90K & Bloody Death

Well, with the scene I just added to my new book, I’ve crested the 90,000 word mark, so progress is being made. My best guess is that I’m still on pace for about 140K total for the book, at least in draft form. With some good, thorough editing, I’d imagine that number will shrink. At any rate, it’s encouraging to pass another big milestone along the way to completion.

I felt I should also note for those following my progress, that despite my mini-rant from a few days ago about ‘all action, all the time’ stories (scroll down if you missed it), I’m certainly not ‘action-averse.’ The scene I just added is all about action, and there’s plenty of bloody death. Bones crunch, blood is spilled, and people die – alas!

All that to say, if I gave anyone the impression that by reading Jane Austen of late, my new series would feature heroes like Mr. Knightley and Mr. Darcy instead of heroes like Benjiah, Aljeron and Valzaan, I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. My book probably has more in common with “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” than it does with “Pride and Prejudice.” (Admittedly, I’ve not read the Zombiefied version of P&P, but the concept is fairly amusing, I must say.)

So, fear not BOTB fans and action lovers – the plot of the new series holds plenty of opportunities for battles, betrayal and mayhem.

13 thoughts on “90K & Bloody Death

  • Dear Mr. Graham,

    Please, please, tell me that you’re not going to write a book with creepy zombies or anything. Please.

    I’m glad you’re writing action.

    I have one clarification about the “all action, all the time” thing. A good book like that does not start at the top of the crescendo. It builds up. If the Hero had to encounter a set of problems that were exactly the same every time, it wouldn’t really be that interesting. So, it gets harder. And harder. And harder. And hardest. And then the main character is killed by his best friend. (hopefully the last part doesn’t happen in most books).


    PS, I withdraw my comment about reminding you to work: the bar has moved up. Good job, sir.

  • Sorry, I missed putting this on my last feedback.

    Is it oppurtunities for mayhem, betrayal, and battles (in reverse order of my rating of them), or are they planned? Often, too, I hope.

    About making a movie of your book, I have some response to others: Peter Jackson would do a fabulous job of showing the action. Yes. It would be filled with epic visuals mind-boggling beyond imagination. You could see individual hairs on a hundred Black Wolves. Listen to the music hundreds of times because of how good it is. The characters would look perfect. But would he get the heart of it? The idea that we hope for the return of our Beloved Saviour, and until then we are at war? You need a Christian film maker for that. Otherwise, you miss the whole idea of the series. I really hope you do get it made into a movie. If I ever really become a big movie maker, then I will, of course, beg Mr. Graham for a chance to turn one of his books into a movie.k

    A suggestion for a studio is to wait five years, and then ask Sherwood pictures (makers of Facing the Giants and Fireproof). Here’s why: every year, their budget is bigger by a multiple of five times. (20,000; 100,000; 500,000, 2,500,000). In five years, they will probably be a multi-billion dollar movie tycoon who can crank out ten good movies a year (if you do the math). Maybe then they can hire the sort of special-effects people needed. And the most awesome movie in the history of Christian film making will be born. Glory to God.


  • Perhaps, AtN, you’ve missed the point of my little rant. I’m aware that there are better & worse ways to make a story revolve around action, and certainly, the same kind of dilemma would be a bad call in structuring a story, as would dilemmas of decreasing challenge/danger, but my point is that I grow weary of stories where all the tension comes from conveniently spaced disasters of incrementally increasing danger. In stories like these, the improbability of the challenges faced by the protagonist is often only matched by improbability of their methods of escaping/overcoming them.

    And no, there are no Zombies in my current book. Not yet, anyway…

  • Dear Mr. Graham,

    Any book, as my friend Edmund pointed out in another message, that has improbable delimmas/disasters and more improbable solutions would be a bad read. If, however, they are unusual, but make sense flowing from the previous parts (how could a book have just usual things happen? The whole point of a novel is to be a set of unusual or different circumstances overcome in such a way as to point out a theological moral or theme), which I believe is what you are talking about, it would be a good book.


