Writing Your First Novel (or Two) – Update 2

Hello all, so based on feedback from a few awesome readers, I have sharpened up my novel synopsis, shown below. Please know that any comments are greatly appreciated. I can’t tell you how helpful any feedback is.

The temple was quick to call it a gift of prophesy, while such a gift was useful. Llani discovers that her ability is much less of a blessing when she’s spouting omens of death and destruction on the head of the high priest, Isak Tornin. Charged with blasphemy and named a false prophet, Llani discovers that the Goddess Jordaine is not done blessing her yet. With the Empire of Braeth facing a united army of the Western Hill Tribes for the first time in generations, many people are looking for favor in the eyes of the Goddess of War.

Does this seem more direct? Cleaner? I feel like someone without background could easily become lost in the paragraph’s details before.

It is my belief that progress happens when you hold yourself accountable to someone. Hello several virtual someones to whom I am now making a report on my progress.

Fleshing out my main villain- Isak- was the task I set for myself last update.  This was a task that absolutely could not be put off and needed to happen before any further work was done.

In early versions I thought it was more unsettling if Llani didn’t know what he was doing so she and the reader got blindsided by his plans, however after reflection- Llani can still get blindsided, its actually more engaging and suspenseful if the audience watches the trap unfolding. In my opinion it’s going well. With more background on our baddie it is becoming clearer that he isn’t deranged and hateful just to be deranged and hateful.

  • He truly and wholeheartedly believes that Llani wants to bring lasting harm to the temple and the people of the city.
  • He believes that all sin must be expunged, in the old testament sense of things- If the right hand sins better to cut it off and all that.
  • He believes this for good reason. Sin that humans do not deal with tends to be smitten (smote?), by any god or gods who get peeved enough. Gods don’t have very accurate aim. It is directly conducive to living a long lifespan in a city that doesn’t get wiped off the map by the next natural disaster or conquering army, to ensure evil does not become large enough for one of the five gods to notice, get irritated with, and smite. This is particularly true when one serves the Goddess of war, who is incidentally known for deciding and meting out Heaven’s Justice.
  • D) Other, significantly less fanatical people agree with him for similar and different reasons and view Llani and what she represents with distrust and see the necessity of working to contain her influence.

In the midst of all this, I discovered a yawning hole in the plot that focuses on his first attempt to kill Llani.

I had decided that he would be partially successful, one of Llani’s closest allies- Cedes would be killed. And since she was going to die I sorta had her lie down and die. That was it, if she fought her death the audience didn’t see it. Her family was even accepting of the fact that Cedes was going to be sacrificed. The one to save the many.

Upon further reflection that is absolute bullshit for the character as an individual and the family as a group. Instead they are going to wreck shit up. It shall be glorious. Vendettas and hatred to last ten generations, and a mother figure’s decision that if no one will lift a finger to save her child she will watch the whole world burn and lay the ashes on Cede’s grave so her soul may rest easy. And striking the match. And stepping back. And staring into the eyes of the one who betrayed her loyalty, as every network of support he ever built on her and her families loyalty goes up like paper in a bonfire.

Yes. It shall be wonderful.

Stay tuned, my focus for the next update will be

  • Making the mother figure- Brenna more visibly vital, so her defection hurts more
  • Giving Cedes more screen time so the reader doesn’t want her to die
  • Making clearer that although the Prince’s foremost trait is Honor. (He always believes himself in the right, because technically he is. His every action is to uphold the Empire’s Justice.) His actions are still wrong, and a betrayal to those whom he owes loyalty, and there are consequences for betrayal.

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