Wo is mein Handlung?! and Novel News

I have some novel news about The Curse of Silent Mountain, which involves a bit of writing theory.

I announced earlier that the current story would be released in a trilogy form over the next twelve months.  That announcement was about seven weeks ago, and except for a black belt test in Haidong Gumdo I’ve basically worked, written, and slept for a month and a half.

The same day that I announced the trilogy publishing schedule, I had passed the “final” version of The Curse of Silent Mountain to my Beta readers, and I was convinced that I had a month to edit.

Talking things over with the Betas, two things became abundantly clear.  First, the story was at an excellent stopping point.  Second, the excellent stopping point didn’t come after a good emotionally rewarding plot climax.  Don’t get me wrong, at least three minor plots took place, and the end of The Curse of Silent Mountain (version 1.1) did come at a large shift in the story dynamic that set the next book up.  The problem was pacing and plot.

Stories are an interaction of imagination and emotion.  They’re a discourse, a dialogue.  About twenty years ago I learned plotting along the classical Shakespearean 5-act structure.  I know that Common Core has completely butchered this theory, so here’s how it was taught back in the 1980’s:

Random Meta note: I just got asked by a reader on Twitter how the story was coming, as I was writing this blog post.  I’m working on it!  Honest! [Spoilers]

Untitled


 

Act 1: Introduce the Status Quo and break it with a conflict.  Example: Hamlet investigates rumors of his father’s ghost and discovers a murder to investigate.

Act 2: Developing Conflict: Show how the new problem has impacted the status quo, and reveal character through investigative challenges.  Hamlet’s stress and strange behavior through the investigation makes people think he’s nuts.

Act 3: TECHNICAL CLIMAX: The first conflict is resolved, and the way it gets resolved sets up a whole new problem.  Hamlet discovers his uncle’s guilt (success), chooses not to kill him (mistake), warns his mother off (success), and kills Polonius (bonus points/mistake… hard to say).

Act 4: FALLOUT REDUX: A ton of bigger, more interesting problems crop up from our first climax, building more tension.  Hamlet’s dad sends him to England to get killed, Ophelia goes nuts and dies when he isn’t there to save him, and Hamlet returns.

Act 5: DRAMATIC CLIMAX: The first and second problems jump your protagonist at once.  He stands alone against them, and triumphs (or not).  King Murderer and Wronged Brother plan a poisonous gang-bang vs. Hamlet, but Hamlet is secretly a Ninja, and destroys them both (but dies in the end).


 

So, as you may have noticed, like a really great date (between married people), there are at least two climaxes involved, with some stress and tension before hand.  Hey, folks, I didn’t invent the terminology, but the terms are what they are for a reason.

I plotted the series as a whole before I wrote the first book, and I had planned out a 19-book series of episodes plus a trilogy ending.  The first book went off pretty well, at my target size.  When my Beta readers were like, “um, Bruce, you’ve advanced the plot, but I missed my climax.” I realized that those books represent about 1-2 story acts each.

Additionally, one thing that I’ve learned this year as I continue to study story craft is the dao of Lois McMaster Bujold.  Her wildly popular Vorkosigan series are made up of books that function perfectly well in a stand-alone mode.

So, obviously my December 1st release date has gone the way of the coelacanth, but when the book does get released as soon as I get it done, back from the Betas, and edited, you will get the entire story that you would have had to wait until next Christmas (2016) to achieve.  Together, The Rogue of An Dinas and The Curse of Silent Mountain form a complete story, which you will hopefully be able to read and enjoy in and of themselves if sales don’t justify the other 4-5 novels I have planned out for the series.


That being said, I simply can’t maintain the writing pace I’ve had for the past six weeks.  It isn’t fair to my day job, or my martial arts students.

I am going to try and put in at least two hours a day to the story, and ten hours every weekend.  I’ll keep updating you all as the story progresses.  Right now I’m about 20,000 into Act 3 of the stand-alone misadventure.


If you absolutely cannot abide to wait that long for the story, consider becoming a beta reader!

What does that involve?  You get each chapter as I finish it, and in return you agree to
A] READ THE CHAPTER
B] RETURN A FORM with three questions on it.

The questions:
1] What did you enjoy about this chapter? (so that I can do more of that)
2] What did you not enjoy about this chapter? (so that I can do less of that, unless I’m deliberately torturing the readers, I mean… building tension)
3] Do you have any questions from this chapter? (so that I can make sure I patch all the continuity errors, or just check off a box marked “I’m not going to tell you…”, but that box should only be checked off because it fulfills one of my primary goals, which is to torture readers.)

If you do consider yourself Beta potential, please contact me here.

 

 

 

Silent Mountain Overtime

Writing The Curse of Silent Mountain is heavily into overtime.

My point of view is that it isn’t a missed deadline, it’s additional awesome.

To put things into perspective, The Rogue of An Dinas was 45,000 words long.  That’s 80 pages of single-spaced words on my word processor.  The Curse of Silent Mountain is at 145,000 words and counting, and is over 220 pages long so far.  So the delay is much longer than between smaller books.

When I originally plotted this series, it was for 20 books at around 50,000 words each.  The Curse of Silent Mountain came into its current form when the plot lines of books two through four were so closely intertwined that I could either start the series with a sequence of cliff-hanger novels, or I could write one novel with three books worth of plot arcs inside it.

I chose option B.  The Curse of Silent Mountain is now the second-longest novel that I’ve ever written, and it’s heading steadily for 2nd place.

I would love to tell you more, but I have to go write more!

#Pax.

Curse of Silent Mountain Cover!

The cover art is in for the next St. Gavin’s Ghost book: The Curse of Silent Mountain.

If you haven’t read book one in the series, it is still available as a free promotion through December 1st at Amazon.com!

