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  • Marius H Visser

September 2023 Update and Excerpt

September is here and swiftly moving along, before we blink, the year will be gone. I did not even mean for that to rhyme, but who ever said that was a crime? Oops, I did it again . . .

Okay, I'm done, I promise.

Some of you know by now that the new series The Stormfall Cycle is out in the world with The Way of the Walker as book one. Now I am already getting emails asking when book two will come out, which I absolutely love! You thought I was about to complain, weren't you?

Honestly, though, I love being asked when the next book will come out as that gives me the motivation to push to get it done. I am already finished with chapter six and the story is taking shape.

If you don't know, authors are basically split between 3 camps, Plotters, Pantsers, and Hybrids. I have always fallen squarely in the Pantser camp, but am now trying more of a hybrid approach for this series.

To give you more context:

* Pantser sits down and starts writing a story with absolutely no idea what is going to happen. The story unfolds for the writer as much as it does for the reader. This method does tend to have a bit more cleanup involved after a novel is written, especially if it is a series.

* Plotters are on the other side of the scale, they design the entire plot, character arcs, story arcs, conflict, world-building, elements, and every other little thing that goes into a story beforehand, then they write the story, and they stick to that, leaving little wiggle room.

* Hybrids, well they plan and do most/a fair chunk of the work beforehand but when they start writing they kind of veer off course sometimes, becoming Pantsers, but they always have that plan to fall back on if things go bad . . . Some stay the course, and good for them.

I have done significant plotting for this series beforehand, from background lore that will never make it into the series, to what will happen at the very end of the series. I have thought about who will not make it to the end, to who will find "peace". Where conflict will arise and what tropes to add. I'll tell you one thing, it is a struggle keeping these characters on the straight and narrow.

Anyway, besides this very interesting tidbit of a writer's life (I'm sure), I wanted to leave you with a short excerpt of The Way of the Walker, introducing Bellard to you all. Enjoy.

Excerpt of The Way of the Walker

Kunia, Academy of the Arcane, school for the gifted, had been the subject of many controversial discussions in the North over the years. The women had it easier when it came to the subject of magic, for they were doing more than was expected of them, serving the country by becoming mages, druids, wizards, healers, and herbalists. But the North expected men to be warriors, hunters, providers, protectors. They were supposed to be strong and brave in the face of danger, willing to give their lives for others to live, not become figures of obscurity.

After eighteen long years in Forgeholde, Bellard had been ready, and excited, to leave for Kunia. It had been nearly a year now since he joined the academy, and their graduation to continue to the second year was close at hand. For all the patient waiting they had forced him to endure, studying day and night, he couldn’t wait to hold his very own isolation crystal in his hands, his very own Pillar.

He wondered what his Pillar would look like, what colour it would be. Cracked and dull? Bright and clear? Would he wear it as a necklace or a ring? A bracelet, perhaps, as he had seen other students on the grounds of the academy wear theirs, while some wore it as earrings, all dependent on many factors. Some he had seen glittered brightly in the sun, while others were dull green, or ruby red, even dark as night. Only time would tell what his would be.

Until now, the masters of the academy had trained all the first-years on the theoretical way to use their gifts without actually being able to harm anyone by mistake, banning any use of magic without the guidance of an isolation crystal. Soon, though, they would venture to the Sacred Hall of the Usha, where their Pillars awaited them. With the isolation crystal, they would create real magic, form a power within themselves, isolated by the crystal to guide it outwards.

The year before, Bellard’s power had come to him in the form of a crow knocking its long, sharp beak against his window during a bout of icy rain pattering on the roof. It had cawed and squawked, turning and twisting its head. Its beady black eyes followed Bellard as he rose from his bed and made his way over to the ice-streaked window. Time froze as they stared at each other, feeling a deep connection form between them. One that some would say had always been there, unrecognisable until the day of their awakening, when it blossomed, ever growing until they claimed their Pillar, blooming into existence. It was then that they would realise their power.

He had never been like the other kids in Forgeholde. He had a fascination with the workings of the world, a keen sense of morality and a deep understanding of his own mortality, always erring on the side of caution. Other boys did not seem to accept his way of thinking, though, calling him a coward and a mule. Every day they would mock him, throw stones at him, chase him with sticks and beat his back bloody. Shout vulgarities and make fun of him. And for all the love he had for Gallus, his best friend for as long as he could remember, he grew tired of him always stepping in to protect him.

Little did Bellard know he would soon welcome his transformation, his acceptance of the power of the world and the mystical arts that now coursed through his veins. He had opened that window, and the black bird swooped into the room, settling to the floor before morphing into an ephemeral vision of the bearer, a plague of persistence seeping into his very pores, enshrouding him with the promise of power at his fingertips. He could feel his own potential so close to the surface yet was just unable to breach that final layer. From that day on, the dreams of the Usha hounded him, and they hounded him still, waiting for the Pillar to ground them in place.

But until he claimed his Pillar, gifted by the mystical Usha, he would need to complete the year of studies after an already long and challenging semester, before going on a much-deserved break.

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