Well, I did it. I made it through the last chapter of Part Three: Travels and Battles, Chapter 20: Strong Magics. I’ll have to see if there might be one or two more scenes to add here, or if they fit better into the flow of the next chapter. I’m really excited to be moving forward.
I added three entirely new chapters to this section, plus many new scenes in the existing chapters. It was good to flesh out some of my secondary characters, especially Gillan, and to a lesser degree, Toran and Gentu. I also made Criften more interactive with his people, as well as having him communicate with Maglin and Eido, sometimes sharing his fears and concerns that he doesn’t share with his warriors.
I like the way my characters have evolved from the first draft. They feel more real to me now. The children received a lot more attention from the adults and also from each other. The first death among the group happens near the end of part three, and I gave the adults a chance to express their grief. I think, early in the next chapter, all of the children will get a change to talk some more about what happened and deal with their own grief. Coltan will also be dealing with the loss of his lover, and I need to include how he copes with losing his sexual outlet, as well.
In part three, I found numerous ways to include backstory and exposition about things like how magic works in this world, what it means to be a wizard or a witch, why my main antagonist hesitates to strike out at my wizard, and how people don’t always get along or even like each other. One of the complaints my editor, Anne, had about the first draft was everyone got along to well all the time. I hope I have been able to make their relationships a little more real.
In the last two chapters, especially, I showed how an angry Gillan copes with her grief while trying to maintain her position as leader of the warrior. It’s a lot of pressure and she deals with it by keeping things inside until she starts snapping at people, especially Coltan. I put a lot of myself into this. I remember doing similar things while I was dealing with the terminal illness and death of my husband. I hope some of it comes through as authentic for readers.
I also have my vampire dealing with his anger at his master, Criften, when he’s losing his lover. The question I’m trying to elicit is, how much free will does Coltan actually have? I have exposed more about this in other writings, both back story and things in the next book, but I thought it was important to include some of that in this book.
I’ve got lots of new ideas for things that need to be included while the group visits the castle, so that should be fun, but that doesn’t come for at least another chapter. Currently, there is only one chapter before they arrive there, but I think that might turn into two by the time I add details about what happens to Gentu, Toran and Gillan as they travel away from the group to take Gentu to Maglin (and my new character Inla—I’m still deciding how much she can be trusted, and that’s what Maglin will have to discover).
I hope I can get through the next part a little faster than this one, but I think there is quite a bit of content to add. I’ll know more soon. I had planned to be done with part three by the end of last year, so I’m three weeks late getting started on part four. I adjusted my expectations to be finished with the edit by the end of March.
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