Without a King's Second Edition


In March, 2020, when schools shut down, I suddenly had a lot of free time. I challenged myself to various writing projects (such as writing the first draft of The Memory of Simon Battle's sequel in three weeks, and writing a novelette about a side character in the Greatest Thief series). However, the biggest project I took on was editing and re-releasing Without a King.


This was something I was already thinking about doing, for two main reasons.

1 - Actual mistakes. Without a King was my first time publishing a novel. I was very excited and impatient to get it done and announce it to all my friends, so I approved some documents without giving them a proper final read through.

2 - I wrote Without a King in 2012, and my style has improved and changed a lot since then. I realized that I could do better, and I wanted Without a King to be on par with some of the more recent books I had been working on (such as later books in the series).


So, I took my already battered (from going to camp) copy of the book and got to work.



I worked my way through the book multiple times, looking for actual mistakes as well as sections I could improve. Some of the main things I worked on improving were,


- Minor plot holes - These were usually caused because I have developed the world so much now that things that originally made sense no longer do. Such as Tannix not wanting anyone at the Order to know who he is, when his family is so well known that it is impossible that they wouldn't know.


- Tannix's dialogue - I just didn't quite have his voice right. I felt that sometimes he sounded like he was trying to imitate a high class robot. I was trying to do that thing where nobles are made to sound really proper but instead it made him sound unnatural.


- Giving Finn some inner monologues - In the original edition Finn is about 100% oblivious to his feelings for Tannix, I fixed it so that he's only about 85% oblivious. I decided to do this partially because my newer writing style tends to show more of the characters thoughts. But also because I changed my mind. When I first wrote the book I wanted Finn and Tannix's kiss at the end to be a huge surprise. But more recently I realized that no, their romantic relationship is an important part of the book and the readers should know exactly what's happening, even if the boys are a little slow on the uptake.

- Changing that oh so important line in the letter! You know, the one that has the book title in it? 'Without a king, the war begins, and a country falls.' Well, it didn't only have the first book title - it had three titles! And I decided that I didn't want to name the second book 'The War Begins'. So the line changed to 'Without a King, they fight an aimless war, and a country falls."


- I added a second map! I decided that I wanted the city map as well as the kingdoms map to be included.


Around the same time, I also started posting my stories on wattpad, because I wanted to broaden my audience a bit. Click HERE to go to my profile! Not only did I get new fans, I got a lot of very useful feedback and encouragement! This really helped with my editing and also convinced my to take on completely rewriting the second book for NaNoWriMo in November.


As an aside, on wattpad I have also started posting 'An Aimless War', as well as my spinoff series 'Wanderlust' and the sequel 'Wayfarer'. And I also have a book that is just for worldbuilding notes, myths, pictures and anything people might be interested in about the world! I would highly suggest checking them out (note that the Wanderlust books are for a more mature audience).



So, once I had gone through the book multiple times, it was time to contact friesenpress and get the new edition going. I did all the editing myself, and went through multiples times to make sure I was happy with it. Here are some examples of sections I've changed (spoilers ahead!!) side by side with the older versions.


End of Chapter Seven - When Finn is fleeing the Order


OLD

“You’re lucky I knew you’d come down over here,” he said.

“You’re not going to…”

Tannix shook his head. “No. Did you steal that ring from Lord Co?”

I nodded.

“So who are you?”

“I…” I hesitated. Telling him seemed harder than it should have been. Maybe it was because I valued his friendship, or maybe it was because the son of West Draulin deserved to be friends with better people than me. “I’m a thief from the streets.”

Tannix looked disappointed, but he nodded. “I suppose that explains a lot.” He jerked his head at the wall. “Go,” he said, before he spun around and walked away.

“Thank you,” I quietly called after him, but he ignored me.


NEW

“You’re lucky I knew you’d come down over here,” he said.

“You’re not going to…”

Tannix shook his head. “No. Did you steal that ring from Lord Co?”

I nodded.

“So who are you?”

“I…” I hesitated. Telling him seemed harder than it should have been. Maybe it was because I valued his friendship, or maybe it was because the son of West Draulin deserved to be friends with better people than me. “I’m a thief from the streets.”

I expected anger, maybe even disgust. I didn’t expect him to step back and cross his arms. I didn’t expect the disappointment in his eyes. His gaze raked over me, seeing me properly for the first time. I wanted to say something to fix the widening rift between us, but there was nothing I could say that would change what had just happened.

Tannix broke the silence. "I suppose that explains a lot." He jerked his head at the wall. "Go."

I took a step backwards and lay one hand on the wall, but I couldn't bring myself to turn around. "Tannix..." I wasn't used to being at a loss for words. Lying always came so easily. Honesty was harder.

"Are you going to lie to me again?" Tannix's gaze hardened. "You need to leave. You're going to get caught."

"No, I... I'm sorry."

