Wayfarer’s First Draft Finished!

Wayfarer’s First Draft Finished!

I finished a book.

I don’t think that feeling ever gets old.

Amidst the general blur and busyness of the launch of my historical/dieselpunk novel Storming, I typed the final words in the first draft of my historical/superhero work-in-progress Wayfarer. Its happy dance kind of got lost in the rush. One minute: bam, I’m done. The next: whoosh, onto all the gazillion and one things necessary to finish catching up on Storming‘s release.

But now that Storming‘s launch is basically over–and in this brief lull before family descends for Christmas–I can take enough of a breather to do my traditional Charleston end-of-first-draft celebration dance.


What’s Wayfarer About?

When people ask what in tarnation is up with this “historical superhero” thing I’m writing, I’ve been explaining it as: “Spider-Man Meets Jane Austen.”

Spider-Man Meets Jane Austen

But it actually turned out much more Dickensian, which shades of Oliver TwistGreat Expectations, and Little Dorrit all sneaking in there.

Spider-Man Meets Charles Dickens the Artful Dodger

There ended up being lots more pickpockets than fancy balls (although there’s one of them too, never fear).

I came up with the concept while watching one of my favorite superhero movies Spider-Man 2. While watching our friendly neighborhood web-slinger hurtle through the asphalt canyons of NYC, I suddenly had this image of someone doing something similar–but in a highwayman’s coat and in a historical city.

Immediately, I was all: “Gah! This is awesome! Why has no one ever done a historical superhero?” (That was before I discovered Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602 during my research–and started geeking out all over again.)

Marvel 1602 Neil Gaiman

My initial image was actually of my mouthy, well-meaning sidekick character Peregrine Marek, from my medieval epic Behold the Dawn, being that someone in a highwayman’s coat. Then the character took on a life of his own and morphed into Will Hardy, my youngest protagonist to date (19), in a full-blown coming-of-age story, which is something I’ve never tackled before. Most of my heroes tend to be world-weary warriors, so this was a big departure.

Here’s the unofficial summary I wrote up while outlining:

WayfarerA common lad apprenticed to a blacksmith, Will Hardy’s chances of seeking adventures, making a fortune, and winning the hand of Lady Isabella Barbary aren’t looking very good. But when the unthinkable happens, and the irresponsible Will discovers he has the ability to run faster than any human being and leap tall buildings, he reaches legendary status overnight.

But being a legend isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. After unwittingly rescuing a young street urchin named Rose, he finds himself trapped in a pit of deceit and danger that goes deeper than he could have dreamed. Cast adrift in the rigid class system of Regency England, he must choose between the adventures he’s always dreamed of and a responsibility he didn’t ask for.

Hailed as a hero by a people he has no intention of saving, he sets out to do battle against an enemy even more gifted than he is. Towing the impish Rose along and intent on winning the heart of Lady Isabella and becoming a gentleman once and for all, he little dreams that he might become… the Wayfarer.

My Journey With Wayfarer This Year

Wayfarer actually turned into a surprisingly challenging story to write. I feel like it and Storming have been the “tale of two novels.” Storming was the easiest book I’ve ever written, and while I won’t say Wayfarer was the hardest (my portal fantasy Dreamlander still holds that honor), it definitely wasn’t a walk in Hyde Park.

For one thing, it ended up being fully twice as long as I wanted it to be (at 200k words), so I’ve got some major editing in front of me. I’m contemplating the idea of releasing it as a serial, but I have a feeling I’ll be able to whittle it down and make it better, so we’ll probably go that route.

There always seems to be one major lesson I learn while writing a book. With Wayfarer, it was definitely a distillation of my ideas about how theme works in a story (which I’ve written about here). I’m really excited about how the theme(s) have come together in this book, and I believe I ended up with a couple of the best antagonists I’ve ever written.

The two main female characters–romantic interest and sidekick, respectively–both ended up being a total blast to write. And since I intend to turn this one into a trilogy, I’m incredibly excited about getting to flesh them out even more in future books.

So When Can You Read It?

Well, like my critique partner Linda Yezak scolded me for last week, I apparently take a “unbearably long time” in between books. (All part of my evil plan, all part of my evil plan, minions.) I always want to give readers the best possible version of a story, and for me, that generally requires three years between books. Since Storming just released this month, you know what that means!

