever before.

And for House of Elves: “The demons have been sent back to the underworld, the Archmages have been punished for their crimes, and Thesbia is at peace thanks to the elves who recently reappeared. So why does it feel like something is dreadfully wrong? As Alark seeks to find out he realizes that the elves may have something planned other than nationwide peace. They seek to destroy humans, creatures they consider an “inferior race.” Yet some of them seem friendly enough. How can anyone tell which are evil and which are not? A close friend sells Alark out, and his faith in Abba is tested once again.” (Ooh, I think this summary was when one of my two favorite characters was invented.)

I started the first draft that very day, with this lovely beginning:

Alark opened his eyes and immediately closed them again against the bright morning sun.

“Get up, ssleepyhead. It’s almost seven thirty already!”

Alark glanced across the room at Fidgeon, his roommate, still squinting.

“Wake me up again at eight.” Alark grumbled, pulling his soft pillow over his face.

“No. It’s Friday, remember? And that means…” He stopped, allowing Alark to finish the sentence.

“Altar.” Alark said, his voice muffled through the pillow. He lowered the pillow and sat up slowly.

“Theeere we go. Now, if you don’t get changed in the next five minutes were going to be late, so hurry!”

Alark slid out from under the covers and pulled off his nightshirt, puling his purple tunic over his head to take its place. He threw on his purple robe after that, then pulled on his black leather boots and grabbed his alchemy bag on the way out the door. He strapped it around his waist as he and Fisgeon hurried dowmn the stone corridor to the steps that led down to the altar room, where the mages assembled every Friday morning and every holiday.

They ran down the steps and slowly opened the heavy door that led into the alter room, quietly slipping into a back pew. Archmage Pagod was already speaking, and Alark recognized the sacred prayer, always spoken in Old Elvish, though elves hadn’t been seen in years. He assumed that they had been important in mageic history.

************

Like with the original summary, I left in all the tablet-keyboard typos. (And “mageic”? Why would you use that as a word, younger self? Just use “in mage history.” Then it’s an actual word.)

Eventually I cut this, along with the entire first and second chapter and rewrote them, because a side character decided to hijack the plot and make it all about her, instead, so… yeah. And then the plot ended up changing, too, because all of the plots mentioned in the summaries above decided to merge into one, which kind of derailed the whole trilogy idea. (I didn’t plan out this story ahead of time, so it took on a mind entirely of its own.) Now, though, I don’t think I could imagine it any other way. I certainly couldn’t imagine Alark as the main character at this point.

I continued writing at least a little bit until July, and Camp NaNoWriMo that month. My aim was to write 50k on House of Mages and 1k on another story I decided to work on that month, and I didn’t get anywhere near that goal. I only wrote 3,647 words on the two of them combined that whole month. Then I worked on it some more up until November and classic NaNoWriMo when my goal was to finish the first draft, which I did on either the 3rd or the 4th. I’m thinking it was the 3rd since that was the day I reached 50k on it, and it only ended up being a little over 51k, which is why I laughed when I found my original notes and saw I’d anticipated it being 80k-90k. The 1st was a lot of fun because it was my best friend’s birthday, and she was reading along as I wrote the story, so I decided to give her five chapters for her birthday… All ending with cliffhangers. I had so much fun torturing her with the suspense.

After I finished the first draft I set it aside until about December or January, and fairly quickly went through and used Microsoft Word to leave comments on spots that needed to be improved. I started the true second draft on March 11th, 2017, and that took until May 9th to finish. (It took me less than a month to finish my second draft?!?!?!) I waited until June 6th to start on the third draft, which is actually something of a rewrite. I read a blog post… which I now can’t find… that talked about how rewriting is a better option than revising. Not a huge rewrite, but literally writing it again from the original because then you can adjust the flow as needed and stuff like that, and I decided to try this method. A big reason I chose to use this method as opposed to classic editing (which I really have no experience in and therefore wouldn’t be doing “correctly” anyway) was that I don’t do well writing description into the story in the first draft (which is something I’m working on), so I felt like it would be easier to organically insert more description if I was writing it over again. It has helped a bit, but not as well as I had hoped, so that’s something I know I still need to work on in this story.

I’ve been working on this third draft since June 6th, so over two months, and I’ve only finished eleven chapters out of twenty-five. Obviously this is going a lot slower than the second draft (I should use that as motivation. “I finished the second draft in a month! I can totally handle this!”), but I’m getting through it… very slowly.

With this draft I’ve had a lot of issues with not liking the story. I think I worked on it a little too much all in one big chunk and got tired of it. I actually posted on Facebook on June 26th that said, “I want to watch my story go through a shredder right now… It’s not really that bad, but I’m tired of dealing with it. That’s terrible, I know, but I just want to be done with it for a while. I’ll probably set it aside for the next month and hopefully by the end of that I won’t be as annoyed with it anymore.”

Since the next month/last month was Camp NaNoWriMo again and I was planning on working on another project anyway, it was pretty easy to set it aside for a while, but when I came back to it after making my Camp goal, I was still annoyed with it. There was one section and the character within that section that I just was really not liking and I didn’t want to work on, but I finally got through that on about the 24th of July and got through two chapters that day and mostly pushed through that block.

