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Category: Musings

Marches – Chapter 04 Notes

For today I am posting up the fourth chapter of my novel in progress, Marches. This chapter, for those of you reading along, was meant to be a short transition from the Silver Coast to the land of the Wyverns. It was originally just a chapter I wanted to use to introduce some concepts, places, and characters. Looking back, and it did that passably. It was important to see Mirabelle’s first look at her new home, and the surprise she has that people would be excited.

 

This original draft ended up being more of a means to an end though. Some of the characters introduced here are more important than others and likely deserved more focus. Many of the concepts are only touched on and would be better served if they were explored in depth. The biggest one that jumped out at me when editing this chapter was Roheis’ wedding. Now, Roheis doesn’t make a big impact before this point, but her wedding would be the perfect opportunity to show just how vast the differences are between the lands the d’Argent inhabit and those of the Astier. I think that is missed in the actual wedding chapter, and it would be something that gave a little bit more insight into how the world works in this setting.

 

In addition, I think showing the two as close sisters will clarify their relationship more before Roheis’ later appearances. Ghislain, her husband, would likewise be a good person to introduce. He plays more major roles in important sections and seeing him earlier on and in more detail would do the story well.

 

This chapter is also the first chapter with Bastien and Ervig in it. These two become Mirabelle’s closest advisors in her new home. Bastien, as I mentioned in another set of notes, needs to have been introduced earlier. Why did I wait four chapters originally? Because I didn’t come up with the character until chapter four. But he should appear in the earliest chapter if he is to be believed in his backstory in this one. Ervig, on the other hand, was planned to start when Mirabelle arrived. He was not intended to be a pivotal character at this point, but I grew to like him as time went on and it only made sense that he would be in many of the later stories. Expanding on him, and bringing him more in line with his character as portrayed later would be essential.

 

One last note on essential changes. I originally called the village in the Astier territory Mileo, but soon changed it to Milae. This is a little thing, I know. But in my printed edit copy it was still Mileo here. Just a fun note. I like Milae better, so that’s the name I’ll be sticking with throughout.

 

As for changes coming to this chapter, it will be one of the first major rewrites for the introduction. I’d like to focus on Roheis’ wedding. It is the final chance to show the differences for a while and will give a little more time to expand on their characters. Bastien will be introduced earlier, so he will mostly stay the same, but be brought closer in line with later appearances. The ideas of this chapter will still serve as the breakpoint from her life as she knew it to her new life, but I think they’d do well to be expanded upon.

 

As always, I hope you enjoy this look into one of my first draft chapters.

 

Fair Winds,

 

Museless Bard

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Marches – Chapter 03 Notes

Today, I’m posting the third chapter of the original Marches. This is where I feel now, looking back, the story really began. This Chapter, or at least its heart, will make up the first couple chapters of the rewrite. This is the first time we spend any real time with Mirabelle, and it shows Tienette off a bit, hinting at her character a bit early on. Without any changes, I think this is an okay chapter, but there are a lot of ways I could expand on it.

Most importantly, I think, this was the chapter that made me realize I wanted to concentrate primarily on Mirabelle’s perspective. Originally, I intended on changing back and forth from Mirabelle and Sarus (the son of Tienette and Valamir, who would be her husband). This was when I started to lean more towards Mirabelle, if only because I didn’t have a good view of Sarus yet while I was writing. This is also the first chapter that I feel will make it mostly intact in the second finished draft. It will be rewritten but a lot of it will stay. The heart of the conversations, the snow falling on the beach, and the general feel I enjoyed and would like to remain.

Now, there is a subtextual content that may change. In this chapter, I feel that Tienette felt less like she was up to something than say Valamir, or even to some degree Vedast in later chapters. But, she is as much a schemer as her husband, though her goals here are very different. Also, I want to highlight the familiarity of the situation that she displays. Tienette was also wed to the Vouivre as an arranged marriage, just as Mirabelle is about to be. She, however, wants a different path for her son than the one her husband was given. It isn’t made immediately clear what that difference is.

