What’s Next for The Redemption of Erâth?

So now that the third book in the Redemption of Erâth series is finished, edited and published, it’s time to start thinking about where to take the series from here. (Well, not really – it’s been planned out for a long time; I just need to write the rest of it.)

You see, way back in 2011 I originally outlined a series of seven novels, without thinking too hard about where I was going to go with them all. I had a rough idea of the main characters, and a pencil-thin sketch of the ending, but really it was the frame of an outline; just the bare bones with which to get started. I don’t think I even really considered whether I would even reach the end of the series, or finish telling the tale.

Well, now I’m three books and 400,000 words into it, and things are – more or less – going strong. The great thing about writing is that even when things are planned, there are still surprises. I didn’t know Sonora was going to die in the first book until about a chapter before it actually happened. I didn’t know that Brandyé was going to join the army of Erârün in Exile. And I had absolutely no idea that Elven would (spoiler for book three!) become a king.

So what’s in store for book four? I took some time the other day to begin mapping out the path of Brandyé and Elven in the fourth installment, tentatively called The Fall of Thaeìn. I start by splitting the book into five sections of five chapters each (as has become the standard layout for Redemption of Erâth books), and then giving each part and chapter a name. These names act as as placeholders to remind me of what I intend to happen in each chapter and section of the book.

Then, based on a rough determination of how long each chapter should be (around 4,000 words per chapter for book four), I split the chapters into rough scenes – usually about 1,000 words per scene. I might do this for one or two chapters at once, but not for the whole book – because, of course, things may change as I write. The overall direction usually stays the same, but the details – even important ones, such as who lives and dies – could vary from moment to moment as I fill in the plot with actual written, flowing sentences.

This is what I have so far:

Part I: The Threads of War

Chapter 1: The Southern Villages
Chapter 2: The Battle of Südsby
Chapter 3: The Forms of Death
Chapter 4: A Séance
Chapter 5: The Return to the Cosari

Part II: Alliances

Chapter 6: Khana’s Tale
Chapter 7: The Challenge for Cosar
Chapter 8: From Sea to Mountain
Chapter 9: The Defense of the Hochträe
Chapter 10: The Sky Fleets

Part III: The Siege of Vira Weitor

Chapter 11: A City Beset
Chapter 12: The Siege Begins
Chapter 13: The Waning Year
Chapter 14: The Appearance of Danâr
Chapter 15: Flight from the Black City

Part IV: Betrayal

Chapter 16: The Illuèn’s Last Stronghold
Chapter 17: The Ashes of Defeat
Chapter 18: Decisions
Chapter 19: The Meeting Under the Wall
Chapter 20: A Broken Friendship

Part V: Retreat to the North

Chapter 21: The Lonely Road
Chapter 22: The Armies of the North
Chapter 23: Passing the Bridge of Aélûr
Chapter 24: The Fortress of Hindarìn
Chapter 25: The Last Trace of Peace

I’ve written (so far) about 1,000 words of the first chapter. I have to say, it’s refreshing to be back at the creative wheel, to be spinning yarns and telling tales and putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I have no doubt that this new story will take me places I can’t yet imagine, but I’m looking forward to the journey: and I’ll be sure to share it with you as we go!

Elric and the Advent of Sword and Sorcery

I probably don’t need to remind anyone that there are a lot of genres of literature out there. Sometimes, of course, books can be forced into categories that they truly don’t match, but for the most part, the reason we have genres is because a lot of stories tend to fall into those categories fairly neatly.

And for every genre of writing, there are endless sub-genres, too. Look no further than Amazon’s ranking system, where The Redemption of Erâth falls under “Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Epic” as equally as “Literature and Fiction > Horror > Dark Fantasy”. (I don’t make up these categories, nor did I place my books into them; there’s precious little horror in The Redemption of Erâth.) The goal of this, of course, is to make accessing literature easier, so that the reader knows what to expect. After all, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings are both considered fantasy, yet they have about as much in common as The Wheel of Time does with A Song of Ice and Fire.

But then, every once in a while, something comes along that redefines a genre. Or, if you’re lucky, creates a new one. Within the world of fantasy, which typically governs stories with alternate worlds, magic and medieval-type settings, the gamut runs from high fantasy – set in an entirely alternate world – to urban fantasy – set in a cross between a fantasy world and the real world. And whilst Tolkien is typically regarded as the master of the first, with C.S. Lewis arguably pioneering the second, today I want to talk about a genre that is sometimes unfairly dismissed as ‘easy’, or less serious: sword & sorcery.

