Progression

I had meant to do a blog post a couple of weeks ago but didn’t due to various reasons, insomnia stealing my energy and also wedding planning (fun…). But one thing I did manage to finish recently was the draft of Rakkan Conquest 4. That went to alpha readers and gave me a well-earned couple of weeks break from the story while they read it and send me feedback hopefully in the next couple of days. It feels strange to have almost finished an entire series where I’m happy with the end result. Progress comes in small stages, but this is a real milestone for me.

Finishing a series will allow me to move onto something new as well as give new readers a complete package to sink their teeth into. I’m not the kind of author to jump between different series as I’m writing because I don’t get bored and I enjoy the feeling of progress as much as the creative aspect itself. Also, as a reader, I know I prefer it when authors put their heads down and write one series at a time so I don’t have to wait a long time for the next instalments in my favourites. So I intend to carry on writing one series at a time but am eager to move on.

But this blog post is about more than just progress in writing; it’s about an emerging genre of fantasy that I’ve increasingly been taking an interest in—progression fantasy.

I’ve had plenty of other things to do during my two-week writing break, like planning a wedding, sorting out my state of a garden or finally clearing out some of the junk that seems to breed in my garage, but I did end up squeezing in some time for another writing project I’ve had at the back of my mind.

If you haven’t guessed, it will be a progression fantasy, combining all my favourite themes such as Roman gladiatorial combat, characters with secrets and dark pasts, as well as a few magic systems very unlike what I’ve done thus far (and also possibly dragons).

I’m hoping to make the series more fun than Rakkan Conquest, with less trauma and darkness and more likeable and fun characters. It’s the first time I’m trying to write something like this, so who knows how long it will take to fashion a great story, but I have a good idea of what I like in this genre so I intend to write that. Hopefully other people share my tastes!

Progression is something important in all fiction in my opinion, and something I don’t think I did as well as I could have in Oblivion but that I feel I did much better at in the rest of the Rakkan Conquest series. I know all readers don’t necessarily need (or like) such a feeling of a story progressing, but I would guess they are in the minority, and whether people realise it or not, there is usually some form of progress in a book, otherwise it feels boring and slow.

That could be progress in terms of magical power like in progression fantasy, or it could be progression of a relationship in genres such as romance; going from the first meeting, to the first touch, to the first kiss and so on gives a progression that keeps the reader engaged.

I see progression fantasy as a “hard”/unsubtle implementation of it but don’t consider that a bad thing. I’ve played enough RPGs in my long years to know how highly addictive it can be, and the things I’ve been reading recently such as Will Wight’s Cradle series and Iron Prince have been some of the most engaging books I’ve read in the last few years.

So that’s what’s next for me, right after I’m done editing Rakkan Conquest 4. You’ll be hearing again from me soon 🙂

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