The Son of Drog appeared sporadically throughout the book, but I came up with a backstory in my head – which did not appear in Askharaoth since it was not pertinent to the story. I kept the character in my mind, and I came up with a new adventure for him: what if he escaped Hell and returned to the world of the living?
The outline came next, building the world north of the North Mountains of Cendrillon. I put a race of people up there, and I gave them an enemy. I placed Draken in the midst of their turmoil with their priests touting him as the prophesied warrior, there to save them from annihilation. I then took his sight, making him answer these new challenges blind, using his demonic powers to adapt.
Then I heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The premise was simple: write a fifty-thousand (minimum) novel during the month of November. I decided to give it a shot and bring the outline for The Son of Drog out of the confines of my mind. At the time the book was called Unnamed: The Chronicles of The Son of Drog (having not named him Draken yet).
NaNoWriMo turned sour fast. I may have gotten to the second week when I dumped it. I am sure there are those who can write faster than me or have more time to write than I do. I was losing ground fast and not able to keep up with the pace I would need to keep to write fifty-thousand words in thirty days. I also posted and responded in the forums, and that turned out to be a mistake. Without going into details; the others in the contest weren’t too keen on hearing anything except praise. I can take constructive criticism well, but it looks like I’m part of the minority. They also had issues with writers not writing with gender-neutral characters, and I just can’t deal with such a huge restriction when writing (although I’m sure this is a small pocket of writers on that forum).
So I quit NaNoWriMo, and I put the book on hold with around four chapters written. I started working on a compilation with other writers I knew from social media. Some of you may remember the book called Valentines for Doomy. There were way too many moving pieces – including my own ten-thousand word short story for the collection. This kept me occupied until it was released in March of 2015, missing my targeted release of February fourteenth when it wasn’t close to done.
I went back to my Son of Drog book some time later, expanding on the first four chapters. I let a beta reader have a shot at what I had written so far, and he found me referring to the character as “The Son of Drog” constantly took him out of the book – especially during paragraphs where I referred to him multiple times. He suggested giving him a name and gave me the idea of his keeping it secret. The Son of Drog was named Draken, and the story of how his name was hidden was created from his.
I went back and forth with the rest of the manuscript during 2015. I added more adventures for Draken and beefed up the main story with more action. I soon realized this was going to be much bigger than the fifty-thousand words I originally intended, and ended up writing something closer to a hundred-thousand, making it just short of epic. I had another beta reader (the Unnamed One if you’ve seen the dedications page) read the draft, got their notes on what they thought should be changed / added / removed, and I revised. Then came time to edit.
Without divulging her life story, my regular editor (Eve Brigid) wasn’t available this time around. Instead of editing the almost-epic book, she pointed me in the direction to learn editing myself. She did the first seven chapters for me to show me what my most common errors were, and I started reading and practicing my editing skills. I did this during the last two months of 2015 and the first month of 2016.
So there you have it. This is actually the short version of how this book came about if you can believe it. I came to be fascinated with Draken, Son of Drog after I created him for the final version of Askharoth, and his own story took nearly two years to tell. I’m proud of how this stand-alone book came out, and I stand by my dumping of NaNoWriMo in order to take my time and do this the right way. I’ve written something I consider epic, and my skill as a writer has grown due to the hurdles I had to overcome to get this one out.
Draken and I can be proud of what we’ve accomplished since we met during Askharoth. We took the long way around, but it was definitely worth the trip.
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Read the Draken prelude / preview.