Well, ladies and gentlemen, the very first Tamalarian Tale, ‘Freedom or the Fire’, is now told here in the Tamalarian Tales blog. The last few chapters seemed to draw quite a lot more views in clumps than did earlier installments, but I’m not worried about that.

I’d like you folks who’ve been reading and keeping up with the story to feel free to ask any questions you have about the story at this juncture, either in the form of comments on this post, or via direct email message to me at [email protected] There’s also a Facebook page for Joshua T. Calkins-Treworgy, and if you’re a fan, or feel like you might become one, go ahead and join the page over there.

I first started the initial draft of ‘Freedom or the Fire’ back in 2001, when I was 19 years old. I began writing it on a Tiger II laptop computer with a frayed power cord that I’d purchased off of a friend at Cassadaiga Job Corps Center in Cassadaiga, New York. In a sort of white-head haze, I hammered out a 210k word fantasy epic, slapped the working title ‘Unholy Crusade’ on it, and left it sit for a few weeks. That first draft took six months to write, and when it was finished, I read through it after waiting three weeks for it to rest.

I hated what I read, and thought, ‘wow, I can do better than that, I know I can’. I was in love with most of the characters themselves, though in the first draft, Byron never grew back towards his human state, David Spore (the one-armed Monk) was nowhere in existence, and Bael remained the General of Richard Vandross throughout the entire story. Things definitely needed to be tweeked. I also thought there was room for more material to be inserted, though I realize that for an author’s first novel-length project, this thing was already enormous, clocking in at twice the average length of a fantasy novel.

So, after giving it another month to sit, I started in by reading through the first draft and taking notes in a marble composition notebook. I was taking note of all the things that I liked, that I thought worked well. I was going to keep all of that material. In red ink, I wrote down the things that I liked, but which needed to be adjusted somehow to work better into the overall narrative. I also needed a new title.

The title changed first, becoming ‘Freedom or the Fire’. That, I thought, had a good ring to it. Next, I started working on making Richard Vandross slightly more sympathetic a character, because in the first draft, he was just flat-out evil. In the final version of the story, he’s intended to be more insane than evil, per se. I also realized that Bael, as originally written, would not have stayed in the service of Vandross. He made no sense.

So I worked out the changes, made all of the necessary mechanical fixes, and worked on putting in the extra scenes that I thought might make this a more fulfilling tale. Going through and doing the second draft took four more months. I was now into March of 2002 when the second draft was done.

I let that version sit for a week before reading it, and deciding that one more round of adjustments needed to be made. I still had no David Spore; originally James Hayes was going to be killed by the monster known as Brink. But I’d come to enjoy working with his character. So I created Spore, a temporary character who could be killed off without affecting too much the makeup of the group.

Anyhow, if you folks have any questions about the story and/or about Tamalaria in general, I invite you now to go ahead and ask, now that I’m done rambling.