(updated June 7, 2013 – oddly enough, this was originally posted June 7, 2012)
So what is a vergrinn and what is a vergrinn war?
Well, I think I covered it in an early post, but here’s a recap:
A good friend of mine (Dr. Shawn A. Fisher) was going to run a GURPS campaign (he’s been doing that for years – that’s how he ended up writing books for SJ Games as a part time gig) and he wanted a new “bad guy” to challenge us with. I came up with the idea of a less intelligent, slower, stronger, upright wolf creature and took some linguistics website he was using for his campaign material and tried to “grow” one of the words in another direction for the species name. The vergrinn were born.
The Vergrinn War
Shawn had his bad guy and we had our campaign. Two of the characters in that campaign were Amundr (nicknamed Mundi) and Saegrimr. They were young and they were best friends, but there the similarities to the characters in the book end. They went on a journey (though not like this one) and encountered vergrinn, and emerged
alive victorious at the end. They were put on a shelf but never forgotten, as happens with most good characters eventually.
As the Beatles sang, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, La La La La life goes on. Shawn went off in pursuit of higher education and his dream job. (He recently received his PhD and is a professor of History – mission accomplished) The rest of our little GURPS group wondered what to do. We discussed having one of the remnant run a campaign, but that seemed intimidating at first. While these discussions rolled, I imagined running a campaign where a small town on the frontier was overrun by the long absent and legendary vergrinn. The heroes would be youngsters, who would be tasked with guiding other youngsters to safety as they fled from danger to danger and eventually reached a town where they could drop off their charges and be sent on their merry way. There was one particular plot device for their initial escape from the town that I loved very much and will incorporate into the third book. Needless to say, I never ran the campaign. The ideas bounced around in my head for five years or so before I started committing them to non-biological electron form in January 2012.
Once the story started bouncing around in my head, I realized I had to put it on paper (O.K., in a Word document) for several reasons:
- To see if I could. Everybody wonders whether they really could sit down and write a book, don’t they?
- To see how the story went. It’s kind of like the Health Care Reform thing, we have to complete it to see what’s in it, right? Piece of fiction written by an amateur compared to a fundamentally transformative piece of legislature. Seriously, some times when I started writing, things just went in a completely different direction than what I intended. I was typing along in Chapter Thirteen of Book One and I fully expected to lead the men straight back to Eyjolf the next day for a big climactic battle when I found myself typing “It was the third watch of the night when everything went wrong.” Suddenly chaos ensued.
- To highlight important themes. Whether those themes are good versus evil, love, honor, courage, self-sacrifice, servant-leadership, or anything else that I have here, I think it is worth honoring. There is so much out there that is the antithesis of this.
- To write “decent” books. I wanted a book that I could let my kids read without worrying about sex, drugs, cursing, or so many other things that are pushed on kids way too early. I vowed to keep those out of here.
As for the number of books and their story lines, I had a rough outline of the five book series finished before I finished Book One. I had a slightly more detailed outline of the whole series finished before I was a quarter of the way into Book Two. Now that I am (I hope) 80% done with Book Three, I am writing scenes from books Four and Five in my head. Hopefully you will bear with me until I get it all written out in a format where you can read it. My tentative schedule is to get Book Three done by the summer of 2013, , Book Four by spring 2014, and Book Five by spring 2015. The farther I get into the stories, the slower they go. I did a whole series of blog posts abut why that is, so if you want to look those up, feel free.
Also, the whole five book series is an allegory. I can’t tell you what it is an allegory for without giving away the ending, but while each book stands on its own as a story teaching values and showing the growth of the characters, the overall story is much bigger. I had the prologue and epilogue for Book Five written before Book One was half done, and while I have decided my original epilogue for Book Five requires major modification, the significant story elements referred to in it are still the underpinnings of the greater story.