Sword & sorcery fantasy, as the title implies, typically deals with the heroic adventures of a sword-wielding hero as they go from battle to battle, traveling the length and breadth of whatever world they’re set in, often pitted against dark sorcerers or magicians. Whilst there are obviously many possible crossovers between sword & sorcery and other fantasy sub-genres, some of the key elements are that the hero often knows they are the hero, and may even embrace that fact; also, that those same heroes typically live for adventure, and may go seeking for the glory of battle.

The term “sword & sorcery” was first coined by author Michael Moorcock in a letter to the magazine Amra, looking to describe the works of Robert E. Howard, and in particular, his Conan adventures. He was looking for something to distinguish these tales from other, similar genres, whilst focusing on the supernatural/mythical element that is so often prevalent in the genre.

Michael Moorcock himself became one of the best-known names in the sword & sorcery genre with his ongoing tales of Elric, the last emperor of Melniboné, and his adventures through lands of danger and deception. One of the lynchpins of sword & sorcery – the sword – makes a prominent appearance in these stories in the form of Stormbringer, a weapon that both confers strength to Elric (a physically weak antihero) whilst also eating away at his soul.

I remember greatly enjoying the tales of Elric and Stormbringer when I was young, primarily because they didn’t necessarily come with the deathly-serious world-saving implications of books such as The Lord of the Rings. It was adventure, pure and simple; there were stakes, yes, but they were always personal to the hero, and the world was just the world in which these adventures took place. For me it was refreshing, as so many of the tales I had read unto that point revolved around a reluctant hero that had to save their entire world (too many stories today, I fear, follow this tradition – including my own!).

It’s an interesting sort of idea, I think, to have a story whose sole purpose is to entertain; a story that has no allegory or moral, no lesson to be learned, and no great consequences for the world should the hero fail is something that provides a delightful escape from the realities of the ‘real’ world around us. And whilst there will always be a place for the Harry Potters and the Brandyé Dui-Erâths, there should equally be room for the Elrics, too.

What are your favorite sword & sorcery fantasies, and why?

Author Spotlight: John Fedorka

Each day this week, I’m going to be highlighting the work of a fellow author in conjunction with the release of my new book, The Redemption of Erâth: Ancients & Death. The support of readers like you makes a huge difference to the lives of small, independent authors, and whether you buy our books, buy us a cup of coffee, or just say hello, it all goes towards building the universe of literature that keeps you going!

The Redemption of Erâth is an ongoing fantasy series chronicling the journey of Brandyé and his friend Elven through the fantastic and dark world of Erâth, in an effort to save their world from the overriding forces of Darkness. Volumes 1 & 2 are on sale for $0.99, and the third, Ancients & Death, is now available through Kindle and Apple Books.

Today’s author spotlight focuses on John Fedorka, whose The Last Elf series tells the tale of Chork, the last elf born, who rejects his prophesied destiny and yet falls into a world of magic and dark machinations all  the same. John has been writing for most of his life in various aspects, and turned his attention to fantasy since 2016.

John – who are you, and what do you write?

John Fedorka, epic fantasy, The Last Elf series.

When did you start writing, and what inspired you?

I wanted to be a writer since I first learned to read. Though I worked in newspapers and public relations for half my life, it took me 63 years before I began working on my first novel, The Last Born.

Do you have a favorite line that you’ve written? If so, what is it?

There are too many, most of which have not been published.

What do you hope people will get out of your writing? Is there a message or moral, or do you just hope readers have fun with it?

Entertainment. Sometimes, the journey is [more] important than the destination.

We all know writers love to drink – coffee, tea or worse! When you’re writing, what’s your poison?

Coffee, HEB orange soda. Red wine before my surgery.

What would you say you are most known for amongst your friends and family?

Warped sense of humor, creativity, imagination.

With so many big-screen (and small-screen) adaptations of novels recently, what would you say your favorite book to movie adaptation is?

Tolkien’s trilogy.

To follow on from that, do you think there’s a movie out there that’s actually better than the book?

I’m sure there is, but I haven’t seen it. They are two different forms of communication. I believe it’s unfair to make the comparison.

What makes your work stand out from the crowd? What would someone find in reading your writing that they might not find elsewhere?

In this genre, a simple story told simply. How’s that for a trite answer? A panoply of supporting characters. Every character in my work is based on a character I have met in real life.

Think carefully. If someone were to make a movie based on your life, what would the title be – and who would play you?

Lost Opportunities – Robert Downey Jr.

 

You can learn more about him and his work at www.amazon.com/John-Fedorka/e/B076BRNJ3C/, and his books are available for purchase from Amazon.