Tag Archives: serialized novel

Episode 14: The Test ‚Äď Part Two

The next episode of The Multiverse Chronicles is now online! ūüėÄ

Trish must successfully complete her flight examination or lose her pterosaur for good…

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles

SEASON ONE: EPISODE Fourteen

‚ÄúThe Test ‚Äď Part Two‚ÄĚ

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The Multiverse Chronicles - Pterosaur and a Steam Boat

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After the young pterosaur’s capture, the mangy humans kept her chained to their floating hut. At first, she fought the chain. She snapped at it and flapped her wings, but the chain held fast and the boat was anchored. Though the humans at the hatchery had kept her enclosed in their dome, they never bound her with a dirty, ragged chain, which tore at her skin and mangled her scales.

She was not a happy pterosaur.

Later that evening, the weathered man with straw-colored hair and grit in his wrinkled skin approached her with a pile of hemp rope in his hands. She shrieked at him and flared her wings, but he just smiled, revealing a set of broken teeth. The pterosaur snapped at him‚ÄĒlet him see that her teeth were not broken! He‚Ķ

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Episode 13: The Test – Part One

Episode Twelve of The Multiverse Chronicles is now up!

Trish goes about her week at camp, facing trials of textbooks and tack…

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles

SEASON ONE: EPISODE THIRTEEN

‚ÄúThe Test ‚Äď Part One‚ÄĚ

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The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel - Silent Morning

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Trish chewed on a granola bar from the mess hall as she crossed the campground. The early morning sky was dark. Cool air whispered through her hair and across her cheeks, helping her wake. The stable tent stood as a dark silhouette on the distant hill, mostly silent except for the few wolves prowling nearby in search of a wild snack.

At 0430, Trish had plenty of time to make the journey up the hill, which was fine by her. The chilly air raised gooseflesh on her skin, but lately, the still mornings were the only downtime that could calm her nerves.

At least, the only downtime she’d found.

This was her seventh day at the camp in Francia. Thus far, her training had consisted of textbooks, tests, practicing basic commands with her pterosaur‚ÄĒwhich‚Ķ

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Thoughts on Writing – Writing A Serial Novel – MVChron Midpoint Evaluation

Now that Isaac and I have reached the midpoint of The Multiverse Chronicles (or what was originally going to be the midpoint), I thought it might be fun to look at what we had planned for this series, and what the current trajectory is.

For those of you who are new to my blog, The Multiverse Chronicles is a pseudo-steampunk fantasy blog series that my husband and I write. Isaac writes the rough draft for each episode, which I then edit. We send that draft to a beta-reader, who gives us feedback. We polish the episode, and then post it to our blog (approximately once a week between episodes).

The series started because we wanted a way to advertise our Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel¬†card game. So we worked out more of the universe and wrote it into story format. (Fun Fact: The story came from the card game, but the card game from a story… which came from a role-play game Isaac game-mastered and created the world for. It’s just one big cycle.)

When we first planned the series, we thought they’d be short little episodes, each an individual story following the lives of various characters who we occasionally revisited (actually, we first pictured this¬†as¬†a comic strip). As the story progressed, certain themes would reoccur and a larger story arc would appear, but would only be important to those who read the whole series.

That didn’t happen.

The story evolved to have a full-blown plot. Even then, we determined that we would still keep the episodes short (around 500-1500 words), and we would keep some level of independent story from episode to episode, that way new readers could fall in at any time and be able to reasonably follow what was going on.

Ahem.

Let’s take a look at the actual word count¬†of the first twelve episodes, shall we?

  • Prologue: 478
  • Episode 1: 2,318
  • Episode 2: 3,287
  • Episode 3: 2,771
  • Episode 4: 3,395
  • Episode 5: 3,829
  • Episode 6: 2,202
  • Episode 7: 3,082
  • Episode 8: 3,660
  • Episode 9: 2,760
  • Episode 10: 2,018
  • Episode 11: 3,918
  • Episode 12: 4,226

Ignoring the prologue, which we added at the last minute because we wanted to have at least¬†some¬†reference of why we call this “The¬†Multiverse¬†Chronicles,” the episodes are well above the intended length.

Granted, a lot of that is my fault. I like details. I want to see the world…

And I enjoy knowing what the bad guys are doing.

Isaac’s original drafts are closer to the intended length (for example, the original draft of the first episode¬†is only 1,645 words long, and episode twelve was only 1,672 words long (note: this does¬†not include the end scene, which was added later and raised the¬†total count to¬†2,591 words).

Combined,the total word count for the first twelve episodes without the prologue is 37,466 words, with an average of 3,122 words per episode.

That’s double the original word count we had in mind.

Adding to the word count was the decision to add “Meanwhile“scenes at the end of each episode to show what other characters, especially the antagonists, were up to. The idea was to build suspense. Per feedback from our beta-reader, we later stopped calling them “Meanwhile” scenes and just made them a part of the regular episode, albeit with a section break.

What remained as planned, however, was to have an illustration with each story, hearkening back to the idea of penny dreadfuls and dime novels. Though the style and number of illustration varies a bit from episode to episode, we try to have at least something.

Originally we planned to have 24 episodes, though looking at our current structure, we now have 27 episodes planned, and I haven’t checked to see if any of the remaining episodes need to be split into two parts (as we did with one¬†of the earlier episodes, and the two episodes we’ll be releasing next).

Once the first season has been released, I’m hoping to go back through the full story, make any final changes and polish the writing, and then publish a print and ebook edition. But that’s a post for another day.

Though we deviated from our original plans, I hope that readers will still enjoy¬†The Multiverse Chronicles.¬†And please, feel free to chime in with thoughts and comments as you read each episode. We would love to hear from you. ūüôā

Previous posts about the serialization process:

Thoughts on Publishing – Serial Publishing Methods

Thoughts on Writing – What does a Serial Episode Need?

 

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Episode 12: The Keeper of the Deep

Episode Twelve of The Multiverse Chronicles is now up!

The prince and his bodyguard meet the Keeper of the Deep–an eccentric witch in the middle of a mysterious forest.

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles

Season One: Episode Twelve

‚ÄúThe Keeper of the Deep‚ÄĚ

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The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel - The Witch's Cottage

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Spots of sunlight danced between the trees as Alia and Alfons made their way through the thick undergrowth of the Deep. A cinnamon-colored rat scurried along the bramble, unhindered and well-ahead of the two humans.

Alfons rolled underneath his covers and tugged them to his chin. Some dream. Dreams were not usually so memorable. He could almost believe he had woken in a jail cell, escaped under the guidance of a rat who claimed his fiancé had been murdered, ran from mechanical soldiers into a magical forest, been duped by mischievous fairies, and finally been captured by a man-eating witch.

At least his dream had ended with his capture and not after being fired, baked, or broiled alive.

He sighed and stretched, but his feet smacked against a footboard.

Odd. Had his bed shrunk?

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Episode 10: A Friendly Game

The next episode of The Multiverse Chronicles is now up! (And this one includes Phalanx!) ūüėÄ

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles

Season One: Episode Ten

‚ÄúA Friendly Game‚ÄĚ

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The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel - A Friendly Game

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Buford examined the black glass dragon tears sitting on the etched, wooden playing table before him. On either side of the table were two diamond-shaped slots, each covered by a silver coin. The diamond closest to him was his city-state. The coin was to buy the lady across from him a drink, while the glass dragon tears were to ensure he didn’t have to.

The general turned his attention to the cards in his hand. Each card had a path-symbol on its face, a series of black dots, dashes, and Xs. He placed one of the cards on the table, moved a dragon tear along the path of the symbol, and then replaced the card. He smirked. This game was going rather well. He already had four black dragon tears lined up in a row‚ÄĒa phalanx‚ÄĒthe‚Ķ

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Episode 9: Forbidden Realm

Episode 9 of The Multiverse Chronicles is now up! ūüėÄ

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles

Season One: Episode Nine

‚ÄúForbidden Realm‚ÄĚ

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The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel - Alfons and Alia

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Alia, Alfons, and the cinnamon-colored rat stared at the glowing, approaching eyes. The closer the eyes came, the more visible the automatons grew. Their metal limbs clanked and whirred. Though their bodies were painted in alternating splotches of greens and browns‚ÄĒdifficult to see through the foliage of the woods‚ÄĒthey most certainly looked to be five mechanical men.

Alia and Alfons exchanged glances. Neither of them had seen any such creature before. Sure, the Prussian army was fond of their tactics generators with basic computing spirits and gigantic metal hulls, but these…

These were another being entirely.

The automatons had slender, mechanical arms and legs. Their eyes faintly glowed with enchanted gold. They wore dark green, metal helmets like any soldier might, and they carried rifles in their spiny hands.

But their faces were blank, with a…

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Episode 8: Friends, Acquaintances, and Nemeses

Episode 8 of The Multiverse Chronicles is now up! ūüėÄ

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles

Season One: Episode Eight

‚ÄúFriends, Acquaintances, and Nemeses‚ÄĚ

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The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel - Cart Ride

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A horse-drawn cart‚ÄĒloaded down with supplies and a sleeping pterosaur‚ÄĒambled over a series of potholes in a well-worn road. A warm breeze ruffled the fields of barley on either side, the lazy sun painting the land vivid gold. The cart bumbled along, its two sorrel mares uninterested in the stiffness of their cart‚Äôs occupants.

Trish craned her head to the pale blue sky. Above her, mere silhouettes against the noonday sun, a team of pterosaurs and riders flew toward their new home. They coasted on the warm currents, occasionally flapping their wings to maintain formation.

She let out a breath as the pterosaur brigade flew onward. She was part of this now, even though she was not up there with the rest of them. The old, musty book in her lap‚ÄĒthe one she was supposed

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Episode 7: Perplexing Conundrums

Episode 7 of The Multiverse Chronicles is now up! ūüėÄ

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles

Season One: Episode Seven

‚ÄúPerplexing Conundrums‚ÄĚ

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The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel - Dungeon Door

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Captain John Bess rolled his letter into a thin tube and shoved it into a small green canister. He screwed the canister shut, strapped it onto a pigeon, and checked that the harness was tight. Then he opened the cage and sent the pigeon on its way.

Your Majesty,

 

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that your daughter, Princess Cassandra, has been murdered.

 

At this time, we are uncertain as to the identity of the perpetrator. However, we are working closely with Prussian security in this investigation, and they are fully cooperating with our efforts. Current evidence suggests that the rogue agent who killed our princess may have been a Prussian defector. We are unsure of the perpetrator’s motives, but I will keep you informed of any updates.

 

 Regrets,

Captain…

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Thoughts on Publishing – The First Episodes of the Multiverse Chronicles are now Available!

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel - Logo

Prodigy beastmaster, Trish Ivers, lands in trouble when her pride gets one of the Dragon Queen’s pterosaurs killed. However, she gets a second chance when a run-in with a rogue pterosaur forms a special familiar bond between them.

In the meantime, the engagement of Prince Alfons from the Industrial Union of Prussia to Princess Cassandra of Britannia promises to ally the rival nations. But a sinister plot is brewing that threatens to destroy the burgeoning peace and throw Trish in the middle of an all-out war between the beast-commanding armies of Britannia and the mechanically-inclined Prussians.

* * *

The prologue and the first three episodes of The Multiverse Chronicles are now out!

Woot! *Throws confetti.* ūüėÄ

You can read them at their new home: https://mvchron.wordpress.com/

(Click here to start at the beginning.)

We’ve¬†released the first three episodes today, and we’ll release the next three episodes next Friday, and once weekly after that.

So go have a look, tell your friends, and if you enjoy reading this, please, please let us know. We’d love to hear your feedback. ūüėÄ

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Thoughts on Writing – Tightening Prose to Improve a Scene

Isaac and I are getting close to having all the edits made to our most recent version of Battle Decks, which reminded me that I needed to continue editing the blog series that goes with it. So, at the most recent writer’s club meeting, I decided to work on episode five¬†of The Multiverse Chronicles rather than¬†The Shadow War, which¬†I’m currently doing¬† background plotting and research for. Since The Multiverse Chronicles will start coming out before that book, I didn’t mind putting The Shadow War on a temporary hold.

