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

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

If you haven’t read chapter six 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!

  • I’m not sure about using the phrase “en masse.” After looking up, it’s essentially a loanword from French, but French doesn’t exist in Lun. It pulls me out of the narrative and back into the real world a little bit. I think it’s technically fine, but might be worth changing to avoid this problem entirely.
  • If I’m not mistaken, this is our first (brief) look at mhonglun. When I read, I love elements like this that add to the feeling of the fantasy world. They may or may not become super crucial to the plot, but it helps give the fantastic when there’s just something there that isn’t in our world.
    • I think in future rounds of editing, I will consider adding more mhonglun into scenes. For now, they’re mostly just setting details, so it’s not my primary focus on the first draft. It’s tough to keep character motivations, plot things, crucial setting things, and other less important stuff in my brain when I’m still getting words on the page.
  • I think the initial dialogue between Wanyi and Jinhua feels a bit rushed. It escalates pretty quickly and I didn’t add a ton of details about the setting, nor are there very many breaks for actions. Perhaps it’s mostly unnoticeable, but something I felt on a re-read. I want to make sure readers feel grounded in the place, and not just like these two are conversing in an empty white room.
  • As I take a step back, this entire interaction with Jinhua feels a little rushed, and maybe a little out of the blue. The context ought to be that Wanyi and Jinhua have history, and are actually really good friends. I don’t think that was setup very well prior to this. Perhaps this scene could also do some of that. At this point, I’m not sure of a good place to give that context before this scene. My concern is that without the context of a close relationship between Wanyi and Jinhua, Wanyi’s instant anger and feelings of betrayal feel a bit melodramatic. In reality, Wanyi is on edge because of the proposal, then he sees his friend talking to enemies, and his friend, rather than hearing him out, seems to already be on the side of those enemies.
    • Part of the problem is that this is intended to be a novella, which means pacing needs to be a little tighter.
  • I actually really love the ending to this chapter. I like the idea of using Lan Kuanghi to communicate with beasts and send them as messengers. I like how Yishan has trained a sparrow to fly around in a pattern to get Wanyi’s attention (because beasts can’t initiate bonds), and I like the way the sparrow talks. I think it gives a good hook to turn the page and get started on the next chapter.

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

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Until next time!