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'Thorn' (A FINISHED Guild Wars 2 novel!)

full-length novel in progress guild wars 2 sylvari mozu bearzu smash

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#1 BearzuSmash

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 05:17 PM

The link below is to my GW2 blog where this is actually hosted in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB format, as it is far, far too long (well over 300 pages by now) for posting on a forum. Also, you can check out the FAQ for a bit of a primer if you want, before heading on over.

Bearzu Smash! presents Thorn

The Official Thorn FAQ!

Q: What is all this?
A: Thorn is a full-length Guild Wars 2 novel that's been in the works, and released chapter by chapter since August of 2012. I started it partly because I wanted to get my hand back into writing, partly to tell the story of a character that's been around for the better part of a decade in one form or other, and also as an experiment to try and transcend the fanfic/video game novel genre--to create something with a bit of actual literary merit. I daresay I've succeeded on all three counts.

To be brief, Thorn is the story of the life and personal journey of one sylvari, and hopefully told in a mature and serious fashion. It's a bit bleak and dark and funny and sad.

I blame Cormac McCarthy and Dmitry Glukhovsky for fueling my desire to begin writing again, as should you.

Q: That sounds pretty arrogant.
A: That's not a question, but I'll address it anyway. I don't claim to be working on the next Great American Novel, but even as my own worst critic by far, I'm actually very proud of what's been written to date--even if I'm now unsatisfied with some of the very earliest chapters--and watching my writing develop and mature just over the space of a few, short months has been absolutely fascinating.

I've done rewrites at this point on the prologue and first chapter, but once the entire work is finished, I'll be going back to do a full rewrite with much bigger plans than I have for Thorn at the moment--but more on that at a later date.

Q: Aha, Mozu does X in chapter Y! I call Mary Sue!
A: Yes, you got me. No main character is allowed to be good at anything, especially female ones. Next "question".

Q: How long is this going to be?
A: As of chapter 13, we've passed the 100,000 word mark, which puts this somewhere around 325 pages--and we've still a ways to go. My guess is 400-450 in the end.

Q: You play pretty fast and loose with the lore at times--what's up with that?
A: I assume you mean mainly the distance and placement of things that aren't necessarily on the game map. The entire story is--as I've said earlier--one of a personal journey, and not a retelling of the game. I thought it better to begin that story in solitude and with a dose of bleak, harsh "reality", rather than having Mozu running through Caledon forest with poorly voice-acted yahoos screaming, "MORE VIOLETS, LESS VIOLENCE! THAT'S WOT OI SAY!" at her every fifty feet or so while she performs menial tasks for every ding-dong she comes across.

So, yes, I will occasionally change or just make up bits of lore, or entire locations, if it makes for a better story.

Q: Aha, the dog's name is Ibara (thorn)! I've figured out your whole book already - the dog will save the day in the end!
A: Try again--or better yet, keep reading.

Q: Bad words offend me, and there are a lot of them at times.
A: Some folks just say "@$%#" a lot, and the second half seems to be a lot less profanity-laden. Also, cowboy-up.

Q: Anything else you'd like to say to potential readers?
A: I'm pleased--thrilled, really--that you'd take time out of your day to head over to our humble blog and check Thorn out. I can only hope that you'll give it a chance, and enjoy reading it just as much as I've enjoyed working on it.

Any and all feedback is always appreciated, folks.
-Mozu

Edited by BearzuSmash, 21 January 2013 - 08:34 PM.


#2 BearzuSmash

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:27 PM

Chapter 2 of Thorn, A Sylvari's Tale is now up, along with EPUB and MOBI versions of the chapters posted so far.

Enoy!
-Mozu

#3 BearzuSmash

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 05:26 PM

Chapter 3 is up!

-Mozu

#4 BearzuSmash

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:38 PM

We've updated the first post with a FAQ, and chapter 4 will be along in the next couple of days (with chapter 5 close on its heels)!

-Mozu

#5 BearzuSmash

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 11:06 PM

Chapter 4 is now live, back from the editor much more quickly than I was expecting. Enjoy!

#6 BearzuSmash

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:02 PM

Chapter five is out, and with that, Act I comes to an end. Stay tuned for new faces, new places, and maybe even a villain or two!

Thanks for the continued support!

#7 BearzuSmash

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:41 PM

Chapter six is live!

#8 BearzuSmash

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:21 PM

What? Chapter seven is live? It most certainly is, and here’s a little extra surprise for ya - chapter eight will be out next week.

Thanks, as always, for the continued support!

