• C.A. Bryers

Agonizing Over Antagonists

I’ve come to realize with these blog posts lately, I treat them like cheese. I churn them up one at a time, post them on the official site,...and then let them age, fermenting there by their lonesome. After a while I take a peek at them, take a hearty sniff, and wonder why I didn't share them. Why indeed? I don’t know. When it comes to self-promotion on social media I’m more likely to pull my head back into my turtle-y shell than I am to make a big noise, or even a little one. I need to get better at that.


Anyway, let’s get on with the reason I’m writing this: our latest update on Book #8. Hate to say it, but not a lot of progress has been made when it comes to pushing up the ticker on the page/word count. But that’s one of the great things about writing—progress isn’t always defined by plowing ahead on your manuscript. Allow me to elaborate.


Close to a month ago, I hit the brakes on pushing the story forward. As mentioned in a previous blog, I veered off the tracks of my outline. That’s fine. That’s good, in fact. But I had to stop because I’d reached the point where I’m approaching the climax, and I need to make sure all my players are in place for Book #9, which, as I hope you know, will be a direct continuation of this one.


One of the things I wanted to focus on was the main villain. The villains in the previous books have been more or less one-offs with no (apparent) overarching villain spanning several books. That’s sort of the nature of stand-alone books. But here in Tides of Odyssium, I wanted that constant presence front and center. As we’re nearing the end of ToO’s first book in its infant (first draft) stage, that presence reveals himself. All well and good, but something felt off. It would've been fine if I was content with going for a superpowered dark lord-type character, but I wanted a different sort of danger and unpredictability to go along with it. So, I decided to have my cake and eat it too.


What I’ve been doing for the last few weeks is rebuilding the idea I had for the motivations behind the baddies. Then, it takes a while for you to lay those pieces out and try to assemble them into a coherent image. As those pieces click into place, you start to get a little excited. That’s where the magic of writing comes in, when you feel the payoff for taking a step back to rework things instead of barreling blindly ahead.


That was a week ago. I've since resumed work on the manuscript with a sack full of new ideas in tow. Of course, those new ideas means I have to rejigger a bunch of the existing material, but that’s Future Me’s problem. The question is, are those new ideas better than what I had before? Yes. Can I make it all work? I dunno, but again, that’s the magic of writing. Sometimes you just have to make it happen whether you’re ready or not. Once you get it down, then you can take a look and see if you can make sense of it in future drafts. And with seven books behind me, I’m fairly confident it’ll all come together into something I think you’ll really dig.


Well, that’s another blog out of the way. Will I muster up the stones to share it on social media? Your guess is as good as mine.


Till next time,

—C

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