  • We’ll agree to disagree. Two things to think about, though. (1) Even if the whole point of a novel is to be a ‘set of unusual or different circumstances’ to overcome – which I’m not sure I’m ready to concede – does ‘unusual’ have to mean ‘action?’ Can’t the ‘unusual’ element that provides tension be internal? Relational? Personal? Not involve assassination attempts, earthquakes or meteors hurtling toward earth? (It was ‘action’ I was ranting about, after all, not unusual-ness.) (2) Some of the best stories I’ve ever read/watched, involved seemingly ordinary people involved in events borrowed not from the bizarre or unusual, but from the deep well of shared human experience. So, I’m not ready to concede this point.

  • Dear Mr. Graham,
    In my counter-comment to your counter-comment to my counter-comment to your counter-comment…

    Basically, I actually agree, in part, to your statement. Many movies can talk about the every day. Jane Austen novels, in fact, are written entirely based on the common place for those people in that time. But, I will note, that most ADVENTURE novels, like I assume yours is, are based on something out of the ordinary happening. Huck Finn pretended to get murdered. That’s something unusual. Treasure Island starts with pirates destroying a lonely inn. Most Fantasy books, in fact are based on the very unusual. Otherwise, they’d be set on earth. For example, in your books, Joraiem doesn’t shoot barbed arrows into a bear or raiding Viking, he shoots a cyranis-tipped arrow into a Maelkim. Very unusual, wouldn’t you agree?

    Of course, I agree that action can be internal. This is obvious: if the main character doesn’t ever face a decision, he is little better than a pinball with a name, bouncing around the buffers, slamming into the fins, and being shot out again. The Hero must face a dilemma, and show his personal beliefs by doing so. Relational issues, I think, would involve stuff like trust, duty, obedience, and, sigh… love. (I, too, amn’t a fan of romance) This too can be interesting.. if you’re a good writer of emotion. So you could do it, but I couldn’t. My books are resigned to being all about danger. Personal, too, would be much the same, although I think that would also involve sin issues and things like that.

    I think, of course, in this long series of comments, it would help to define two words, which I think we define define in a different manner. First: Action. This is the most critical. Then, “Unusual” or different. Again, important. As you are the affirmative (oops. NCFCA me. Since you are the awesome writer and elder of us two), if you could please define the definitions for further clarity in this little nice debate.

    A the N

    PS, you mentioned before that this book wouldn’t exactly be sword and cloak (traditional weapons of the medival period). What kind is it? (Maybe this time Joraiem will be loading armour-piercing rounds into a Soviet AK? Hee, hee 😉 I understand how you feel. I am writing two series: one about the medival period, and another one set 50 from now.

  • Essentially, I suspect that in the best stories, the ‘shared human experience’ and the way the writer communicates it is the heart of the stories success, not the action or the adventure, as much as those things can be entertaining.

  • Dear Mr. Graham and “Allen the Nerd” (and yes, AtN, I know who you are),

    I think there is a very easy way to solve this issue. As AtN said, it revolves around the definitions. So, I will use the definitions set forth by Mr. Graham in “Mini-Rant”. Basically, ‘action’ is violence or upheaval, lots of chunks of stone or swords and arrows flying through the air. So, a book, therefore, does not have to always have action. If it did, you would of course get very bored. Very few books can keep you enthralled with flying arrows if they never stop.

    However, I will note that “Ice Station Zebra” (the Alistair Maclean book you used the cover of, Mr. Graham, and noted was a good ‘all action, all the time’ book) has lots of ‘non-action’ scenes, at least, by the definition I just gave. There are revelations and secrets and mysteries and petty things like broken ankles.

    But, all in all, a book does not have to have all action. There are funny scenes, sad scenes, happy scenes… and, sigh, double sigh, and oh well, lovey-dovey, “I like you” scenes. Phooey. But there are all sorts of parts.

    Edmund Skye, about to be knighted… hee hee

  • 64%!!!!!!
    You are doing great. Keep up the good work. That’s two percent in two days. (Or an estimate of about 2,500 words/5 pages/.25 of a BotB chapter ;-).

    How long does it take you from first draft to published novel, or, at least, how long DID it take you for BotB 1? I would like to read the new book by, say, end of the year. No pressure or anything.

    PS, I concede to my friend Edmund’s comments. I, however, do say that it depends on your definition of action. If by action you mean some sort of something happening, of course. But I don’t think you mean that. You mean violence and Pedraal/Pedraan style smackdowns. That’s cool.

