Midsummer Update

Happy 4th of July (and happy belated Canada Day)!

I’ve just uploaded Cuff II: Chapter 3, which introduces some serious conflict for Vin and his two friends, Theo and Javisin. This is basically the chapter that determines the course of the rest of their story, so it’s a pretty important one to check out. While Cuff I has been mostly action-packed from the start (with all of Vera’s antics), Cuff II takes its time in developing the characters before throwing them into unexpected situations, such as the ones that take place in this latest chapter.

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted, but I’ve been keeping up with writing the book (mostly focusing on Cuff IV recently). There will be plenty to come. I’ve actually been living in Baton Rouge for the summer, and really enjoying it! It’s pretty wildly different from New Orleans, but I really dig my job and apartment here. I also flew up to Delaware for my fourth Firefly Music Festival, which was probably the most eventful and chaotic weekend of my entire life. It’s funny how some weekends fly by lazily and effortlessly, while others feel like a musical drug-fueled journey that lasts an eternity. I still can’t feel two of my toes!

Anyway, I’ll be back in New Orleans before long, where I’ll continue writing Four Cuffs and posting on here. I’m going to take down the poll for now, because, now that Cuff I and Cuff II have both reached Chapter 3, my plan is to release a little bit of Cuff III next (which you haven’t seen anything from yet). The poll will return sometime in the future, though!

As always, thanks for all of the support! Y’all are the best.

Saria salut,

Eric Dax

 

Darth Vera: The Art of Balancing Tropes

Happy post-Mardi Gras/Valentine’s Day!

I’m uploading the craziest chapter yet today– Cuff I: Chapter 3. It deals with Empress Vera during the Riverlight Festival, and it completely transforms her from the cold, villainous character you’ve come to know into something much more bizarre and complex. I love this chapter.

On this note, I want to discuss tropes, which are something that I try to keep under control in my writing. I don’t want anyone to feel like they’ve read this story before. If too many characters, conflicts, or settings feel cliche, then it’s pretty easy to become bored by the whole thing. Yet, tropes are warm and comfortable. As a reader, we sometimes like when things meet our expectations, and, as a writer, sometimes it’s just easier to use a trope than to reinvent the wheel on every page. Besides, there’s a difference between huge, obnoxious tropes (i.e. there are no magic wands, mine-dwelling dwarves, or fire-breathing dragons in Four Cuffs) and realistic tropes that appear in real life (such as the abusive boss, the lying politician, the nervous servant, etc). Tropes aren’t all bad– they just can’t be oppressive.

Empress Vera is the prime example of my attempt to meet this balance. Your first impression of her, from Cuff I: Chapter 1, is that she might just be the most manipulative, antagonistic person in the whole world. I really like this introduction, because there’s something awe-inspiring to me about a character who just has so much power and so little regard for others that they seem unfathomably, inhumanely evil. It’s like watching Darth Vader mow down rebel scum, or Frank Underwood strangle a puppy. I love it.

BUT, a purely evil character is both unrealistic and two-dimensional. We’ve all experienced this before in various media. It’s a trope.

Cuff I: Chapter 3 takes the trope and strangles it, like Frank Underwood’s puppy. It gives Empress Vera the third dimension that she needs to be a real character. Definitely go check it out if you haven’t already. Shit goes down.

Once again, if you’re new to this site, here’s the Introductory Blog Post to explain what Four Cuffs is and why you should care. And, as always, go vote on which chapter you want to read next!

Saria salut,

Eric Dax

Two New Chapters!

Happy National Fettuccine Alfredo day! (No, really.)

I’ll be posting about this blog on some various social media accounts, so if you’re here from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere, thanks! Head over to the Chapters section to start your journey, or, if you’re confused and not sold on whether this is worth your time, check out my introductory blog post. And if you like what you’re reading, feel free to sign up!

I uploaded a poll a few weeks ago (also located in the Chapters section) to determine which chapter I should put up next. Cuff II (Vin Cullur) won, so in response I’ve uploaded not one, but two new chapters: Cuff II: Chapter 1 and Cuff II: Chapter 2. I really enjoy this story line and I hope you do too. It’s definitely a change in pace from Cuff I, which has a lot of power-hungry political manipulation. Cuff II is just about a dude who eats a rat.

