Lord of Columbia, Trilogy I: The Trilogy that Almost Wasn’t

It’s true. The Lord of Columbia trilogy was almost one huge book. Northern Knights is 385 pages. Swords of Destiny, 364. Missing in Columbia was roughly 323, and Book I in Trilogy II, Raven’s Flock, is a shade longer. My original intention was to write four to five books, at least 900 to 1,100 pages in length.

Thank goodness I do research because I don’t think anyone in their right mind would’ve read a book consisting of four-figures from a rookie author.

Note to all rookie authors: Don’t write a book over 1,000 pages. I’m not saying you won’t sell, but the odds of doing so are far lower. Would you read a 1,000-page book from a rookie author?

I wouldn’t.

So, I had to do some improvising without having to plan for a gigantic text that would’ve cost Amazon about $20 to make in print-on-demand. I also had to do some improvising to save myself a lot of heartache, because it’s not easy to market a four-figure book to anyone.

Here’s another example: Did you enjoy seeing four-figure books while in school?

I know I cringed.

I still cringe.

I worked backward, so sit back and enjoy the story of the trilogy that almost wasn’t.

Northern Knights

The first book in the Lord of Columbia Series went by The Lost Book as a working title. The Series’ name at the time was Once.

While I wrote the first few drafts of Northern Knights, I initially wanted to make the book much longer; around 500-600 pages. Clearly, I didn’t do enough research to learn my lessons, so I went ahead and wrote a 180,000-word manuscript.

Some of what I cut out in the first drafts of Northern Knights were as followed:

1. Multiple points of view. Initially, Cain, Taj, Adam Syndari, Lira, and Blaze all had scenes where they were the principal character. Upon further research and review consisting of how rookie authors should construct their first novel, I eliminated all points of view except for Cain’s.

2. I eliminated at least 80% of backstory. In the first drafts, Adam Syndari’s point of view was just as important as Cain’s, and I told much backstory through this point of view, of how Adam Syndari came to be. Instead, I left in just enough backstory for the reader to know how the events led up to Northern Knights.

3. I changed names to better reflect the characters’ personalities. Cain’s initial last name was Robinson; Syndari was initially Mattheos, which are both twists on my own family names being Matthews on my dad’s side and Robertson on my mom’s side. I felt the names were generic and non-descriptive.

4. I coined the term Stoicheion from the Greek word Stoicheia. The special Swords in the Series didn’t have an actual name, which again I felt was far too generic.

Becoming a Ferocious Self-Editor

While editing the Series, I still felt it lacked pop. Who would read this work?

Too many state of being and helping verbs, adverbs, dialogue tags, telling, narration, the story was a mess and I knew this in my heart of hearts.

The plot was compelling, and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it; my beta-readers loved it and gave me appropriate pros and cons.

Way too many grammatical errors that Amazon would’ve been sending me email notifications to edit the book.

I wasn’t about to take that risk despite the number of holes in the text.

There was also no way I could afford a decent editor.

So, I discovered the Jerry Jenkins’ Writer’s Guild, which completely changed my writing.

Almost everything my gut told me was wrong with the text was wrong with the text.

Just like I listed above, except there was more.

Resist the urge to explain. Omit needless words. Minimize dialogue tags. Eliminate words like that, very, only, and any form of weak writing, such as double adjectives, stage direction, on the nose writing.

This was in November 2017.

My work was cut out for me.

2018: A Year of Change

In late 2017, I wrote the first drafts of Swords of Destiny and Missing in Columbia, then known as Heart of the Forest and The Gaiain Order, following Jenkins’ teachings.

Meanwhile, Northern Knights was still in shambles, and a 2018 release date was looking bleak.

I also wanted to make sure the Series’ (now known as Days of Gaia and later Age of Columbia) plot lines stuck together with zero plot holes, so I edited the three works in cycles, focusing on Northern Knights more than the other two.

The Series itself was coming together, as the one original work of three parts became three separate works.

But if I wanted the Series itself to succeed, I had to make a sacrifice I never thought I wanted to make.

With any business, and I mean any business, monetary investments are needed more than anything else.

As I continued editing the work well into June 2018, I knew I had to take a hiatus from a career I never thought I’d ever leave, and later in 2018, I left my job as a personal trainer.

I had nightmares, and I mean hell-driven nightmares, of being enslaved to a time clock once more, where I could no longer make my own work schedule and work a rather stress-free job.

While training paid well, it was a full-time business within itself and writing was a childhood dream of mine. Training was a high school dream, but I wanted to deviate to the lesser-traveled path and pursue the childhood dream.

Few people do. Very few people do.

I wanted to be part of the few who did. Maybe the world would be a happier place if we all at least had a chance to pursue such dreams; pursue what we loved, and pursue what we found purpose and fulfillment in.

Don’t get me wrong; I want to get back into fitness and training. I need to get back into fitness and training, but I also want to give my works the best chances to succeed.

And I know that I can earn passive income via writing and active income training, which is why I decided to release the Lord of Columbia Series and put my heart and soul into it right now.

I’m twenty-seven, so the dreams are definitely still alive. While I’ve since returned to the time clock and working an ordinary, everyday job, what keeps me going is the dream of becoming something more than just a bar puller. It’s funding something great, so I close this article with this advice to anyone aspiring to be what they wanted to be while growing up:

Just because you’re not where you want to be now doesn’t mean you’re going to stay where you are. Look ahead at that barrier and bust it open.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *