The Solune Prince has been a project since 2016, although inspirations for it can be pulled further back. As a novel, it promises to be grand, perhaps even exciting, but nonetheless it constantly fails to bring itself into existence.
This short essay is broken into parts. I briefly look into the history of The Solune Prince project, and into what’s currently available to read, and then…we look into the future.
Also, quick warning; for whatever reason, in writing this post I decided to use very long sentences and a lot of uncommon punctuation. It remains readable nonetheless, in my opinion.
First (and Second) of All…
What is currently available on this site is the third attempt at The Solune Prince. The original schedule was for a chapter release every one or two weeks, and I stuck to it for a long time—from June 17 – December 27, 2018—running a total of eighteen chapters, and three short “aside” chapters. Things began to unravel somewhere between chapters 12 and 16, but really, the ground had become shaky…or at least muddy, long before then; perhaps as far back as chapter four. We’ll return to that soon.
For now I want to talk about previous attempts so that I can chart a course into the future while stepping over mistakes of the past. If you want a more in-depth look at my first and second attempts of The Solune Prince, you can check out a similar retrospective blog post I made a little over a year ago, at the outset of starting the third draft.
The first draft of The Solune Prince was written spontaneously. It included some interesting lore about the Servant of Balance. The story also started on the Underside…it was a really early project that actually predates this blog. But it had a huge problem—the story not only went nowhere; it wasn’t even trying.
The second draft? That came nearly a year later, to this blog. Things were a little clearer. Elllis Elliotts became and established character, Soren’s name was changed to Lilllith (and I think her hair colour went from black to blonde but…it’s still unsettled), and a lot of the Lussa City was fleshed out. Overall it was a fairly productive endeavour.
The project had a clearer goal in mind—namely that the monarch was dead, and the heir missing. (Those two elements were carried into the third draft.) But how did the story intend on getting to these plot points? Uncertain. How it was to do a lot of things was uncertain. Frankly, it was quite a mess. Nonetheless, there’s probably some good stuff that could be extracted from it. Draft two was also the largest by far, running 25 chapters (vs the 19 of draft three, and the 3 of draft two).
So, the issue with the first two attempts was uncertainty. I concluded that this was caused by lack of planning…but was it?
Draft Three and Planning and—What Happened?
Ah yes, I had it all figured out. Outlining and planning started on April 23, 2018, nearly two months before I started writing chapter 1. But there were issues anyway! Really, I don’t want to get too deep into specifics because it isn’t the purpose of this blog, but it’s enough to say that the writing, for the most part, ignored the plans. Characters were added, events shifted, and chapters that had no place decided that they should be included. There was even the addition of Alexandre Dirge as a second point of view character.
Really, it was almost the same writing without a plan at all. There were (perhaps are) only a two or three events that really needed to happen before the narrative could finally leave the Solune capital and move towards the Underside. But, since none of them were set up in the story itself, as those events approached, the story jammed and locked up—at least, it did in my head.
I recently actually went back to my plans to see if I could use any of it. Turns out, there are a lot of pages, but there isn’t much actually there. I almost wasn’t running with a plan at all. That’s why I was stuck here, at chapter 18. For now, let’s move forward. Or rather, let’s explore how to move forward.
Really, there are a few ways that this could go. I’ll list some:
- Abruptly continue, but with the changes.
- Make changes, and write an explanatory / bridging chapter of exposition
- Go back a few chapters and fix things starting from there
- Continue, carrying along all the previous issues
An obvious solution would be to give up on this whole mess, as was done with drafts 1&2, and just start a nice fresh draft 4. But really, I don’t want to do that. You see, I’ve tried that twice already, and I always get stuck somewhere along the way.
I think the best time to restart is when you’ve finished a first draft, that way, at least there’s a trail beaten ahead of you. You have a more full picture, even if that picture is just a sketch.
Well, in the original plan for this post, I was going to go over each option one by one (as I did with “restarting”), and then make a decision. The thing is that since I created this post, more than a month has passed. I’ve already started.
Okay…What’s the Plan?
So, I’m up to chapter 22/23 [28 now]. That means I’m at over four chapters ahead of what’s present on the website. What did I do, you may be wondering? Well, I just sort of…started writing again.
The first couple of chapters were really rough. I did a lot of jamming and reworking, but I did it. Now, there is at least one thing that was altered (or may be altered) which I will have to either clarify or ignore, but for the most part, everything that’s been written already will remain as part of this draft.
I did run into a lot of issues with the sheer volume of details and characters I had inadvertently ended up including, and what to do with it all.
Should I drop Alexandre and Siren, and maybe even Astore in order to thin the party? Anyone who read draft 2 when it was still public would know that back then Chloe didn’t have a party at all; it was just her in that version. But it didn’t seem realistic.
So, in a fit of excitement, I decided to keep nearly everything. All the past, all the plans. The plans, being quite loose and shaky, will end up changing, but the philosophy for this round is maximalism. Then, when I edit, I can shear it down to size.
It also doesn’t help that I’m aiming for “realism-fantasy;” realism referring specifically to the genre of realism. Books like Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice (to and extent), and sort of the works of Whitman. Realism tends to be a little longer than other genres, and on top of that fantasy tends to be the longest of traditional genres. The Solune Prince, perhaps as a result, will be quite long.
Really, we’ll see how it goes at this point.
Think into the Future
So, let me end this by exploring where to take the project. It’s quite likely that I’ll start posting chapters of The Solune Prince again [in fact, after 6 months of nothing, I already have], but at the same time I’ve been thinking about not doing it; about holding onto this draft.
Why? Well, there’s going to have to be quite a lot of revision; especially for this project since it’s so huge. The first few chapters will almost certainly all be altered. Chapter 1/2 were mostly meant as placeholders anyway. The order and pacing might be changed, and I may yet still remove some characters. There are already six in Chloe’s group, and three Lussa, and a lot more is to be added once we get to the Underside.
But really, I think I might just continue releasing chapters as before. I might save up a large bank of work first so that I have some backup, but that’s that. In fact, that’s what’s happening right now.
I also have an idea I might try implementing on the blog version of the novel’s first draft, but more on that later.
For now, I’ll see you, hopefully, at the next chapter of The Solune Prince.
If you haven’t read any yet and are interested, here are some links: