Guest post: Writing a prequel by Elizabeth Vaughan

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Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Elizabeth Vaughan.

About the author:

Elizabeth Vaughan is the USA TODAY Bestselling Author of Warprize, the first volume of The Chronicles of the Warlands. Her father introduced her to sci/fi and fantasy, and she’s never looked back. She loves fantasy and romance novels, and has played Dungeons and Dragons since 1981, both table-top and the online game. The Chronicles of the Warlands stretches over eight books, with more to come. The latest in the series is Warsong, 2018. Fate's Star, 2019, is a prequel to the series. Beth also has a number of short stories published in various anthologies.

Beth is owned by incredibly spoiled cats and lives in the Northwest Territory, on the outskirts of the Black Swamp, along Mad Anthony's Trail, on the banks of the Maumee River.

Click here to visit her official website.

About Fate's Star:

A prequel to the Chronicles of the Warlands.

Five years before the events in Warprize and Destiny’s Star....

Her family dead, her home destroyed, all she has left are her wits and her songs....

When the flames of civil war rage across the Kingdom of Palins, Warna of Farentell has no choice but to flee to the neighboring Barony of Tassinic. The daughter of a wealthy merchant, raised to run a noble house in the hope of a good marriage, she watches her future burn with the rest of her homeland.

Elven Lord of a human Barony, betrayed and attacked by those he thought to trust....

Verice of Tassinic has suffered the wounds of war, knowing loss and betrayal at the hands of those he trusted most. He buries himself in work and duty, behind emotional walls as high as those of his castle, rather than risk more pain. While dealing with a kingdom in political and economic turmoil, he 'rescues' Warna only to discover that the helpless human woman is anything but. Before he knows it, she is deep within the defenses of his heart, forcing him to confront his grief, his distrust, and the scars of his past... and maybe even steal his heart in the process.

Guest post: Writing a prequel by Elizabeth Vaughan

It’s very odd, how the creative spark in my head works.

When I finished WarCry, the voices in my head were no longer talking about the main characters in the series.  Instead the voices were talking about some of the secondary characters from Dagger-Star, telling me about their stories, their grief and pain.  And an image formed in my head, of a woman taking shelter in a rose garden for a moment of peace and beauty in a war-torn Kingdom and the elven lord that found her there.

And it wouldn’t let me go.

So I started writing, as I am wont to do, and the story grew and other characters emerged, and I realized that I was learning the past of my world through their eyes. I also learned of their deeper involvement in the world, and other minor characters suddenly changed and morphed into something far more important.

Once I wrote the book, finished the manuscript, I also came to the painful realization that it wasn’t ready to be published.  The book, while it told me important things, was outside the current story arc.  So the material wasn’t ripe, so to speak.  It needed to come last in the series to complete the circle.

So I made the painful decision to put it away, and started in on Wardance, then WarSong, and learned even more as the characters interacted.  As I wrote, the story in Fate’s Star was like an echo in the back of my head, reminding me of the past as I wrote about the present.

Once WarSong was published, I returned to Fate’s Star.  And having learned even more, I rewrote the book before releasing it into the wild.

I wish I could say that all this learning and realization was a painless process, but it hurt to wait.  I wish I could tell you that writing is easy and fun, but it isn’t always that way.  I wish I could tell you that the creative spark is always organized and perfect and clean and neat and guides me down a straight and narrow path of perfection.

I wish.

I have this dream that I will start my new series, and it will be clean and neat and organized and perfect, but we all know that life is not that way.  And stories can be just as messy as life.

But I love a series where everything is interrelated, where the back story of a character that you quickly see in the book only through hints here and there comes roaring in to enrich the experience.  I want a reader to want to go back, to re-read, to look for ‘what I did there’.  And in the re-reading enjoy the story even more, knowing what is to come.

I also very much enjoy hiding things in plain sight from the reader.  Luring you deeper into my world with hints and glimpses of what might be.  Creating characters and scenes that you can’t get out of your head.  Sinking my claws deep into your mind and soul so that you become addicted to . . . er . . . *cough*.

Never mind.

Just know that writing a prequel taught me to be a better writer, in that I need to let the creative process be the process.  And I will take that lesson into my new series, as once again characters get into my head and tell me their stories in their time and at their pace.