The Dragon God’s Canticles Project Journal: Disasters

WARNING: THERE IS MATERIAL HERE THAT COULD POTENTIALLY SPOIL THE STORY ONCE IT’S WRITTEN. THAT BEING SAID: SPOILER WARNING

So, it’s time to sit down and think about disasters, and the overarching plot I want to have going on in The Dragon God’s Canticles series. Right now all I have is the first book ending with Evelyn’s capture. Book four (skipping there for some reason) is going to be one be of the major turning points of the story. Like the goblet of fire it will have Azog coming into his power wholly. By that I mean he’ll be taking the throne of Bertran. It’ll be revealed in the third or early in the fourth book, that Azog is actually a corrupted human paladin named Tristram LaFeya and the true king of Bertran. He is Evelyn’s father and is the oldest of the LaFeya sons and the first to be anointed a paladin of Sol. I think that might be part of the revelation in book 3. Yes, the disaster to book three will be the revelation that Azog of Balfor is really Tristram LaFeya the true king of the kingdom of Bertran. Book four’s disaster will be Azog dethroning Richard LaFeya. His little brother. Okay, so I’ve got the disaster for books 1, 3, and 4. But not 2. You’d think I’d need to come up with book 2 before I do 3 and 4. Eh, whatever works.

 

I’m also still short the disasters for books 5 and 6 and the ending in the form of book 7.

 

Alright, so I’ve got some of my disasters figured out thus far. The first disaster is going to be Evelyn being captured by the dragon at the Battle of the Solarian Tower. The third disaster is going to be that Azog of Balfor is revealed to really be the corrupted form of Tristram LaFeya, the true king of Bertran. The fourth disaster is Tristram reclaiming his throne from his younger brother, Richard LaFeya. Maybe I should shift that though and have those be the disasters for books one-three. That way the second one is Azog being revealed as Tristram. And, this revelation doesn’t mean to the people at large, only the small group of heroes who come to save Evelyn. Maybe it will solely be a revelation to Evelyn. Or one to Evelyn and Azariel. I’m not sure where those thoughts are going.

 

Anyway, essentially what I want to do with that is kind of transition it so that Azog isn’t a total villain by the time he takes the throne back from Richard. Over the course of the first three books I want Richard to very much become as bad, if not worse than Azog, that way having Tristram reclaim the throne in the fourth book seems like the best thing to have happen.

 

At that point, I will also begin introducing the full final villain of the series. This villain will be set up in the first four books but won’t be a direct participant. It will be acting through its intermediary, Azog. The villain is going to be the Ligdo Drakko Nekro, the Little Dead Dragon, or the Dragon God of Death. Something is going to happen, during either the second or third book where Azog is going to decide to betray the Ligdo Drakko Nekro. I think Evelyn is going to be able to break through to his human heart during her stay in the Fiend-fire Citadel.

 

Anyway, Azog/Tristram is going to be playing both sides of the field for the middle three books, only revealing his true allegiance at the beginning of the seventh book, just before he dies. Azog is going to be playing both sides after the third book. I’m trying to work out how things will play out with the new villain. Azog is going to be a paragon character archetype. His particular brand of good is going to be open for interpretation though. Which isn’t really pertinent to the disasters, but… I dunno.

 

I’ve still only got books 1-3 set up. Though I still kind of like the idea of it being Book 1s disaster, skip 2, then have three and four. Four is sort of a pivotal point in the story as everybody will be looking to what happens in the next book. This still isn’t helping me get a disaster for book 2.

 

So, if I want it do that Evelyn is still being held by Azog in book 3, what can happen in book 2 that will get them closer to rescuing her. I don’t want her to stay damselled for two books. In book two she escapes, the group gets back together, and they’re in Balfor for the reveal in book 3, for whatever reason. So, what happens in book 2? Okay, Evelyn is going to escape the Fiend-fire Citadel on Fiend-fire Strand and come across the remains of a dracodemon nest unlike any other. This is the part where I’ll start building the Ligdo Drakko Nekro because the nest will hold trace amounts of the little dead dragon’s magic and influence. The influence of the Ligdo Drakko Nekro can be felt through the dracodemon hordes, and one flight of the dracodemons have been tainted by the little dead dragon and are wholly under his command. This flight takes off, away from Balfor and heads to attack Justifal. Okay, all of this boils down to the Ligdo Drakko Nekro revealing his involvement in the game at large. 1 Evelyn is kidnapped. 2 The Cult of the Ligdo Drakko Nekro reveals its involvement in Balfor’s war. 3 Azog of Balfor reveals himself as Tristram LaFeya, the rightful king of Bertran. 4 Azog/Tristram returns to Justifal to reclaim his throne.

