Thursday 27 December 2012

Entries for the graphic novel contest

Read about the competition and FABULOUS PRIZES (tm) here.

This is the first entry. It will win the prize unless

a) you think you can do better
b) you have a go
c) you send it in.


1) by Bryn aged 19 and a half.

2) Heather

3) Edit (Lego version)

4) Edit (non-Lego)

5) Elsabe

6) Dimitar

7) Hilary's 4 year old nephew (3 items = Church, Raven & Jorg)

8) Tom (the dimensions compress this one somewhat - even more impressive in full resolution!)

 9) Clara

10) Michael

11) Tom Brown

Monday 24 December 2012

Wanna draw a graphic novel?

OK - so 1st and most important thing:  This is a competition for a mug and a book, not an offer of employment.
 2nd thing: I don't have a deal to do a Prince of Thorns graphic novel. I'd like one - but it hasn't happened yet. If I really like the winning entry of this competition I will send it to the new graphic novel department at Ace. I have zero influence with those people but a nice chapter 1 might spark their imaginations. If they decided to go ahead with the project there might be zero chance they'd want to secure your services for the artwork. Or those chances might be as high as one in a million. That's not a good reason to enter the competition. Think MUG. Think FREE BOOK.

The competition closes on 31st of January & if nobody else enters you could win it with a smiley face :D
I will display all entries and think about some fair voting scheme as well to help me in my choice.

You can email me entries (partial or otherwise) at

Entries so far can be viewed here.

So - below is the script I wrote for chapter 1. Stick to it, or don't. Put in as much or little effort as you like. Draw stick-men and stop after panel 1 page 1. Draw sumptious full-colour art and complete every panel. Entirely up to you.

Prince of Thorns – Graphic Novel Script
Mark Lawrence

Page 1
4 stacked panels onto the same scene
Panel 1 – Rooftops, the gables of a church, well-to-do but rustic village, single column of smoke rising. A line of ravens looking down from the church gables. Last of them with torn flesh hanging from beak.
Caption - Ravens! Always the ravens.

Panel 2 – Panning down we now see Jorg’s head – young man, sharp features, long black hair. Smear of soot on cheekbone.
Caption - War, my friends, is a thing of beauty. Those as says otherwise are losing.

Panel 3 – Panning lower – see that Jorg is armoured in a battered platemail breastplate, spattered with gore, see some buildings have flames from windows. See other Brothers looting – brutish men in mixed armour, some old, some huge, some skinny – a rag tag bunch. See simple fountain in town square and the first of the corpses. An injured man calling for water.
Injured man: ‘Water’
Caption – ‘Water! Water!’ It’s always water with the dying. Strange ‒ it’s killing that gives me a thirst.

Panel 4 – Pan to the ground and there’s a sea of corpses, blood running everywhere, propped against fountain base Bovid Tor, older, fatter peasant with a woodax close by, belly opened, guts out.
Caption - And that was Mabberton.

 Page 2
Panel 1- Close up of Bovid’s open guts, flies, hand straining toward axe hilt. Shower of severed fingers raining down onto belly.
Rike (out of frame): ‘Shit-poor farm maggots!’

Panel 2- Pan out. Jorg and Rike face each other standing to either side of Bovid, fountain behind them, blood and corpses. Where Jorg is relatively clean Rike is filthy with gore. Jorg = mature 14 y-o not far off six foot. Rike = massive man in partial platemail, bald headed, scarred, brutal face, close on seven foot tall, approaching 30. Jorg and Rike eyes locked (Jorg looking up). Severed fingers still dropping from Rike’s open hand. Jorg elegant longsword, scabbarded. Rike big axe, in hand. Sub-panel, Jorg’s eyes & Rike’s, intense stare.
Rike: ‘A whole village. One gold ring! Fecking bog-farmers.’
Jorg: ‘Settle down, Brother Rike. There’s more than one kind of gold in Mabberton.’

Panel 3- chest and head shot – Makin pushing between Jorg and Rike, arm around each one’s shoulders. Makin, tall knight, best armoured of the bunch, midway between Rike and Jorg in height. Dark curly hair, sweaty, thick lips, amiable face, often smiling. 
Makin: ‘Brother Jorg is right, Little Rikey. There’s treasure aplenty to be found.’

Panel 4- Close up, Makin’s face turned to Rike. Makin eyebrows up, suggestive – Rike surly.
Makin: ‘When you get farmers, what else do you always get, Little Rikey?’

