<![CDATA[FARRELL KEELING - Blog]]>Sun, 29 Mar 2020 05:51:11 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Phoenix Saga Progress Report]]>Sun, 16 Feb 2020 14:55:42 GMThttp://farrellkeeling.com/blog/phoenix-saga-progress-report​While I'm delighted to be back working on the Phoenix Saga, I can't help but feel that *Mysterious Project No.3*, as exciting as it was at the time, has been something of a palette cleanser.

Moving on to a new series was always going to be a challenge in itself, of course, even more so if you were as foolish enough, as I, to think you could detach yourself from your SIP (series/saga in progress, is that a thing?). Not to say that it isn't doable. Certainly, for the more experienced writers out there, a capacity for cold-blooded ruthlessness when it comes to switching between projects has often long-since been cultivated. Take Will Wight for instance, currently demonstrating such a feat with his The Elder Empire series... boy, is that guy just damn productive....
​*Stares wistfully into the great outdoors*

Anyway! I suppose I should talk about the somewhat less mysterious project I'm currently  bashing out - Book 3 of the Phoenix Saga.

Good news! I'm up to about 73 pages! Bad news: I've somehow only completed three chapters, which potentially suggests that this one could be mightily chunkier than Obsidian Crown. Which, I suppose, is a good thing... right?

If I was pressured for an estimate, I'd say this could be a 400+ pager, which would fit with the general increase from the last two books. Naturally, more pages, however, does mean greater pressure to ensure quality within each chapter, so it'll be an interesting challenge!

As I'm sure you've already surmised, this does mean my previous expectation of sending out a manuscript to betas by early 2020 (for my previous *mysterious project*) will have to be tweaked juuuuuuust a little bit. Realistically, taking into consideration my commitments to uni work (damn you, dissertation!), I feel we're probably looking at yet another Summer release for the third instalment of the Phoenix Saga.

Keep your eyes peeled, people, and thanks for bearing with me!

- Farrell
<![CDATA[Change of Plan]]>Sat, 01 Feb 2020 14:55:03 GMThttp://farrellkeeling.com/blog/change-of-planWelcome one and all, and an outrageously belated Happy New Year to you lovely people!

For those of you who haven't come across my guest appearance on Yakira Goldberg's blog (which you can catch here) I thought I'd cobble together a quick post to inform you all of a recent change of heart I've had in regard to my writing.

I'm still writing, by the way! I won't be hanging up the keyboard just yet.

I had been working since the Summer on a completely separate project, basically with the idea of seeing how quickly I could write a novel (extremely rough first draft, more like). Inevitably, however, life tends to get in the way of our goals and I was thrust once more into university life, and all the fun and joy that it entails. Not to say I'm not enjoying it, but, as one might expect, it has made writing more of a juggling exercise.

As such - and considering how much I've missed the Phoenix Saga - I've decided to focus all my attentions on the third book and the following instalments before I attempt such an ambitious move again.

Bring on the Phoenix.]]>
<![CDATA[Soft vs Hard Magic Systems]]>Tue, 29 Oct 2019 09:37:24 GMThttp://farrellkeeling.com/blog/soft-vs-hard-magic-systemsSo... I was wondering this morning about the practicalities of designing either a 'soft' or 'hard' magic system within a book.

Establishing strong characters and an equally compelling story line should, in my opinion, always be the first port of call for any genre. But magic systems are also the calling cards of Fantasy - they make the genre distinctive.

Harry Potter has wands and spells; the Mistborn Trilogy has a strict system of rules and limitations, requiring the consumption of metals for magic and for the 'magic user' to have been born able to use one or all of the metals; and then you have Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (LoTR), where the limitations and extent of magic are shrouded in mystery.
I had an English Literature teacher who found the use of magic in books utterly abhorrent; he felt it undermined any clever writing and effectively allowed characters a get-out-of-jail-free card when things got a bit sticky.

Proponents of hard magic systems argue that by having a clearly designed magic system with a set of rules and limitations ensures a better functioning novel - characters can't cheat their way out of trouble and readers understand how the magic works.

Soft magic systems, as present in the likes of LoTR, work quite well in the sense that magic isn't used so much to get characters out of trouble but rather to project a sense of wonder about the world as you explore it.

Things get a little blurry between the two distinctions when you factor in how 'nebulous' or 'rational' a magic system in a particular book is.

A rational magic system will establish consistent laws that the characters have to follow when wielding magic. A nebulous magic system things are bit more... iffy; take, for instance, Gandalf. In LoTR we see brief flashes of awesome power but we don't really know the full extent of his powers, its limitations, how it works, etc, etc.

