It’s finally happening. After a few years of feverish brainstorming, followed by a few years of stale procrastination followed by actual hard work, and then another few years that wouldn’t just get on with it, my first novel is ready to publish. It’s called The Waste, the first of the Beautiful War series. I’ll put up the synopsis here:
In the war-torn land of Belloum, a brilliant Prince is stolen from his kingdom by revolutionaries fighting to save their homeland. Yet the Prince finds unlikely allies among his captors, who make him face his role in his kingdom’s atrocious history. The Prince must master mysterious powers, devise strategies, and ultimately wage war against his own family to right the wrongs of the past.
The Waste is an epic tale of war, friendship, guilt, hope, sacrifice, and redemption, of daring struggles in a harsh and beautiful world.
Warning: The Waste contains intense violence, suicide, and occasional strong language. It may not be for everyone.
The Waste is about 160,000 words long, contains 36 chapters, and takes up about 496 pages in print. For reference, the Hunger Games books are all about 100,000 words long, The Fellowship of the Ring is about 177,000 words, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is about 77,000 words, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (the longest one) is about 191,000 words.
The Waste has been a long effort of powerful ideas held back by distractions, procrastination, fear, and the simple difficulties of adulthood. But I like to think that the ideas, the story threads and characters, had years to grow and mature before the time came to show them to the world. My obsessive planning and daydreaming have finally brought forth something that I’ll be proud to show you.
On September 10th, and probably immediately afterward considering how fiddly some of my vendors can be, The Waste will go up on numerous e-publishing sites. It’ll be priced at $3.99 all-around, and if you don’t have an e-reading device, you can download Kindle for PC to convert your computer machine, the thing you’re probably using to read this right now, into an e-book reader. I like to think of this as a good deal—The Waste is a pretty hefty read, as I mentioned above. I hope you’ll like the book, but if you don’t, I’m sorry that you bought a novel with the money you would have spent on, say, lunch. Or four items at the Dollar Store.
Significantly, The Waste isn’t just the first novel I’ve completed and published, it’s part of a series of tales that I intend to tale for conceivably the next few decades. Beautiful War is certainly High Fantasy—it’s set in an imaginary world with dramatic heroes and villains, wide-sweeping adventures, and supernatural powers that take a variety of forms. Beautiful War could even be called Epic Fantasy, but I intend more than that: I’ve structured Beautiful War as an Epic.
Beautiful War will contain works that span hundreds of years, within and beyond the country of Amirand where The Waste takes place. In this colossal world of mine, heroes will fight, laugh, suffer, wage war, and die without any inkling of their part in the larger narrative being told. And that is all I’ll speak of that. Suffice to say I have some big stories to tell.
As for the audience, many but not all of the protagonists will be young adults age 16 to 20-whatever. At least one of the stories will be a coming-of-age sort of tale. In writing this series from the perspective of a young college student and graduate, I’ve naturally and unconsciously aimed some of my wit and character design at the sorts of things people around my age enjoy. But my friends and I were into Lord of the Rings in elementary school, and I shudder to think of losing my taste for a good fantastical story when I’m in my eighties. It will not happen. So I want teenagers to read this series, and I want people two and three and four times my age to read this series. I hope that the rich characters, fascinating story, and intricate world will provide entertainment to everyone who reads the words I’ve written for them.
If you’ve gotten this far into the article, I think you’ll survive The Waste’s prose just fine. And I hope you enjoy it, I really do. This project is only complete with people to enjoy it, to interpret and love and hate and review and talk about it. I’m well aware that I’m treading old ground, that my fantasy isn’t some revolutionary new epoch-bringer just because it doesn’t include elves and dwarves or a princess to rescue. But it is exactly as I’ve said: my fantasy. This series is my imagining of a world where despite guilt, prejudice, suffering, and death, we can draw strength from each other and struggle against crushing adversity and win. Beautiful War is special to me. I hope it becomes special to you, too.