Stormed Fortress: Status Updates

originally posted by Nathan

Dakar and Fionn please! Fionn may be a stubborn pain in the rear but Dakar always makes me laugh.

originally posted by neil

Fionn is still alive so Dakar and Fionn for me :wink:

originally posted by Wendy Collett

Janny, I know how much you like to tease us all with where you are going, but I'm wondering how much we are actually seeing into the books that aren't there, as well as how much we are missing.

What I mean is, this is obviously going to be a 10 year or so project for you to write this to conclusion… or something like that.

We (your poor readers) are combing through all the books to date trying to find the clues of where you might be going, so that when the last book of the last arc comes along we can say - AH HA! I SAW that might be going to happen back in PG, SoM, TK etc… (or more like madly re-reading back those books again to find the hints that were there all along, slapping our foreheads and groaning 'How did I miss it?').

So - I'm re-reading Mistwraith again at the moment. I think I'm seeing new clues in the first 600 pages that we haven't even thought about or mentioned before on the site as far as I know.

As creator, writer and wordsmith, at the start of such a long labour of love, where you able to craft such discrete clues in Mistwraith as to resemble a cryptic treasure hunt lasting 500 years?

I see it in some of your books for at least the course of the arc. I don't know how you manage to do it (admiration) if you are constantly doing it - it would seem a huge undertaking, but the real question is -

Were you also being that crypticly-specific back in Mistwraith as well so that the clues in it will kick us in another 2 arc's time?

(sorry, read the Da Vince Code, and look where it's got me, looking for the obvious oddness we are oblivios to in real life.)

Thanks, Wendy

Wendy - You Asked.

The plot planning for these volumes goes back for a very huge number of years. It began with a pretty simple "seed" - two half brothers, opposites, one "light" one "shadow" who are cursed by fight by a mistwaith, and the one who is dark will NOT represent the traditional view - black = evil.

From there, it grew limbs in all directions…as you've seen. I actually did 17 drafts of the "start" of Mistwaith - some beginning the generation previous, some starting even later, before arriving at the mix you see today.

The depth and complexity, I think, were always there. Once the idea "woke up" - it defined itself. Often enough, in the early stages, something odd would "crop in" and I'd say "what in heck is THAT?" and That would immediately start to unravel, conceptually, and plunge its thread into the rest of the whole ball of string…these sorts of multi layered epiphanies are what creativity is all about. They Happen - by inspiration - and I think, on some level, we all know our stories inside out. We just have to sit here and bring them in, bit by bit, linearly. Yet their origins cannot be linear. They leap and bound into being.

For Vol. I, by the time I'd sifted down to knowing what this story was about, I had to make a LOT of compromises in what could be shown all at once. Obviously such complexity would have been boggling if, say, you were presented with the Fellowship's purpose and philosophy all at once - or any of the other factons' agendas, for that matter.

Therefore: I had to set the beginning "off world" so you could discover thru the characters' own eyes - learn of Athera with them. I also had to "ground" the first bits of the tale in presumed backdrop - so as not to overwhelm readers. I lent the "illusion" of a normal fantasy type world with the "usual" medeval heirarchy - since that was what was "expected" it freed readers to concentrate on the interrelationships between the characters, Foremost.

But I knew these balloon presumptions would get blasted, bigtime, later. Therefore I made SURE to tell the tale as it WAS GOING TO BE. Leaving in those bits that let you, later, see through the cracks in the "facade" I allowed at the start.

Therefore as you go back, the wiser, you will see what was really in front of your face the whole time.

I've said: everything IS in volume one. You just aren't yet aware enough to view widely or deeply enough into it. Yes, you should continue to see stuff emerge in Vol I, throughout the rest of the sequence. All five arcs.

Working with a huge idea takes blindfold courage - not to denigrate your nice words of admiration - but really, it's about Trusting. Leaping into the unknown with your muse, and trusting your inner creativity to work it all out far BETTER than logic and calculation ever could.

So it has been, with Athera.

And - ACK! - I expect to be done well before ten years!!! For one thing, I've got an impressive number of projects lined up, waiting. :smiley:

originally posted by Blue

What I think might be interesting, should you be willing/able, would be a taste of what MIGHT have been CotM, had you just gone with the first draft, instead of what was published.

Gads, my first drafts of various things over the years actually make me laugh. "Oh, man, I can't BELIEVE I once actually thought THAT would work!"

Is it the same way with you?

Well, the wording was pretty darned rough and amateur!!

The "original" beginning: took place just after Talera's wedding to Demar s'Ilessid, King of Amroth. The opening scene: the execution for piracy of Ivon s'Ffalenn, Avar's brother (and therefore, Arithon's uncle) on a rather nasty, cold and rainy spring day…his challenge to her husband's policies, made on the scaffold, set a scar on that marriage that never truly healed. A story in itself, as you guessed…and too much to overburden the central issue of Mistwraith.

originally posted by HJ

Mmmm… Fascinating. Janny, it would be so good if one day you might put together all of your unfinished bit and bobs and as yet untold threads.

You intend to have the whole series finished well before ten years is up?!?!?

