‘The Compass Key’ is Coming


Sketch by Jason Pedersen

Sketch by Jason Pedersen

Legends of Windemere: The Compass Key will be debuting this Friday, so we’re about to kick off the fun of Hype Week!  This is the 5th book of the series, which brings up a few interesting aspects of the long saga.  A trilogy has a clean beginning-middle-end, so things get tricky when you go beyond that.  You run the risk of repetition, staleness, readers losing interest, and how to fit new characters into the mix.  All of this makes the 5th book a milestone that needs to be a ‘Refresher’.

First, keep in mind that for some readers, you will fail to refresh your series.  I’m saying this right off the bat because we all know you can’t make everyone happen.  So don’t get upset when it looks like things are taken a slow downturn.  You should be seeing the first book selling too, which means people will make their way to the 5th.  As long as you don’t rehash too much, you’ll be fine.

There you have another issue: continuing, ending, and beginning subplots.  Some of the most vocal people will be saying how they want old plots to end.  So here is where a few can be closed up, but create new ones to help with the continuing series.  For example, a few subplots will come to a close in The Compass Key and some will take a twist to keep them going.  There will be new subplots too thanks to the addition of a new character and the increased activity of a few older villains.  Aspects of the game will change and foreshadowing for future events will occur here.  For anyone who read the Stephen teaser next week, you might have a good idea of what will happen.

Now, people will say that you HAVE TO kill off some heroes at this stage.  I won’t say that I will or will not do so.  All I will say is that this isn’t a necessity and you can get away with creating a change to them instead.  Sure, a death can cause a major quake throughout the story, but you need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.  Don’t do this because fans want it or you want to shock them.  Do it because it is right for the story.  At the very least, don’t kill off a main hero, publish, and realize that you just crippled your main plot.

The Compass Key will kick the Champion Prophecy into high gear by introducing a new aspect to it.  Some people may find it interesting and others will groan, but that’s the risk here.  You need to implement the growth inducing events and tests for the heroes at some point in a heroic fantasy.  This is where the conclusion of some plot lines comes into play because you don’t want to be juggling too much.  There are various ways to do this, but I’ll admit that I went the action route.  The Compass Key is much higher in action than the previous books with a ton of battles that help these young heroes grow.  Part of this is because the champions that have gathered haven’t quite mastered fighting as a full unit and the villains are trying to take them down before this happens.  A helpful suggestion to anyone who goes this route: Make your heroes weary and strained if they leap from one fight to another.

The key point of a book like this is the energize everything.  I’ve given a few examples, but it always comes down to the path you want to take your series on.  What works for me, might not be good for you.  As long as you refresh the energy by trimming the old stuff that has run its course and adding fresh items, you’ll do fine.


About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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8 Responses to ‘The Compass Key’ is Coming

  1. Glad I don’t have any more than three books planned for the series. Good advice though


  2. elainecanham says:

    I’m having difficulty with one at the moment! I find structure is the hardest thing to get right. Good luck with your fifth.


  3. All excellent points. And I would add, follow your own vision for what the series is. Writers can’t write by fan demand. It’s too much like working with a committee.


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