#9 BearzuSmash

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:11 PM

The long-overdue revised version of chapter one is now live, with plenty of rewrites and edits, bringing it quite a bit closer to, and hopefully up to par with the quality of the later writing. I'm pretty pleased anyway.

Chapters eight and nine are currently out of my hands, and with the editor--expect chapter eight on Monday the 19th.

#10 BearzuSmash

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:24 PM

Chapter eight of Thorn is now live!

With the great feedback from the revised chapter one, I think I'll go back and do a small amount of editing and fiddling with chapter two once I have ten--which I'm starting on today--in the bag.

Once more into the word-mines, and, as always, thanks for the support

EDIT: FAQ updated, specifically:

Q: The prologue is written in a pretty different style than the rest of the chapters. Comment?
A: I’ll be the very first to admit that the prologue is overly dramatic and full of stilted dialogue—which I actually think matches up with the sylvari as presented in the lore and in-game quite well. There may be other reasons, as well, which don’t become apparent for quite some time.

The rest of the book? It’s more of a spy thriller and character study than anything else, and written, as the question above stated, in quite a different style than the prologue. If you enjoy well thought-out dialogue, characters with some actual depth to them, and a solid plot, then I think you’ll enjoy Thorn quite a bit. If you’re after monster-of-the-chapter-type fights and action movie banter, then, no, this probably isn’t for you.

(Not to say there isn’t combat, but it’s hardly the focus.)

Edited by BearzuSmash, 23 November 2012 - 09:14 PM.


#11 BearzuSmash

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:47 PM

Chapter nine is up!

In the meantime, chapter ten is shaping up to be long--probably longer than chapter six, which should push this crazy project over 70,000 words, and we’re like…halfway done? Maybe a bit beyond that? And for anyone asking “Is this story actually going somewhere?”, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

I figure one long-ass chapter will be a fine way to celebrate Thorn‘s tenth, and until then, enjoy!

Oh, and once again, to all you readers out there, you guys frickin’ rule.

#12 BearzuSmash

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:31 AM

Chapter ten is now live (finally)!

It may only have been a couple of weeks or so since the release of chapter nine, but ten felt like a tough write, even though I'm very happy with how it's turned out.

The fact that it's the Wintersday chapter is actually totally coincidental (seeing as I've had the bulk of this book planned out for quite some time), but I suppose it's nice to be timely and seasonal all the same.

In any case, I'm very proud to present the tenth chapter of Thorn, A Sylvari's Tale for your perusal. Have a wonderful, gift-filled, bug-free, bug-fixed, class-balanced Wintersday, all.

(Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?)

#13 BearzuSmash

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 03:30 AM

If someone had told me at this time last year that I'd be close to 300 pages into writing a novel at the beginning of 2013, I'd've laughed.

Yet...here we are. I'm thrilled to ring in the new year by presenting to you, dear readers, chapter 11 of Thorn, A Sylvari's Tale.

What started off as a painful grind to even get going on it--and praying I could even manage 5,000 words--turned into, in my opinion, probably the most well-written chapter to date, and nearly twice that word count.

And, so, with the release of chapter 11, we bring Act II to a close. Stay tuned for the start of Act III, and the conclusion of Thorn!

Edited by BearzuSmash, 04 January 2013 - 01:03 AM.


#14 BearzuSmash

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:02 AM

tl;dr The new prologue is already up now and will probably take most of you about a minute to read. Keep going if you like a good ramble, however.

Yeah, so, I'll be honest here.

I've never liked the prologue much--I frankly don't like the way it's written, and I think it's really, really weak compared to anything else in the book. So, what's the solution? A mostly rewritten and much shorter prologue, which I think segues much more quickly and naturally into the start of chapter one.

I know the prologue has turned off some potential readers, and hopefully they'll give it another go. For those of you who've stuck with it, you have my eternal gratitude.

(I know I may say that a lot, but I genuinely mean it each and every time. You guys make this even more rewarding than the simple joy and satisfaction I get from telling this tale.)

Edited by BearzuSmash, 04 January 2013 - 01:05 AM.


#15 BearzuSmash

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:21 PM

Here we go--the beginning of the end; the start of the third and final act of Thorn. Chapter 12 is now live.

Not much I can say that reading it won't cover. It's long, as every chapter seems to be these days--close to twice the length of the earliest chapters, or longer--and it was an easy write, at least compared to more recent ones.

Hitting this point, though--passing the 300-page mark, starting to reveal what the hell's actually going on, ramping up the tension and action, and bringing together a lot of puzzle pieces that may have seemed sort of tertiary and pointless--is incredibly gratifying, and very, very nerve-wracking.

