The First Draft for “Dragons in the Dungeon” is Complete

Around 1:00 am Friday morning, I turned off the computer and went to bed. I had stayed up late to finish the first draft of Dragons in the Dungeon. Although I had written the final scene twice, it still didn’t feel right. I had to sleep on it.

I woke six hours later and had a clearer image. I rewrote the last scene, didn’t like it and wrote it again. This version satisfied me. It’s the basic form I was searching for, and it officially completed the first draft of this stand-alone traditional fantasy novel.

The word count stands at 154,122. It’s roughly 431 pages (4 inches by 6 inches). It’s broken down into 33 chapters with almost all of them having a second scene. Each chapter has a title.

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Fantasy Friday Write-a-thon

Join me tonight on Twitter where I’m going to add 3,000 words to the novel I’m writing, Dragons in the Dungeon. I’m online shortly after nine o’clock, after the goats are tucked in, with tea in hand, ready to write and share my thoughts.

Currently, I have 85,639 words written about the adventure taking place in Lachspeur of Yore. My goal is 88,639 by the end of the day. I first thought the novel would be only 100,000 words, but I think I’ll need 120,000 to tell the story.

Follow me on Twitter, where I share progress of my novel writing, images of castles, dragons and such, and all things fantasy. No politics. No current day events. Nothing but fantasy. It’s my fantasy realm to escape to. The modern day doesn’t exist there.

The land in “Dragons in the Dungeon” has a name

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve named the world, the realm, the land my fantasy novel, Dragons in the Dungeon, takes place in.

After a great discussion on Twitter about naming places with lots of suggestions on how to create one and names to use, I reread the comments, scribbled down about 20 names, knocked off a few and thought about it some more.

The name of the fantasy land is: Lachspeur of Yore.

Thank you to everyone who participated. There were many great ideas floating around.

The next step is to draw the map.

“Dragons in the Dungeon” Character: Cormac

Cormac is the first character you’ll meet in Dragons in the Dungeon. After writing more than 76,000 words, I’ve gotten to know the young man fairly well. In the spirit of Dungeons and Dragons, here’s what he rolled.

  • Strength: 18
  • Dexterity: 15
  • Constitution: 12
  • Intelligence: 14
  • Wisdom: 13
  • Charisma: 10

His chosen race is human. His profession is fighter, except he’s lost his confidence. Due to lack of confidence, his charisma is poor. He makes bad decisions and doesn’t learn from them. However, he is strong and has a sharp eye.

General Characteristics

His proper name is Ryan McCormac, but he calls himself Cormac in the fantasy realm. He’s 25 years old, has brown hair that reaches his shoulders and a mixture of pale green and grey eyes.

He’s a tad selfish, looks out only for himself and avoids danger like it’s the plague undertaker.

Back Story

From what I have gathered so far, Cormac started playing Dungeons and Dragons when he was 12 years old. He fell in love with the game and gravitated to the friends who also loved it. He had a tree fort out back of his house his dad had built and every chance they got, they’d play the game there.

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Curse Words in Fantasy Novels

When writing a novel, I often don’t think about which curse words to use. Most of the time, there are none. Other times, they appear often. That’s how I write my stories: as they flow naturally.

For the characters in Northern Survival, the situation and their life circumstances had them releasing the F-bomb when under stress. Needless to say, they swore. A lot.

However, there are no modern-day curse words in my fantasy novels. There’s darn and damn because I think they’re universal and span realms. I make up these worlds, so I set the rules.

That’s not to say my characters don’t curse. They just do it in their own style.

For example, when a pony spits in Bronwyn Darrow’s face in Shadows in the Stone, he says, “The orc’s curse!”

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The Legend of Beguiled Dragon Bridge

A human lifetime ago, or maybe even longer, an evil wizard tricked a blue dragon and entrapped him in a dungeon below a mountain. He bound him in a web of magic and surrounded him with seven deadly obstacles adventurers had to defeat in order to rescue him.

The brave soul who rescued the dragon would become his master to command him as their slave. The dragon would be released from his bonds when he saved the life of his master.

