As a fan of Hero’s Journey story arcs, I’m well aware of the need to cross a river and find a dark place. It’s essential.


As a fan of gritty and detailed #grimdark stories, I’m reluctant to have the hero waltz into a dark place without sufficient premonitions of doom.


I really like the mundanities of “where did I leave my spell book?” and “did you remember to fill your water-skin?” The non-heroic day-to-day things seem to provide needed context and humanity inside a “save the world” kind of story.

Which leaves me staring at my outline, thinking about the inversion of roles. For once, the mage is insisting on moving and the Red Knight isn’t the one impetuously charging ahead.

While some of the mundane, gritty details are interesting, we really need to get to the dark place so the mage can get into real trouble. A lot has to go wrong for these people. There’s a lot to discover in book III. Things that have been avoided because they might disturb the incumbent powers.

I don’t really like it when the main characters don’t get along. But. Sometimes they don’t, and it’s uncomfortable for me to write about it. I really want to stop working on this chapter and tell the mage to stop being a jerk, but, the mage is a jerk about some things. The Red Knight can be a colossal ass, and the whole point of the book is to put them into bad situations.

If they would just settle down in a fishing village on the coast somewhere, they wouldn’t have these problems. But they have these problems because they’re unwilling to avoid the quest for power and justice.


Shortly after posting, the “you’re also moving, dunce,” idea finally popped into my head. Oh wait. My story sort of parallels the character’s? The outline predates my story by years, so it’s not much like art imitating life.

But the pressures of moving do inform the writing process. I suspect they shouldn’t and I may delete a few chapters and try again with fewer details and more sword fights.