For everyone who's come along for the ride so far, I promise a kick-ass conclusion to Thorn, and for those still on the fence, get in the van already. We have candy.

And martinis.

#16 BearzuSmash

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:29 AM

Unlucky number thirteen.

It would seem that even our intrepid anti-heroes aren't immune to the superstitious portent of doom. All is not lost, however, as with the release of chapter 13, we see Thorn pass a huge milestone: 100,000 words.

Most of them are actually pretty good ones, in my estimation.

To put it in perspective, that's longer than To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hobbit, or Cormac McCarthy's phenomenal All the Pretty Horses.

Lest I make it sound like we're at the end, however, fear not--we've still a ways to go yet. That said, and without further ado, I am very, very proud to present chapter 13 of Thorn.

(All of the chapter PDFs to date have been updated from A4 to digest format for easier reading--not sure why this one didn't occur to me much sooner.)

#17 BearzuSmash

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:07 AM

I think there's very little I can say about chapter 14, aside from the fact that it was extraordinarily difficult to write, and I can only hope I've done it justice.

To be honest, I've been worrying about it since I'd sent it off to be copy-edited, as I'd spent an entire week just working on rewrites and polishing. By last Friday all I saw was WORDSWORDSWORDSWORDSWORDS--about 8,000 of them, and all seemingly intractable.

However, it's come back into my hands today, and after a few minor fixes, is pretty excellent--at least, I sure hope so, seeing as it's a somewhat important chapter, to put it laughably mildly.

I am, as always, very proud to present chapter 14 of Thorn.

#18 BearzuSmash

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:48 PM

First, let me send out a huge word of thanks to everyone who voted for Thorn in GW2Guru’s ‘Biggest GW2 Fan’ contest–you guys really are the best, and the news was one hell of a nice way to start my day.

I’d also like to thank the writers and world-builders over at ArenaNet for giving my dormant imagination a jolt, as well as a great theme park to let these characters run around (or amok, in certain cases) in.

Always one for irony, however, I have a pretty huge announcement regarding Thorn today.

First, let me assure the readers out there that Thorn will be finished as a GW2 novel–no corners will be cut, there will be no sudden decrease in writing quality (no intentional one, anyway), and I certainly won’t abandon the project at this point.

Once Thorn is finished, however, it will be going through substantial rewrites to become a work of original fiction, which will probably be long enough–with all the extra world-building–to become not one, but two books, and I have plans for more story even after that.

Upon completion of the first manuscript, I’ll be looking for a literary agent to get Mozu and Cordelia and Linebaugh’s (and Olcán’s) story, or stories, published.

Not to take anything away from what’s been written, or from GW2, or from the readers who have come back chapter after chapter, and sent tons of notes, forum posts, or PMs, but sometime over the holidays, I realized Thorn was really, really damned good, and deserved a better fate than lingering on the blog as a mostly unknown work of fan-fiction, so...that’s the plan, in a nutshell.

Published author.

I like the sound of that.

(P.S. – I suggested Fifty Shades of Blueberry as a working title, but was immediately shot down.)

#19 Doctor Overlord

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:07 AM

Congratz on the Biggest Fan contest win!  

Very cool to hear that you are taking the novel and re-working it to be an original piece.   Keep us updated on how that goes, it would be cool to read it as a published work knowing its beginning as a GW2 fan-fiction.

#20 BearzuSmash

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:48 PM

Thanks, Doc! I definitely will--just gotta stay focused and finish up the beast as-is first.

I'm really excited to get cracking on the rewrite/rework, as I have tons of ideas for the world-building portion, and I've already sketched out a rough first draft of the prologue just to get some ideas down on paper. I was pretty pleased with the result, and my editor loved it so...

/fingers crossed

#21 BearzuSmash

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:05 AM

And back to business.

Chapter 15 feels a bit special--partly because of the reception that Thorn has received as of late, not to mention the ridiculous priase heaped upon it from my editor, as well as a gut feeling that a lot of what I've been striving to do with my writing since somewhere around chapters 5 or 6 really clicked and came together this time 'round.

There's also an exhiliration at seeing in the end in sight now, at least from my vantage point. We've four, maybe five chapters remaining, and needless to say, I'm very, very excited about the prospect of bringing Thorn to its conclusion in the next couple of months before the real work begins.

But enough about that right now.

I am very proud to present chapter 15 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the F-bomb. I hope you enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

#22 BearzuSmash

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:17 PM

Things are moving quickly now in these final few chapters of Thorn, but even with the ending looming in sight, it’s still fun to point out the milestones along the way.

