Ohlen’s Bane now available in paperback

Book Two of The Taesian Chronicles
Book Two of The Taesian Chronicles

I am very happy to announce that Ohlen’s Bane, book two of The Taesian Chronicles, is now available as a paperback from Amazon.com.

Ohlen and his close ally, the irrepressible and honorable Kha’ard, pursue a deadly killer into a maze of underground tunnels after a close friend is assassinated. On the surface, the hardscrabble mining town of Eeron is attacked by a powerful race of creatures seeking to wipe out the humans that live there. Will the unexpected arrival of Eeron’s oldest enemy spell its doom?

Paragon’s Call is now available!

Now available on Amazon.com
Now available on Amazon.com

Paragon’s Call is the third and final book in The Taesian Chronicles trilogy. In this exciting and fast-paced conclusion, we pick up the story a year after the Battle of Eeron from book two, Ohlen’s Bane. Ohlen and his comrades, Therran and Ahmahn, discover the novaari, dangerous beasts that are half man, half animal. Ohlen is conscripted by Emperor Percy Saltos to lead a ragtag group of criminal misfits called Paragons, who are charged with seeking out these monsters and destroying them. But not everyone wants them to succeed.

All three books are available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

The first book of the Taesian Chronicles trilogy is Ohlen’s Arrow, released in 2013. The second book in the series is Ohlen’s Bane, which I released in late 2014. Now that Paragon’s Call is published (as an e-book), I will start work on combining all three books of the trilogy together into a single volume called The Taesian Chronicles, and will release it as a paperback via CreateSpace on Amazon.com. It will be my first dead-tree publication.

A Slight Change of Direction

After spending a bit of time on another writing project, I have recently returned my attention to Paragon’s Call. Part of that effort has been evaluating the plot I have mapped out and determining if it will go in the direction I need.

I got that worked out and adjusted the plot line better to my liking, then returned to composition. I’m now up to a little over 63,000 words, with a half dozen chapters remaining. For scale, both book one Ohlen’s Arrow and book two Ohlen’s Bane are about 64,000 words each.

My plot adjustments have shortened the overall length of the novel by removing three chapters that didn’t add much to the book. I learned back in my screenwriting days that if a scene can be removed without altering the pace or plot, it doesn’t belong.

More importantly, my plot adjustments have changed the role of the antagonist in the book. Specifically, I added a new antagonist that will will play a bigger part in subsequent books.

Wait, what? Did I just indicate there will be more after Paragon’s Call?

How Scrivener makes Ohlen’s Bane possible

As I have mentioned on this blog and on The Ardent Scribe, Scrivener has proven to be a wonderful tool for my writing and creative productivity. It’s not about putting words to electronic paper — a basic text editor can do that — it’s about organizing and maintaining that text as the process unfolds.

My second book, Ohlen’s Bane, is possible because I am using Scrivener.

I started out with a plot event list. This is basically a list of sentences, each describing a specific scene in the book, in chronological order of how they will appear in the book. Once that is done, I begin my work in Scrivener.

I create a new scene, or text card, for each sentence. The scene title is 2-5 words describing what happens, and the full sentence I created in my plot event list goes into the card description. I drag and drop those scenes into roughly equal length chapters.

In the research section of Scrivener, I create cards for each named character in the book that describes their physical characteristics, personality and background. I also create a page of place names and yet another filled with randomly created names that I may grab from as new bit players turn up in my story.

Once Scrivener is pre-loaded with all of my research and scenes, I fire the trigger and begin writing.

Ohlen’s Bane started off somewhat slowly. I wrote the first six chapters, about 10,000 words, and then read over what I’d written. It dragged. I found myself growing impatient for the good stuff to start happening. Thanks to Scrivener, I was able to drag and drop scenes to rearrange their order. I scrapped entire scenes — not by deleting them, but by putting them into a Scrap chapter. This gave me recourse in case I found a use for them later on, or even just to grab fragments of scenes.

After paring it down and reorganizing scenes into a better order, I was able to start cranking away again. Now that my story found a good rhythm, thanks to Scrivener’s ability to keep my book organized, I was then able to crank out 12,000 words in a single weekend.

When I finish one scene, I open up the text card for the next. Since it has a brief 2-3 sentence description of what happens, I am up to speed on what happens next and can bang it out in record time.

Scrivener really is a brilliant piece of software, and I don’t think I’d ever get my second book written without it.

Be willing to kill your babies

When I was in high school, typing was a required course. We used IBM Selectric typewriters rather than computers. By the end of the one-semester course, I was the fastest in my class, banging out 90 error-free words per minute. It was the most useful thing I learned in high school.

Since moving to computers, I can edit as I type. I still type close to 90 wpm, but thanks to the backspace key, I type backwards even faster … clickity clickity clickity WHACK WHACK WHACK clickity clickity clickity, etc.

Where am I going with this?

I’m working on my second book, the sequel to Ohlen’s Arrow, tentatively entitled Ohlen’s Bane. The first weekend I worked on it, I cranked out over 12,000 words. I typed a lot. Since then, my word count is up to 15,000. I decided to read over what I had so far, and although it was interesting, it wasn’t engaging.

The last thing I want is for my book to require the reader suffer through to the fifth chapter before anything good happens. One of the things going for Ohlen’s Arrow was its pace. It started with action and maintained an engaging level of action with few pauses throughout the story.

I am now killing my babies. As I read through my first four chapters, I am looking for sections that can be rearranged to maintain a better pace. I’m also looking for sections that aren’t important at all. When I find them, I kill them. I’m not tied to the words I created. I can remove them and write new ones, better ones. The story also has sections that take far too long to get across what can be conveyed either indirectly or simply.

Because of my technical background, I tend to be rather verbose in my descriptions. I am learning to adopt a more compact and dense writing style, conveying an equal or greater amount of information in fewer words.

My goal is to write 100,000 words for Ohlen’s Bane. I’ll probably write more than that, because I know that during the revision and editing phase of the project, I’ll be whacking the backspace key a lot more than any other.

I am willing to kill my babies.