If launching is like cutting the ribbon for a grand opening, or smashing a bottle of champagne against the prow of a new ship, then getting started on a new book is like breaking ground. You look at that blank plot of land. Maybe you see the skeletal structure of what’s finally going to stand there in your mind, but you really don’t know what the final product is going to look like. It feels exciting, but it also feels like a whole lot of work.
So you get out the shovel and you break ground. You jam the head into the earth and scoop out that first lump of soil. Sometimes, as Stephen King says in On Writing, it feels like “all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.” I’m still mad at King for his last short story collection, even though I’m a lifelong fan, but that’s another story. Ask me sometime. His memoir/writing advice book is still one of the best, though.
Anyway, all this to say I broke ground on Dragon Red today. And it didn’t feel like I was shoveling shit. It felt okay. I wish I had it planned out a little more, but I trust in the process, so I think I’m going to be fine. I hope, anyway. The full working title is Dragon Red: A Fire Unfed. Not entirely sure how much I like that, but it feels good for now. My original subtitle was Sins of the Dead, but while I thought that sounded cool, it didn’t sound very romancy. I also think I want to subtitles to not be super-heavy, and I want to continue with the theme of paradoxes/contradictions throughout the series, so I think the current one fits best. Though I reserve the right to change it at any time. Writers get to do that, you know.
The main character is Kal Wildfire, eldest son of Karth, next in line to the throne of the Wildfire clan. However, as the newest book opens, he’s lost in the desert, unable to remember his name or how he got there. He eventually comes across a witch, who is willing to help him, sort of, for a price. As the witch tells him, he’ll have to go forward before he goes back and descend before he can rise. Witches always like to speak in riddles, and this one is no exception.
My heroine is Talia, a rabbit shifter who lives with her family and friends in the great forest in Eastern Xandakar. Alas, a nomadic army of snake shifters is sweeping across the land, sowing destruction and chaos in their wake, and Talia’s home is in their path. She and Kal will find each other, but only after she has lost everything. He will be the key to rebuilding her new life, and she will be instrumental in helping him fulfill his destiny, though neither of them know it.
Meanwhile, Marko and Nevra are still secretly plotting to overthrow all five dragonlords and unit the realm under their own rule. They have a secret weapon: a demon they’ve awoken from its prison deep in the Scorched Mountains. But are they using it, or is it using them?
I think it’s going to be a good one. I’ll try to blog about my progress on a regular basis in case anyone out there is interested. And relatively soon I’ll probably reveal the new cover.