Explanations and Stuff

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Okay everyone, here is an explanation of what I’ve been up to lately and why there have been no recent releases. I’m very sorry about that but I’ve just been very busy.

I have in fact been working on the story but not on writing new chapters. Instead,  I’v been trying to improve the first half of the story. Your feedback would be much appreciated.

I really feel that I’ve improved as a writer since I started and thus I’ve been editing the first few arcs. On top of just general improvements I’ve also been trying to bring it up to e-book quality and format.

Below is a timeline for the story as it stands now. I had a much rougher timeline I was working from but as I actually wrote the story a lot changed. This is my first big writing project and I had no idea how to pace everything as I wrote. The Iron Teeth has turned out to be much longer and slower paced than I initially planned so some things need shifting around.

Current Timeline:  Warning Spoilers

The Road North

  • Merchant caravan in cage, thinking back to sewer life
  • Bandit attack, freed by Saeter
  • Training to do chores
  • Meets Vorscha and Garalhd
  • Goes out to get rabbits and sees harpies
  • Meets Herad, reason for staying
  • Out hunting for deer and spiders
  • Sneaks into party and gets drunk

Honor Among Thieves

  • Wakes up with hangover
  •  Rides Wagon and practices tying cord
  • Stop for the night
  • Does a lot of chores, skinning, smoking, gets knife and leather
  • Hunts with trap and sling
  • Bullying followed by Gerlahd and Herad fights
  • Goes out to get snares and slime fight
  • Search for cave and Mimic attack, goblins
  • Merchants arrive and trade, Blacknail steals key
  • Herad goes out to raid weapon shipment
  • Boar attack and disappearances
  • Raid returns with casulties
  • Ghoul infestation and battle
  • Blacknail sniffs out infection

Written in Blood

  • Becomes a hobgoblin
  • Beat up by Saeter and given a sword
  • Kills bandit at latrine
  • Khita is recruited
  • Training by Vorscha
  • Red Dog and Saeter attack deserters
  • They end up in tight spot
  • Blacknail sneak into deserters, kills leader
  • They recruit deserters, mage, prisoner woman
  • Troll Attack
  • Follow Troll back to it’s lair and kill it
  • Returns to camp, see goblin

Along Twisted Paths

  • Herad and Saeter go North to Daggerpoint
  • Red Dog left in charge of camp for winter
  • Blacknail follows Saeter
  • Drake and Ogre Stampede
  • Runs into travellers
  • Run into goblins and fights harpies
  • Teaches goblins stuff and improves lair
  • Gets lost, uses human trap, and asks for directions
  • Arrives at Daggerpoint and scales wall

Den of Beasts

  • Stalks through alleys and explores.
  • Meets Luphera and gets information
  • Khita is ambushed and he intervenes
  • Follows her back to base and overhears Herad
  • Decides to kill her enemies
  • Visits Luphera and gets info
  • Sneaks into Fang’s base and kills him
  • Runs back to his tribe and presents Herad with Fang’s head
  • Visits Avorlus with Mahedium  and they return with deal
  • Failed attack on them by thugs

A Tradesman’s Tools

  • Wakes up in room
  • Training with Herad
  • Elixir from Avorlus
  • Under bed next morning
  • Goes out shopping and finds mask
  • Sent to kill Galive with Saeter
  • Kills him and avoids Malthus
  • Hears footsteps on roof while sleeping
  • Assassins and Malthus attack Herad at night
  • Blacknail kills some and chases rest back to Luphera’s
  • Sneaks in, kills man, and meets Luphera
  • Alarm is raised and he is convinced to kill man for Luphera
  • Fights guards and assassins then duels with Malthus
  • Flees through window but has to climb back inside
  • Hides in closet until Luphera kicks assassins out
  • Stuff

