Hello, it’s been a while since I last wrote anything about my novel series, and for that I apologize, it’s been a most chaotic year.
I finished the first draft of Sword of the Nation a couple of days before 2018 was over, just as I had planned. That first draft was the culmination of years of wild concepts, ideas, and characters in my mind that have matured over time, some of which go way to my early adolescence.
It wasn’t until the end of 2016 when I stepped forth and took the first steps into giving tangible form to this dream of mine, a universe that I slowly imagined and crafted through the years in what I have no shame in admitting has been a rather sheltered life—it also bears the marks of all that happened to me during these past turbulent years.
Continuing from the previous post that gave a small glimpse into the world of this series, the story of Sword of the Nation, it’s planned sequels (Sins and Soul of the Nation), and what comes beyond, is mostly centered around Bastiel Isthal, a peculiar character whose biggest aspiration is to be a hero that lives up to the burden of his legacy, in a nation under siege and going through a very intense political turmoil. Bastiel is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime when he is invited to join Gestalt, a nascent team tasked with protecting the Nation of Vaifen from all who wish to harm it. In the case of the first book, the threat presents itself in the form of a group known as The Ashen Reckoning, led by a mysterious man only known as ‘Dogma’.
The draft itself was far from perfect and polished, still, I was and still am proud of it. I decided to write it in English instead of Spanish even though it is not my native language because I always dreamed it to be something international (Lingua Franca and all that into consideration as well); with the fact that those ~630 pages aren’t written in my native language in mind, I immediately began to go through it in order to polish the draft to the best of my ability and have a better second draft in my hands.
It sounded like a solid, simple plan, but that’s when things got complicated in my life.
Venezuela’s 2019 political crisis started with a bang and shook everything and everyone up. Regardless of how optimistic (or rightfully disappointed) you are in the results (or lack) of those events right now, the truth is that the escape plan that I had been working so hard to achieve was completely thwarted as a consequence of it. The closure of certain embassies following said political crisis completely shafted our chances at a visa at that moment.
If that wasn’t enough, a handful of unrelated but stressing and most taxing events happened almost all at once in my life, which pushed me to the edge both physically and mentally, it certainly made for some very tough weeks. Nonetheless, I continued to work on that second draft with what little peace of mind that I had during those days to the best of my ability; I concluded work on it towards the end of February 2019. This second draft, despite everything that was unfolding around me, was much better than the first iteration, yet not without its flaws.
From that point onward I started to seek out info and guidance regarding what steps should I take next in order to bring this dream to life—getting it edited first and foremost (again, English isn’t my native language, I just happened to grow up watching bootleg VHS movies and playing video games from an early age).
With all those things happening in my personal life, plus the blackouts, water shortages, and some unneeded family drama to boot (which I’m sure will make for some interesting reading once I get to write in my memoirs in the future), I had no choice but to suspend work on Sword until I had a relative acceptable control of my life once more.
I managed to get things in order for the most part but before I knew it, days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. With a new escape plan paradigm and its corresponding paperwork on the way, the country going through another period of political stagnation, and a much needed stability *knocks on wood*, the time has come for me to finally work on a third draft for Sword of the Nation and resume work on the entire project at full steam.
Having put the second draft aside for a couple months (something I didn’t wished to do) had its benefits, I had ample time to think over some stuff and it allowed me to return to it with a fresh mind in order to make it even better than it already was—if I’m allowed a bit of self-pride every now and then.
Goals for the Third Draft
This third iteration of Sword of the Nation is the one that I aspire to have properly edited and eventually published. It won’t see any major plot changes aside from a redesigned action sequence towards the second quarter of the book which I’m sure will be better than the current version and a few nip and tucks here and there.
One crucial goal is fixing some pacing issues; there are certain chapters that are substantially longer than others, right now, the first and second draft have been comprised of ten chapters, a prologue, and an epilogue. I am now aiming to split some of these longer chapters into two for the purposes of pacing, bumping the chapter count to twelve while making sure that things flow the way they need.
Title names: The draft’s chapters were simply made of Roman numerals up until a week or two ago. I kept toying with the idea of giving each chapter a title for the longest time until I finally made up my mind about it and decided to go for it.
Names: I’m the kind of person that spends staring at a screen trying to pick the right name for a character in any MMO, so of course, I was still unsure about certain character names and/or surnames. As of right now I have all of them set—at least for this first book.
Characterization & Dialogue revisions: Another thing that I wanted to give a third look at, making sure to polish and spruce up some small details to further add more life to each character.
Grammar: Not my forte, but of course, I want to to be as clean as possible before its eventual edit by the right hands.
What comes after the third draft is ready
Once I finish the third draft I need to figure out how to get it edited and published with my current reality in mind. Being in Venezuela complicates everything and limits all of my options, from paying to get it edited to the eventual publishing through digital (and hopefully physical) methods—nothing is ever straightforward in this country, welcome to my life.
There’s also the fact that I’ve been actively working towards escaping from this utopia alongside my brother, now with a new plan that as it stands, might very well be my last available option.
Will these two goals intertwine in the near future? Perhaps. It’d certainly make things easier for me in the long run, as my new escape plan will create problems of its own later on the road.
What do I hope from all of this?
As I’ve said before, my goal is to create something unique that persists through time, something that entertains, amuses, inspires, and ignites that spark of imagination in your head. With luck, I hope that the world I’ve crafted and the characters that inhabit in it get to live in the readers’ heads just as they’ve lived in mine all this time.
I would very much like for all of this to be a catalyst of a better life for both my brother and myself. I don’t mean it in a “get rich overnight” kinda sense, but in a “I hope it paves the way for me find the resources I need to fulfill the promise I made to my mother and make sure that my brother gets to study and live a happy, fulfilling life” kinda way.
I’ve done too many mistakes, didn’t studied as hard as I should’ve, didn’t cared much for my own personal health and well being, and now I’m paying the price for all of that, both physically and mentally.
When I started working on Sword of the Nation back in December of 2016 there wasn’t with not much of me to begin with, there’s even less of me these days, I’ve lost so much these past two decades, from loved ones to time. To be able to create something unique, something that lasts while being in this, a country with an environment prone to entropy and despair, that’d be something awesome—perhaps I’ll find some meaning or my role in this world through it.
What comes next after Sword?
Once Sword is on its way to getting published and distributed, I will immediately begin work on the second entry: Sins of the Nation. Once Sins is out there then it’s time to work on the third and final entry of this initial story arc: Soul of the Nation.
After the first three books are out, I intend to work on a prequel arc that focuses on an another tale, one that takes place in a completely different setting and tone, this one would probably take two—maybe three books on its own.
Next, I’ll continue the exploits and adventures of Bastiel Isthal and the Gestalt team in a fourth entry and beyond. The way I planned everything gives ample room for other stories within this universe, perhaps in the form of graphic novels, comics, or other forms of media. Dreaming is free, you never know.
There are other stories that I very much plan to materialize in the future as well that are completely unrelated to this universe, but those are tales for another time.
Over the next days I will be releasing a series of introductory Character bio previews. I will be releasing these by batches, starting first with Gestalt and its team since well, they’re the main cast. I was supposed to release it alongside this post, but an unforeseen water shortage (6 days without water and only 36 hours with it) complicated things a bit.
I still do not have a concrete time-frame for Sword of the Nation but I will do everything in my power to finish the third draft through September, hopefully the inherent peculiarities that come with living in this city decide to cooperate more because the past months have been too erratic.