Author's Notes: The Emperor's Dream Chapter Two

Hello and welcome to my author’s notes for chapter two of The Emperor’s Dream! These shorter notes are my reactions to the chapters that I have posted, as well as some fun facts about the writing process. So if you like peeking behind the curtain, or if it’s helpful to hear how another writer looks critically at their writing, read on! If that’s not your cup of tea, don’t sweat this one. See you next week with chapter three.

If you haven’t read chapter two yet, you can read it here.

If you just saw “The Emperor’s Dream” and you had no idea what I was talking about, no worries! It’s my ongoing epic fantasy novella that I’m sharing a chapter at a time here on my website. You can read it here. These are first drafts only, so the final published version might change a little or a lot, but hopefully you either enjoy or learn something from seeing the process.

Now on with this week’s author’s notes!

  • I’m a little concerned about info-dumping in this chapter. I think Wanyi would realistically explain to Ban who Ramreunya is, but I might rework the way he does it.
  • Side-note, I realized that I thoroughly enjoy writing Ban’s voice. I didn’t really think about it beforehand, but I like the way he speaks simply and politely. “Friend Wanyi” :)
  • Another thing I'd like to keep working on is making my descriptions more active. I use “was” a good bit when describing the Council Hall, and I've noticed myself doing it as well in later chapters as I'm writing. I don't think there needs to be a zero-tolerance policy for the word “was”, but using a more active voice more often is probably better. Editors, help me out here please!
  • Say hello to Yishan. I love the word “spymaster”—it always evokes a feeling that puts me squarely in fantasy.
  • Again, I'm a little nervous about info dumping when explaining who Tukharen, Samyi, and Kaoghi are. Like I said in the author notes for chapter one, Wanyi is already a pretty capable guy, and he already knows people. So it's a little more difficult to not info dump than if Wanyi was a standard young hero just learning about the world for the first time. In those stories, the protagonist and the readers learn at the same pace, and you can really show that progression. For a character like Wanyi, he's already on it and the readers need to catch up a bit. And at this point, it feels important for readers to understand who these three are and what their relationship with Ramreunya is. Hopefully this is mostly just a problem with the beginning of the book. I think a little more exposition at the beginning is tolerable but obviously tastes vary.
  • Now we get to the Council Hall proper. I like how the description is given through Wanyi's perspective. He notices things in relation to how they were when he was a kid. He didn't just see stone walls, but stone walls that used to be paneled with wood in a warm, inviting Hall. This is my favorite way of reading descriptions, but it can be hard to do at times.
  • My biggest concern with this scene is the names. There are nine chiefs here, and each of them gets a bit of screen time. It felt like I needed to name each of them rather than tokenizing one or two and effectively saying, “And there were also some others there who looked basically the same and watched everything quietly without doing or saying anything.”
  • Props to Kuozai the Wolf chief for having epic chest feathers (yes, Hukan people have feathers instead of hair everywhere)
  • I realize that I talk about the Het Kingdom a lot, even though it no longer exists. It's just important because it has had a massive impact on what the Hukan Clans have become, but that's all I'll say about it here.
  • I’m not sure I love the ending to this chapter, as it’s really similar to the end of chapter one. In the future, I might rework where I put the chapter break. I was hoping to keep a similar word count between chapters, but I ended up with a few outliers in later chapters already, so it might be okay to include the whole Council meeting in chapter two rather than splitting it between chapters two and three.

I think that’s all for this week, friend! What questions do you have? I’d also love to hear your feedback. Let me know your thoughts!

And again, if you haven’t read chapter two yet, you can do so here. That’ll make this whole post make a lot more sense.

Until next time!