The evil wizard had created the elaborate plan to gain the command of a dragon for he who controls a dragon was indeed powerful. Once the dragon was imprisoned, the wizard began the quest to rescue him, but he could not overcome the obstacles he had created and died without reaching the dragon.

Seasons passed, the moon waxed and waned, and the young grew old, but time stood still for the dragon. The mountain trapped his magic, and he could not escape. In a moment of desperation, he used his magic on the stream that flowed through the cavern, urging it to take away his grief and misery and share it with the world. Watching sparks of magic float away and disappear into the shallow cave where the water ran, he got an idea.

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Why my stories contain hauflins not halflings

More than two decades ago while researching the races in fantasy novels and in the Dungeons and Dragons game, I came upon the word hauflin. It was, of course, connected with halfling, which was connected with hobbit.

As the story goes, Dungeons and Dragons first used hobbit as a name for a race of small people. Those controlling Tolkien’s literary work didn’t like it, and the makers of D&D were forced to remove the word from their material. Instead, they opted for halfling. While Tolkien’s work occasionally used this word, no fuss was made, and halflings became a mainstay in the game.

During my research, I dug deep into history to learn more of the origins of words and fantastical beings. I wanted to tap into what Tolkien may have when he created his world, so I could perhaps put a new spin on an old idea. This led me to hauflin.

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The Curse of Lucia’s Opal

Jowsey in Dragons in the Dungeon is shocked when Etain, a women he is travelling with, starts picking the pockets of a dead man. He stops her and tells her it’s against the code. That she will be cursed: You’ll ignite the fire within Lucia’s Opal and kill us all.

Why the opal? Because the opal has a history of being bad luck. While it is the Queen of Gems, it’s also known as the Stone of Tears and Widow Maker. Only those born in October are safe to wear it and only if they buy it. If it is given as a gift, it spreads bad luck. If you’re ever gifted an opal, give something in trade, either money, a favour or an object, so it’s not a gift.

If an engagement ring holds an opal, the new bride will become a widow sooner rather than later. In the presence of poison, opals turn pale and lose their shine. This also happens when their owner dies, and that’s why they’re called Stone of Tears. Throughout the centuries, opals have been blamed for famine, the fall of monarchies, pestilence and the Black Plague.

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Fantasy Friday Night Write-a-thon

A lifetime ago, I gathered with friends on Friday nights at the Boys and Girls Club in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and sat before an excellent Dungeon Master. He was a wiry fellow, tall and lanky. Throw a cloak on him and he’d have made the perfect wizard. From 1979 to about 1987, he took us on adventures with the roll-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.

We often went on certain adventures in real life inspired by the game, and we all returned safe and sound if not a little muddy and bruised. After all, I lived surrounded by forest and when we went to our camp, which we did often enough, I went deeper into the woods, where bats filled the night sky, fairies hid in bushes and the marshmallow man lurked.

In honour of those nights of D&D, each Friday I’m hold a write-a-thon and staying up until at least midnight, tea in hand, to write. Last Friday, I shut things down just before one o’clock because we had a wicked thunder and lightning storm.

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Description for “Dragons in the Dungeon”

I wrote a description for Dragons in the Dungeon. It’s a little off the cuff. Not my usual description for a book, but this is how I’m writing the book. I want it to be fun, not typical and hopefully make you smile.

The description will probably change a hundred times before the book is published, but here it is.

Dragons in the Dungeon

Goats have proven the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence even if it is barren ground and they stand in lush pasture. Humans have a similar mentality. So it is no surprise when Ryan McCormac, long-time player of Dungeons and Dragons, stumbles upon a spell that transports him into a campaign, where he believes life will be better.

Any guesses on how it turns out? You’re right. He discovers life is no better in the fantasy realm. Sure, the ex-girlfriend isn’t there but neither are the friends he gamed with every Friday night. He quickly learns this world is actually horrible. Every day he fears for his life. The people are soulless, the landscape colourless and the magic nowhere to be found. The only way home is to find another like him and sacrifice them.

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