For several years I’ve been writing a fiction novel called Karma Phala. Here’s a brief synopsis:
“In a world where karma is real, a young girl forsakes her family and meets a mysterious traveler who claims she is a long lost Queen.”
As of June 2015, I have approx. 230 pages drafted (12 pt., 1.2-spaced). After feedback from a friend and an online critique board, I made a major plot change in an earlier chapter and am currently propagating that change back up the chapters. Once Part I is established, I intend to send the draft around to friends and family for some crisp feedback.
“So it’s a fantasy novel?”: I get this question often, and it’s why I try to avoid telling people in person that I’m writing a book. Fantasy as a genre has, unfortunately, been largely taken over by Tolkien pastiche. Karma Phala is “fantastical,” yet it is very far from Tolkien, and was not “inspired by” Tolkien (I only read The Hobbit, and that was when I was ten). There are no elves, dwarves, or other races in this book, only humans and their foibles. There aren’t any dragons, or prophecies, or magicians. What little powers people have, the dharmas, are grounded in a karmic metaphysics. The world revolves around the idea of “reprises,” which is karma coming to fruition. One way to explain that is: What if an “eye for an eye” were true, in some sense, by natural law?
Something I’ve learned: At a certain point, writing style plateaus and characters and plot take over. Without contrastive, enriching characters and a taut narrative, the book falls flat. Novels become easier to write once the beginning is established, however. I believe a similar truth holds for games.