Notes Of A Storyteller: A Storm of Romance

Welcome to the first Notes Of A Storyteller. Every Friday, I’m going to share one thing with you that I’ve learned while writing The Kingdom: The Quest.

Love is one of the biggest lessons I’ve had. It didn’t have a role in The Kingdom Trilogy at first, but along the way it became essential to Arman’s story.

Which is funny, because when I first brought it in, it was for the dumbest reason imaginable. I started The Kingdom: The Quest when I was a daydreaming 14-year-old. That had its advantages and its disadvantages. One of the disadvantages was shallow thinking. As I wrote about my protagonist, I started concocting a love story for him. Because all good adventure stories have a romantic subplot. Duh.

It really was “Duh”. That was about all the critical thinking skills I had then. I took a piece of paper and titled it “The Loves of Arman”. And I was off. There would be one woman who had his heart, one who was trying to tempt him, another who fell in love with him, and another who Arman would be in love with…

I don’t know where I was going with that. There was a vague, fuzzy picture in my head of Arman as a great, masculine hero in a storm of romantic conflicts. Mainly I was interested in all those women sighing for him.  When I started working with The Kingdom seriously, I pierced through the picture and realized it was cheesy, and it wasn’t going to work. At least one girl character had to go. The focus had to be on the fight with the Nameless One.

I ran into a problem, though. The focus was indeed the fight with the Nameless One. But I had also realized that if I wanted to make The Kingdom authentic, it could not be merely that. Dozens of fantasy authors have tread this ground: the war against an ancient, spiritual enemy.

To set myself apart, I found myself focusing on the characters. Specifically, I focused on how evil they were. From then on, everything in The Kingdom Trilogy began to tie together. There are important subplots between Arman and his friends. As the Nameless One grows more dangerous, their frailties grow more dangerous too. When they don’t address these frailties, the consequences are dire.

When I took that step with the book, I decided to keep two of my romantic subplots. How can I write about sin and not write about love? In the end, it’s a horrific thing to write about the worst of people if you ignore the best. You can’t understand one side without the other. It’s the way out world works.

So I chose Eathea the temptress, and Lelana the lover and ditched everyone else on that piece of paper. Between the two of them, Arman has a lot of learning to do about love and about women. So do I. I’ve come a long way, but I don’t know the half of it yet.


Thanks for reading. If you don’t mind, I’d like to invite you to a contest I’m running. All you have to do is vote on a book cover on the post at this link. Comment on the post or on Twitter (hashtag: #diebythesword). One random winner gets a $10 Amazon gift card.

If you don’t feel like that, I invite you to comment below. If you’re a writer, do you have a WiP with romance in it? Are there romantic subplots you had that you decided to cut? Why did you cut them? Did it help you? I love hearing other storytellers share their wisdom.


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