I’d like to welcome C.D. Tavenor to the blog, where he is going to tell us more about a fantastic short story which I recently had the pleasure of reading.
There’s a link below to pick it up yourself, and your support for C.D. and the other authors on our blog is immensely appreciated.
Experience Legion of Mono
Hopefully by now, you’ve had a chance to read Legion of Mono, my debut on Kindle. If not, I’d encourage you to grab it now (if it’s still February 17, it’s free for the day, otherwise it’s just 99 cents!). Regardless, I’d like to take a moment to thank EJ Allen for the opportunity to talk about this story.
Legion of Mono tells the story of a battle-hardened soldier fighting against all odds to save his husband, daughter, and people from a genocidal empire. I know, not necessarily the most original story on the books, but bear with me for a moment. I’d like to take you back to the moments before I wrote this story, so you can see through my eyes the purpose of writing this tale.
Light spoilers ahead, so read the story first before you return to this blog!
With Each Word, I Discovered Mono’s Tale
Legion of Mono represents my first dive into “discovery writing,” also known as “pantsing.” I’m sure many of you other writers out there know what I’m talking about, for the non-writers, discovery writing refers to the process of writing without any clear vision in mind. You take a character, a concept, and you write. The details come later.
With Legion of Mono, I started with a singular question in mind.
Why does the fantasy genre struggle with racism?
It’s a question skirted around in a lot of fantasy, and in some others, out-right ignored (the evils races in many dungeons and dragons settings all have dark skin—I mean, seriously?). When I write, I hope every story I tell deals with issues that our society deals with every day, whether its race, climate change, sexism, or something else entirely. And with Legion of Mono, I tackled racism, which led me to questions of genocide, religious prophecy, and hope in a future that reason tells characters they will never see.
Thus, I created Mono, the man who has pushed beyond all hope to fight for another day he knows he will not see, knows his husband and daughter will not see, yet still, he fights. He fights against the “paleskins” of the Holy Empire, a nation hell-bent on destroying the people of the Three Valleys for reasons not entirely clear to even the persecuted peoples.
Does it come from a place of pure hatred? Ignorance? Misunderstanding? All of the above? I encourage readers to consider why racism exists in the first place in our society too. At their core, many of the reasons are simply illogical, yet they continue to plague us in the twenty-first century.
So with these extrapolated questions, I discovered Mono’s story. I started with his religious practices, building his life from the ground-up. I introduced his husband, his daughter, his city, the Chasm, and finally, the Holy Empire. The first drafts were rough; it took at least four or five drafts to make this “discovered” world consistent from page to page.
And that’s why I encourage everyone to try Discovery writing. Legion of Mono would never have worked if I had outlined it. I needed the natural and messy progression that comes with pantsing a story because systemic racism is messy. There isn’t a clear solution. Just like the conclusion to Legion of Mono will leave you asking for more, we’re constantly seeking answers as to why we can’t shirk racism’s hold on our society.
For more information about Legion of Mono, check it out on Goodreads!
So What’s Next?
If you enjoy Legion of Mono, watch out for my upcoming novel, First of Their Kind, tentatively scheduled to release April/May 2019. It follows the life of the first synthetic intelligence as they try to find a family in a world that either hates him or wants to use them. Learn more at www.twodoctorsmedia.com, or join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on our latest stories!