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Idea: A Conqueror’s Tale (2 Books)
Premise: Both books tell essentially the same story, from opposite sides. A war of conquest where an upstart overthrows a series of bloated, fat, lazy old-world kingdoms.
Side A: A Caesar/Alexander/Charlemagne type, believes he is descended of the gods. Sent to school in the empire/kingdom, learns warfare/tactics. Small city state home. Starts war when he slaughters a nobleman’s retinue to free his sister from an arranged marriage. “Take a whetstone to your heart. Scrape away the nicks and burrs that battle inflict and leave nothing but a keen edge.”
Side B: A Genghis Khan/Thor type, a giant among his people. Rises based on cunning and sheer physical might. Unites scattered tribes and descends on the old world. “I slew a score of men before I first knew the touch of a woman—it was a glorious day.”
Twist: Both books tell the same story, but when the armies meet in the middle at the end, the two accounts differ, with the protagonist winning in their respective book.
Words: yarnsmith (storyteller)
I’ve never stopped liking this idea, but haven’t pursued it for a number of reasons. First, the meaty middles of the stories have never really come together for me. I can see beginnings and endings for them, but just not what I’d want to do in between.
Also, there’s the matter of the highly experimental nature of the dual stories. Could I make it so that each felt genuine, stand-alone, and complete regardless of which the reader encountered first? And could I intertwine them closely enough that the differences in the way events are perceived stand out?
The final nail in this one’s coffin was that I didn’t know where to take it from there. 2 books isn’t a series, and I really enjoy series writing.
L.E. Modesett, jr did that in his Recluse series. He told the story of Magic Engineer, black order user. Then he told the same story from a young white wizard order user. It was very interesting to see each sides views. Of course both sides thought they were the good guys.