Tzalaran's favorite hangout, hence it is the name of my blog on the web. Here i'll talk about the writing of "Scales of the Assassin", working title of the start of Tzalaran's saga, and give background information on the world Tzal lives in.

Monday, October 26, 2009

How this writing project came to be

Well, back around the fall of 1999 i ran into an old girlfriend at a bar. the night is somewhat of a blur, as i was still in the throes of full blown alcoholism and typically drank until i was walking around unconscious. What i do remember is giving her a hug, talking, and waking up next to her. ok, actually i remember this tiny elfin face with a wild mane of platinum hair pinching my face asking who i was, but that was kinda cool too.

She told her son to get off me, and nervously looked at me wondering how fast i'd hit the door. i asked her if this would be a permanent thing, to which she replied "we'll see." (to cut to the chase before people start making incorrect assumptions as to my character, we got married in April of 2000, and since that night have never been away from each other for more than 5 days, and that was when she visited her mom in Maine this past spring. i should also add that i haven't let the bottle run my life for 8 years, and i talk about drinking more than i actually consume alcohol).

This led to me spending time with our oldest son when he was two and a half years old, and us delving into common interests. She knew that during high school i'd played alot of rpgs (paper and dice kind) and tabletop miniature wargames. she asked if i would be interested in teaching her how to play, so i began the sketches of the maps i've posted here in November of 1999.

a year passed, and for that time we lived in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma. I developed the world in my spare time, and we even had her make a character and ran some solo adventures, but it wasn't much fun. We moved back to Lincoln, NE, and she convinced a few of her friends to give gaming with me a shot. This ended up creating a group that for about 2 years played weekly or bi-weekly.

from those adventures, an epic scope story began to unfold, but as is the nature of circles, our gaming friends eventually moved, changed careers, and i started taking night classes and our gaming sessions were forced to end. still wanting to develop the story that i'd worked on for the past few years, one day while waiting for my next class i started writing what becomes the flashback in chapter 2: the first time young Tzalaran encounters the Zarachtil Tzolanzen mercenary band.

soon, on my lunch break at work i would scribble notes and scenes into my 3 ring binder, and this started to take up all my spare moments between juggling work, school, and my family (which by now had another little boy that did his best to keep me busy and out of trouble).

About 4 years ago, i transitioned this all into the novel i'm currently writing. The initial vision has been cut to conform to publishing standards, (my outline for the first installment would have come in at 250,000+ words based on all the things i had in it) and now i'm focusing on the brothers and their rise to prominence in Karat-Sizan. (because it is all told from Tzal's perspective his motivations and such are more forward, but in heart the story is about the brothers).

life and my own lack of knowledge/confidence with the writing process caused the next few years to not see much progress on the novel, finishing chapter 1 about 3 years ago, chapter 2 a year later, and chapters 3-4 in the spring of this year. in late July, i put all my other projects and interests to the side and started working on writing in earnest. since August 1st, i've finished chapters 5-17, and have written daily except for the first couple of weeks in October when we were out of town for my sister's wedding.

i've recently passed the 76,000 word mark, and i'm almost 2/3rds the way through my outline (chapter 18 of 29-30). i've cut an entire storyline that was initially the focus of this book's ending to be a second volume, in order to avoid the 250,000 word debut novel which had no hope of being published. if i don't get picked up by an agent for this, i'll write the sequel and see how that goes. should they both fail, i'll look at condensing them into one volume as i initially envisioned and self publish them so my friends and gaming group can get physical copies that they can read (since they have asked for them and seem to assume if i finish the book, it will be published. lol, only i've done enough research to know better).

So, in a nutshell (long nutshell but not bad for a 10 year summary) that is how i came to this point. My wife and sons have been a great help and inspiration in this endeavor, even if the boys can't refrain from being quiet when i'm trying to write, the few times they do make up for any of their transgressions. i'd never have been able to come this far without 2 websites, (story architecture is a must know piece of information for any storyteller) and, (write a book with me has kept me working on my novel like no other tool i've found) both of which i link to in the sidebar. for any aspiring writer, i suggest that you look at those sites and absorb the valuable information that they contain.

That's how i got my start, and thanks for reading!

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