With the release of chapter 16, Thorn has now passed the 125,000-word mark, and stands one page from a hefty 400. I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ll be well past 450 by the time you read the last few words of the epilogue sometime in the next month or so.

Chapter 16 was a surprisingly easy write--even the final scene, which I’d been imagining and re-imagining for months now in various forms and settings--although quite a lot of time was spent in the rewrite and polishing phase, bringing it up to the standard I feel was set by chapter 15.

While I was looking forward to a few days mental rest, I think my excitement at getting started on 17 will probably win out in the end, and even during my “night off” last night, I spent about an hour making some fairly extensive notes.

Not much else to say aside from the usual: I’m very proud to present the next installment of Thorn. Here’s chapter 16.

Edited by BearzuSmash, 04 March 2013 - 10:34 PM.


#23 BearzuSmash

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:30 PM

Giving a shout out to the Tarnished Coast Times for their Thorn plug!

Also, I expect chapter 17 to be posted within the next couple of days, editor willing.

#24 BearzuSmash

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:48 AM

Y'know, I had a big post all ready to go, but I'm really damned excited, and I think I'll just let this chapter speak for itself. Seventeen down, two (and an epilogue) to go.

As always, I am very proud to present the next installment of Thorn--chapter 17.

#25 BearzuSmash

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 07:19 AM

How strange to be posting the penultimate chapter, and how strange to see ten months of work coming to an end of sorts. I suppose I'd be feeling pretty maudlin right now if this wasn't really more of a beginning than anything.

Chapter 18 is probably my favorite to date, and it all came together with surprising ease. I'll admit, I had more than a little trepidation at the prospect of finding myself at this point--needing to wrap things up--but once I'd started, the words just came.

I'm still getting a kick out of the milestones, I'll admit as well, and chapter 18 finds Thorn blowing past the 450 page mark--and I have no doubt that when all is said and done, we'll have passed the 150,000 word mark as well.

For now, though, please enjoy chapter 18, or as Linebaugh so aptly puts it, the calm before the storm. See you in a couple of weeks with the final chapter.

#26 BearzuSmash

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 03:50 PM

Here we are after ten months, bringing Mozu and Cordelia and Linebaugh and Olcán’s story to a close. 19 chapters, 504 pages, 157,259 words.

I’m not even entirely sure of what to say at this point, but I’ll have a go at something, so bear with me. After those ten months of work I think I’ve earned a bit of a ramble.

I started this project, as I’ve said, to get back to doing a little writing after a decade-long hiatus, but the project and the characters quickly took on a life of their own, and even as I was finishing up chapter one, I started to realize this would be a much larger project than I’d imagined. Still—nothing close to the more than 500 pages we’ve ended up with.

Sure, I grimace at a lot of the writing in the earlier chapters, but at the same time, it’s pretty entertaining to go back and see the progress I’ve made as a writer over the better part of a year--progress I’ll continue to make going forward as I try and turn this hobby into something vaguely resembling a career.

Writing has allowed me to do something that music never could for all the years I poured into it—to create something I can stand back from and take an objective look at and still be truly proud of, and to create something that’s touched other people’s lives as well.

It’s been an amazing, exhausting experience . . . but it’s only just begun. For quite some time, and then in earnest shortly before the New Year, I started to realize that this project--or rather, these characters and the continuing stories of their lives and adventures--needed a venue unfettered by someone else’s lore, and I began to plan.

So, while I say “here we are”, what I really mean is, “enjoy this for a bit—when you see Mozu and Cordelia and Linebaugh next, they’ll be on a grander stage,” and there’s plenty more to be told beyond the story of Thorn.

Honestly, as tired as I am and worn out by the whole thing, I absolutely cannot wait to get started again. I’m looking forward to watching this, their first story, expand and evolve and flesh itself out even more, what with a whole new world to run rampant in, and I fully expect that Thorn will end up as two books instead of one with--as I’ve said--plenty more to follow.

And so, please allow me, for one last time, to present the next final chapter and epilogue of Thorn. Thank you all so very, very much.

Edited by BearzuSmash, 10 April 2013 - 03:57 PM.


#27 Gilles VI

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 04:03 PM

Thanks for the update and I'm curious to the final chapter! :D

#28 Doctor Overlord

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:12 AM

Very impressive to see you complete the project!    You are inspirational :)

#29 BearzuSmash

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:44 AM

Thanks! I actually get a few days off now before it starts all over again.  ;)

#30 BearzuSmash

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 08:34 PM

Oh, hey. An update.




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