There of course will be SPOILERS if you haven't read the Volume yet. There will also be some repetition
if you've read the chapter commentaries.
I finished for one thing. And I accomplished all the major goals in my outline. I introduced many of the
major characters, the place, the world, and Melfina had to fight her way through her rent problem. For such
a boring sounding problem, I think I made it interesting enough.
Volume length. Obviously the biggest change between Volume 1 and Volume 2 is the number of chapters. It might
have been possible to shorten the Volume by one or two chapters, but it would not have worked with just thirteen.
The length of the chapters also worked well. I've read novels on a computer screen. I can make your back ache,
give you eye problems and all that. The chapters need to be long enough to flesh out each event/point that I
want to say in each chapter, but not too long to give the reader problems.
My notes. The notes kept the Volume intact despite the two long breaks that I took. (4 months and then
16 months) Chapter 220 (Melfina Prays to her Parents and Daksage Attacks) would have had the most drastic
change, because without my notes, the chapter was still "Melfina Challenges Darksage" in my head, even
though I did not know how I was going to lead that into chapter 221.
If chapter 220 had taken that route instead, it would have been much harder to figure out how to set up
the magery duel between Melfina and Wayland, because if she purposefully sought out Darksage to dominate
him, that meant she had a plan to use necromancy to defeat Wayland. And without my notes I would have
forgotten to put the Tome of Enlightenment in the Volume that is titled "Enlightenment", and I would have
forgotten to show Stark using chivalry from his perspective, which would have been a shame since he's been
around since the first chapter of Volume 1.
My schedule. I wanted to move from two chapters a month to three chapters a month, and that plan completely
fell apart. Instead of taking under seven months to finish, the final chapter appeared 26 months after the
first chapter went up. Both the four month break and the sixteen month break began from writer's block
but other things eventually got in the way as well.
My outline. After writing chapter 210, I realized that my outline was incomplete. My outline listed a purpose
or an event for the individual chapters, but I learned that an event is not enough. There always has to be a
purpose to the chapter. There has to be something that the chapter contributes towards reaching the end goal.
The purpose of the early chapters can simply be to establish a new/changed setting or a new concept, but once
the middle chapters and onward are reached, there always has to be something of significance that happened, or
the chapter feels lacking.
My cursive. I like what I've done with the calligraphy pieces and the drawings, but the simple diary and journal
entries seemed lacking. I decided that I would prefer to see them writing in print, rather than in cursive, so I
stopped making them. I have their new styles mostly set, so hopefully they'll be up soon. I certainly want to
start Volume 3 with the documents back in place.
Rearranging chapters. It worked well to rearrange chapters 214 and 215 (Stark learns Melfina's Practicing
Necromancy & Darksage Challenges Melfina). The goal there was to create distance between the first two
Darksage appearances, and for Stark to learn about Melfina before she has any doubts about what she's doing.
But it only semi-worked with chapters 217 and 218. (Wayland Returns to Demand the Tome & Melfina Evaluates
Her Situation). I needed to switch the chapters because the Melfina chapter was originally outlined to be
"Melfina Makes Scrolls with the Assistance of Familiars", but then chapter 210 showed me my outline was
lacking. I needed to switch the chapters to provide something relevant for Melfina to think about more than
just how Stark and the guards are reacting to her necromancy.
But then when I came back from the fourteen month break, I realized I didn't take into consideration how that
affected the overall flow of the volume. I had Melfina going about her days as usual, while thinking about what
was going on, when she had learned about Wayland's demand. When I figured out that I needed the mage duel in
the final chapter, and realized I could have Theowulf use a scroll to put up the wall of stone, I finally felt
much better about having that large section about how scrolls work. In the end, it worked out decently well, but
certainly at the time that I posted the chapter, I felt like I wished there could have been a way to move it a
chapter back again.
It was not surprising that the Stark chapters were the hardest ones to write overall, or that Stark's story
arc had the most changes from my original outline of Volume 2, but it was surprising that even though chapter
219 was the hardest chapter to write, it ended up being one of my favorite chapters.
