Today it begins: Unfated, a serial epic I’ve been constructing for the better part of thirteen years. It tells the story of a world riven by the battle over human will. (One much like our own, at that.) Are we driven by Fate? Or are we free to make our own decisions?
In the world of Unfated, Fate is no abstraction; it’s a supernatural entity that guides most people from the moment of birth. A small faction of humanity, however, rejected this pact with Fate, choosing exile over submission. But are the Unfated any freer than those who consider themselves Blessed by Fate? As the stench of musket smoke fills the battlefields of this world, four characters, two from each side of this ancient divide, find themselves forced together to seek the answer to a timeless question:
Who plays god in a godless world? Man? Or Fate?
How can you know whether you’ll enjoy reading Unfated? Well, here’s a quick list for your perusal. (Because everyone loves lists, right?) If you like any of the following:
- Game of Thrones
- Murder mysteries
- ’90s Britpop
- Romances in which two people initially can’t stand each other but inevitably fall in love
- H.P. Lovecraft
- Post-apocalyptic wastelands
- Friendly monsters
- Women on top
- Thomas Dolby
- Indiana Jones-style romps through ancient ruins
- Dragon meat
- Frontier justice
- Arguments over Fate vs. free will
- Extreme body modification
- Moral ambiguity
- Tales of unlikely companions thrown together to undertake incredible journeys
. . . Chances are you’ll dig Unfated.
And to find out what exactly I’m talking about when I call Unfated a “serial epic,” read on.
A quick Unfated Q&A:
Unfated is a serial epic. But what does “serial epic” mean?
It means that, rather than publishing a handful of mammoth tomes, each edition separated by years, Unfated will emerge as a series of shorter books, with new releases appearing every three months.
You just said each new release would be released every three months, but I see there are three book available now. What gives?
Shortest possible answer: The first three books are ready now, so why wait?
You call it a “series of shorter books.” How “short” are these shorter books?
Not very! Each will clock in at around 150-200 pages. So think of The Great Gatsby, but switch out the young, rich, and reckless inhabitants of West Egg for musket-toting guerrillas and Lovecraftian monsters. Trust me: you will not feel cheated out of your $.99.
OK, but why do this?
I love huge, epic novels, but I’ve found that fewer and fewer people have time these days to pour themselves into a doorstop-size book and give it the full attention it deserves. Maybe the modern reader is served better by releasing an epic this way—each book short enough for a busy person to get through in a few days or a week, the updates coming often enough that the reader hasn’t lost track of (or interest in) what’s happening when the next book drops.
I also think the dramatic tension is improved when producing shorter books even as they form a larger whole. Writing serially forces me to tighten up my narrative—in a good way. You the reader might tolerate the kind of “Oh look, the protagonists are still crossing the Wastes of Woe” filler chapters that populate so many hulking novels when you’re on page 536 of 1,200 . . . but you won’t (and shouldn’t!) when you’re devouring a couple hundred pages at a time. In the end, I think publishing Unfated serially will improve your reading experience, my writing, and the story as a whole.
We’ll see. This is an experiment, and like all fictional experiments, it might blow up in my face. But on the other hand, it might give me superpowers. Here’s hoping.