Today’s guest post is brought to you by K.S. Villoso, author of “The Agartes Epilogues”, and talks about the editing process.
Editing a Character-Driven Novel
I write character-driven epic fantasy, which I’m not even sure is a legit sub-genre or anything (although I’m a little ignorant about genres and rely on my friends to correct me all the time). But suffice to say that my stuff revolves around characters: their thoughts, aspirations, challenges, relationships, and how all of these fit into a plot. Sort of like if Game of Thrones actually gave up and realized it’s an Asian soap opera (but with just as many wars and killings), that sort of thing.
The editing process, of course, is similar to others’: in a nutshell, I’ll outline, I’ll create a first draft, then do as many drafts as it takes until I get sick of the whole thing, throw it at my editors, cave in to their suggestions, and then polish it one final time.
But it’s a lot more complicated than that. I don’t, for example, have a very rigid outline. I have several outlines: I may have a summary of the story with regards to character motivations, a plot outline detailing important events, a chapter outline, etc. And then I embark on what I call an organic process of writing, wherein the manuscript dictates everything. I use the outlines as a blueprint, but if the manuscript decides we have to go a different route, I will scrap everything I have up to that point and re-outline again.
I do this because of the “character-driven” part. Because I write very closely from the characters’ point of views (a limited third person POV where the character’s thoughts weave into the narrative), the story can only unfold as they see fit. I have had characters pretty much change their importance or role mid-story; I’ve had characters decide they’re better off dead, and others that they’re better off alive (at least, for a little longer). These can come about because of a number of different things—usually though because of an interaction they have that suddenly tells me there’s a lot more to their story than the outlines would indicate.
When I edit, of course, I already have a finished manuscript. So one of my many tasks is to do a sweep, to make sure that every character is consistent with their motivations and personalities. Since I already “know” where they’re heading towards, I can refine their scenes to better give the reader an idea of what they’re all about. The characters are the driving force in my stories, and everything around them—including the plot—is supposed to paint a picture of what’s really happening deep inside.
About the Books
Series Title: The Agartes Epilogues
Author: K.S. Villoso
Genre: Epic Fantasy
It has been years since his brother’s accident. Kefier was only just beginning to live a normal life–at least, as normal as it could get for a mercenary from a run-down town. And then an errand goes wrong and he finds himself holding his friend’s bloody corpse. Already once branded a murderer, he is pursued by men he once considered friends and stumbles into the midst of a war between two mages. One bears a name long forgotten in legend; the other is young, arrogant Ylir, who takes special interest in making sure Kefier is not killed by his associates. The apex of their rivalry: a terrible creature with one eye, cast from the womb of a witch, with powers so immense whoever possesses it holds the power to bring the continent to its knees.
Now begins a tale with roots reaching beyond the end of another. Here, a father swears vengeance for his slain children; there, a peasant girl struggles to feed her family. A wayward prince finds his way home and a continent is about to be torn asunder. And Kefier is only beginning to understand how it all began the moment he stood on that cliff and watched his brother fall…
Enosh, apprentice to one of the richest merchants in the Kag, is secretly heir to a broken line of mages. Because of The Empire of Dageis’ quest for sources of the agan–the life-source that mages use for power–his people have been reduced to scavengers, his culture diminished to a speck in the wind. For more than ten years, he has helped raise a conjured beast to use as a weapon against the Dageians. But Enosh’s plans are falling apart. A powerful enemy has escaped and Enosh needs to capture him before he reaches Dageis. His quest is further complicated after he finds himself used as a pawn by Gasparian nobles.
On the other end of the continent, Sume, daughter to a Jin-Sayeng hero, must return to her roots to save her country and bring honour to her father’s name. To do this, she must befriend a prince and understand the terrible, corrupting nature of power and the reason her father was driven to walk away from it all those years ago…
Meanwhile, Kefier, Enosh’s agan-blind brother, is forced back into a life of violence. As he struggles with the notion that hands, once bloodied, never stay clean for long, he finds himself occupied with an unexpected burden: his own brother’s daughter.
The battle at Shi-uin has left scars. The rise of Gorrhen yn Garr to power seems unstoppable. As nations fall, the lines between love and duty become blurred and Kefier, Sume, and Enosh must learn to live with the choices they have made.
K.S. Villoso was born in a dank hospital on an afternoon in Albay, Philippines, and things have generally been okay since then. After spending most of her childhood in a slum area in Taguig (where she dodged death-defying traffic, ate questionable food, and fell into open-pit sewers more often than one ought to), she and her family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, where they spent the better part of two decades trying to chase the North American Dream. She is now living amidst the forest and mountains with her family, children, and dogs in Anmore, BC.