Chapter 12 was a long and frustrating ordeal.
It was the beginning of one of the most problematic vignettes of the entire book, kicking off a series of action set pieces that last a full three chapters.
Though I am in the first proofreading phase here, I could not move on to chapter 13 until the issues with chapter 12 were worked out. Since the focus of this run through is plot details, these errors had to be fixed, lest they bleed into chapters 13 and beyond.
My main problem was a clear inconsistency in my lead character’s actions. He spends half the chapter running towards the danger when his goal is to get away from it.
Even as I was going through the revisions, I could hear him whispering.
“Do you really think I am that stupid?”
In answer to your question Zhyx, no. I don’t think you are stupid. You are a hell of a lot smarter than me and given that this is your story, you know what is best for it.
So I slaved over it for 3 more days. Working out the plot details one by one, slicing away the bad and doing my best to keep all of the good. Even then, some of the good had to go. The final product was not as many words or pages, but it was definitely an improvement.
It was without a doubt the most frustrating part of the process so far, looking at something I wrote and knowing it was bad. Wondering how I could let myself write something so horrible, and feeling guilty for forcing it on the characters I have come to view as family.
We got through it though. The errors were dealt with and are no longer of any concern.
Since we last spoke, chapter 13 has also been completed, and chapter 14 is so far along it will likely get finished tomorrow. Unlike 12, 13 and 14 have been very fun, because it is this segment of the story where our rather large protagonist takes on a new role.
He becomes an action hero.
John McClane style.
That was what drew me to this idea in the first place. Though it has since taken on much more emotional depth, the original idea was simple. A dragon as an action hero. I had never seen a fantasy done in that way before. As the old saying goes, everything has been done, just not in every way.
Telling fantasy as an action story, it seemed only appropriate to put arguably the most recognizable icon of the fantasy genre at the helm. After all, one of the joys of the action genre is explosions. What mythical creature just might be very good at explosions?
Until this point, Zhyx has been more of an explorer and a stalker, moving from place to place and slowly finding out the scope of the enemy he is to defeat, and his overall place in the grand scheme of things, all while being a pretty big dick about it. He complains, says he would rather be somewhere else, and is generally a less than pleasant individual to be around.
That all changes in chapter 13, a chapter that yielded a pretty interesting surprise for me as a writer.
You see, Zhyx is this big.
That size was decided on for a number of reasons, namely the ease at which he could transport his co-stars from one place to another.
The end result was a dragon who is pretty f**king big.
Now, they are in a base with a lot of bad guys. A lot of you or me sized bad guys. You know what that means?
Zhyx quickly became one of the most prolific killers in the annals of action heroes. It was almost a given considering that Zhyx is a good deal larger than stars like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Sylvester Stallone. Obviously it would take a lot of bad guys to take him down. Obviously the bad guys would know this.
Obviously swords might not work well on fireballs getting launched at your face.
I am not sure of the exact number yet, but my more generous estimates put his current kill count at around 200.
200 in 2 chapters. Yikes.
I couldn’t believe it myself while writing it, but it made sense. Not only would it work given Zhyx’s sheer size, it also makes sense if the villains are smart. Obviously they will not send 1, 2 or 3 henchmen after an elf wizard wrecking general havoc. They will send maybe 20 or 30. And those 20 or 30 won’t last very long when Zhyx comes stomping around.
Likewise when you are holding a small town hostage. In that case, 20 or 30 won’t do the trick. 100 on the other hand would be a pretty good number. Of course when the fire breathing colossus shows up, that number will very quickly become zero.
I was worrying that it was overkill, but it wouldn’t seem smart of the villains to not tap into their resources, even if those resources don’t end up lasting very long. This is where the whole monster fighting part comes in. If Zhyx keeps dealing with cronies this size, it isn’t exactly going to be as tense as Indy fighting the big German guy at the runway. Zhyx would just step on him.
So the bigger villains of this work will not just be bigger in a figurative sense.
Now I know what you are thinking. Surely there must be something more significant about 13 and 14 than Zhyx accumulating an obscene number of corpses to his name, and believe me, there is. Up to now, Zhyx’s attitude towards this quest has been one of general annoyance. He has viewed it as a burden, seldom enjoying the company of his new companions, and making damn sure they don’t enjoy his company either.
But all that changes here. In these chapters, Zhyx doesn’t just end lives. He saves them. Perhaps only as a byproduct of his mass henchman killing activities, true. In the end however, he prevents a lot of people from getting killed, including his companions. After all, one saved life is a far greater effort than all the dead henchmen in the world.
The big guy may not be ready to accept it just yet, but he has become a hero.
But more news. The illustration for chapter 2 has finally finished the design phase. Now it is on to coloring. While I have been disappointed with how slow things have been moving, I will be having a talk with the artist during our next meeting. As a pace-holder, here is the current progress on the picture. You will notice we completely re-did the cheek fan and Saar’Jya’s eye has been fixed. Colored in, the picture should be rather spectacular.
Next world building article is also in the works, and the proofread for chapters 1, 2 and 3 are moving along.
The manuscript currently stands at 171,119 words with 479 pages at 1.5 spacing.
Thank you all for your time.