The third in my series of blogs about abandoned novels. This one involves a ship and wizards.

This is one that I wrote in April 2018. I wanted to try writing in third person voice, and I wanted to start with something that began quiet but tense, and built into something urgent. I think that I did manage to achieve it.

Chapter 1 – The cliffs

ship on rocks

(Image from Pinterest, no credit provided)

So why did this project not make the distance?

This is a little different to the others that I’ve posted. This chapter actually got reworked multiple times, and is itself the reworking of a previous chapter. There are a lot of themes that I really like here:

  • I really liked the ship-mess monster
  • I like the lone creature standing on the ship
  • I like the quiet, followed by the incident

What I didn’t like:

  • Fal is not active. He’s a spectator to everything that’s going on, and while he may be the one to spot the problem, it also doesn’t actively affect the outcome. Had he not noticed, it would be the same.
  • The next chapter was pretty hard to write because it had to involve some kind of flight from or confrontation with the sea demon, which is too early in a book when the characters aren’t fully established yet
  • Fal’s position as underling meant that we were going to be a long way off from the point where he gets to have agency of his own

So this chapter actually then got changed, the location moved from the sea to inland, the spell’s purpose changed, the monster got removed… and by the end there was little that you would have recognised as having been this chapter at all. Sometimes that’s the way of it. In the end, that later version also got abandoned.

But alas, fear not. There are always more ideas. Sometimes writing is just about trying them and seeing what comes out.

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