Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Dragonsgate Update: 9 chapters, 45014 words

Just finished chapter nine of Dragonsgate, bringing me to 45014 words on the first draft.

At this point, the two major plots are well under way, though the biggest, most difficult problem the characters are going to face still hasn't been introduced or even hinted at. Structurally this is a problem I'll need to address in the second draft by writing some scenes that are going on outside the awareness of my core POV characters of Bitterwood and Burke. So far, only one chapter has been told from a dragon's POV, which is a very different from the previous Bitterwood books. Of course, in the previous Bitterwood books, I had humans and dragons with close bonds. Jandra's relationship with Vendevorex and Hex was an important part of her character. Shandrazel negotiating with Pet in Dragonforge also gave me a lot of character scenes where dragons and humans had reasons to be together. This time, I'm missing a human/dragon friendship or partnership to work around--so far. The dragons have a lot more to do in the second half of the book.

I feel pretty good about the pace I'm writing the book. Finishing the first draft by the end of the month is still vaguely possible, though I suspect mid-November is a more realistic goal.

Right now, the thing I'm least satisfied with are the emotional plot lines. In the previous books, Jandra really provided the emotional heart of the books, and a lot of the other characters were mostly static as she changed and grew. The great thing about Jandra was that she could make mistakes and have doubts. The problem with using Bitterwood as the actual protagonist of a Bitterwood novel is that he's competent and certain. He's haunted by his past, yes, but I've established him as someone who doesn't agonize over his options before he takes action, and as someone who doesn't waste a lot of time second guessing what he could or should have done. I've got a slowly building subplot for him that will lead him to an emotional revelation, but it's tricky. If I bring it to the forefront, readers will likely guess my plans for him. If I leave it slowly building in the background, his later epiphany might look forced. Oh well. That's why there's first drafts.