Throughout this process, though, there have been instances in which I have wondered if I should really be trying to publish this book or if I should start with one that’s better even as a first draft, there have been instances when I’ve wondered if I’m ready to publish or should just give up and wait for a while. I’ve beaten all of these occasions, but there’s still that nagging feeling that another story would be easier or I shouldn’t be attempting this yet, and I know that they’re wrong, but they’re also persistent. (In case anyone was worried, I am indeed publishing this book in the near future.) I tend to beat those thoughts with the reminder that if I give into that I know it’ll just be a vicious cycle. There will always be a project that’s better-written than the one I’m working on, I’ll always wonder if I’m ready, and if I don’t do this then I don’t think I ever will, so I just need to push through it, and that’s what I have done, as best I can.

On March 21st (I was a ways through my second draft at that point) I got a book cover, which I was super excited about. It made the fact that I’m working toward publishing seem real for a while, and I was doing so much premature celebrating. It was awesome. I still really like the cover, but I’ve had it for long enough that the novelty of it (pun intended) has mostly worn off. That was also the day I finally settled on a pen name – R. M. Archer – since I kind of needed to know what name to put on the cover. That’s just a little important, you know?

I finally finalized my synopsis on April 19th, which I was happy about because I really don’t do well with synopsis writing, and I was happy to have one that worked.

So now I’m getting closer and closer to accomplishing the goal I’ve had since I was about twelve of having a book published, and it’s extremely exciting and it’s been quite an adventure. I’ve learned a lot about my writing and I’ve gotten so much encouragement from family and friends and it’s just been super cool. I’m really anxious to see this project completed and be able to hold my book in my hands with a gleaming cover and… it’s just going to be awesome when it’s completed and all of the hard work that’s gone into it has paid off.

Goodbye March (Massively Late)

Well, it’s halfway through April and I haven’t written a March overview yet. Sounds like me. Well, better late than never, right?

March’s Reading

The first book I finished in March was Spindle, which I had started all the way back in January or February. It wasn’t my absolute favorite, but it was pretty good.

I also finished The Last of the Mohicans, which I hesitate to add since it was a book I read for school (and it’s also mega, mega boring), but I read it, so it’s on here anyway.

March’s Writing

Rebellion Ever After was my main project in March. My aim was to get it to 60k before April, but that didn’t happen. I got to 40k, though, which is good.

I also wrote a short story in March to go with it, and that was a lot of fun. It follows one of the MC’s dreams as she’s asleep in her stasis chamber, and she’s the only one there except a SRV-droid, so there’s a lot of description and not as much dialogue as I usually write.

April’s Writing

Since it’s halfway through April already, I’ve already gotten some writing done. Namely I’ve written 32k in my Camp Nanowrimo novel, The Heart of the Baenor. This story is really interesting to write because I’m specifically working toward putting in more description and internal dialogue since those are things I tend to struggle with in my writing. The description part is made easier by the fact that HotB takes place in Kaloris, which I’ve fleshed out considerably more than some of my other storyworlds. The well-developed world also helps with character development and so forth.

Other Fun Stuff

I’ve been working on editing my book House of Mages, as you know from January’s wrap-up/February’s welcome, and working toward getting it ready for publishing. Well, I got a cover on March 22nd and I’m sooooo happy with it! It’s perfect! And it was a premade one, so it didn’t cost as much. I got it at The Book Cover Designer.

Now I’m looking toward getting an editor for when I finish my third draft, which I haven’t even started yet because I haven’t finished my second draft. I really need to do that.

Anywho, who wants to see my beautimous cover?

Tadaaaaaa! Oh yeah, and I finally settled on a pen name: R. M. Archer, as you can see above. ^-^ I’m so happy about all of this! It’s amazing! I could be published before the year is out! *squee!* Yeah, I’m happy. ^-^ And in honor of this momentous occasion, how about an excerpt from House of Mages? Just a short one.

**************************

They walked through the tunnels for several minutes before emerging on the surface. But it wasn’t anything like an earthly surface. The ground was black, the sky was stone-like with stalactites hanging from it, and the whole atmosphere was penetratingly dark.

The castle that loomed in front of them was especially dark. Whatever material it was made of seemed to absorb what meager light there was, and the towers were like cold stone claws that would reach down and crush or impale her at any moment. The gates were bent outward like ribs, and the small dank breeze seemed to make them shift like there really was a beating heart behind them.

Lian shuddered.

“Do we have to go in there?”

“Of course. That is the Conqueror’s castle.”

Asphodel led the way up to the gate and Lian followed, trying to seem more courageous than she felt.

As they passed through the gates and walked up to the front door, Lian tried to quiet her rapidly beating heart. It felt like a caged animal trying to break free, making her feel like her chest would explode.

She survived the walk to the front door however, despite almost running into Asphodel when the demoness stopped suddenly to pull the bell rope. Its gong was eerie and melancholic almost causing Lian to shiver again.

The door slid open soundlessly and the two of them entered, passing through several corridors. The only sound was that of Asphodel’s heels clicking on the odd black floor.

******************************

This is one of my favorite parts of House of Mages. There’s actually description! Anyway, I hope you liked it. :)

This post has gotten kind of long, so I’m gonna go now. See ya!

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