Best news I've heard in ages. Thank you!

originally posted by neil

If the mistwraith is central I wonder whether the series could have been called "the curse of the mistwraith" :slight_smile:

Maybe this would have too clearly implied that the curse won't be resolved until end arc 5 and lost some of the uncertainty.

Rereading COTM… There were 6 lords of centaurs and 6 lords of sunchildren a one point…West Shand was separate once so 1 paravian lord of each race for each area?

Kingship seems to have been shared between the paravian races (or just centaurs and sunchildren?)

The F7 sought "solution" in the distant future so no resolution for the F7 in the next 500 years it seems (assuming 500 years is not "distant" for them).

Unless Arithon changes all this?

originally posted by Trys


Demar s'Ilessid, King of Amroth

AHA!!! So that's his name. :smiley:

originally posted by Blue

Pretty rough and amateur… well, that's why they're called ROUGH drafts, right? :smiley: As mentioned, my own drafts over the years of things that went so far make me go, "Oh, man, who would want THAT crap?"

Poor Talera, WHAT a wedding present!

It would seem that my thesis that Lysaer would be an insufferable twit, even without the Curse, is something he inherited directly from his dear papa.

originally posted by Walt

Maybe when all this is over, Janny can take all her notes, snipits, master timelines, songs, side stories, et al and create a quasi reference/anthology in the tradition on Tolkien's Simarillion. Just think of all those little tid-bits and hidden jewels just begging for the light of day!

Something to do in your retirement Janny! Well, that is after you write Starhome (Book 4 of Cycle of Fire) and the last chapters of Mara's life (Empire with R. Feist) and more stories from Hell's Chasm…

Just little requests…

Really! ;^)

Walt et al - I AM compiling bits of the backhistory, written out…and yelling on the chat, here, does tell me which ones are the "hot tickets" - it's my hope to produce a little volume of such things - to illuminate the big series, and give background for new readers who may want to "try" the waters in a less invasive way than a boxload of heavy books all at once! :smiley:

Talera and Demar's early marriage and Ivon's execution is possible…hadn't thought it was much, bleak tale though it is - but- it IS written out - once as a beginning and another time, as a short story. EARLY STUFF. A mess of amateur effort - but - then - not so hard to whip into shape.

originally posted by Auna

I'd love to read that stuff no matter how amateur :smiley:

I'd also love to read about what happened with the disaster the now fellowship had a hand in, the entire fight with drakes, that entire span of time, and the original arrival of humans and the disagreements that caused!

originally posted by Gary

One story I haven't really seen discussed (unless I missed it?) is the time that a centaur was killed in Daon Ramon during the rebellion.
While it sounded bad on a first reading, I think that now (towards the end of the third arc), it seems a travesty beyond belief that a group of humans would do that!

Any chance in the future of a story of the circumstances surrounding that conflict with the centaur? It might be more of a story for existing fans than new readers, though. And maybe a bit spoiler-iffic for another arc or two :smiley:

originally posted by Hunter

I’m trying to recall if the Talera’s marriage was one of love or an arranged marriage. Given Demar’s first wife and children perished to s’Ffalenn it’s hard to think he would have been anything other than his self at the start of CotM. Which would then make the choices Mak and Talera s’Ahelas made in sending Talera to Amroth if it was a loveless marriage surely a product of the s’Ahelas foresight in action?

Talera does mean a fork in the path. (CotM glossary) Given the sacrifices of the clans in the series, this act of sacrifice would seem in character for the mages of Rauven.

I wonder if Ivon came from a similar root as the name for Ivel - iavel’scathing?

originally posted by neil

"centaur was killed in Daon Ramon during the rebellion" - I'm not sure where this is in the books?

Could a non-clan human even withstand his presence, never mind give him/her a hard time? Would a necromancer be able to withstand paravian presence…a little bit a "grace" seems to go a long way…so I'd guess not. So who?

So what happened there I wonder?

originally posted by Blue

The scene you mention was way back when in CotM, when Arithon, Lysaer, Dakar and Asandir were on their way to Ithamon.

Good question, WHO would have been able to kill a centaur?

I wonder if it could have been a townsman or a group of them with a large dose of clan blood, they were trying to deny by murdering a Paravian?

Well, you guys are overdue for an update. (Amazed at your patience, mine's Shot!)

Ch 10 is 17 manuscript pages along, and well, if this ISN'T the chapter from Hell - what should fly is ticking by increments.

Sometimes this Happens.

Every bit counts at this stage as I edge toward the final explosive bits…

So in a nitpicky, tweaky way, I am fussing this one out. It's indeed hanging the cusp…grrrrowl! And the weather's so NICE outside, too!

One never Ever knows when the next dinky shift to a sentence is gonna trigger the burst from the barrel that becomes a bona fide roll!

On the drawing side, however, I've completed a pencil sketch of Telmandir…and a few other bits you haven't seen, yet, in the books :smiley:

originally posted by Auna

Hang in there Janny!

Any way to write outside?

If I did that, I wouldn't write!!!

The precipace yawns: I've got the scene edged right up to THERE. Lo, the next LINE!!! Consider this the pre plunge yell…