Brandon Sanderson (author of the Mistborn Trilogy) laid out a set of guidelines for the building of magic systems in Fantasy:

Sanderson's First Law: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic in a satisfying way is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic.

Sanderson's Second Law: Weaknesses (also Limits and Costs) are more interesting than powers.

Sanderson's Third Law: Expand on what you have already, before you add something new. If you change one thing, you change the world.

Hope you enjoyed reading this!

​- Farrell

<![CDATA[Mysterious Project Number 3 - Update]]>Mon, 23 Sep 2019 18:44:58 GMThttp://farrellkeeling.com/blog/mysterious-project-number-3-updateSo, with Autumn officially upon us (at least for those us hailing from the Northern Hemisphere), let us bid goodbye to another thoroughly disappointing Summer (for those of us unlucky souls in the UK, that is).

Entering into a new season, the afterglow of having self-published Nathaniel Grey and the Obsidian Crown (available at an Amazon near you) has officially faded and I must cast an eye to completing my latest project, Mysterious Project Number 3. Which, for now, shall continue to go unnamed. Sorry!

Considering how the story is currently progressing, I'd say we're roughly 60% of the way through. Of course, as we near the New Year, we'll soon see just how bloody optimistic that statement was. Ideally however, I am hoping to be editing and sending the manuscript out to betas come early 2020! 

* cough cough - if you'd like to be an official beta reader for mysterious project number 3 feel free to let me know in the comments, or better yet, just hit me up in the contact section - cough cough *

Well... I guess that's everything!

- Farrell]]>
<![CDATA[Mysterious Project Number 3 - Excerpt #2]]>Mon, 09 Sep 2019 13:24:57 GMThttp://farrellkeeling.com/blog/mysterious-project-number-3-excerpt-2Howdy.

Well... I don't really have anything important to say, so how about I just throw in another scene from my current project without any accompanying context or explanation? Sound good? Great!

I'll just drop some text this time rather than a screenshot, as I think there were some difficulties in expanding the posted image. Enjoy!
‘Can you not make an exception here, Master Guinne?’ Twill said.

‘The fate of the Kingdoms lie in the balance,’ Anastasia added. Bord either didn’t notice – or pretended not to – the dark look Anastasia shot his way.

‘Not for anyone or anything,’ Guinne replied solemnly. ‘My vows are beyond the petty agreements of mankind. They cannot be broken.’

‘Well… that’s us buggered then,’ Twill remarked placidly.

‘Perhaps not,’ Bord said, nodding at the small orb dancing over Guinne’s open palm. ‘Were Hemlock’s men armed?’

‘One moment.’

The orb disappeared around the corner once more.

Guinne’s eyes squinted at something they could not see. ‘Swords and daggers,’ he said.

‘Crossbows? Bows? Darts?’ Bord rattled off the weapons one by one.

‘Not that I can see,’ Guinne said.

Bord nodded, deep in thought.

‘We can take them,’ Skive said confidently. ‘But if they call for help, we’re damned.’

‘Can you attract them here?’ Bord asked Guinne.

The man’s moustache bounced as he smiled. ‘That, I can.’

The orb began to grow within his palm until it resembled the size of a melon, at which point Guinne ushered it ahead with a wave of his hands.

They waited behind the corner patiently. Tommy hoped the ploy would work. He dreaded to think what Hemlock’s men might do to them if they caught wind of their escape.

Eventually, their patience was rewarded with the sound of boots scuffing the corridor’s flagstones and concerned voices filled the empty space.

‘What the hell is that?’

‘Bloody Mandrake’s playing with us again.’

‘That’s a new one on me.’

‘Couldn’t sleep for weeks after he made me think I was drowning in spiders.’

‘Spiders? You were lucky. The arsewipe had me believing I was–’


Bord pounced with unnatural quickness, falling on the first black-garbed henchman and twisting his neck to an unnatural angle. He had his bulging arms wrapped around the second’s throat before the first body had hit the floor. The man squirmed, kicking and punching at the air like a new-born whilst his desperate breaths scratched awfully from his collapsing windpipe. With one last terrible rasp, his chin dropped, limbs swinging uselessly at his sides. It all happened so quickly, Tommy had had no time to look away.

Bord dropped the body to the floor and began searching for weapons. He tossed Anastasia and Twill the guards’ daggers, sliding a sword across the floor to Skive before settling on the last sword for himself. Tommy quietly hoped that the man wouldn’t have to use it.

- Farrell

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