Monday, March 28, 2011

Choose Your Own Novella

Hi. I've been quiet here for a little while. It's been a very busy period the last week or so. Lots of things in the works! I'm glad to say I have the copy edited manuscript for The Sacred Band in my hands at the moment. I'll have to read and return it promptly, and hopefully we'll keep marching toward publication in October! I'll be mentioning some of the other things very soon...

Today, I have a question for you.

I think often about writing a novella set in the Acacian world. It would be short, contained, probably not about the large scale politics of the world as covered in the trilogy - more of an adventure story, or some side story that could happen before, during or after the events in the trilogy. There are lots of possibilities, but I'm curious about what you folks might be interested in reading about.

Whose story do you want more of? What tangent sounds like fun to go off on? Where haven't I taken you in Acacia that you want to go? Or what story might be a good starting point for people that haven't read the series?



Anonymous Niall said...

I'm more interested in a side story than an adventure story -- specifically, I'd love to read the story of a completely normal person whose life spans the events of the trilogy, and who is affected and shaped by those events, but who is not involved directly in them in any way. I'm probably going to be atypical, though!

10:55 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Interesting... I do love the potential for telling the story of a "normal person". That should be possible in a large, diverse world. Suggestion accepted. ;)

By the way, my wife answered the question by saying she would like something about the Akaran children while their mother was still alive - sort of about what there lives were really like before the chaos set in.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Jamey Stegmaier said...

It's been too long since I've read the books--it makes me wish that books had questions like this after the last chapter so the content would be fresh on my mind after reading them for the first time. I like Niall's suggestion. I think a story back in the time of the ancient wizards--perhaps about those wizards--would be really interesting too.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Ethan Iktho said...

And what about something that would give readers a better unerstanding of Hanish an Tashren when they were young (what they understood of the Tunishnevre,how they dealed with one another, etc.)

Or, even better :

Elenet. There you could try something entirely different, I think. Kind of a challenge, but why not ?

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Shawn Crawford said...

Hey David,
I like Niall's suggestion--one of my favourite sections of the Other Lands is the abduction of Ravi and Mor, farm kids from the Lakelands.

Then again, an adventure of Aliver's growing up in Talay would be cool too.

Do you intend the story for an anthology or a magazine? I've been seeing a lot more themed collections lately--Warriors, Swords and Dark Magic, Songs of Love and Death . . .


8:13 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hanish and co in the early years. Yeah, there's potential in that. And I've wondered about something with Elenet, actually...

Hey Shawn - you know one of the first ideas I had for this was about Aliver in Talay before Thaddeus shows up and brings him back into things. That laryx hunt. Some of that does get a mention in The Sacred Band, though, so I might need to look to something else.

I'd actually be writing the novella as a standalone publication - book/ebook.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

This might have relatively narrow audience interest among your wider readership, but I'd be interested to see the story behind one of the martial forms in the curriculum that Aliver and Melio were learning before the Mein invasion hit.

I've been dabbling with different martial arts on and off for a few years, and it's been interesting to see how different systems approach long forms. I think Tang Soo Do has around thirty, the so-called Shaolin-Do system probably has at least twice that many, and wing chun has just six. A lot of at least the basic Tang Soo Do forms sort of confine themselves to a square, many Shaolin-Do forms cover a lot of ground in one direction with jumps and such, and in the first form of wing chun you don't take a single step (or maybe just one, depending on your teacher).

Anyway, I was just thinking it might be fun to see an early chapter in the development of the Akaran martial tradition, and to meet one of the canonical heroes upon whom the forms are based.

9:49 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Thanks for that!

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Ethan Iktho said...

Am I mistaken, or do your question means that so far you've only written the core of the story ?

(I don't know why, but I've got some kind of an idea that quite a lot of people around the world would be happy if you just answered; "Mmh, Yes, maybe"...)

12:14 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Actually... I haven't written anything for this novella yet. I'm not sure when I will. I'm just asking here to get an idea of the things people are interested in - so that I can choose my topic with some reader input. That's why I'm open to all ideas!

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Ethan Iktho said...

I forgot something, sorry :

When I said "the core of the story", I was talking about Acacia I/II & III...

8:21 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Ah... Right. Yes, I've only written the core of the story so far.

9:42 AM  
Blogger The Andy and Jill Blog said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, this is actually a couple days early, but I would LOVE to read something on maybe a minor character bringing to the world/riding/flying one of your mythical, magical flying penguins.
Ryan Thomas

5:21 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Not a bad idea. ;)

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


First off let me say how excited I am for The Sacred Band. I really loved the first two books of the trilogy and I know that I am going to enjoy it.

As far as the novella goes; what about a tale of Dariel when he sailed the high seas or a stand alone story with the Auldek? I really loved the scene where Neptos had to watch the slave melee with Devoth. Maybe you could go into more of their culture and their way of life, focusing on just one of the Auldek warriors. Maybe Devoth when he was young or something? Anything with the Santooth I would like to read. A story about Leeka or Kelis would be really cool too. Those two are my favorite characters.

