Please welcome Rob J. Hayes to The Qwillery. The Price of Faith, the 3rd novel in The Ties That Bind trilogy, was published on May 5th by Ragnarok Publications.
Stories are Written on Paper, Not Stone
I hit a strange type of writer's block the other day. It wasn't that I couldn't get the words down on screen, but that I suddenly realised I had no idea where the story was going in the next chapter.
I consider myself a fairly organic writer, an architect rather than a gardener, a pantser rather than a planner. That being said I do tend to have a rough outline, in my head at least, when I begin a new story. I know who the main characters are, their strengths and flaws, their goals and their past, and I know where I want their arcs to begin and end. I know (most) of the main plot points, and have a good few big events that are going to happen along the way including who will turn up to the event, and who won't walk away from it. In every story I sit down to write I know my beginning, my middle, and my end. What I generally don't know is most of what happens in between. I like to leave that up to the characters.
So while writing Best Laid Plans (the new duology being published by Ragnarok Publications in 2016 – I had to get a plug in here somewhere), one of the characters who started out with a supporting role began taking up more and more of the spotlight. It's her own fault really, she turned out to be such a compelling and deeply flawed individual that I had no choice but to focus more and more of my (and the story's) attention on her.
While I was happy to focus more and more attention on this engaging character (with little regard to what it meant for the larger scope), the other day it presented a problem. I encountered one of my planned plot developments (quite a major one) and realised it no longer made any sense. The chapter just didn't flow well in the light of this character's development and her current identity within the story, and worse still was that it actually detracted from the character she had become.
I um'ed and I ah'ed, I procrastinated and deliberated. Eventually I came to the decision that the plot point just no longer made sense and needed to be removed in its entirety. This unfortunately meant a lot of careful editing of previous chapters (including the removal of at least 2 chapters), but it felt right. This character had come into her own, going from strength to strength, and I wanted to perpetuate that, even if it meant major changed to the story as a whole.
There is a moral to this little stream of consciousness I present to you and it is this. If you are writing a story, you should always be open to change. Maybe the story takes an organic twist you didn't see coming until you put it down. Maybe you realise something simply didn't make sense from the start. Maybe your beta readers/agent/editor sit you down and tell you something is crap and it just needs changing. I'm not saying you should pull a Lucas (changing things after the fact because... well it doesn't matter, Han still shot first), but you should always be open to making your work better. Sometimes better involves shifting the spotlight a little, sometimes it involves a chainsaw. Be bold, but be open minded.
The Price of Faith
The Ties That Bind 3
Ragnarok Publications, May 5, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad
Separated and miserable, Thanquil Darkheart and Jezzet Vel’urn both have their reasons for wanting to leave the Dragon Empire. Jezzet flees from the wrathful fury of an Empress scorned while accompanied by the ever insidious Drake Morrass, and Thanquil sets out to find and judge his one heretical loose end.
The Heresy Within
The Ties That Bind 1
Ragnarok Publications, November 10, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook
Cover by Alex Raspad
Thanquil Darkheart is an Arbiter of the Inquisition, a witch hunter tasked with hunting down and purging heretics. Thanquil Darkheart is also something else, expendable.
When the God-Emperor of Sarth tells Thanquil there is a traitor operating among the highest echelon of the Inquisition he knows he has no choice but to sail to the city of Chade and follow the Emperor's single lead.
The Black Thorn is a murderer, a thug, a thief and worse but he's best known for the killing of six Arbiters. These days he travels with a crew of six of the most dangerous sell-swords in the wilds.
After a job well done they find themselves on the run from the law once again but the boss has good news; a new job, the biggest any of them have ever pulled. First, however, they need to evade capture long enough to secure travel to the free city of Chade.
Jezzet Vel'urn is a Blademaster; a swords-woman of prodigious skill but she knows that for a woman like her in the wilds there are two ways out of most situations; fight or fuck. Truth is, all too often for Jezzet's liking, it comes down to a combination of the two.
Jezzet is chased half-way across the wilds by a vengeful warlord until she makes it to the free city of Chade. Instead of sanctuary, however, all she finds are guards waiting to turn her over for some quick gold.
The Color of Vengeance
The Ties That Bind 2
Ragnarok Publication, January 19, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 388 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad
Beaten, battered, and damned near broken with a bounty on his head so large he’s tempted to turn himself in, the Black Thorn finds himself on trial for the crime of being him. Despite the impending probability of death he has but one thought on his mind; taking revenge against the Arbiter who took his eye.
In order to carry out his vengeance Thorn must first escape Sarth and recruit a new crew, each one with their own designs on revenge.
Having served in a hundred different offices as a keyboard monkey Rob J. Hayes finally decided to follow his life long passion of daydreaming. After writing a small horde's worth of short stories (many of which can be found on his website), he released his debut trilogy "The Ties that Bind" in 2013 as an indie publication and followed it up with the standalone release The Northern Sunrise in 2014.
Having now signed a deal with Ragnarok to bring "The Ties that Bind" to traditional paper publication Rob is furiously working away at a follow-up series set in the same world.
When not writing Rob is usually found either card gaming, computer gaming, board gaming, dice gaming, airsoft gaming, or pretending to be a Viking.