Without further ado…

The cover in question!

bruce.burns-72dpi-1500x2000

Cover Design: SelfPubBookCovers.com/RLSather

Grateful Promotion Explosion

It’s the start of day three in my five-day promotion!
I made the first book in each of my novel series free from Black Friday through December 1st.
You’ve made it such a smashing success already that I had to thank you in person!

That’s the whole point of the promotion in the first place, that I couldn’t have done it without you!

Starting Day 3 for Free in the Kindle Store

The Rogue of An Dinas
#7 for Futuristic Christian Fiction
#31 for Religious Sci Fi & Fantasy
http://goo.gl/FJi6FK

The Slave of Tour Hote
#20 in Christian Fantasy
#28 in Religious Science Fiction & Fantasy
http://goo.gl/Kv5LBQ

Pushing Back
#7 in Christian Fantasy
#11 in Religious Science Fiction & Fantasy
http://goo.gl/3BfAjl

These and all my books are available from my Amazon.com author page. http://goo.gl/eo6YUj

Double Bestselling Thank You

Happy BruceYesterday I began my Black Friday thank you deal, to offer the first novels of each of my series for free.  I don’t make a dime off of these, but I wanted to share my books as a way of saying thank you to all the fans who read them, reviewed them, and threatened me with great bodily harm if I didn’t write the next ones.

You stepped up and made the first day of my promotion a roaring success.  Here are the results from one day with my awesome readers.  A pair of best-sellers in their genres!

The Rogue of An Dinas hit #13 in the Free Kindle Store for futuristic Christian fantasy!  It’s also #55 for Religious Science Fiction and Fantasy!  That’s 2 top 100 charts just today!

Rogue of An Dinas free promo day 1 11272015

The Slave of Tour Hote reached #32 in Christian Fantasy and #44 in Religious Science Fiction and Fantasy!

Slave of Tour Hote Free promo day 1 11272015

It’s because of YOU, dear readers, that I have two books competing with one another in the top 100 in their genre.  That’s the whole reason why I’m doing this thank you!

It isn’t over!  They’re still free for you, your friends and your family through December 1st, 2015!

Pushing Back, the first of the Adrian Campbell urban fantasy books, will be on sale for free November 28th through December 1st.  There was a glitch in Amazon’s system processing my promotion, and this was the earliest fix we could get.

Black Friday Freestyle

[Note: Amazon.com is experiencing some delays implementing the sale.  It’s a busy day for retail. I will keep you posted.  BB 2:33am 11/27

The Rogue of An Dinas is available for free on Kindle ebook. 2:42am]

I’m so thankful for my readers that I’m offering you a chance to share the adventure you love with people you love, or a chance to treat yourself to a series you haven’t bought yet.  My Black Friday isn’t a deal at all.  It’s not a steal.  You can’t steal what I’m giving away!

What is an author most thankful for?  You, my readers!  To share my appreciation with those who have joined me on adventures, sword fights, starship battles, chase scenes, for everyone who has threatened me bodily harm if I don’t type the next book for everything yesterday, I offer you my thanks…

AND THE FIRST BOOK IN EVERY SERIES FREE.

Tour Hote Slave FinJoin an amnesiac slave boy in the race to regain his identity before the secrets of his past destroy his new home.  Swords, sorcery, and space-age technology collide in The Slave of Tour Hote.

Pushing Back

Follow Adrian Campbell on a race across supernatural Minnesota in the dead of winter, and the agents dispatched to stop him before his inhuman nature forces him to kill again!  Pushing Back.

The Pilgrim's Chapel as a book cover

When the youngest Knight of An Dinas is caught betraying the code that upheld civilization for seven centuries on the lost colony of Salasia, he stumbles onto a conspiracy that will reshape his world.  The epic serial fantasy begins with The Rogue of An Dinas.

 

Whether you’re a fan of swords-and-horses fantasy, urban fantasy, martial arts action, or science fiction, I think you’ll find something to appreciate.  Don’t waste time!  Treat a friend!  Indulge yourself!  This deal runs from Black Friday through December 1st, and then it’s gone.

Black Friday: No Pushing

Lagrandil.com’s Black Friday deal: Normally $2.99, Pushing Back, the first Adrian Campbell novel, is absolutely free on Amazon.com from Friday, November 27th  through December 1st, 2015.  If you’re looking for a quick gift for an adventure lover in your life, or for your own action junkie, check out the first book in The Trials of Adrian Campbell.  If you like what you see, book 2, Shifting Gears, is available on Amazon.com.  Book 3, Giant’s Rage, will be released in 2016.

Pushing Back (The Trials of Adrian Campbell Book 1) on Kindle.

The Trials of Adrian Campbell #1

Adrian Campbell is on a mission. He’s racing against the clock across the forests of northern Minnesota. He has until midnight to save the world. Before the night is through he must face ice monsters, werewolves, vampires, and more in order to reach his goal. It’s an inhuman task, but Adrian Campbell will face it with a wry inner commentary and the powers that make him more than human…

Agents Hale and Reynolds are on a mission. They’re tracking down a man who’s gone missing in the middle of a bloodbath in Akron, Ohio. A twisting trail of interviews, lost files, and mysterious clues keeps indicating that there is more going on than meets the eye. Hale and Reynolds are no stranger to the supernatural, and they’re determined to find Adrian Campbell before he kills again…

The paths of both quests lead to the northern woods of Minnesota in the dead of winter. Supernatural forces are gathering there under the mysterious agenda of QuelleBiotech Incorporated. Three different goals will clash in the cold and the darkness. It is a battle waged with martial arts and firearms, magic spells and ancient faith.
Pushing Back is a supernatural action-adventure. It mixes Christian themes with a breakneck pace and plenty of swashbuckling action.