I have finished – yet again – my final, final, final draft of The Fractured Portal. It’s bloody, war-filled, death-laden, and the ending is heart-breaking – just to make you need to read book 3: The Ruptured Weaves. The joy of finishing lasted all of half an hour, then I began fretting about whether my editor would be pleased or at least satisfied with it. She’s got to LOVE it – that’s what I’m hoping for anyway 😍
As I read through the draft that last time, I kept in mind all the essential ingredients for an enjoyable and enthralling read.
Do I have enough conflict to sustain the length and complexity of the book? It’s almost nothing but conflict, from small problems to the total destruction of castles and armies.
Are my characters properly developed? Do they grow consistently throughout the book? There’s so much change happening in their world and to them, they have to grow to survive.
Is the pacing correct? It’s a lot faster than book one, but there are moments where the readers can catch their breath.
Does the middle sag anywhere? The middle is a battle lasting days – no saggyness (is that even a word?)
Does the story unfold naturally with consistency and tension? Stuff happens, more stuff happens, followed by more stuff happening (don’t you love the exact science of writing?). The story ebbs and flows, speeds and slows. Like life, really.
Are my characters likable, with strong goals and sufficient motivation? Hell, yes. Even though I wrote this ‘stuff’, I cried when Alan lost…oops (whoah, nearly had a spoiler alert there!) And then when Evie reached out to…yikes (that was another close call!)
I can, however, give you the first paragraph. Remember Coryn from The Cracked Amulet? The ex-farmboy, ex-slave who tried to save the day with the help of an ifrit he freed, even though he kicked against doing the right thing until he did? Well here he is at the beginning of The Fractured Portal:
“Tensed and wary for danger to come at them from some other quarter, Coryn watched for the Murecken to enter the valley below. His shoulders hunched against the chill downdraft from the mountains, he scanned the scrawny pines rooted in the thin soil of the ridge, looking for anything that didn’t fit. A tree-spirit emerged through the bark of a nearby sapling, crept along a branch and hung onto its tip. Coryn followed its line of sight and spotted a tiny water-spirit splashing in a pool of rainwater.”
He’s lying in wait for those damned blood-priests – I will say no more.
All the best to you all
R B Watkinson