• L.L. Stephens

Paper Trail


This is the tip of an iceberg: a 190,00 word/540 page published novel that covers the lives of scores of characters for a period of 14 years. It has immortal Entities, blackmailed princes, a beleaguered king, an occupied empire, and a thwarted god captive in an artifact being restored by an emerging villain.


It neatly fits within a trade paperback book. You can also read it as an ebook.


Coming soon in audio (more news about that in another post).


It started with paper. Lots of paper.



This the first completed version of Sordaneon. I printed it at home and put it in a binder to pass around to my first readers, i.e. husband, family, and friends.


It includes chapters/scenes/characters not in the final book. It also does not include chapters/scenes/characters added to the final book.


But that draft came out of... this stuff.



You are looking at the partial contents of just one of several thick file folders devoted to the project that became Sordaneon. The folder holds notes, scribbles, doodles, sketches and anything else vaguely related to the writing of a WIP.




I did a lot of writing on legal pads because at the time I was in a long distance relationship with the man I eventually married, and writing on legal pads was something I could do (and did a lot of) on airplanes. About 50% of Sordaneon was roughly mapped out at 30,000 ft..


You can also see one of my notebooks. Some dialogue bits. Scene outlines. A sketch of pylons for the Rill when it was still called the Rail (the concept changed along the way but the Rill was a monorail when I first conceived it as a thirteen-year old). There's also a hint of my research into how Highborn genetics might work.


Lots of early writing ends up archived in file folders. If a bit of dialogue or character description occurs to me in the shower, I head straight to a notepad when I get dry, scrawl down the words, and preserve them in a folder until I can add them to the story.


So I've shown Sordaneon as a finished work.


I've shown it as a binder for first readers.


You've seen a portion of the notes and doodles from which the novel took shape.


But the record of Sordaneon begins with the Triempery, and the Triempery starts with this-->


A composition book. I wrote in it as a teen and it holds the earliest version of what became the Triempery.


For example, Permephedon as drawn by my teen self. Complete with faux dimensions (what do those numbers even represent?), extra names that got discarded along the way, and my attempts to emulate Tolkien with fancy script.


The composition book is so early that its entries little resemble the universe the Triempery became. But the book holds an entire world of memories... and a few seeds.


Like Permephedon.



Beneath every novel lies an iceberg, the big underwater part upon which the story is built. The raw materials within the author. The paper trail of the author's journey. A lot more goes into a book than the reader sees.


This post is simply to show that journey for those who find such journeys interesting. I happen to be one of those people, and this is my blog, so I put mine here.


















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