About a year and a half ago, I had an idea for a magic system, inspired by how a relatively primitive culture might perceive the four fundamental forces of nature. Just to explore the magic system, I decided to write an expository scene. When I finished, the scene was almost twenty pages long, involved the main character climbing a really, really long staircase, and I realized it was chapter 1, and that I had a chapter 2 to write. About seven months later, I finished the rough draft of what I realized would become the first novel of an epic fantasy series.
Because this was the first, full length novel I had finished, I was excited to share it, and so I sent it out to my usual group of test readers. Their feedback was something along the lines of “more, NOW.” Unfortunately for them, 200,000 word novels don’t get written overnight, so I’m only about halfway finished with the sequel’s rough draft. As more people have read my rough draft of the first book, I’ve been getting more and more (and more vehement) requests that I finish the second book.
As excited as I am by the reader response, and by the direction this story is headed, I have determined that I won’t try to revise and publish any of the novels before I’ve finished rough drafts of the whole series, which I’m projecting to be four books at the moment. That means it will probably be at least that many years before Fo’Fonas 1 is publicly available. The series involves a large cast of main characters, a complicated magic system, several major political systems, detailed international relations, and a world to match, so writing gets slower as I go because of the amount of story I have to keep track of to make everything flow well.
However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am very seriously exploring the idea of publishing some short stories or novellas set in the Fo’Fonas world. These would be mostly, if not completely, stand-alone, with no knowledge of the core series required, although some might be tangentially related. For instance, one novella that is rapidly growing tells Verdon’s story, who is mentioned briefly in Fo’Fonas 1. If all goes well, you should be able to read that on the site in the next few months. Hopefully that will at least temporarily appease the people threatening grievous bodily injury if I don’t finish Fo’Fonas 2 sooner.
Although the magic system was the impetus for writing this series, it has taken something of a backseat to the main plot; it’s a supporting element, not the driving force. What I really wanted to do with Fo’Fonas was create a story in which there isn’t a clear good or evil. Amongst the main protagonists there are people representing just about every side there is in the story. It’s something that I’ve long thought was missing from most epic fantasy. Even Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, which thus far has done a better job than most of showing perspective and no single “true” evil, makes concessions to the idea of a primary, really evil antagonist with a lot of power. Now, perhaps I should take that as a lesson that what I’m trying to do isn’t viable, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.
Anyhow, I’ve made a lot of references to this series in other posts, and thought it would be a good idea to finally explain what it’s all about to all of you. Now I had better get back to writing Fo’Fonas 2 before someone sends an assassin after me.