But you can put it on your mental calendar: Wayfarer is tentatively scheduled for a 2018 release.

I’m taking a little break until I can get my schedule back in order after Christmas, then I’ll be hitting the editing about as hard as Rocky Balboa hits on a side of beef. Then the book will be off to my critique partners and beta readers for the first round of feedback.

And while that‘s happening, I’m super-excited to get to start in on outlining Dreambreaker, the sequel to Dreamlander. More on that soon!

Let’s chat! Are you interested in a story about a historical superhero? What aspect of the idea intrigues you the most (so I can make sure it gets in the book)? Tell me in the comments!

Enjoy this post?

MainAvatar-1Want to make sure you never miss a post? Sign up for K.M. Weiland's mailing list to hear all the latest tidbits, get updates about new releases, and receive a free copy of her epic medieval novel Behold the Dawn.


  1. CONGRATS!????

    You look so elated in that photo it’s contagious. Would love to see you doing the charleston! ?

    1. Thanks for posting the video of Spider-Man 2. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


    1. The whole scene where she dumps her fiancé for good ol Peter Parker is great.
    2. The look on James Francos face as he turns around is HILARIOUS. Dude has some seriously funny facial expressions.
    3. The look on Peters face when she caresses his cheek with her hand was priceless.
    4. The Hollywood kiss. (We knew that was coming).
    5. Then he suddenly realizes “duty calls”, and he must save the world. Looking at her for confirmation, she gives another facial expression that says, “go get em babe”. But then what she actually says is, “go get em tiger”. Then he’s seen slinging around the city, as she’s worried half to death.

    2. I adore your writing process. Sounds very unique. And it works for you. You want to give it your absolute best by the time it reaches our eyeballs. ( we’ll do some serious eyeguzzlin when it’s ready).

    3. The idea of an historical superhero is very fascinating for several reasons.

    a. It’s unique.
    1. In style.
    2. The historic setting, flavor.
    3. Combining a loyal historical fiction
    fan base with readers who will
    always tip their hat to a superhero.

    b. It’s proven to be popular.
    1. Captain America
    2. Marvel’s Agent Carter (which I
    3. Marvel’s Villainous Hydra Group
    4. Gotham City

    c. Popular, yet largely unexplored.
    1. The mines are open.
    2. Could become a niche genre.

    4. Ultimately it’s fascinating not simply because it’s different, but because I’d like to write one myself.

    I’ve never even heard of historical fiction or speculative fiction until I met you. It seems extremely fascinating and intriguing. And I don’t even like history that much! That really tells you something. Still trying to figure out what they are exactly. Guess I’ll have to read Storming huh? It’s the first book on my list for 2016!

    I’m currently hatching up ideas and characters for my second project that is more along the lines of alternate history.
    With a very unique female protagonist.
    It’s something like:

    Indiana Jones+Hunger games+ Sherlock Holmes+The Maze Runner= STEEL BORDERS (my story).

    And that’s just one idea I have. There’s several. So it’s fascinating from a historical point of view.

    Cool beans.

    Thanks for the post! ✉️??

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Both historical and speculative fiction are really just broad umbrella terms corralling many different types of stories within a specific time or setting. Historical fiction is, of course, fiction set in a historical period (but it could be a mystery, a romance, etc.). Speculative fiction is fiction that includes any sort of “unrealistic” speculation–which includes science fiction and fantasy (but, again, its stories can be more specific subgenres such as mystery or romance, as well).

  2. This sounds great and I really want to read it. I think a historical super hero story is unique and there needs to be more novels about super heroes than just having them in comics. Look forward to reading it but wish it was sooner than 2018.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Yes, I’ve yet to read many superhero novels I’ve actually liked. They tend to be more about the powers than the characters, which never works for me.

  3. Sounds exciting! I had never seen that Neil Gaiman book, so I’ll definitely have to check it out!

  4. Absolutely love the happy dance photo! Your process is an inspiration for me when I feel rushed.

  5. I think that’s an awesome idea for a story – although I purposely didn’t read your “official summary”, as I’m allergic to spoilers. 😀 (I usually don’t even read the back cover of books that I know I’m going to read.) So if my ideas below cover something you’ve already said, please forgive me.

    Since you ask, then, I think I’d like to see him using his powers to help the needy, and maybe helping the pickpockets to escape their lives of crime. 🙂 Maybe discovering what their lives are like could be part of his “coming of age” experience? I.e. discovering how the other half lives?