  • Mr. Graham,
    I have been following your blog very closely for several months now. I read BTS while on vacation in Florida and (big surprise) was depressed for days…After reading the other four though, I realized the importance (not to say that it didn’t still make me “mad” every time I read it:) of the ending to that wonderful book. I have now read the series eight times straight through since then (I first read it at the end of 2009), and several other times if you count the times that I read “a book here, a book there”.

    I look forward toward your next book with great, great anticipation. I have a question concerning your new book, though I realize that you may not be able to answer it. What kind/style of fighting will there be in it? Basically, what I’m saying is, will the fighting be with swords and spears, guns and grenades, or futuristic lasers? As an ending comment, I would like to tell you that your series is probably the best books I have ever read, excluding the Bible. And, not to get into the existing debate (I see merit to both sets of opinions) but I personally am the kind of reader that loves action, action, maybe a tiny bit of reprieve, then more action!!!

    Anyways, great work on the progress for your new book, and I trust and pray that it will be half as amazing as your first books.
    -Isaac, age:15

  • Isaac, I’m glad you enjoyed the series, and I hope you’ll like the new book too (assuming I sell it to a publisher and you ever get to read it…)

    As for the fighting, I think I can say there aren’t lasers or grenades. The world will feel old-fashioned in most ways, but perhaps a little futuristic in others, but not because there are computers or rockets or anything of that sort. It’ll be because energy works a little differently, so some things people can do there will be things you and I can’t do here, and that will seem ‘advanced’ even though the rest of the world might not feel that way…

    Well, that’s all I can say for now…

  • First, I would like to do something that I didn’t in my last post, that is, thank you for creating this site. Ever since reading your books, I have viewed you as an extraordinary author, but I didn’t imagine that I would be able to swap comments directly with you…

    Second, I will echo ATN’s comment from Friday, that is to say, ‘Great job, another 2% of the book is done, keep up the good work!!!

    I realize that I may never read your new book(God forbid!), but I hope and pray that He will not only enable you to finish it quickly and to do well, but also that it will be published and that I and your other fans will be able to read it.

    I would also like to make something clear…I like action. I like it in my life, and I like it in the books I read.(And I wonder why I end up reading Exodus, Samuel, Kings, etc..:) I am not so unreal, however, as to not be able to enjoy the quiet scenes and foundation building…A few hours ago I was reading BTS when Joraiem was in Peris Mil and he had his vision beside the Barunaan.(O that I had been paying attention to the signs so that I wasn’t blindsided like I was when he died in the end!) All that is to say,(probably in a roundabout way, my apologies.) that I can appreciate peace, like the longed-for peace in the end of AMHM, but I really enjoy suspense, action, and climax. A good example of the kind of reading I enjoy most is this extraordinary series (you have probable never heard of it) by L.B.Graham called ‘The Binding of The Blade’.:)

    I’ve probably already put in well over my 2cents worth of opinion and preference, so I shall stop before I write a paper instead of a comment.

    In conclusion, (I don’t know why this reminds me of a five paragraph essay…*ok, Isaac, shutup, your babbling!*) great job, keep up the good work, and I can’t wait until (Lord-willing) I have a copy of your new book in my hands.


  • ANOTHER 2%!!!!
    Good job Mr. Graham,

    I wrote my “The End” on my best (but second) novel ever just a week ago or so. How does it feel for you when you write “the end”. For me, it was cool, but I knew I still had a ton of places to fix, so it wasn’t as cool. This character says this at the end, which doesn’t make sense unless he says that earlier… and so on.

    About the “energy”, that sounds like something my friend Trey Baucham (son of Voddie Baucham, THE Voddie Baucham) would think about. So, basically, similar, in some ways, to the balls of turf flying from Benjiah’s staff in book 3, at the K-what-ever-it-is-river? Or like anti-gravity? Or maybe like some sort of flame-throwing, near-superhero, class people, only the flameballs are energyballs?

    I personally am slightly disliking the time period I’m writing in (or, rather, editing in, since I finished the book). I prefer places where it makes sense that everyone can read, and that people worship God according to the Bible (as opposed to mass). I’m writing a series in 1105, so that can’t happen. And the technology is something written with my modern knowledge of gears, levers, and motors, so the repeating crossbows are maybe a little to advanced. But, anyway, whatever works for you. Glad to know you can write the near medival period better than I. (Both of our books -hopefully both of our series, since I hope yours is more than one- are not quite medival, having some sort of slight difference…)

Comments are closed.