Tag Archives: vampires

Advice about writing a series

A big thanks to Craig for hosting a guest post to celebrate the release of the newest volume in the Legends of Windemere saga. The topic he tossed my way is a real head-scratcher too. Being the author of a long series, I have to keep the final book in mind when I write. Everything needs to be tied up and continuity has to be retained for the end to make sense. If you’re ending with a giant battle then you have to at least consider killing characters off. Not only the villains, but the heroes too. In fact this topic stems from J.K. Rowling’s teasing of character deaths and closure before the release of Deathly Hallows. The real trick here is to tackle this topic without revealing a bunch of spoilers. Fingers crossed there.

Going by how popular series have ended, I would say that the first thing to accept is that some people won’t be happy. Yet this is probably a sign that you did a good job. If you wrote every character with depth and relatability then each one will have fans who want them to get a happy ending. There are also those who think certain couples should be created by the end and those who believe some of the survivors should be dead. In other words, don’t drive yourself crazy trying to please everyone or you’ll end up in a padded room eating tapioca pudding without a spoon. Follow where you want the story to go and make sure that the finale makes sense from your perspective. That’s really the only one you can trust without fail.


Now for myself, I have a 15 book series, which means I have to put a lot of ups and downs in there. With an ensemble cast that has a 7 protagonist core and several high profile supporting characters, I can actually do multiple ending types. Some of my heroes will get happy endings while others won’t be walking out of the final battle. There’s more variety than live and die if you think about it. Those are the basic categories, but what condition the character is in determines part of what I do. For example, a hero who survives to find that they have nothing left doesn’t really get happiness. They claimed victory at such a cost that they having become broken and isolated. Will I be doing this? Not sure yet, but it’s a possibility.


One of the ‘complaints’ I get is that my fantasy series lacks a high body count, but I do enjoy battering my characters and having them grow through the hardship. Once they’re dead then that’s the end of their evolution even if they appear as a ghost. Yet I did add a piece into the story that has been gnawing on the heroes and might be a slight spoiler. Destiny and free will get brought up a lot. The champions are chosen to face a great evil, but their actions determine how they get there and in what condition. Also if they win, which is where the little wrinkle came up due to the God of Destiny being a jerk.


Since Legends of Windemere: The Compass Key, my heroes have known that at least one of them will die in the final battle. It could be all of them and the Baron wins or one who simply has terrible luck. They don’t know and the worry comes up from time to time. Some characters are worried that they will die, but they carry on because leaving would mean abandoning their friends. Others are determined to use their free will to prevent this from happening or sacrifice themselves to save the others. The point of this revelation is to show that these heroes all know that they could be walking to their demise. From my own reading experience, most heroes are told they will survive the final battle or never have any doubt that they will. So it’s fun to keep this needle of fear in all of them.


Returning to the original topic, I do think a final battle requires at least one death and for there to be some scars. Especially when you put the world at stake, it’s rather unbelievable for the good guys to win unscathed. It doesn’t even have to be death, but there needs to be a sense that the heroes lost something to make the final hurdle. Just so happens that offing a character in a violent battle is the easiest and most expected path. Even wiping the memory of everyone involved so that they don’t realize they’re the champions wouldn’t sit well with some people because that can be undone. You do need some level of permanency in your finale because that’s what closure is about. Leaving a few openings for future stories or appearances is fine and recommended if you plan on continuing to write in the same world. Yet you need a limit and have to bring home the fact that the heroes’ journey is complete. That’s really the central part of finishing off a long series. Alive, dead, or whatever, you need to make sure the readers know that this is the end. Hopefully I can pull that off when the time comes.


Then again, maybe I’ve already done it for a character or two in the latest volume. Mwahaha!

Check out my newest book

LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE: THE MERCENARY PRINCE



And visit me at

LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE

@cyallowitz

 

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The Mercenary Prince

My friend Charles has a new addition to his Windemere series. This time the focus is on a different character, and he’s dropped off some promotional material to tell us all about it. I’ve also got to say, this is the best Windemere cover so far.

 

Now on Amazon for $2.99!
LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE:
THE MERCENARY PRINCE

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Delvin Cunningham has left the champions.

Lost to his tribe in the Yagervan Plains, fear and shame have kept the former Mercenary Prince away from his homeland. With his confidence crumbling, he has decided to return and bring closure to his past. Reuniting with his old friends, Delvin’s timing could not be worse as a deadly campaign is brewing within Yagervan’s borders. Dawn Fangs are on the march and these powerful vampires are determined to turn the entire region into a graveyard.

To protect his family, friends, and two homelands, Delvin will have to push his doubt away and become the cunning Mercenary Prince once again.

Art by Jason Pedersen

Art by Jason Pedersen

Please feel free to put this on your ‘To Read’ list on Goodreads by clicking below:

The Mercenary Prince on Goodreads!

Excerpt from The Mercenary Prince

With the hint of a smirk, Selenia quickens her pace and unleashes a barrage of blows on her former student. Each strike and stab is deflected by the sweat-covered champion, his speed increasing to match her every time. At one point, the half-elf leaps forward and is struck in her stomach by his shield, which forces her to flip over his head. The headmistress lands in a crouch and whirls around to block the counterattack, the point of Delvin’s sword gently running along the leather patch over her stomach. Realizing that he is still holding back, Selenia bats his next attack away and delivers a painful kick to his exposed side. The blow knocks him against the fountain and he comes dangerously close to falling into the water.