Queen of Swords

  • Goes out with Saeter to recruit
  • Run in with street children
  • Hears about ghouls but it turns out ot be Avorlus’ men
  • He is a bloodmage
  • Saeter confronts Herad and Mahedium
  • Preperations for war and construction of barricades
  • Zelena summons mercs and starts attack
  • Hired thugs fail to take barricade after Mahedium blasts them
  • Mercs advance and blow hole in barricade with mage
  • Head falls back and sets wall alight
  • Mercenaries are pushed into flames and defeated
  • Assassins start targeting Herad’s archers
  • Blacknail is sent out to stop them
  • Lures Malthus into overgrown land.
  • Uses traps and ambush to kill assassins
  • Blacknail goes back to battle.
  • Sees Saeter fighting and dives in to save him
  • Meeting of remaining bandit chiefs

On top of a lot of editing to speed up the pace of the first few arcs I’ve been thinking about adding a new arc in after Written in Blood. The point of this would be too make the first half story more self contained and like a novel; so it has a clear beginning, middle, and end that gives readers more of a sense of progression. Again, this is also to fix the really slow pacing of the story at the start.

Some ideas I’ve been throwing around for this are:

  • Finding the cave and a battle with a powerful mutant, such as a giant snake.
  • Build up the world more naturally with resorting to interludes.
  • An attack by the knights from the beginning of Written in Blood to show more about nobles and society.
  • Very action heavy arc with lots of chaos.
  • Shows Blacknail’s character and social status growth.
  • Sets up the war in Daggerpoint
  • Earlier introduction of unique Elixir powers

Tell me what you think and about any ideas you have!

Another big thing I’ve been thinking about is rewriting the prologue to make it more relevant and have a bigger hook. A good story needs to get people’s attention in just  the first paragraph and I’m not sure my current one does that. Some readers have also complained about it being so long and the shift in perspective, and they have a point.

New/Changed Prologue: The Shattering of Ways

Blood poured from the man’s wounds onto the cold ground beneath him. He was dying and beyond help now. He choked and gasped as bitter blood clogged his throat but he fought to hold still and at least die with dignity. In his last moments, and in front of all these witnesses, he wasn’t going to go out thrashing around like a fish out water. Burn that!

He refused to have regrets, even though he had never gotten what he’d wanted out of life. He had done the best he could and died for what he’d believed in! His would be the last laugh anyway.

He could still feel the inhuman eyes that watched and blazed with hate. The dying man tried to chuckle but all that came out was a weak gargling cough. The fools had no idea what they’d unleashed! They couldn’t see how the world had changed and turned against them.

As the man’s vision grew dark, scenes from his past began to play out before him. His last breath rattled through his teeth and he couldn’t help but think back to how it had all began…

The point here is to shorten the really huge and not completely relevant prologue I have now and really get it to grab peoples’ attention in only a few sentences. The story is just so long now that keeping the same prologue wouldn’t make much sense. I’ll probably re-add it as an interlude.

If you have any ideas or criticisms for any part of the story I would love to hear from you. It would be really helpful to hear from all my readers about what they think makes my story strong and what makes it weak.

The more input I get the faster I can get this out of the way and get back to new chapters!

-ClearMadness



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9 Comments
  • Pleasetry
    July 19, 2016

    I really like the characters in the story and I especially love blacknail, I think he’s really well done. As for the arc after written in blood I’d go with nobles and setting up the war in daggerpoint, I don’t feel a need for any of the others, regarding the elixirs I think it should be explained in the next arc since there isn’t a need for it before that, also thanks for the story.

  • Oddity
    July 19, 2016

    I’ve just recently binged through your stuff and I have to say I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I read a lot and I have a lot of ideas about what I think should be changed. I am going to emphasize this ‘disclaimer’ at the very beginning: these are just my thoughts and you should do whatever is right for your story.

    When I got into your story I found your prologue and first chapter to be full of stuff I just wasn’t interested in at all. I skipped through most of both and really only tried to find the highlights and dialogue to tease out the significant points before moving on.

    I’m looking over the prologue as I write this and the first six paragraphs after that dramatic open boil down to a very few key facts. It’s cold, a guy is walking through a sleepy little town and is heading towards a well-to-do house. It feels like there is just too much time spent with this part, and again I’m only really scanning it to get a feel for what’s there. I think you could get this done in two paragraphs and be just as well off.

