A Labyrinth of Souls Novel
by Elizabeth Engstrom
Genre: Epic Fantasy
While hydrologist Adam Swan is engaged in humanitarian efforts to bring water to a small, isolated village in the Congo, he is kidnapped by rebel thugs and thrown into a makeshift prison. He is left to die—or worse—if his ransom is not paid. In a surprising series of events, Adam escapes his brutal captors into an underground labyrinth where reality and sanity no longer rule.
Armed with a limited amount of magic which he does not understand, he survives by employing it boldly, recklessly, desperate to return to the village above, homesick for Minnesota and normal life with his wife and daughters.
Tested to the extreme limits of his endurance, Adam navigates the labyrinth with only the company of his past behavior, the baffling magic, and the seductive temptation to succumb to the mysterious and merciless gods of the underworld. The consequences of his actions, past present, and future, take him to the brink of death—and beyond.
A fun, fast, thrilling ride by veteran author Elizabeth Engstrom, inspired by Matthew Lowes’ Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls card game.
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Elizabeth Engstrom is the author of fourteen books and has over 250 short stories, articles, and essays in print. She is a sought-after teacher and keynote speaker at writing conferences, conventions, and seminars around the world. She has a BA in Literature/Creative Writing, and an MA in Applied
Theology, both from Marylhurst University. Her most recent nonfiction book is How to Write a Sizzling Sex Scene, and her most recent novel is Baggage Check, a thriller. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her fisherman-husband and their dog where she is on the board of directors for Wordcrafters in Eugene. She teaches the occasional writing class, puts her pen to use for social justice, and is always working on her next book.
My process for writing a book is a simple one. I’ve refined it over the years, and as I always tell my students: If you don’t have a process, adopt mine and then massage it until it works for you. There are as many ways to write a book as there are writers.
The first thing I know is the ending. Seriously. I hear writers say they never know where the book ends until they get there. I find that highly suspicious. I’m not going to get on an airplane without knowing where it is going to land, and I am certainly not going to devote 9-12 months of my life on a story that has no discernible ending. I might change my mind midway, but at least I have a point toward which I write. This ending is not set in stone, as the characters will have a say in it once they get their personalities revved into action. But I have a basic understanding of how the book ends.
Then I start at the beginning. Good fiction is circular in nature; the ending echoes the beginning. So if you don’t know your ending, look for it in the beginning. By the same token, if you know your ending, you can find your beginning therein.
Then write it. My daily process is to write 5, 7, 10 pages and then go do something quiet while I think about what I’ve just written. The next day I do a little light editing on yesterday’s work and then get on with the day’s pages. That procedure continues all the way to the end. I never go back and fix something once it has been written, except for that next day. I keep a legal pad of notes of things that need to be fixed, but that happens in the second draft.
My first drafts are ugly, messy, hairy, misshapen things, but that’s where all the hard work is. When the first draft is finished, I let it cool for two weeks, and then tackle the second draft, rearranging chapters, changing characters, making sure the story works. My whole purpose for a first draft is story. My whole purpose of the second draft is also story. By the end of the second draft, I am confident in my story, and then after a cooling period, the third draft is about fixing all the little things that make a reader stumble. I want the end result to read like the wind.
And then it goes out to agent and/or editor, and I try to forget it and get on with the next project.
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