While rubbing his bruised side, Delvin circles the headmistress who turns to continue facing him. He makes a few feints that she refuses to acknowledge because they are clumsy and pathetically amateurish. The gathered students and teachers shout for more action, all of them believing the brown-haired warrior to be afraid of the legendary woman. None of them realize that his circles have been getting tighter and his fake attacks have caused Selenia to misjudge his distance. It is something she realizes when Delvin makes a quick swing for her hip and their weapons strike closer to their hilts than she expects. The moment the half-elf steps back to gain some space, her former student pushes forward with precise strikes that mirror the onslaught she previously unleashed. Without a shield, the headmistress finds it more difficult to block every attack and has to twist her body away from several attacks. The movements prevent her from throwing a kick or punch, which would probably hit the shield that he has yet to include in his advance.

Selenia eventually catches Delvin’s blade and slides her weapon along its edge to step within his swinging range. The pair push against each other, their muscles straining to gain the upper hand. Every time one of them is about to gain ground, their opponent shifts enough to continue the frustrating stalemate. With a grunt of exertion, Delvin moves his shield in front of the headmistress’s face and blocks her view. Knowing she is expecting him to push forward, the warrior falls onto his back and lets the surprised half-elf’s momentum slam her face into the wooden disc. The back of his head bounces off the ground as he flicks his wrist to deliver an extra shot to Selenia’s chin. She rolls away from him to recover her senses, but Delvin scrambles to keep her in reach and continue his attack as they stand.

“You actually hit me,” Selenia states when she notices that her nose is bleeding. She ducks under her opponent’s swing and aims her hilt for his stomach, the blow only grazing his shirt. “I think you’ve achieved two firsts for this academy, Delvin. Nobody has ever drawn my blood or made me dizzy during a match.”

Want to Dive into the Adventure from the Beginning?

Find all of these exciting adventures by visiting the Amazon Author Page of Charles E. Yallowitz

So charge up your Kindle and end 2015 with an adventure full of action, humor, old friends, new enemies, grudge matches, tears, ale, and vampires.

author-photoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

***

Charles is coming back next week to tell us a bit about writing an ongoing series. Check out The Mercenary Prince, and come back next week for some insight into writing such an epic series.

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The Idea Mill #18

 

I've let the Idea Mill lapse this go round. I have four articles to discuss this time, and it's because I slacked on publishing when I had three.

I could go with the three best ones, but I'm going to share them all.

The first one is about bonobos. These are the first cousins of chimpanzees, and got their own designation a decade or so ago. (I'm not looking it up.)

These creatures have been observing tools for the first time. Some chimps have been known to use tools for a long time, but it's a first for bonobos. It doesn't appear to have happened under wild circumstances, but it's still pretty impressive. Read more about it here.

This can support some pretty interesting science fiction. Planet of the Apes has been around since I paid a quarter to watch the originals at the Saturday matinee. If you need a different species to evolve in a story, this lends credence to the idea.

Back in The Idea Mill #13 we talked about a group of monkeys that have taken the first steps toward domesticating wolves, and the bonobo story feeds into that same concept.

Next we have dinosaur blood vessels. They appear to have traces of actual blood in them. There are also some bones associated with the find that may contain DNA. It looks like we are a few years away from Jurassic Park, but we're going to learn something from these.

Maybe your science fiction needs a genetic library. It's a way of preserving extinct species of all kinds. Add in a militant Eco-group who wants to see these creatures alive once more. They thought they were creating a Caspian tiger, but they got a saber tooth instead. Of course it needs to get loose and cause trouble so you can have the inevitable court battle about whether to put it down, or not.

This next story is one I grew up with. Every Nevada schoolboy discussed the Lovelock Giants on the playground. Legend has it there was a race of red headed giants native to the western US. There were some signs found in Lovelock Cave, but commercial interests destroyed the find. Other sites are rumored to have discovered mummified remains. This is right on the cusp of being a cryptid, or maybe real. I've never heard of any such giants at the Smithsonian or anywhere else.

Giants are a fantasy staple, but not so much in North America. If you use the DNA library idea from up above, you could restore them into an urban fantasy.

Finally, we have more vampire burials. It seems like there is one of these found every year. Obviously they add some credibility to vampire stories. These are more interesting than other Idea Mill posts about the topic. Rather than a rock in the mouth, or an iron stake to hold them down, these graves were kept safe by placing a sickle over the throat. It looks like any vamp that tried to rise would lose its head.

It's always good to bring something new to genres that become kind of predictable. This doesn't make a whole story, but could spice one up. Maybe the sickles are made from meteor steel, or quenched in holy something-or-other.

I'm about to revisit some of the Idea Mill posts myself. I seem to remember a fabric dye that was so black it couldn't be seen by the human eye. I might use that in my new novel somewhere.

Feel free to use these posts in your own fiction. There are enough of them to make up a decent repository these days.

I always try to make up one story using all the elements. These ideas cover a broad spectrum, and it will have to be pretty cheesy to cover them all.

Take one genetics laboratory where the geneticists are studying ancient blood and extracting DNA. They celebrate success in restoring some small recently extinct species, like the Heath hen.

The lab apes watch the whole process. They aren't as dumb as the humans think they are, and try to bring back their relatives after hours. We wind up with Giants on the loose, but they are a race of vampires. The only way to completely kill them is to bury them with a sickle over the throat.

This is a lot easier to do when there are less topics. What might you take away from these articles? Would some of them enhance your speculative fiction? Will your vampire hunter start using a sickle instead of a sword? Are you putting Giants in downtown Las Vegas?

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