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

Hello and welcome to my author’s notes for chapter seven 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 eight.

If you haven’t read chapter seven 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!**

  • This chapter is a beast. At almost 4,000 words, it’s about double the length that I shoot for in my chapters. So far in The Emperor’s Dream, I think average chapter length has surpassed 2,000 words, but that’s my benchmark. It’s not a hard and fast rule that I hold to, though, but it’s a helpful guideline for me.
  • Chapter seven gives us our first look at the land outside of Shanshia, which I think is fun. Wanyi flies north over the grasslands until he gets to the Nanshi Forest. It feels like we’re getting a bit of an adventure.
  • I hope that most of this chapter feels like it has stakes. Wanyi and Yishan are creeping through the forest doing recon. Being seen could have undesirable consequences.
  • I’m a little concerned that when I say they came across a group of Hetanzou soldiers, people might forget that Hetanzou = Tohk. For Hukan, it’s easy to remember because the name of the race and the shortened name of the country are the same. And for Montililun, they live in the Mon Empire, which is also (I think) fairly logical. The Hetanzou used to be the Het Kingdom, but Ramreunya renamed it to the Tohk Empire. But so far, each nation is homogeneous, which is part of what Ramreunya wants to change.
  • Here is your first look at beastmasters in action. Please hate them :)
  • Yes, the soldiers are basically working at making Lan Banti cannons out of those trees. The bigger the piece of wood, the more Banti it has, and the more it’s possible to use at the same time.
  • One thing I notice as I step back and look at my writing as a whole is that many of my paragraphs are about the same length (other than dialogue). I’ve heard that you should vary paragraph length to keep things interesting, and I do sometimes have one-liners, but it seems like most of them are 3–4 lines on my Google Doc. Probably 3–5 sentences. Does it feel monotonous at times to you?
  • I don’t know if it comes as a twist that Ramreunya isn’t going to play fair, but I like escalating the problem here.
  • Surprise! Fahyo is back. You didn’t think we were done with those Montililun traders, did you? We even get a glimpse at the effects of the third magic system, Lan Mhong. More to come.
  • Fun fact, the idea to have Wanyi win the fight by using Lan Banti came post-outline. But once I wrote it, I realized to explain how Lan Banti worked before the fight. If I got into the technicalities here, it would’ve bogged down the scene. Thankfully, I had a previous chapter that was short of my 2,000 word wordcount goal, and I could make it work. Thus the scene of Wanyi practicing Lan Banti in his study was born.
  • I feel like the last conversation between Wanyi and Ban seems a little jerky. I wanted to communicate that Lan Kuanghi does have a cost, in that it tires the beasts out after awhile. This is what makes beastmastery so bad. Beastmasters bond beasts against their will, stealing their strength until there’s nothing left.

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 seven 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!