It also helps to flesh out the world a bit more. So far, we’ve only seen what life is like among Kailin Empire’s most elite. So how is life different for Kailin Empire’s peasants?  What are their aspirations, if any? I think this second perspective adds a lot to the world of Four Cuffs. It is, after all, about more than just the Empress Vera.

I’m also putting up another poll, so, after you read the new chapters, you can vote on whether you’d like to read another chapter about the Empress Vera, or another chapter about Vin Cullur. Both options take place during the Riverlight Festival!

Thanks again! As always, this project can be followed on Twitter at @fourcuffs. You can also follow me personally at @ericsdax. And if you like what you read, signing up is always an option too!

Saria salut,

Eric Dax

A New Home

Happy MLK Day!

This is the new location for the Four Cuffs blog! I had a feeling I’d outgrow the old site, I just didn’t think it would only take two weeks. Sorry for any inconvenience! The old address at blogger was atrocious, and this site is a lot better on the eyes. So this will be the new home for everything Four Cuffs!

I’ve also uploaded Cuff I: Chapter 2, which occurs right after Chapter 1 and follows the perspective of Empress Vera. I love her character and am excited to show her off more! She’s so important to the story. Let me know what you think.

There’s also a new poll up, if you want to have a say in what chapter comes out next. Should we continue following Empress Vera, or introduce a new character named Vin Cullur?

As always, you can follow Four Cuffs on Twitter at @fourcuffs. You can also reach me directly via email (fourcuffs@gmail.com). If you’re interested in getting news and chapters right to your inbox, go to the Sign Up page. Thanks!

Saria salut,

Eric Dax

Intro: Embarking on Adventure

Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

My name is Eric Dax and I’m a New Orleans-based author. I’m currently writing a multi-perspective fantasy novel called Four Cuffs. With this blog, I’d like to be able to introduce you to my world of Four Cuffs, give an inside look into the book many months before I publish it, and connect with you!

If you do nothing else here, go ahead and read “Cuff I: Chapter 1” in the Chapters page of this site. It’s the first chapter of the novel and a great introduction to the main conflict of the story.

What’s a “Cuff”? Why Are There Four of Them?

Four Cuffs tells four simultaneous stories, from four different characters’ perspectives. Each perspective is determined by who wears a special white bracelet (“cuff”), of which there are exactly– you guessed it– four. If a character gives their cuff to someone else, or has it taken from them, then the perspective shifts to the new wearer. This allows for some fluid storytelling and gives you, the reader, a sort of physical form within the novel. You follow the cuffs, wherever they may go.

It also lets me split the book up a bit. For instance, I’ll publish almost all of Cuff I here before the book is even released!

I’ll also publish quite a bit of Cuff II (which might be my personal favorite…?) gradually. I don’t know what I’ll share of Cuff III yet, but I can promise that you won’t see a smidgen of Cuff IV before release date. I’m keeping that one secret.

landscape1

Why Should I Read This Book?

It’s probably worth mentioning that this novel isn’t your typical fantasy book. It doesn’t rely on magic, witches, hobbits, etc. I like those fantasy tropes as much as the next person, but I’m convinced that there’s enough magic in our world already, and a good fantasy book doesn’t need to add more. You won’t find dwarves in mountains, wizards with wands, or dragons hoarding gold. You will most definitely find adventure, terror, humor, mystery, and characters who eat rodents. If one of these five essential traits is lacking, please send me a strongly worded email about how you want more adventure, or mystery, or characters who eat rodents, or whatever.

This is a Long Blog Post.

Thanks for reading all of this! I’ll try to keep my blog posts concise in the future so you can spend more time and energy reading the chapters instead, which is really the point of all of this anyway. Sorry for the lengthiness of this first one– I just wanted to give some context to the blog and introduce you to Four Cuffs for what is possibly your first time hearing about it.

How Do I Keep Up With “Four Cuffs”?

Go to the Sign Up page! That’s the best way.

The purpose of this blog is to keep you up to date while I continue writing Four Cuffs. If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to reach me at fourcuffs@gmail.com. I want to have a dialogue with you! Also, I’ve created a Twitter (@fourcuffs) that you can follow. This blog will be the central hub for any and all updates though.

Please feel free to share with anyone you know who might be into this kind of thing. I’m really passionate about this fantastical world and I would love for everyone to join me!

Saria salut,

Eric Dax