The Wretched of Muirwood

For the last few months/years, I have been wrestling with a new story idea to turn into a YA novel. One of my best friends (Jeremy) has insisted that I keep working on the Minya novels or finish the Kingmakers trilogy. But those are stories I thought up years ago and just haven’t finished. They were explorations into storytelling, and I love them a great deal. But I’ve learned so much since then that I want to try out the craft on something new.

So the working title is The Wretched of Muirwood. It’s a fantasy story set in a world where magic is as much (if not more) a result of who your ancestors are than who you are. The stronger the ancestors have been in taming the magic, the easier time you will have controlling it. So knowledge of your family is an important piece of whether someone will ever be good at magic. The protagonist is a 13 year-old orphan (a ‘wretched’ is an orphan who does not have a family tree) who was raised with other orphans at an abbey in the woods. She was born at a time of war and there were many orphans made during that year. Those without any family connections were sent to monasteries for upbringing in a trade that would be of service to the abbey and prepare them for some employment upon reaching adulthood. None can afford the sacred (and costly) privilege of reading or writing, and that is precisely what this girl desires more than anything else. She is jealous of the sons and daughters who are sent to the abbey at their parents expense to learn this ability. For it is through books written by wise ancestors that one learns how to tame magic.

I have been brainstorming the abbey grounds, the characters, the plot and trying to do as much of the worldbuilding as possible. What I need to do next is really sit down and work out the supporting cast. I have the main characters pretty firmly in mind, but in a world like this, there are many other side characters who could be very interesting.

Jeff Wheeler

Jeff Wheeler

Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty epic fantasy novels.

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  • Brendon says:

    I really like the premise for your story.

    I wrote the first half of a dark fantasy (okay it was really horror) that turned on the bloodline of the protagonist as the clue to the dark magic/antagonist’s objectives. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of heritage playing a central role in a fantasy setting. But, I had trouble breathing life into the idea and making it work without being boring. That was one of the reasons why my story idea died half way through. Also, when I told my wife the idea behind the story, she thought it was creepy enough that she wasn’t so sure she liked sleeping next to a guy that could come up with something so horrific. So, my idea was shelfed.

    Without Deep Magic taking up time, hopefully you will write more and I can read more of your writing. I miss having the time to do that. Also, I can’t wait to get moved so I can try to resume my writing hobby.

    Nice blog — I’d never seen it before. Not sure how I missed it.


  • Jeremy says:

    Yeah, I still think you should finish Minya and Kingmakers. 🙂

    Still, this looks interesting. Can’t wait to read it!

  • i will not tell you my name says:

    I love your book so much. Huge fan!

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