I don’t think at this point in my writing I knew fully who Tienette was. I think she was still a bit of a mystery to me, and I tried to keep it that way. But later on, it becomes clear that she is from another province, just like Mirabelle was, and one that plays a pivotal role in the story. I think highlighting that, and some of the other expansions made to her character, later on, would be great to demonstrate here, to provide a bit more context as to why Mirabelle connects with her – at least partially – as quickly as she does.

I also didn’t add much of Bastien (her guardsman) in this chapter. You’ll meet him in Chapter 4 officially. I’m not sure if he was a real character yet when I wrote this. He doesn’t appear at all in this chapter, and that is a glaring omission that needs to be fixed. It is a continuity error once you get a couple of chapters forward. It could be handwaved, I suppose, given she is at her family’s hold and there are plenty of guards around. But it is something I want to change.

I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think.

Fair winds,

Museless Bard

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Marches – Chapter 02 Notes

This chapter is another casualty of the change in perspective. Originally, the first few chapters were laying the groundwork for Mirabelle’s change in experience, and at first, I was very confident with that choice. But as I read back over while editing the first draft, I found that the story was solely hers, it was from her perspective, despite what I had planned originally, or even tried to continue a little later in the stories. With this original set up, there was very little time to set up just how different Mirabelle’s life would be with the arranged marriage to the Astier. 

 

The story itself in this chapter was the first introduction of Mirabelle and the first interaction with the couple that would become her inlaws. Elements of that, I believe, are important to hold to the story – but could be done in a much better way. This chapter, the chapter before, and the original prologue are being re-written to bring them into a new sort of prologue, to lay the groundwork for the story, but be separate. These people set Mirabelle’s story in motion, but from her perspective, they didn’t enter it until much later.

 

Still, this was the first chapter where I started to see the story coming together, so I wanted to post it up. Pieces of it will survive the edits, but I am honestly not sure how much. I think it works better if Mirabelle doesn’t remember them at all, or only vaguely, on their first meeting in the early chapters. So, we’ll see where the rewrites take me.

 

That all said, I just want to take a moment to highlight Tienette. She was literally a late addition, and I thought ‘oh, she needs a cool title’. So I settled with calling her the Basilisk. This wasn’t meant to be anything at the beginning. I really thought of her as a background character, whereas Valamir would be the main member of the Astier family that made appearances. Beyond Mirabelle’s, as yet unseen husband to be.

 

That did not last. It is part of the nature of how I write. Marches was a much different beast for me. It didn’t start with worldbuilding. It started with a single idea, and I built characters to fit that idea, and the world formed around them. Normally, I do the reverse – build the world, so that the characters react more naturally with it. But this way was interesting. Why did, even in these early chapters, Tienette feel different? I don’t know. 

 

Basilisk was too cool of a name. And for that matter, so was Tienette. So I latched on to her. By the next chapter I had shifted gears, and it was Tienette who became Mirabelle’s drawn into the world of the Wyverns. In these early chapters I still didn’t know the characters, but as strange as it might sound, Tienette was the first one that I thought I might have someone else in the setting to connect onto – especially outside the setting as a whole. 

 

Anyway. This chapter was alright. Nothing special. There are elements I’d like to keep, but the perspective had to be changed, and so, it needs to be completely rewritten. So, as always, here is the original for you all to enjoy. 

 

Fair Winds,

 

Museless Bard.

 

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Marches – Chapter 01 Notes

Author’s Notes

This chapter was the first I got down on paper in Marches. Originally, my plan was to set the story in small sections, concentrating on various characters in the story as they worked around the central story of Mirabelle. However, that lasted all of a handful of chapters. This part of the story was designed to show that Valamir Astier was the character that set everything in motion and set the groundwork.

While the Chapter itself I liked quite a bit and enjoyed writing, and honestly felt that it opened with the story pretty well. The dichotomy was something I wanted to set up early, with Ava and Vouivre having very different styling in how they held themselves and visually, so it was important to set up a more roguish appearance for Valamir.