"Go," Tannix repeated more sharply, before abruptly turning and walking away from me.

"Thank you," I quietly called after him, part of me hoping he would glance back. He just kept walking.



Chapter Ten - Finn and Tannix reunion


OLD

He offered me his hand and I let him help me to my feet. My other hand was still at my neck, and I gave him one of my best unimpressed looks. That was when I noticed just how much he’d grown since we’d last seen each other. He had been taller than me before, but not by much. Now I just managed to reach his shoulder. Suddenly nervous, I dropped my gaze.


NEW

He offered me his hand and I let him help me to my feet. My other hand was still at my neck, and I finally looked at him. He’d grown since we’d last seen each other. Obviously in four years I had grown, too, but while I was still fairly small, Tannix had filled out. He was at least a head taller than me, with broader shoulders and the type of body that came with a lifetime of good food and daily training. He looked every bit the noble young man he was, even in the dark. Suddenly nervous, I dropped my gaze.



Chapter Twenty - Tannix doing first aid after Finn's interrogation


OLD

He then moved his attention to my wrist. I felt him pick up my right arm and start wrapping something around it.


NEW

He picked up my right arm as gently as possible, but it was enough movement to hurt. I opened my eyes to watch. He balanced my arm across his knee, and let his fingers lightly press over my bruised skin. I tried not to flinch. “Sorry,” he said quietly. “This is the best I can do.” He quickly wrapped it in a clean cloth, then took a ring of leather from the bag slung over his shoulder. He slipped it around my wrist, pulling on the lacing to make sure it was tight. Some sort of bracer, I realized, as my eyes drifted closed again.


Chapter Thirty - The kiss


OLD

I hadn’t been expecting his kiss any more than I had the one from Kassia, but this time I responded. The whole situation flew from my mind as suddenly feelings and thoughts from the past weeks made sense. I understood why I had wanted to see him so often. I understood why, despite me never making good friends, I’d felt so close to him. It all came together. It felt like both forever and hardly a second before Tannix broke away from the kiss and his grip on my tunic loosened.

“Tannix…”


NEW

I hadn’t been expecting his kiss any more than I had the one from Kassia, but this time I responded. Suddenly Kassia and the king didn’t matter. All that mattered was Tannix, his lips warm despite the cold rain, his arms holding me tightly in place. My confusing feelings for him swirled around in my head, fitting together in new ways.

I understood why I wanted to see him so often. I understood why he had become such a good friend so fast. His actions made sense, too. The money, how gently he’d tended to my injuries, how panicked he’d been in Tandrin’s room. The typical Telt image he had been chipping apart shattered. Tannix made sense. Somehow everything made sense. Then, before I was ready for it, Tannix broke away from the kiss and his grip on my tunic loosened.

Everything made sense, but words failed me. “Tannix…”


Chapter Thirty - Final lines


OLD

The guard holding me started to pull me away, but a wave from the captain stopped him. “My lord, are you not going to tell him his sentence?”

Of course, I hadn’t expected a trial. They thought I was in on the attempt; there was only one punishment for treason.

Tannix turned back to me. “You’ll be imprisoned for a year and a day,” he told me sharply. He then paused, which probably looked dramatic to the others, but I understood that he was struggling with the thought himself. “And then you’ll be executed.”


NEW

The guard holding me started to pull me away, but a wave from the captain stopped him. “My lord, are you not going to tell him his sentence?”

Of course, I hadn’t expected a trial. They thought I was in on the attempt; there was only one punishment for treason.

Tannix turned back to me. He was squeezing my ring so tightly his knuckles were white. "You'll be imprisoned for a year and a day," he told me sharply. He then paused, which probably looked dramatic to the men, but I could read him better than that.

I knew what he was going to say, and somehow it didn't scare me. I knew he would get me out of prison. He had a year and a day.

Tannix cleared his throat in a useless attempt to stall, then finally looked up. The rain flattened his hair over his eyes. I had never really thought about how nice his eyes were. How the blue of his eyes matched the blue he always wore. His soaked tunic draped across his shoulders heavily and clung to his chest, leaving very little to the imagination. I was seeing him in a way I had never really let myself see him before. I wondered what he saw when he looked at me—shivering in the rain, flanked by guards twice my size.

I wondered how long he had been looking.

"And then," Tannix interrupted my thoughts with a weak attempt at his earlier distain, "you'll be executed."



So there you have it! Some examples where you can see that the actual events don't really change, but the way I wrote about them has. There are plenty of sections like this in the new version. Some are longer and do change events slightly, but not in any significant way.


The end result of this whole process was a book I'm am much more proud of. The writing is better, the characters act a little more like themselves, the romance isn't a shock. I love this second edition. And if you check it out, let me know what you think!


Available for purchase HERE

Read it on wattpad HERE (you do need an account for this - leave comments!)

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