When Stories Grow

by Bruce Blake


WHEN SHADOWS FALL (The First Book of the Small Gods)

WHEN SHADOWS FALL (The First Book of the Small Gods)

As I write this, I’ve just finished the pre-planning for And Night Descends (The Third Book of the Small Gods). The second book (The Darkness Comes) is with the editor and it was time to forge on. For those of you who haven’t read When Shadows Fall yet…first of all–shame on you…the story follows a number of storylines (7 in the latest books) and even more characters, so my first step is to do a quick sketch of  where the story will go. It’s nothing too major, just the guidelines that will lead to the outline, but it serves as the bones of the story.

Today, it scared me a little .

My own stories typically don’t intimidate me, but one storyline seems to have taken an abrupt left turn I wasn’t wholly expecting. Even that’s not so bad, but the trouble is: I don’t have any idea how it can possibly end up reconnecting with the other storylines. I’ve had similar things happen before in my writing and taken joy from it; my thinking is that if I don’t know where it will go, that should be a good sign the reader won’t either…always a good thing.

This time, however, I’m worried the direction it’s going may have added another whole book to the series.

So the question becomes: do I write the story as planned, or do I re-think it to keep it from growing out of control?



I lean toward the former. I prefer stories to grow organically rather than force them into places they weren’t intending to go. At the same time, I’ve kind of been expecting this series to run to six books and don’t want to end up doing a Robert Jordan on it. Who has the patience to either read or write a series of 10+ books?

In the end, I’m confident I’ll write the story as it needs to be written, but it caught me off guard when I found out where Teryk was headed off to. Dilemmas and dead-ends tend to sort themselves out the more times a writer’s fingers punch those little lettered keys, so that’s probably what I’ll do.

What would you do, fellow authors? Have you ever scared yourself?


Bruce Blake is the author of almost nine books, all of which he loves dearly and wishes more people would buy. If you’d like to help his Christmas wish come true, you can find his books here, here, here, or here. If you don’t feel like spending the money, you can also check out some free samples here, or find out more about Bruce here.

Happy Holidays!


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