Of course, that was before the shift to writing the entire story under Mirabelle’s perspective. So, this part of the story no longer works with the rest. There are portions of it that will survive in the future first chapters – likely changing to Valamir’s arrival in Cote d’Argent and seeing that first appearance from the side of a young woman seeing a figure she’s only known from rumor and stories before. In almost every way, this new intro will work better for the story as a whole and give more time to understand where she comes from and how far she travels.

The original perspective was a fun way to write out the start of the story and show some of the characters in the story. A lot of them would change as things went on, and Ava became much less of a focus. In looking back, I had bigger plans for Valamir’s attendants originally, but they don’t show up again until much later in the story, and even then it is rare and short appearances. It was a good start to the project for me that no longer fits the story, but one that does show the early stages of an idea and how it evolved rather quickly.

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Marches – Chapter 00 Notes

Author’s Notes

So, this is an interesting case. On November 1st, I decided to take an old story I had hidden away and rewrite it for NaNoWriMo. At the time, I had no idea that this story would become Marches. It was literally titled “NaNoWriMo 2018 Introduction” at the time. I just started writing things down. It was a quick, short introduction chapter hoping to set out the basic ideas of the story for me to start getting it written out.

So much of this first chapter didn’t make it into the story. Most obvious is the Narrator. After this first chapter, I decided I wanted to make it a third person story instead, as aside from Heinlein stories, I’ve never really enjoyed a first person storytelling perspective. It is an artifact from the original idea I had that would become marches, and it didn’t even last until November 2nd. In addition, a lot of the story elements would be changed. For instance, the Silver Wyvern mentioned at the end of the Chapter was the original direction I had decided for Mirabelle, where she would become this sort of mix of her old life and new life.

The way the story moved through, it no longer made sense by the end. Mirabelle becomes more of something entirely new, not her clinging to her old life or the expected new life, but something more built on the ruins of both. It fit the character better, I think, in the end, and made me rather happy.

This chapter no longer fits in the story in almost anyway. The prose moved to be fully from Mirabelle’s perspective, which changes things a lot. The narrator in this story never shows up again, and for lack of a better term, this chapter just needed cut completely. The new introductory chapters jump straight in to introducing Mirabelle and her life before the Astier show up and change everything.

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Marches

Marches is the working title for a novel I am currently working on. Its in the editing stages, and is mostly written. However, in this stage, I’ve found that what started as a NaNoWriMo project has turned into something completely different. While I can’t share the entire thing here, I have decided to change some chapters entirely and to rewrite them from scrap. Rather than leaving those chapters to the proverbial dust, I thought it might be worthwhile to go ahead and share those here. They’ll give you a peek into what I’m doing, but they won’t necessarily be part of the final project, as I hope to legitimately publish it – and its worth taking a shot at that before posting it online.

That all said, what is Marches? Marches is the story of a young woman by the name of Mirabelle d’Argent, the daughter of the Grand Magi of Lune, Duc Vedast d’Argent. She is the Fille de Lune, a blessed child by the goddess of the moon. But Vedast has a secret, one that the Marquis Valamir Astier has found out, and to buy his secrecy, Mirabelle is to be married to Valamir’s son, Sarus. The story follows Mirabelle’s journey to her new home and life, discovering that her path may not be as preordained as she was led to believe. Perhaps even finding that this borderland she found herself in is more where she should be than the white towers of her promised life.

Marches is a Fantasy story. I find it hard to classify stories beyond that. The story takes place in a fictional kingdom in a medieval era, with many elements of the mystical sprinkled throughout. It is primarily a story about one person and her journey. In the beginning, and through the writing, I hadn’t settled exactly on the story – but now the story is firmly about Mirabelle, and solely from her perspective. This changed a lot of how it was written and opened it up to what the story is becoming now. As things shift and change, more chapters may appear here for you to see.

As with all things, I hope you enjoy. Check the Marches category for all the story chapters and notes on the chapter from me.

Fair winds,

Museless Bard

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