Writing a new book is a strange thing. Suddenly you are at the start of something new. New characters to get to know, a new world to explore, new gods, new rules. It can be difficult trying not to repeat what has been written in other works, in not generating the same characters or using the same names or events. After all, those characters created in former works, or events, were loved and useful at the time, why would they not be again? And it has worked for some writers, one of my favourites, David Gemmell, often produced the same sort of female character, tight clothed, messed up in some way, often with a bow, and certainly the same sort of man, good fighter, but driven to what he does because of his past. A skilled killer, with a heart. And the sensitive type, always that hero’s friend. But i love those characters, Waylander, Rek, whatever name they are given, in whatever form they take.
But for me a new project means i can start again and make whatever i want, with whoever i want. Learn from the past, from mistakes in other works, develop characters in different ways, and make something new. Starting the Forest of Ghosts I find that my characters are already talking to me. The hero, Sylan, is older than Candale of Ellenessia’s Curse. He is more together, less flappable, less concerned by clothes and without any close family to put pressure on him. Nor does he develop friendships, especially with women, as easily. There is no Trellany, no Silnia, to protect him, guide him, to be a mother figure. He is more on his own. Sylan’s close friend, Darrian, is a tease, like Teveriel, but less together, in many ways, than the bard of the Ellenessia’s Curse series. This is how they are coming together, and I’m only a chapter in.
Things are different in their world, too. Magic is more accepted, there is a Collegiate for it, the center of magi government, and they rule the city of Eldenhaim which hosts that Collegiate, even though it is officially within the control of the King. Mages have their own system of government, of rule, power over the average mortal, like priests and bishops in our own world, to some extent. There is a fine balance to be kept between the king and the mages of Eldenhaim, which Sylan finds out as the book develops.
There are also cats in this book. Cats based on my own cats. And zombies, at least, zombies of a sort. Not the brain dead, brain munching types of horror, but a slightly more classical zombie, a spirit within a dead body, not necessarily its own!
But so far we are just a chapter in and Sylan, and I, have no real idea what is going to happen (though I have a bit more of an idea than he does) So on i go