Well, today is the day. A month and a half ago I finished my latest feature script and decided to take a break from writing. Upon the completion of this vacation, I would return to writing in a big way. I would begin work on the second book in the Never Heroes series, my fantasy/adventure saga about a large red dragon who is roped into an adventure with him as the world’s savior.
Can’t lie, but I’m more than a little nervous.
Writing the first book was a long and difficult process which took about a year. I went through three drafts, each draft taking about three months to finish. During this time, I found the story’s voice, plot points were written, re-written, dropped altogether. Characters grew and evolved to become completely different from who they were when the story was first conceived.
I spent many long days and nights pounding away at the keyboard. Even now, the first book isn’t completely done just yet, undergoing its final edits. But three hundred and seventy pages later, I had a completed manuscript of over 130,000 words. I never thought I could write a complete book, and even though it’s right in front of me, it seems impossible that it was done, much less that it can happen again.
The story of Zhyx the red dragon (known as ‘Red’ to most of his companions) went through many changes when I started writing the first book in June of 2014. Originally cast as a mythical chosen one, his story soon became about a character who gets involved in a world saving adventure purely out of his own pride and greed. He is a character who boasts of his greatness, but with the world at risk he is soon forced to become great for real. Eventually, he wages war with an evil dragon, saving an entire city in the process.
The first book set the stage for the saga that followed, but was also a self contained story.
Even after the completion of the first book, I took many notes for sequences planned in the first book, but I could never find the space for them. Many notes were also taken on where the series could go from the end of book one. My main villain still wasn’t dead, several characters I had written have yet to be introduced, and various monsters and other baddies were put on the back burner for later. Now it’s time to take those ideas and weave them into a coherent story.
Unlike the first book, I have a much clearer idea of where the later books will go. Several key sequences from all three of the sequels have already been planned out. My villains have already been introduced and it will be great fun to develop them further. I even know what events need to happen in each specific book, so that isn’t the issue.
The plot basically is after the events of the first book, the cult that Zhyx is trying to defeat ends up turning the populace against him, playing on peoples’ fears of dragons to get slayers and knights to come to their aid. Zhyx doesn’t do that much defeating big monstrosities like he did in the first book, and instead must content with a hoard of tiny villains with ships, heavy weapons and a determination to bring him out of the sky. He has but a few people who still trust him, and he must depend on them in order to survive and expose the villains to the world.
My problem with book two is far different than my problems with book one. In book one, it was a lack of ideas. Book two has plenty of ideas, but now they need to be sorted out and organized. I know how book two begins, and know how it ends. I know the key character moments that are to occur in it, just not where they go in the book and when they will happen. I have even written several scenes in their entirety, just waiting to find a home in the pages of a new book.
Still, there is a lot to look forward to in the second Never Heroes book. The characters for example have just begun their journey, Zhyx in particular. By no means will he remain stagnant, which is something a character should never do in a series. There are plenty of opportunities for him to grow and evolve along with his companions.
Yes, I am nervous about writing this new book. I can’t say I’m looking forward to the sessions of sitting at the keyboard for hours on end, inching my way through chapter by chapter, finding myself stuck and unable to get past a critical sequence in order to reach a point I’m actually looking forward to writing. Yes, creating a story is hard work.
Fortunately I have learned a lot about writing books during my first journey, and now have a lot of tools at my disposal. My three act graph proved very helpful while writing my last few projects, and it certainly will here.
Through it all though, there is that feeling of accomplishment when you look at that last page and type those two immortal words, THE END. To see them appear before you, I could have never imagined the feeling of accomplishment and validity that brings. It just rings in your head, those two words, and all they mean. They mean you accomplished something. You did it. It’s real, and it’s yours.
I’m only twenty seven years old, and hopefully have a long life to live. In the short time I’ve been here, writing the first book in the Never Heroes saga was one of the proudest moments in my short life. I have a lot more life left to go. It’s time to do it again.