No matter what you end up doing thanks for asking for our opinions David. I really respect and enjoy your work and appreciate your openness to your readers. Can't wait to see what you give us. And you can be assured I will be picking one up the day it hits stores shelves.

Austin, Tx

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "normal person" story that Niall mentioned sounds excellent. At the same time, though, the thought of Mr. Durham lending his excellent prose to a straight up adventure piece taking place in the wilds of Acacia would likewise have me floored. Dariel's brigand days, perhaps? Another wanderer who willingly or unwillingly encounters the Santoth?

Quiet character-driven short or adventure tale, though, I'd read it either way.

- Zach H.

5:20 PM  
Blogger David said...

I'd be interested in a culture similar to the Tunish Nevrae. Maybe a side pocket of that culture that still exists in a part of the world we've yet seen. I love the idea that the world might continue on into the west of the globe in more books, with more cultures and people to show off. When I discovered book 2 with a larger map I was floored. It heightened the experience and my idea of what could happen.

I don't agree many of the commenters here on going back in time to show characters as they were when they were younger. That tact typically takes me out of the world a writer creates as I know what will happen and things don't seem to matter or count as much. I want it to expand on what I've into the future, not expand what I thought I knew.

I don't know if you've read any Joe Abercrombie but he did a novella after finishing his First Law trilogy, twice now actually with another novella appearing in the future and a planned second trilogy after that. Staying in that universe has made me more interested in his writing as it is incredibly expansive and interesting and it's a great idea. Definitely keeps me interested in everything he does.

Side note on friend and I have had pretty heated debates at work (we work for a software company) on which world is better, Yours, or Abercrombies. I say your world is stronger due to the culture and myths that expand the world internally for the characters. He goes with Abercrombie due to its graphic violence/action and more focus on the filth of battle. To each his own.

7:11 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Great ideas, folks. Thanks for them. A lot of them are in line with things I've already been mulling over. Others point me in new directions - and that's a good thing.

I won't be starting in on this straightaway, but it's nicely bubbling away on a back burner...

1:12 PM  
Blogger Hip Hop Comix N Flix said...

Well, Dave (Cuz Jeff) I am still finishing up the second book Exiles (about 50 pages to go). Anyway, not knowing how things end I will still toss in my comment. I like what they did with the Star Wars Universe. They did a story about Zombies on a ship with Clone solders. I suggest you go all out with your novella. How about a dream story or about one of Dovian past adventures with his group of pirates or maybe some sort of mad man who tries to capitalize on the war. This mad man learns how to train those Laryx animals and tries to take down a small village only to be squashed by the Mien.

That's just my quick thought. I just bought The Other Lands last night. I will have it read in time for Sacred Band.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Well, my post will probably be useless by the time... Actually I should have written something earlier but I wished to finish your second book before doing so. Nevertheless I find that you granted your readers an opportunity which is really too nice not to try and use it...

I would personally be interested in reading something about the lothan aklun.

I love your books first because you manage to keep a kind of suspense over all characters at the same time, so that when I come to the end of a chapter I often think "Damn how can you leave Dariel at this point ! ...Oh but if I remember rightly, Mena wasn't really in an easier situation when I last read about her a few chapters earlier, let me see..."
The second thing is that I am quite sure you would be able, by 200 pages or so, to make winnie the pooh kill all his silly friends without feeling remorsefull at all, convinced he has no other choice but to do so, and making us feel quite ill-at-ease because we would certainly be revolted by his act... But at the same time you would have made us come sufficiently close to the character to understand the complex emotions that led him to resort to such extremes, and to realise that judging him is actually not so simple that what you could have said at first sight...

Well, all this second part to say that I'd like to see how you would make some sorcerers, among the wisest men of their time, progressively get overwhelmed by their emotions, lose all their moral principles, and virtues, to finally become those who are now called the Lothan Aklun. And it would be for us the occasion to discover more elements about their civilisation : the bases of their magic... how do they use the words of the Giver (...if they still do so) ?, their strange architecture, their mysterious cult... how do they manage to frighten the Auldeks ? etc.
Well that's all !

Many thanks for having asked us to give you some suggestions for a novella ! Hoping that I didn't bore you too much with mine...
And of course looking forward to reading soon the Sacred Band ! :)

7:28 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Jeff, I saw that zombies episode of the Clone Wars. Fun idea. Definitely, the idea of this novella needs to be to one that does something different than what the series in general does.

And you're not late to the game at all, Thomas. I like your suggestion, too. The Sacred Band includes a lot more about the Lothan Aklun, but it's mostly backstory information. It would be another thing entirely to have it as the focus of a book.

4:12 PM  

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