 

 

Alright, so Pacifica’s being a pain in the ass, and I can’t get the journal section open. Eh, most of what I would have written there would end up over here anyway. The only thing that wouldn’t make it is the ooey gooey feel good shit. Because, yes, there is actually plenty of that. If I keep meditating like this I might actually become a happier person. I’m trying to watch for changes, and I’ve seen some, sure, but not the ones I’m looking for. Still, some change is better than none. It doesn’t help that the changes I’m looking for wont start cropping up until after I’ve found a way to make money off of the good feelings. And, really, to do that I need to keep my shit together as it is, and just keep swimming I guess. Anyway, that’s enough of that here. It’s time to move on to actually thinking about my disasters again. I’ve got 1-4 done now. Now it’s time for 5, 6 & 7. Well, 2 more disasters and an ending.

 

Tristram plans to execute Richard, but Evelyn slips into the dungeons and lets Richard go. She knows he’ll go round up an army to try and retake his throne, but she can’t bring herself to let Tristram kill him. So, the disaster for book 5. King Richard returns with an army backing him, intending on dethroning Tristram and executing the returned king. In the midst of the fighting the Ligdo Drakko Nekro makes its presence known by beginning to resurrect the fallen soldiers. The book does end with King Richards death, and subsequent resurrection at the hands of the little dead dragon.

 

Book 6, with the matter of the kingship handled things settle down for Bertran. They continue to get used to their new old king, but the spirits of the dracodemons slain at the conclusion of Azog’s war aren’t resting. The Ligdo Drakko Nekro and his new field commander go and awaken the remains of Azog’s army.

 

Book 7, the Ligdo Drakko Nekro has awoken the largest army of dracodemons ever to walk on the surface of AllHaven, and he opens a portal straight to the plane of hell the dracodemons are spawned on. Justifal is attacked en masse by the dracodemon army and within hours most of the city is engulfed in demonic fire. Tristram gives his life to save Evelyn’s, proving finally that he is wholly on their side. Azariel and Evelyn then make the most dangerous decision of all. They’re going to have to lead a small strike team into the heart of Balfor to close the portal and put an end to the dracodemon threat once and for all.

 

Now, as a way of specifically spelling the disasters and ending out:

 

  1. Evelyn is captured during the final battle against the great blue dragon and is whisked away to Fiend-Fire Citadel by Azog of Balfor.
  2. The cult of the Ligdo Drakko Nekro reveals that it is involved in Balfor’s war in a big way.
  3. Azog reveals to Azariel and Evelyn that he is actually Tristram LaFeya, the lost king of Bertran.
  4. As though it were a miracle, King Tristram LaFeya and the knights he fought alongside are able to free themselves in the final battle of Balfor’s War, and with the apparent death of Azog of Balfor they return Tristram to his throne.
  5. The kingdom of Bertran explodes into a civil war, as Tristram LaFeya and Richard LaFeya battle against one another to see who truly has the right to the throne.
  6. The Ligdo Drakko Nekro is out in the fields as the men are dying. It is resurrecting them and building an army with which to blot out the sun, it plans on using Richard LaFeya as its host body.
  7. The portal to the abyss is open, and dracodemons are pouring out of it like water from a cleft rock. Desperate and out of options, Evelyn and Azariel lead a strike team back to Fiend-Fire Strand to find some way to end this conflict once and for all.

I probably need to come up with another name for Azog. I really really like Azog, but I just realized it’s right in the story with Azariel, and that might get very confusing for the readers. Azog’s real name is Tristram… so, why not Trizog. I’m cool with it. Save Azog for some other character later on. And, I almost ran into that same issue with Terbor, but I’m going to shorten Terbor to Borb. Why? Because Bob didn’t go by Robert.

 

Anyway, this segment is completed. Now I can write the last-ish blog post in step two. Although what I’ll do is put them together in the One paragraph storyline and worry about distilling them down to one sentence storylines when it comes to the multi-paragraph/page synopsis for the series as a whole.

Outlining a Series With The Snowflake Method: Step One

This post was inspired by one of the questions I stumbled across in one of the writing groups I’m a member of on Facebook. The post by Ally Kelly in the Fantasy Writers Support Group is as follows. “There are different methods for outlining a single novel, such as the three act structure or a variety of other ways. But what about outlining something you know will be a multi-book trilogy/series- what are your methods for that? Do you just come up with an overarching plot for the whole series and then follow the three act structure for each individual book and lay them out, or whatever structure you choose to use for a singular book, or is there another method you follow that works for multiple books? Do you have or know of any templates that are specifically for outlining multiple books that are part of the same series?”

My answer to this question comes in the form of the Snowflake Method.

What is The Snowflake Method?

The Snowflake Method is a type of outline created by Randy Ingermanson. The outline is built over the course of ten steps with each step building on the one before it.

Step One

It starts out small with step one quite simply being a one sentence storyline. This single sentence is supposed to encapsulate the whole of the story and serve as a sort of tag line or pitch for the story. It’s not supposed to be very detailed, and Randy even suggests that one should try to keep the sentence under fifteen words. This leaves just enough room for the author to maybe describe the main character and introduce the conflict the story is about. Randy also suggests that the sentence should be left as vague as possible. This is the most basic step and will serve as the basis for every step that follows.

In practice, for me anyway, I find it extremely difficult to stick to the suggested level of detail in my one sentence storylines. I tend to be wordy and have a bad habit of adding superfluous details. That’s a stylistic thing though, and doesn’t really effect the way the rest of the outline is constructed. However, this one sentence storyline becomes more difficult to keep vague when you’re trying to outline a series. “That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Let’s look at a fairly easy example: A young abused boy learns that he is a wizard and the chosen one in a prophecy that pits him against the most evil wizard of all time.” (28 words)

It’s quite a bit longer than the suggested length, but it gives a very clear idea of what happens throughout the course of the story. (It’s a one sentence storyline for Harry Potter if you couldn’t guess.) This is also an example of how wordy I tend to be. I can easily modify this sentence to give the same idea of the story without all the extra details: “A boy is the chosen one in a prophecy that pits him against the most evil wizard.” (17 words)

Still a bit longer than the suggested length, and I can still remove details while keeping the gist of what the series is about: “A boy is the chosen one and is pitted against an evil wizard.” (13 words)

Now, this sentence is right within the suggested amount of words with details about as vague as I can make them. Just between us, I hate this sentence. There might be enough information in it for this most basic step, but it doesn’t have nearly the detail I like in my one sentence storylines. My personal choice of the three sentences would be the second one. I feel like it has exactly the right amount of detail in the sentence. It adds weight to what is happening. In this storyline we know that the boy is the chosen one and that his coming has been prophesied, and that he is going to battle the most evil of all wizards. The third sentence doesn’t tell you that there’s a prophecy involved. While it does imply the existence of a prophecy by talking about the boy being the chosen one. In the third sentence it also doesn’t explain the importance behind the evil wizard. It just says that he’s an evil wizard, and while an evil wizard could certainly be a terrible thing for the world, it doesn’t feel like he could really be that much of a threat.


Now, the best way I know how to teach anything is via example. We’ve got the Harry Potter example above, and it’s simple to take that and extrapolate it until it represents the whole of the series. I think it would be best to take it from the top with a completely original outline for a new series.

Normally at this point I would go through a brainstorming session to try and determine what the basic premise of the new series is going to be, but since I don’t want this post to run on for another two or three pages I’m going to forego putting you through that process. If you do want to see that part of the process however, I will post it in a project journal on my blog at: ryanskinsgrove.wordpress.com. (I’ll create a hyper link to it once I get it posted.)

Brainstorming is complete, and what a headache it was. (It’s very hard for me to stay focused on one topic when I’m writing in a mostly stream of consciousness style.) But, I do have the one sentence storyline for my new series outline. The example outline I’m going to be writing is for a series titled The Dragon God’s Canticles, and the one sentence storyline follows: An unlikely team of heroes are gathered together to prevent the darkness of the demonic dragon god from spreading across the land. (22 words)

Yes, it is longer than the suggested length, but as discussed earlier I don’t care much for the suggested length. Besides, this isn’t the one sentence storyline for a single novel. It’s the storyline for an entire series. So, I’m going to say a little bit of extra is a-okay.

Anywho, that’s the first step of my Series Snowflake Method…series XD. Stay tuned for the next installment, which should be posted tomorrow.

Ryan S. Kinsgrove

Follow along with my peculiar brand of insanity: https://upscri.be/5a20f7/

RSK

Check out my Medium Premium Post! Multiplicity: Where Do The Others Come From