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

Hello and welcome to my author’s notes for chapter four 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 five.

If you haven’t read chapter four 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 chapter one 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!

  • Overall, I think this chapter isn’t too bad. I like that the stakes have become clear for the story, and now it feels like we can really get going.
  • When I wrote this chapter, I was a little concerned about the scene break. However, after reading it again, I felt like it was okay to add here. I think it helps with the pacing—we just had a pretty intense argument in the Council Hall, so now we need to cut to where Wanyi has had time to cool off, is moving a bit slower, etc.
  • I love the idea of bonding with a dog and having its emotions affect yours. Who needs antidepressants when you could just feel the joy a dog feels when its master comes home? I already feel great when our dog greets us. Adding her own happiness on top of that would be even crazier.
  • Last week, I wasn’t confident in something I had named. This week, I’m proud to say that I love the name, “The Enchanted Shanty.” It ain’t much, but for some reason it just makes me smile a bit each time I write it down. It feels silly, but not too silly. Fantasy, but not too video game-y. I don’t know, man, it just feels good.
  • I’m also excited to start getting some more personal interactions with the other races of Lun. Hopefully I’m not overdoing the Montililun eye color changes. This’ll probably be something I need an editor’s help with. I can almost always make an argument to add another one in for every action/piece of dialogue, but I know it’ll probably get to be cumbersome after awhile.
  • The introduction of Meisun’s Band is a little awkward. I don’t want to throw a bunch of names out there if I don’t have to. Maybe adding a sentence like, “Wanyi couldn’t keep track of all their names” would be helpful.
    • Even so, I think their coming and going is pretty abrupt. They come in, Wanyi just says his one bit, and then they all leave. I want it to be clear that Meisun and Fahyo aren’t on their own, but this interaction feels a little hollow to me.
  • On the flip side, I really like the twist of Ramreunya using propaganda to sway public opinion, and the surprise that he has already started. I studied advertising and communications in college, so I’m glad I can put that to a tiny bit of use here in this fantasy setting (not really, I mostly learned about block printing from Wikipedia).
    • I also think that it would be fun to get some art done of this handbill and put it in a print edition of the book. So, I mean… If you’re reading this and you’re interested in making something… Let me know :)
  • I’m a little worried that Wanyi’s abrupt exit from the shop feels… well, abrupt. However, I think I also like the juxtaposition between his mounting anger at his enemies being several steps ahead of him and his controlled, polite, “Good night, miss Meisun. Welcome to Shanshia.” It’s one of those scenes that plays out like a movie in my mind, and I hope it was that way for you, too.

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 four yet, you can do so here. That’ll make this whole post make a lot more sense.

If you’d like to support the work I’m doing here, you can buy me a coffee here. Or, if you’d like to become a monthly supporter, you can do so by becoming a paid subscriber on my website. Whatever floats your boat. I’m grateful either way. See you soon!

Until next time!