Chapter and voice

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably at least looked at the free sample of the first two chapters of The Fifth War and are either confused or wondering what the heck I’m trying to push on you. Yes, the chapters are from multiple viewpoints; most chapters will be. I do have a few “main” characters in mind, and they will receive multiple chapters told from their points of view — and I think you’ll find it an entertaining experience not knowing exactly who is a “main” character and who isn’t.

For the moment, too, most characters are separated by distance and thus, their stories are being told individually. That won’t always be the case. I envision the “main” characters joining together at a later point, but even that won’t be permanent. They’ll split up again, or be replaced, so that you never know quite who’s going to stick around and who’s going to leave — or be killed. I think the unpredictability of not knowing who’s coming and going, and that anyone can die at any time, adds a great deal to the dramatic tension of the overall story. Don’t just assume that because five of our heroes go in that all five will come out…

Multiple viewpoints and shifting allegiances is just one part of the story that I hope will be appealing to readers of the Fifth War. The other major point I hope to get across — and that I know I can’t so early in the series — is that, as much as possible, I don’t intend to rely on the traditions and cliches that are all to prevalent in fantasy literature. I already mentioned that the main characters would band together, at least temporarily; it should also be clear to anyone reading the first four chapters that dragons will somehow be involved in the story and that they won’t be very nice. At no point will the plucky band of underdog heroes be storming the dragon’s lair, wielding the magic weapons they acquired from the crazy old man who actually turned out to be a wizard who sent them on an epic quest, blah blah blah… I’m not saying there won’t be combat with a dragon (or dragons), but it won’t be like a session of Dungeons & Dragons and the dragons themselves — well, they won’t be exactly as most people envision them, I’m sure.

(In fact, for a perfect example of how I envision a “quest for the magic sword” turning out in The Fifth War, check out chapter three…)

This is going to be a long journey, both for me the writer, and you, the reader. And you see knights, dragons, swords, wizards (well, geomancers), and are understandably skeptical. I can only ask that you give me the time to win your trust and show you that I’m not just some hack re-using the same old tired cliches that you’ve read a thousand times.

I may very well be a hack, but at least I’m striving to be a semi-unpredictable hack.

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