Deliberate Choices by L. Blankenship
I did make some deliberate choices, in writing Disciple, about the kind of story I wanted to write. I'm of the opinion that plot, character, and world-building are tightly linked and should be allowed to grow organically -- but I did put a few restrictions on that growth.
Some look like simple things, like not wanting to use the tag "s/he thought" on a thought. Or "I thought," in my first-person narrator's case. It's just so clunkily obvious, or ought to be, that I committed to not using it at all.
Which sounds simple, but I found myself rewriting a lot of sentences before the habit settled in.
There was something deeper I wanted to do, in Disciple: I wanted a good, solid fight. It seems to me that many fantasy stories go to great lengths to stack the deck against the protagonists. They're poor, they're helpless, they're emotionally damaged, they're completely unprepared for the challenges they face. It's Bambi vs. Godzilla.
It's meant to ramp up the tension. It's meant to make the eventual success -- and whatever losses along the way -- all the more savory.
I wanted to see competent, well prepared protagonists go into a tough fight, take hard losses, get their asses kicked a couple times, and claw their way to winning. There seem to be plenty of stories about finding that Magic Thingy or tapping the Cosmic Can of Whup-ass to help Bambi beat Godzilla. Why write another one?
I wanted this to be a fair fight because evenly matched opponents make for an interesting game. I'm not much of a sports fan, but I know the Superbowl isn't much fun when one team dominates the other from the first kickoff. The games you stick around for are the ones that teeter back and forth to the final minutes.
So both sides of the war, in Disciple, came in with stacked decks. They'd made strategic choices, ahead of time, because war was inevitable and they'd be idiots to not prepare to the hilt. Both sides take risks. Both sides take losses. When I sat down to write Disciple, Part VI and finish the story, I wasn't sure exactly how the last few minutes of the Superbowl would play out.
Which sure held my interest.
Back cover of Disciple, Part II
The prince first kissed Kate Carpenter for fear of missing the chance if they didn’t survive the journey home through the monster-prowled mountains.
Now that kiss seems like a fever dream. It’s back to work for her, back to the fellow physicians jealous of her talents and the sneers of an infirmary director who wants her shipped off to some tiny village. Kate means to be on the front lines to save lives. She’s worked too hard to overcome her past to let them deny her the chance to serve her homeland when the enemy’s army reaches their kingdom.
The grand jousting tournament is a chance to prove she can manage combat wounded, and at the royal Solstice banquet Kate means to prove she isn’t an ignorant peasant girl anymore.
But the prince’s kiss still haunts her. Their paths keep crossing, and the easy familiarity they earned on the journey home is a welcome escape from their duties. It’s a small slip from chatting to kisses.
This is no time to be distracted by romance -- a vast and powerful empire is coming to slaughter anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical fount.
Kate ought to break both their hearts, for duty’s sake.
Disciple, Part II on sale now
along with Disciple, Part I
Disciple, Part III coming in late 2013
Disciple is complete in six parts and will make a lovely doorstop
when all 400k words have been published.