January 2017 Updates: Exploring the Fantasy Behemoth

Hopefully this will be the beginning of a healthy return to my blogging. Or not. *vanishes in a puff of smoke*. Welcome to a new year for me, and this blog. It’s going to hopefully be an excellent journey, and I hope it will be great for everybody. Now, I’m easy to talk to, so comment and review to your heart’s content! Feel free to ask me all questions, any and all, and I’ll be happy to help!

So, this is just a little introduction to my ideas, and what I’ve been doing. I have a few articles lined up for you, which will go through how I decided to turn to writing, and why I decided to pursue this goal of writing fantasy. Nothing heavy, just going to be fun. Usual video game articles, and I have a few series planned! Particularly when Game of Thrones season 7 draws nearer…

Anyway, this is more of a goal’s list for 2017, and an update ETA of all of my written works and worldbuilding. I hope you all enjoy!

Overall Updates and announcements from 2016

I’ve been working on my magnum opus novel Counterbalance for over 4 years now.  Not only is it finally going well, I have even more awesome news to announce. Even better…..I have already mentioned this several times, but I can officially say in 2017, I will be a published author! Yes, Nordland Publishing will be taking Book one of my Counterbalance Series, and the four year long dream will become a reality. But it’s not going to stop there. I have a fantasy realm to share with the world.

I’ve had several eye-openers in writing this year, and during periods of writer’s block during the earlier months of 2016 and the more severe fatigue I’ve also been putting pen to paper and coming up with countless other ideas for stories, so that is another good thing for further down the line. Overall, except a couple of bad experiences with writing groups/persons, I have built up a pretty cool platform, and met some amazing people through it. Going into 2017, I feel I have made such progress on my writing ability over the past year, and I feel that shows in my own works. Indeed, I’m working on an entirely new fantasy series alongside Counterbalance, and with my map making/fantasy world-building commissions, hopefully I can take that through into 2017.

Two more main points:

  1. I have a mailing list! Mailing List for Michael R. Baker (Me!)
  2. Following talks with my writing friends, I decided to set up a Patreon page to see what I can do, back in September 2016. This is more of a casual interest, and there is no pressure on anybody to back me through it. But I figured that a small target per month may help me be able to sit down and work 100% on working on the world, and if thousands of people can get backers, why not I? I’m working on several tier rewards which are in the link down below, if people would like to check the link out, that will be awesome. And if you back it up by becoming a Patreon, it would be hugely appreciated! I have some amazing backers already, but would adore more! Link down below!       My Patreon

 

Now, for what you’ve been waiting for….updates!

The Counterbalance Series

My main focus and my first fantasy series, this has been my goal ever since I decided to write a novel, back in the struggles of 2012. It has gone through many different forms. I originally was going to write a massive epoch exploring the politics (using Game of Thrones as heavy influence) on all the manners of Harloph (The birthplace of my fantasy world, and the hub of this series) before the Great War which develops between the Bale Empire and the United conglomerations of the Selpvian Dominion. This was the early idea, before I realised in late 2013 that it was way too ambitious. I got about 30,000, maybe 40,000 words in before I hit the wall, so I decided instead to scrap all of that for Counterbalance, and decided to focus solely on the final year of the threatened Great War. Its cool seeing all my notes and watching how it all evolved.

Special tip of the week

Now, here is my main piece of advice: KEEP ALL OF YOUR WORK! No matter how bad it may be, keep your work! I have never deleted a single word of my writing throughout my 4-year long adventure, and for how many years I have left, I will not delete anything. Save it. Put it aside. You’ll never know how useful it may be for later!

This is exactly what I did. The first version of Counterbalance was shelved, but all of it was kept in separate folders. I have already planned on writing a novella based on one of the key plot arcs from that alternate timeline, because it happens in the lore around 20 years before the events in Counterbalance. It explores the Kahal civil war, and the rebellion of the Kahal tribes against the might of the fanatical Pharos Order. It was meant to have two POV’s on either side of the war, and alternate through the storyline as it went. While this won’t happen in the new Counterbalance, it is still an important part of history and lore.

Then I went through two years of writing the new and improved Counterbalance. Originally just one whole book (A stupid idea since I was around 140k in, with no end in sight) I was getting there, but the work was awful. I freely admit that! I still have the June 2015 version of Counterbalance before my huge overhaul, and it is a load of bollocks. But than Nordland came along. I joined their group, expanded my knowledge and split the book into a series. I went through what I had written, scrapped over half of it, lengthened other arcs where I was allowed to, and now I am very happy with it’s progress. Book 1, the Thousand Scars, is in a semi-complete state and will be released in 2017, while Book 2 is currently two-thirds complete in Beta draft. I’ve even been able to start working on Book 3, something which never happened before this. This wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t kept all the work from the old versions of the novel!

Counterbalance is the first massive project of my life, and the world I have created, the result of maybe 15 years of causal world-building, combined with 2-3 years of taking it seriously for publication. I have learned a huge amount, but this will not be the end of my fantasy world Rengar. I have built a behemoth with hopefully enough content for me to talk about it for the rest of my life.

Turning the Page

 

Late in 2016, I was continuing the path of expanding my world, and honing my writing skills through short stories. Many of them took place inside a new landmass, which I decided to be part of my fantasy world Rengar (The same world as Counterbalance, but a different part, and a different time).

I decided to initially write a new novella set in the landmass of Uldur (shown below), set in a fantasy civil war with magical persecution. Counterbalance while heavy fantasy is not quite as magical as other novels of the same genre. There are good reasons for this, all of them lore-based. However, Turning the Page takes place in the original land where life began in Rengar, and magic is fully explored and extremely powerful. As I built the world of Uldur, the story expanded, further and further until it is now a multi-book, multi-POV series. As of this week, I have written 106,000 words of this series, and I plan on finishing the first book by August 2017.

What is it about? I am pleased you asked. Turning the Page is set in the Kingdom of Drapnor, in a time where the events of the Counterbalance series have long concluded. Uldur is the original continent of the world where all life began, so there is a greater emphasis on magic in this part of the world then Harloph and Klassos. This novel is going to be a different narrative to many, exploring the many battles and struggles of the civil war which follows after the death of the Black King. A rogue religious state inside the Kingdom challenges for the rule of Drapnor; Sardona, with a very anti-magic rhetoric. The novel will cover a great deal on the suffering of mages during the brutal civil war, and delve into the darker underworld of some branches of magic. It is going to be a violent and powerful story I hope. This is only one of many novels I plan to write for this world, but it will probably be a standalone.

This is a series I am incredibly excited to write. Uldur has been fascinating to build.

map-14

The Triple Anthologies of Rengar

 

This is another project of mine for 2017. Over the next 4-5 years (Hopefully I will have built a solid fanbase by then!) I plan on releasing a self-anthology of stories set in Rengar during my time. With ten-twelve short stories to novelettes, I will hopefully add each story with lore about that part of the world, a different take on most anthologies I think. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and while the world-building will likely never cease, it’s amazing to think Uldur didn’t exist before the beginning of this year. And you know what? It’s my favorite world. I’d say it’s even better than Counterbalance in terms of setting. So far I have three anthologies planned of Rengar, each one set in one of the three major landmasses: Uldur, Harloph and Klassos. With ten stories each, I think it will be pretty cool to write!

 

That is all I have time for today. Hopefully I will be back soon, but this is a pretty meaty article for you guys to get stuck into. I hope you all enjoy! Feel free to ask me anything. I’d be happy to help.

 

 

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