Friday, July 27, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Making of a Trilogy by Tim Marquitz

Tim Marquitz is an author that doesn't need any introduction around these parts, but you can always check his interview from a few months ago to learn a bit more about him. Probably more than you'd want to. I invited him to help me get back on track here on the blog, and also to share a few words of his experience so far writing the Blood War Trilogy, whose sequel Embers of an Age was released last month.

For those interested, Dawn of War which is the first in the trilogy, can be grabbed for free for a limited time. Perfect opportunity to jump on this series if it has ever piqued your interest. It's a series that has me curious mainly because I haven't read any of it yet, and it's different from other books he's written so far. So here is Tim sharing a bit of what he's learned since he began writing this Dark Epic Fantasy series. Also, don't forget the giveaway at the end of this post!

The Making of a Trilogy

Unlike a lot of authors, I’m not married to a single genre. I’m not so concerned with the concept of brand (probably to my detriment) but more so about getting the ideas out of my head, regardless of their style. I want to write, plain and simple. The Blood War Trilogy came about after I was three books into George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I loved the scope of George’s writing, the feelings he evoked so casually. He inspired me to try my hand at a more epic style of storytelling. As much fun as the Demon Squad books are to write, they’ll never see any critical praise for being great works of literature. While that’s entirely on purpose, I wanted to stretch my writing, to tell a story from a different perspective. Dawn of War was that story. Little did I know how difficult it would be to tell it right.

Caught up in the idea of epic storytelling, I made a number of mistakes with Dawn of War. While I feel the writing is strong, as is the story, there’s an almost forced aspect to it. I was writing an epic not just telling a story. I wanted to explore the world and to show the characters, and the inciting events unfolding, as it all came together. While those aspects mesh later in the book and come together as I envisioned, the early part of Dawn of War might come across as a little tedious as characters and the world is introduced. My viewpoint control was lacking. Used to a much faster paced story, I sacrificed that pacing early on for what I felt was worldbuilding.

Embers of an Age, book two in the Blood War Trilogy, benefits from the lessons I learned with Dawn of War. While the chapters in Dawn were adjusted in order to provide the bigger picture of concept, Embers was streamlined to focus on story. I stopped worrying about the trees and the dirt and moved on to hone the story I was trying to tell. Instead of a book arranged to provide well-timed action scenes, I let my instincts guide the process. I stopped writing an epic and simply started writing. The pacing came naturally after that, action driven by plot.

The biggest change between Dawn and Embers is characterization. One of my strongest suits when it comes to writing, Dawn suffered to a degree from my desire to create the world first, characters second. The writing didn’t highlight the characters like I thought it should have. Embers returns the focus to characterization. Arrin’s stubborn determination now stands out; his desire to overcome his failures can be felt, not simply read. Uthul’s guilt and uncertainty bleed through the words when in Dawn they were just a concept of the storyline. I now feel these characters whereas before they were simply constructs of my imagination.

Embers also benefits from better overall clarity. Some of the plotlines I left vague in Dawn of War are clear now. The unintentional mystery aspect of Dawn (a holdover from the Demon Squad books) has been replaced with what I hope is stronger storytelling. While I didn’t lay everything out for the reader, I tried to sharpen the point of the tale, to clarify the why of it. I realized I was obscuring a part of the story for no reason other than habit.

An Amazon review of Dawn of War hit it dead on by saying the book was wide, but not deep. I didn’t get that sense when I was writing it, but I do now. My focus on worldbuilding took away from the story in a way I hadn’t intended. That said, I feel I had to write Dawn as it was in order to progress to Embers. Dawn of War is the foundation of the world the trilogy exists in. Embers builds upon that core but it feels as though it takes a more natural course.

I understand now what I missed when I was first inspired to write the trilogy: layers. There isn’t just one aspect that makes a story epic, but several, all wrapped together and seamlessly joined together. Dawn of War had a few superficial moments of detail as I attempted to build the world without completely understanding the process I was undertaking. My vision is much clearer now.

Dawn of War was a learning experience, its lessons making Embers of an Age a much better book for my having to take a critical look at what I did wrong in creating Dawn. I’m looking forward to writing the final book in the trilogy because Embers was just as much an eye-opener for me as a writer. I can’t wait to see where the story takes me from here.


Bastard Giveaway: Embers of an Age by Tim Marquitz

So now to the good stuff, the giveaway. For US participants, we'll have 1 paperback copy of Embers of an Age and 2 e-copies of the same, and for non-US participants we'll have also 2 e-copies of Embers of an Age
Lathah has fallen.
Arrin leads a weary group of survivors from the ruins. He presses on in search of O'hra to take the fight to the Grol, but as he nears the Sha'ree homeland, an unexpected adversary bars the way.
With enemies massing on all sides, Arrin is forced to take his search deep inside the Funeral Sands. The survivors suffer the terrors of the desert as their lives and hopes dwindle by the moment. As the losses mount, Arrin wonders if the price of saving Ahreele might be more than he can bear.
Embers of an Age

Participants have to be 18 years of age or older to participate. Void where prohibited by law. Giveaway rules are subject to change. 

The giveaway is open for US and International participants (with differing prizes), and it will run from July 27, 2012 until 12:01am ET on August 11, 2012.

How to participate:
  • Once logged in to the Rafflecopter, enter your email and tell me if you're US or non-US.
  • One entry per person, or face disqualification.
  • Entries accepted until 12:01am ET on August 11, 2012.
  • 1 paperback copy of Embers of an Age for a US winner.
  • E-copies of Embers of an Age for 2 US winners and for 2 non-US winners.
  • Will have to confirm email to be considered a winner within 48 hours of August 11, 2012.
  • Additional entries may be had by following the steps provided in the Rafflecopter instructions, and only by doing those steps. 
  • Winners will be chosen by random selection using the Rafflecopter.
Good luck everyone!

Don't forget to grab your free copy of Dawn of War from Amazon or Smashwords while it lasts.

You can also buy Embers of an Age on Amazon or Smashwords.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Interesting read....what series (in your opinion) are they similar to ( as in premise or content)?

  2. I wouldn't know Sandy, haven't read them. Hopefully someone else can help you out.

  3. Nice to hear learning as you go. Cool post. Thanks for sharing. And I will get to reading it here. Thanks!

  4. Hi Sandy

    That's an interesting question, the pace and twists remind me of the Jennifer Fallon's debut series. While the characterization is a bit similar to that of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.


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