One of the most common statements when someone's talking to a writer about fantasy is; "it's been done." Meaning, we've had stories about dark elves, pale elves, well tanned elves, long yarns about McGuffins (think One Ring), about the birth of one hero after another and so on.
Well, after nearly burning out from Science Fiction, I needed another outlet for a while, so I wrote a really short piece called "Brightwill" where a pair of thieves risk life and limb to steal food. Low and behold, I felt better, I had new ideas for Fantasy and Science Fiction (Spinward Fringe specifically), and so I went back to SciFi for a while and made marvelous progress.
By Boxing Day the urge to go ahead and write a short, one shot Fantasy novel was nigh undeniable. So I started working on the Sons Of Brightwill on January 1st. It's become an adventure in "doing it differently" as I stay the hell away from having this book focus on the "rise of a hero" or the "quest for the dreadfully dangerous or holy [fill in the blank]" - it's been done, after all.
Instead, I decided I'd stretch my legs and write a book about two characters with few prospects trying to live in a world where anything is possible, but everything they want is just out of reach.
I'd be lying if I said I took a break from Science Fiction. I've actually written more for the Spinward Fringe series this month than I did in December, and refined a lot of important points in the last two books of the Rogue Element Trilogy. If it weren't for the break I've had with Sons of Brightwill, I believe the work I'm doing with Spinward Fringe wouldn't be nearly as good.
Back to the Sons of Brightwill for a minute. In this short novel I'm telling the story of two poor brothers who are alone in a world that is rife with magic, noble houses that control the masses and more religions than anyone would care to count. They're a resourceful pair, but have terribly mixed luck. We join them just as that luck is about to turn for the worst, as one of them, exasperated beyond reason, decides to show his displeasure at the treatment of poor folk by throwing a stone at a full fledged Knight Captain. The Sons Of Brightwill is a one shot novel.
The book is going out to beta readers and my editor on Monday, so the work on Brightwill isn't finished, but I'll be back to writing Spinward Fringe full time next week while I wait for results. I certainly hope they enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I'll share some of the first impressions when they come in.