Anyway, there are three sections in episode five of¬†The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel.¬†The first section details interactions between a dejected pigeon, the taskmaster, and the general. The second deals with Trish and the colonel, and the third (the obligatory end-sequence at the end of the episode) with a group of airship pirates. The last two scenes I’m fairly happy with, and I’m ready to send to our beta reader. However, there’s something still irking me about the first section.

My instincts said that the scene dilly-dallied too long. So, after editing the general episode, I went back to the first scene and began looking for ways to tighten the prose and make the wording more concise.

However, when I looked at the resulting edits, I found that the same chunk of information was actually a few words longer than the former introduction. But wordy sections had been tightened, offering room for stronger world and character building.

Let’s take a look at the previous intro.

A lone dragoon pigeon flew over gently swaying trees. It had a very important mission, which could not be deterred. For on its back, in a tiny, dark green capsule, the pigeon carried a message for General Buford of the Queen’s Army.

It was an important message, as all messages sent via pigeon were. (Thus far, the prose feels stilted, because the sentences are fairly similar.)

The pigeon swept over a sleeping red dragon with harsh, glimmering scales, then skimmed through a squad of pterosaurs, quickly diving to avoid having its tail nipped as some scoundrel drake’s lunch. (Feels lengthy). A few minutes later, the pigeon arrived at a large wooden building that smelled of hay and feathers. The bird swooped into its loft, surpassed the landing board, then took roost in the one of the homing cages. It cooed, head held high and chest out, standing tall while it waited for the pigeon fancier to come take its message.

The pigeon ruffled its feathers proudly. A successful mission, to be sure.

After tightening the prose and adding voice, this was the result:

A lone dragoon pigeon with a very important mission flew between gently swaying trees. (I combined a couple sentences, and changed how the bird is flying in regards to the trees). It could not allow itself to be deterred. (Here we get that the pigeon is the one who does not want to be¬†deterred… not that it can’t happen in general).¬†For on its back‚ÄĒin a tiny, dark green capsule‚ÄĒthe pigeon carried a message for General Buford of the Queen‚Äôs Army. (I’ve found that using the dashes help separate the thought better and adds flavor).

The message was of the utmost importance, as were all messages sent via pigeon. (I clarified “the message” instead of “it,” and changed the placement of “were” so that the sentence ends on a stronger visual word).

The bird swept over a sleeping red dragon with harsh, glimmering scales, then skimmed through a squad of pterosaurs. It dived, avoiding having its tail nipped by some scoundrel drake wanting an early lunch. (Early lunch helps imply that the pterosaur is acting out of bounds per the pigeon’s rules… (adds voice), and splitting the sentences adds urgency to the action).

A few minutes later, the pigeon arrived at a large wooden building. The musky scent of hay and feathers wafted through the air. (Splitting the sentences helps pacing, and we get a better visual). The bird swooped into its loft, surpassed the landing board, and then took roost in the one of the homing cages. It cooed, head held high and chest out, ruffling its feathers as it waited for the pigeon fancier to take its message.

A successful mission, to be sure. (I combined a couple sentences, slowing the pace a tad bit, but also cut needless repetition.)

Overall, I’m much happier with the latest edit. After tightening the prose and adding a bit more voice, the scene has a tiny bit more “pizazz.”

In one of my previous posts, “What does a serial episode need?”¬†I included a list of traits I wanted to instill into each episode:

  • A strong sense of character, and relationships between characters. (The updated¬†version includes a little more of the pigeon’s personality.)
  • Both humor and serious notes‚Ķ usually involving some bit of quirkiness. (By adding more of the pigeon’s personality, we added the quirkiness.)
  • A strong sense of world-building. (This remained about the same¬†for the intro, except that I tightened and condensed points. However,¬†I suspect that I need to build on this further into this scene.)
  • Conflict and/or tension. (Will the pigeon deliver its message?)
  • A reasonable beginning, middle, and end. (This selection only shows the intro, but the end of the scene will show the pigeon flying off with a new message.)
  • Something that propels this episode into the next. (This isn’t seen in this particular section, but the end of the scene introduces Trish’s arrival coming in the next scene.)

I also re-read another post I wrote, “Creating Tension,” which reminded me to look into the scene and see if the tension and point of view lagged.

I hope you’ve found this post enjoyable. Have you found any tips for tightening your prose (even if it caused your word count to increase)? ūüôā

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