The link below is to my GW2 blog where this is actually hosted in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB format, as it is far, far too long (well over 300 pages by now) for posting on a forum. Also, you can check out the FAQ for a bit of a primer if you want, before heading on over.
Q: What is all this? A:Thorn is a full-length Guild Wars 2 novel that's been in the works, and released chapter by chapter since August of 2012. I started it partly because I wanted to get my hand back into writing, partly to tell the story of a character that's been around for the better part of a decade in one form or other, and also as an experiment to try and transcend the fanfic/video game novel genre--to create something with a bit of actual literary merit. I daresay I've succeeded on all three counts.
To be brief, Thorn is the story of the life and personal journey of one sylvari, and hopefully told in a mature and serious fashion. It's a bit bleak and dark and funny and sad.
I blame Cormac McCarthy and Dmitry Glukhovsky for fueling my desire to begin writing again, as should you.
Q: That sounds pretty arrogant. A: That's not a question, but I'll address it anyway. I don't claim to be working on the next Great American Novel, but even as my own worst critic by far, I'm actually very proud of what's been written to date--even if I'm now unsatisfied with some of the very earliest chapters--and watching my writing develop and mature just over the space of a few, short months has been absolutely fascinating.
I've done rewrites at this point on the prologue and first chapter, but once the entire work is finished, I'll be going back to do a full rewrite with much bigger plans than I have for Thorn at the moment--but more on that at a later date.
Q: Aha, Mozu does X in chapter Y! I call Mary Sue! A: Yes, you got me. No main character is allowed to be good at anything, especially female ones. Next "question".
Q: How long is this going to be? A: As of chapter 13, we've passed the 100,000 word mark, which puts this somewhere around 325 pages--and we've still a ways to go. My guess is 400-450 in the end.
Q: You play pretty fast and loose with the lore at times--what's up with that? A: I assume you mean mainly the distance and placement of things that aren't necessarily on the game map. The entire story is--as I've said earlier--one of a personal journey, and not a retelling of the game. I thought it better to begin that story in solitude and with a dose of bleak, harsh "reality", rather than having Mozu running through Caledon forest with poorly voice-acted yahoos screaming, "MORE VIOLETS, LESS VIOLENCE! THAT'S WOT OI SAY!" at her every fifty feet or so while she performs menial tasks for every ding-dong she comes across.
So, yes, I will occasionally change or just make up bits of lore, or entire locations, if it makes for a better story.
Q: Aha, the dog's name is Ibara (thorn)! I've figured out your whole book already - the dog will save the day in the end! A: Try again--or better yet, keep reading.
Q: Bad words offend me, and there are a lot of them at times. A: Some folks just say "@$%#" a lot, and the second half seems to be a lot less profanity-laden. Also, cowboy-up.
Q: Anything else you'd like to say to potential readers? A: I'm pleased--thrilled, really--that you'd take time out of your day to head over to our humble blog and check Thorn out. I can only hope that you'll give it a chance, and enjoy reading it just as much as I've enjoyed working on it.
Any and all feedback is always appreciated, folks.
Last edited by Bearzu Smash; 04-10-2013 at 11:24 AM.
The long-overdue revised version of chapter one is now live, with plenty of rewrites and edits, bringing it quite a bit closer to, and hopefully up to par with the quality of the later writing. I'm pretty pleased anyway.
Chapters eight and nine are currently out of my hands, and with the editor--expect chapter eight on Monday the 19th.
With the great feedback from the revised chapter one, I think I'll go back and do a small amount of editing and fiddling with chapter two once I have ten--which I'm starting on today--in the bag.
Once more into the word-mines, and, as always, thanks for the support!
EDIT: FAQ updated, specifically:
Q: The prologue is written in a pretty different style than the rest of the chapters. Comment?
A: I’ll be the very first to admit that the prologue is overly dramatic and full of stilted dialogue—which I actually think matches up with the sylvari as presented in the lore and in-game quite well. There may be other reasons, as well, which don’t become apparent for quite some time.
The rest of the book? It’s more of a spy thriller and character study than anything else, and written, as the question above stated, in quite a different style than the prologue. If you enjoy well thought-out dialogue, characters with some actual depth to them, and a solid plot, then I think you’ll enjoy Thorn quite a bit. If you’re after monster-of-the-chapter-type fights and action movie banter, then, no, this probably isn’t for you.
(Not to say there isn’t combat, but it’s hardly the focus.)
Last edited by Bearzu Smash; 11-23-2012 at 03:19 PM.
In the meantime, chapter ten is shaping up to be long--probably longer than chapter six, which should push this crazy project over 70,000 words, and we’re like…halfway done? Maybe a bit beyond that? And for anyone asking “Is this story actually going somewhere?”, the answer is a resounding “yes”.
I figure one long-ass chapter will be a fine way to celebrate Thorn‘s tenth, and until then, enjoy!
Oh, and once again, to all you readers out there, you guys frickin’ rule.
It may only have been a couple of weeks or so since the release of chapter nine, but ten felt like a tough write, even though I'm very happy with how it's turned out.
The fact that it's the Wintersday chapter is actually totally coincidental (seeing as I've had the bulk of this book planned out for quite some time), but I suppose it's nice to be timely and seasonal all the same.
In any case, I'm very proud to present the tenth chapter of Thorn, A Sylvari's Tale for your perusal. Have a wonderful, gift-filled, bug-free, bug-fixed, class-balanced Wintersday, all.
If someone had told me at this time last year that I'd be close to 300 pages into writing a novel at the beginning of 2013, I'd've laughed.
Yet...here we are. I'm thrilled to ring in the new year by presenting to you, dear readers, chapter 11 of Thorn, A Sylvari's Tale.
What started off as a painful grind to even get going on it--and praying I could even manage 5,000 words--turned into, in my opinion, probably the most well-written chapter to date, and nearly twice that word count.
And, so, with the release of chapter 11, we bring Act II to a close. Stay tuned for the start of Act III, and the conclusion of Thorn!
Last edited by Bearzu Smash; 01-03-2013 at 07:04 PM.
I've never liked the prologue much--I frankly don't like the way it's written, and I think it's really, really weak compared to anything else in the book. So, what's the solution? A mostly rewritten and much shorter prologue, which I think segues much more quickly and naturally into the start of chapter one.
I know the prologue has turned off some potential readers, and hopefully they'll give it another go. For those of you who've stuck with it, you have my eternal gratitude.
(I know I may say that a lot, but I genuinely mean it each and every time. You guys make this even more rewarding than the simple joy and satisfaction I get from telling this tale.)
Not much I can say that reading it won't cover. It's long, as every chapter seems to be these days--close to twice the length of the earliest chapters, or longer--and it was an easy write, at least compared to more recent ones.
Hitting this point, though--passing the 300-page mark, starting to reveal what the hell's actually going on, ramping up the tension and action, and bringing together a lot of puzzle pieces that may have seemed sort of tertiary and pointless--is incredibly gratifying, and very, very nerve-wracking.
For everyone who's come along for the ride so far, I promise a kick-ass conclusion to Thorn, and for those still on the fence, get in the van already. We have candy.