My original outline simply had "Stark finds a lieutenant". About halfway through the Volume I realized that
it wasn't nearly good enough of a premise for the third to last chapter. Chapter 213, was originally designed
to talk more about the guards themselves, but ended up revolving around the relationships between Stark,
Melfina, and Gamblor, but in chapter 219, not only was I able to put that information in, I was able to
resolve the Conflicted Stark arc in a satisfying (and not cheesy) way, show the guards in action, show
chivarly from Stark's point of view, show the reason why Stark chooses his lieutenant, and have the West
Luna Recruits arc end with convincing Draven to join West Luna, rather than simply have Stark figure out
who his lieutenant would be. I accomplished a lot, and even found a place to use the Profession of Virtue, in
a chapter that I had thought for the longest time was completely inadequate and gave me the most problems.
Random Fact 1 - There are nine recruits. Bear, the lieutenant, and Warren, Edwin, Stone, Tulip, Loren,
Ulloa, Nathan, and Alan. If you take out Bear, their names spell out West Luna.
Random Fact 2 - The first letter of each chapter in Volume 2 spells out Delve Into Spirituality. Volume 1
has a similar easter egg.
It might have been better to split chapter 221 into two chapters. If I had done that, the cut off would
have been the agreement to have a duel, then chapter 222 would have been to extend the two battles. The
benefit would have been extending various parts of the chapter. But there are several reasons why I chose
not to do it. The first reasons may seem somewhat trivial. One reason, is the fact that it would have
ruined the symmetry of the point of views of the chapters (MMSMMSMMSMSMSMMSMMSMM). Another reason is that
I would have had to do the same thing as Volume 1, when I extended that volume from 12 chapters to 13, and
started the chapter with an ellipses, if I wanted to maintain the "Spirituality" sentence. Third is that
I would have felt forced to make Volumes 3-8 also twenty-two chapters.
The last reason is an actual story related reason, I wanted to keep the introduction of the Grimoire and
the reminder that all necromancers come from Umbra in the same chapter as the ending. The ending was abrupt,
and I wanted to reason that Aedilwulf commands all of them to return home and commands Wayland to leave the
Tome of Lost Knowledge with Melfina fresh in the readers minds.
If I say that every word has to have a purpose in the chapter, and it's important to cut out all the
unnecessary parts, why do I have random guidelines like spelling out a sentence with the first letter of
each chapter, and have (so far) had the point of views of the volume be symmetrical? It seems like the
number of chapters and who's point of view it is should follow the same rules and not some arbitrary set
Well... for one thing, I like patterns. I like easter eggs. It creates enjoyment for me to put those
things in there. If I'm not enjoying what I'm doing, I shouldn't be doing it. But the other reason is
that restrictions can help bring about creativity. Figuring out what I need to say about each character
while at the same time figuring out what point of views go where and how many are needed, has helped with
the outlining process, and given me ideas that I wouldn't have otherwise come up with.
The biggest things that I learned while writing this Volume were how to create a much more friendly outline
that will keep the volume tighter, and help to prevent writer's block, like it's supposed to. A good outline
that will work for me is one that will what is supposed to happen and why it's important for the Volume (and
possibly for the story as a whole beyond the volume). Its seems obvious now, but for some of the chapters I
confused event and purpose as being one and the same. It's also important to keep in mind the flow of the
volume and not unnecessarily slow down the story in the ending chapters.
A minor detail, after doing all the revisions to Volume 1 and what I had of Volume 2, is that I learned that
I do not usually like to see the words "immediately" and "suddenly". They are long words and convey the opposite
message for the reader as what the scene was supposed to convey.
In the end, with all the problems that I had, I think the Volume came out decently well. Much better than I
expected after really seeing what kind of trouble I wrote myself into. Almost everything that I wanted to
accomplish in the volume was accomplished, and anything that was left out can still be done in later Volumes
without harming the story.