Spellslinger (book 1, de Castell) discussion

Has anyone else read this amazing fantasy novel by our forum’s very own Sebastien @decastell ? I just finished it last night and of course couldn’t resist trying to find the storyform right away. (Also cool to see @jhull in the acknowledgements.)

Sebastien or Jim is there a “known” storyform that this was written from, or that you worked out later? (I know in one of your posts Sebastien you said it’s not uncommon to end up with a different storyform than you started from)

Anyway I have some ideas for the storyform and it would be cool to bounce those off others…


Don’t the chapter headings give it away … :wink:


Thanks Jim. I might hold off for a day or two as I may need some more space from it. I PM’d Sebastien (just to make sure he was okay with looking at it here) and he told me the OS Domain & MC Concern, which did not agree with what I had! :slight_smile:

(I was thinking top-right Concerns.)

The question is: Did the story resonate with you? If so, what was the big resonance?

Have you ever played Apples to Apples? In that game, the important strategy to winning is to predict what the DECISION-MAKER would think is the most similar to the attribute card, not what you think. Same in Dramatica. Trying to get inside the head of the author after the fact is tricky, esp if they’ve used all 64 elements. We even heard that in the latest Writer’s Room. You can write an entire story thinking in terms of the wrong elements, but still get a resonant story down. And we’ve seen that even after the fact, changing the storyform still reflects the story as it was written.

Usual warning: this thread will contain spoilers. This is an awesome story with a lot of structurally important twists so if you’re thinking of reading the book, stop here and come back once you’ve read it!

First the obvious stuff that seems easy to agree on:


OS: The Sha’Tep plot to fight back against their Jan’Tep masters (which ends up sort of commandeered by Ra’meth and used for his own purposes)

MC: Kellan, the magic-weak son of a lord magus (whose parents are purposely weakening his magic in an attempt to stave off the shadowblack)

IC: shared between Ferius Parfax & Reichis the squirrel cat – influencing Kellen by being wholly unlike anyone in Kellen’s society (disrespecting magic, impulsively getting into fights, etc.)

RS: there’s a bunch of these! Some are individually small but still have arcs and I think all do represent the RS throughline to some degree

  • annoyed/competitive brother-sister to estranged brother-sister (Shalla & Kellen)
  • boyhood friends to enemies (Panahsi & Kellen)
  • unrealized crush to first-kiss romance (Nephenia & Kellen)
  • racial enemies to business partners to respected partners with a hint of friendship (Kellen & Reichis)
  • strangers to friends (Kellen & Ferius)
  • (mother-son & father-son relationships are present but are maybe MC throughline only)


Success, Good, Change, Linear, Action, Optionlock

  • Success - the problems of this story are resolved (though the Jan’Tep’s world is still not perfect), and the ending has a triumphant feel
  • Good - though not without personal cost, Kellen is proud of who he has become and what he has overcome
  • Changed - Kellen undergoes a huge change of perspective, going from praying that his magic will one day materialize, to making his mark using every tool he has available
  • Linear - I didn’t give this a lot of thought but seems obvious – a lot of if/then problem solving. If Tennat beat Panahsi, it must be because Panahsi overdid his heart shield, therefore I can win the same way. etc.
  • Action - the Concluding Driver is when Kellen defeats Ra’meth (some important decisions do fall out of this but are mainly MC / IC beats – whether to kill Ra’meth, rejecting the Jan’Tep trial / mage’s name). I think the First Driver is off-screen, being when the Sha’Tep discover the secret mausoleum in the mines. The Midpoint is the fight by the oasis when Kellen sees Reichis tortured by his fellow initiates, leading to Kellen intervening and releasing Reichis etc.
  • Optionlock - although there was something about his birthday and passing the trials, this did not feel like any kind of limit on the story itself.
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