When I first started writing Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale it was a much simpler project.
I originally planned it to be a single story told in a one volume. It takes fifty fights for a Gladiator to reach master rank, that was what I was aiming for. Around chapter sixteen, I realized that I could not fit the story into a single volume without cutting quite a bit. Cutting the text down would probably make Bloodlust a better book, from a technical standpoint. Each chapter revolves around a single match in Gavin’s career and I could easily have skipped some of them, since they are less integral to his journey. In the end I decided to keep this structure because it fits the story. Gavin is not necessarily excited about each fight either, but he has to struggle through them. It fits.
Many of the other characters were destined to have less face time as well. I’ve mentioned that Sadira was intended to disappear from the action in the second part of the story. This plan fell through when several people told me how much they like the character. I’ve been feverishly scrambling to give her a presence throughout the second book ever since. It reminds me of how I’ve heard that R.A. Salvatore (sic?) originally introduced Drizzt as a secondary character. Another big reader favourite was Omodo, who stays behind at Camp Valorous. People wanted an expanded role for the Armodon, which is again something I had not originally planned for.
The ending of the story hasn’t changed, but the contents have. It has evolved based on my own desires, but also the feedback of people whom I respect. I feel it is necessary for me to pay attention to what people like about my work and try to bring those qualities forward in some way. We shall see how it works out.