    I’m scanning the settling in period and I ask myself, ‘What is the point?’ Most of the key information for me is that he’s decided to join the army, I don’t care overly much about the tea being served in addition to the library. Some of these would be a nice touch but it seems to go on at length.

    Also, they go into the politics very briefly and I don’t really retain much of that. You put a lot of different nation names out like Colouris, Eloria, Teshura, Hulgaron and Deveshur. After bandying so many countries about in such a short time I’m just kind of left dazzled and don’t really know which ones are actually important. I guess I’d suggest either cutting a few of the countries mentioned or slowing the conversation down and really getting into the meat of the politics (if it’s interesting).

    Also it feels like too much time is spent talking about his uncle’s support. It didn’t feel very meaningful to me and so I didn’t really care that much. After that you start getting into the drake stuff which I actually found pretty cool, so I don’t have much to recommend in the way of changes for that part of it.

    Anyway, that’s all I think I’ll write for now. Hope this helps, and again, this is all just my opinion.

  • Balcifer
    July 20, 2016

    I get where you’re coming from, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with. For my own part, I think that the slower pacing gives the story a realism that it wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve been reading so many ‘Super Munchkin’-type stories that I’m just getting tired of them, and the more gradual progression of Blacknail appeals to me in ways that other stories just… haven’t. Of course, a lot of authors try to work around this with timeskips, but a lot of these boil down to “And so, five years passed”. I’m sure that you’ll figure out a way to compress your story without resorting to anything that abrupt, but I really hope you won’t accelerate Blacknail’s growth.

    Also, I agree with what you and Oddity said about the prologue: the drake is an important part of the world setting, but the way it’s written, the readers don’t know why it’s important until much later. Eventually it becomes clear as to why the destruction of Coroulis had such far-reaching consequences, but I think the prologue either needs to explain it in more detail, or just state that Coroulis was the core of a nascent kingdom and have Jerack logic out the consequences for the readers.

    That’s all I can think of for the moment. Looking forward to the future.

    PS. Can we poor non-patrons please have access to the epilogue of Chapter 7? Please please please?

    • ClearMadness
      July 20, 2016

      Soon 😛

      • Mike
        July 21, 2016

        Are you holding the chapters hostage to force people to “donate” money? Not cool bro. Sure sounds like bitching from someone reading for free, but it’s still not cool bro.

        Moves like this make readers not vote on topwebfiction/wattspad/enable ad block/not recommend to friends, etc. Not saying I do all these, but just to spite, some will.

        • ClearMadness
          July 21, 2016

          No, I release chapters as fast as I can regardless of donations. I’ve slowed my posting because I’m currently doing a lot of work on editing my first chapters and other formatting for the story.

          Patreons do get the next 3 chapters in advance but that’s always been the case and has no effect on chapters I release to the public. As soon as I have another chapter finished I will post it.

  • Stillwaters
    July 21, 2016

    I want to share that I really enjoy your writing. I read a lot of novels and web serials, and Iron Teeth and TGaB are my favorite fantasy serials. I feel the well developed world adds a lot, even if we don’t see it all at once. Too many bad web serials just make up stuff as they go along. I also like the interludes, they’re a nice change of pace, and reveal more about your clearly well developed world. I think the prologue would make a great interlude, but I don’t think it’s a good introduction to the series as a whole. I usually decide if I’m going to read a web series based on the first few posts, and I think the prologue should be more what a new reader can expect the series to be like. Maybe Blacknail as a goblin going about his business, and getting mixed up in soldiers defending the city? Thanks for sharing an excellent story with us. I wish I could afford to be a patron, but can I second the request at least to post the rest of 7?

  • HMD
    September 9, 2016

    lsn, ppl are donating for you to progress not go back so you can go make a novel to sell later, its great that you want to improve but if you need an editor make it a goal, stop wasting peoples time and money so you can profit later on.

    • ClearMadness
      September 11, 2016

      I’m continuing to write and have gotten nothing but support from my patrons. If you’re disappointed in my choices you don’t need to donate or pay anything. You can read my story for free or not.

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