It might seem counter intuitive, but I’ve been trying to avoid making too many of my posts about Blood Magic. I’m excited about the series, and what I’m trying to do with it, and I would love to see more people reading the stories and reading about the stories, but I don’t want to inundate you with nothing but Blood Magic. Just like I can’t focus exclusively on writing Blood Magic, and instead split my time amongst several other projects, I imagine that you would prefer not to hear exclusively about Blood Magic.

However, with the end of the month falling on a day when I normally would write a post, I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to talk about Blood Magic‘s third episode. Although I will do my best to keep spoilers out of this post, if you haven’t yet read Thicker Than Blood, I highly recommend heading over to the season 1 page and reading the episode, and any other episodes you haven’t yet read. For now, let’s assume that you’ve done that, and talk a little bit about episode three.

The discussion of episode three requires a quick review of how Blood Magic came to be. I had written the first two episodes long before they went live on the site, but the whole concept of a monthly episode was that I figured I could reasonably write, even with my busy schedule, a short story each month. These episodes are, for the most part, between 7000 and 15000 words (although the second episode was a little longer). So this third episode was the first one that I would be writing with the series ongoing.

Unfortunately, this was a somewhat difficult episode to write. Although I plotted out the overall series, and I have brief summaries of what each episode is going to be about, I intentionally try not to plan out my stories too closely before I write the first draft, so that I can be excited about where the story is going, instead of just waiting impatiently to get to the exciting part. Episode three proved to be a bit of a challenge because it wasn’t really going anywhere. It has its own arc, and some interesting elements, but this was, from a series perspective, almost exclusively for world and character building.

Remember, the whole idea here is that most of the episodes should mostly stand by themselves. The characters and world will evolve throughout the series, but each episode should be a self-contained plot. It turns out this is harder to do than I anticipated, especially coming off my efforts with longer works, like Fo’Fonas, where each chapter had to advance the story lest it become unmanageably long (in that case, because I have so many viewpoint characters, I have to be careful that the reader doesn’t lose track of the many different threads).

Episode four is also largely a matter of character development, so we’ll see if my experience writing episode three helps. Fortunately, I will in this one be introducing another major character, so there will be at least that element of interest. I think she’ll be pretty fun to write.

Are you enjoying Blood Magic? There are two main ways to improve one’s writing: write more, and feedback. I’m accomplishing the former with Blood Magic, as it forces me to keep writing these short stories each month, instead of bouncing from project to project. I would love to have it also provide the latter, so if you have any feedback for the series or the individual episodes, please consider posting it in the comments below.

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