This year, I decided not to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’ve never been great at forced writing. But I still wanted to support the indie authors who are composing new books this month, so I made it my goal for the end of 2020 to read some books by these peers of mine.
I firmly believe that every writer should be a reader, and my personal philosophy is to read three times as much fiction as I write:
Finally, I think it’s important to read other indie authors.
We can help each other get important publicity at the start of our careers
We can provide invaluable feedback to each other as authors and peers
Reading other indie authors sometimes helps me discover aspects of my own writing that need improvement.
I recently met another indie author named C. Borden, who writes fantasy and is currently beginning to write her epic series. She is working on the first novel of this series during NaNoWriMo, but she has already published an anthology of short stories, set in her fantasy world, to introduce some of her characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed Short Stories From Mythnium, and I have high expectations of her series novels when she publishes them. Read on to see if this is something you would likewise enjoy!
Well-Developed, Diverse Characters
For many readers, the most important driver of a well-written novel is the unique protagonist and his/her motives. In this series of vignettes, Borden introduces a flavorful variety of eight well-thought-out main characters.
It’s immediately apparent that this motley cast, and the depth of their backgrounds, is meant for a multiple-volume series. In fact, reading these stories reminded me of the kind of preparation that must have gone into A Game Of Thrones. These characters are obviously meant for long-running character arcs, full of personal changes and development.
I was also impressed by the full spectrum of character motives that Borden described. It’s not a simple task to create so many characters, and it’s even harder to give each one a different reason, a different core mentality, that will lead them into action.
Magical Abilities in Mythnium
If I had any small disappointment in these short stories, it would be in the lack of detail that the author gave to her use of magic.
Now, I have to keep in mind that Short Stories From Mythnium is primarily an introduction to Borden’s fantasy world through characters, and not through other facets of background. There really isn’t enough space in these short stories to describe what magic means in Mythnium, or how it really impacts the lifestyles of the people in this world.
I don’t mean to suggest that all of her short stories lack this development. Perhaps my favorite story in this anthology was about a dwarven smith, who cryptically imbues magic into her metalcraft by humming while she hammers (totally different than “whistling while you work;” that’s Disney nonsense).
But it’s something that I really hope the author will expand in her series novels. It’s not enough for us to know that a character has “magical abilities.” I want to know how these abilities manifest—whether it is through spells and incantations, or innate abilities and superpowers, or mysterious ambient effects that puzzle the characters as much as the readers.
The Recommendation: Get Into Mythnium Early
If these short stories are a good indication, Mythnium has a lot of potential to become the next Westeros (although probably much more family-friendly). The author has given us a sneak preview into her characters, and if she develops the rest of her world with as much skill, this series shows a lot of promise.
I’m sure you will enjoy and even relate to the characters, despite their fantasy origins, and probably finish the last page wanting more information about future adventures. These stories hint at an impressive level of depth and detail that can surely feed an epic fantasy series through several novels.
If you want to know more, check out C. Borden’s webpage, and be sure to read her review of the latest Sparrow book, Carried Away! And if you decide to read Short Stories From Mythnium, please comment below to let us know what you think! Of course, give the author an Amazon review as well.
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