    Anyway, whatever course the story takes, I very much look forward to reading it. 🙂 Roll on 2018! 😀

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Thanks, Ruth! I definitely had a lot of fun with the pickpocket angle. The little pickpocket sidekick became my favorite character. But I’ll say no more. 😉

  6. Thanks that helps.

  7. Ah, I see. I believe that the powers should emphasis the character and not just be about the powers. There isn’t a story without the characters.

    Have you read John Otte’s Failstate books? Those are the first novels with a super hero that I read and they are about the characters with cool powers and have a Christian element to them.

  8. It sounds interesting to have a superhero in an historical setting.
    I am writing a epic fantasy and my characters have powers. I give them weaknesses. They don’t use their powers all the time for fighting(they use swords and bows etc) because they can’t. It’s like running, you can’t run forever you will get tired eventually. So they have to conserve it and use it when the time is right. And that’s something I like. When characters have flaws with their powers. It makes them seem more realstic and people could relate to them this way.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Smart. I definitely found the character’s weaknesses to be one of the interesting parts of the story to work on.

  9. I realize Linda has a point, but we all need to discover what kind of writer we are. You’ll be miserable if you try to be the writer someone else sees you as.

  10. Hi all.

    It’s interesting to see everyone’s thoughts come out. Taking a lot of mental notes. One of my fears is creating characteris my readers won’t like. But I guess that’s part of the learning process. I’d like to see how everyone relates to their characters, and what they don’t like about them. In the story I’m reading now, I’m connecting more with a villain than the protagonist for some reason, but I’m not sure why. He just seems more interesting.

    KM it’s also interesting to hear how you’re bored with superhero novels. So what is it about those characterst that you didnt like so much? That you had such a disconnect? At what point do you start making a personal connection?


    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Characters and theme. It always comes back to that. Superpowers are just a plot device; they can’t carry the whole story. I need the same meat and emotion I get in any other good story if it’s going to grip me as a reader.

  11. Another one who appreciates Spidey — hurrah! 🙂
    What was the film adaptation with Clare Danes called? Was it good?

    Looking forward to seeing a historical superhero story … love the idea.

  12. That looks super awesome! 😀 Can’t wait for peeks of it! 😉

  13. Right weaknesses. I’ve made the mistake early on of making a “flawless” character.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Authors sometimes mistake “likable” for “perfect”–when, really, nothing could be farther from the truth.

  14. That’s the part that I like about your process. You still won’t be feeling intimidated since even though there is a lot of work left to get done. You have given yourself enough time and permission to build upon all the imperfections in your manuscript.

  15. This so sounds fun! I can’t wait to hear more about it, and of course, eventually read it. I’m working out a fantasy novel right now that’s trying to go the superhero route as well–character with powers no one’s supposed to have who ends up something of a vigilante. If only I could figure the rest out!

  16. Whoo! Congratulations!

  17. Unfortunately, with every story I try to outline, the character arc I envision seems to clash with the direction the plot should take that character. Clearly I’m doing something wrong!

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Character arc and plot should be integrally related (which is definitely easier said than done!). If you haven’t already seen it, you might find my series on character arcs helpful. It goes into a lot of detail about integrating character and plot.

  18. Reading them right now, and they are super-helpful! One of your comments on the flat arc made me realize that I’ve always kind of thought of the flat arc as a sort of cop-out, inferior to positive and negative arcs–turns out I may be trying to force a positive arc on a character who actually has a perfectly good flat arc.
    Thank you!

  19. Sounds like a great post. I’ve yet to mine the rest of them. Character arcs sound very timely right now.

  20. jpotocki2013 says:

    Congratulations on completing your first draft. That’s a milestone to celebrate! I can’t wait to read the final version. Thanks for all the empowerment, explanation and insight you give us — and may you have a blessed and happy 2016!

  21. This project really sounds fantastic and fun. The only thing I can think of when you say historical superhero is John Carter of Mars from the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I discovered the book through a colleague who was looking forward to the film released (big flop). I read the two first books of the series, it’s great fun and really the dawn of superheroes.

    Thank you for sharing your writing adventures and good luck with both editing and outlining.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Think more steampunk (although this *isn’t* technically steampunk), and you’ll have it. Incidentally, the vibe of John Carter was an influence for me in writing my last book Storming.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.