Panel 5- Close up, Makin’s face turned to Rike. Makin expectant – Rike puzzled.
Rike: Cows?

Panel 6- Close up, Makin’s face turned to Rike. Makin grinning – Rike realisation.
Makin: ‘Well, you can have the cows, Little Rikey. Me, I’m going to find a farmer’s daughter or three.’

Panel 7- Makin and Rike, backs to us walking away toward house with broken door. Makin steering with arm across shoulder.
Rike: ‘Hur, hur, hur.’

Page 3

Panel 1- Panorama of Mabberton, several columns of smoke, ravens descending on bodies. Brother Maical leading the grey horse and head cart in stage left, dripping axe, hand on reins also holds severed head by hair. Maical solid, short-cropped hair, torn chainmail shirt, vacant face. Jorg foreground, chest up, staring at the flames starting to take hold. Rike and others disappearing into one of the larger houses.
Bovid Tor (beneath the frame): ‘Boy?’ (weak voiced)
Caption: A thing of beauty I tell you.

Panel 2 – Jorg crouching by Bovid, Jorg sword out, point on ground, arms up on hilt, resting. Bovid sprawled and pale.
Bovid: ‘Boy?’
Jorg: ‘Best speak your piece quickly, farmer. Brother Gemt’s a-coming with his axe. Chop-chop.’

Panel 3 – Jorg and Bovid. Bovid dying. Jorg angry.
Bovid: ‘H-how old are you, boy?’
Jorg: ‘Old enough to have slit you open like a fat purse.’
Bovid: ‘Fifteen summers, no more. Couldn’t be more….’

Panel 4 – Panorama again. More flames now, more smoke. Jorg standing looking down (at Bovid – out of frame). Head cart up close now. (we see heap of heads, tops of the wheels, Maical and Brother Gemt (smaller man, red hair, rat-faced, poc-marked).
Jorg: ‘Take his head. Leave his fat belly for the ravens.’     
Caption: Fifteen! I’d hardly be fifteen and rousting villages. By the time fifteen came around, I’d be King!

Saturday 22 December 2012

[ENDED] Prince of Thorns price promo for 24 hours on

Well it was fun while it lasted & I've got this to remember it by   :D

When I'm all washed up and forgotten I'll have it made into a T-shirt and bug the other residents at the old people's home with the story!

Thursday 20 December 2012

A Year In Numbers ... Two!

So following on from a similar post this time last year I record a year of triumphs and failures. A moment where I let the numbers-guy in me out of his cage before another year confined to only coming out at work.

It's been a pretty good 2012 all told! I get staggeringly little information on sales - it has to pass the dual barriers of my publishers' accounting department and my agent's accounting department. I do however believe I've now sold more than 100,000 books world wide. And that's pretty special!

Possibly the highest point of my writing career can be summed up in these pictures from the UK Amazon's best sellers in Epic fantasy kindle and hardcopy lists. During this price promotion Prince of Thorns was at one point the 27th best selling book in the UK on Amazon - happy face doesn't cover it :D

Lies, damn lies, and statistics to follow:

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Uh ... excuse me, but your magic system is showing ...

Brandon Sanderson (a popular fantasy author that I've yet to read) gives us:

Sanderson's First Law of Magics: An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.
And in a recent review of a friend's book someone said:

The lack of explanation of the magic system has me hesitant to continue the series.

Now both of these are opinions. I have a different one:

I've never been aware of reading a book with a well explained magic system. I can't say how I'd enjoy it but my instinct is that if an author started to explain the magic to me as if it were a system born on the pages of a Dungeons and Dragons rule book I would walk away. I quote Sanderson here because I've seen the 'law' repeated in several places. It's entirely possible I would enjoy his work - I don't have time to find out right now - but the sentiment that radiates off the two quotes above sits uneasily with me.

Don't get me wrong - I started playing D&D in 1977 and spent man-years at it. I love magic rules, the inventive combinations that one can concoct in something like Magic The Gathering. I like understanding how things work (I am a scientist after all). However, a novel is not a role-playing game put into words. For me, for magic to be magical, rather than just weird science, it needs mystery. It is an act of writing skill to simultaneously construct the mystery in magic and the faith that it will not be abused. Gandalf's magic didn't come nailed to a system diagram. He wasn't limited to some pre-declared set of rules - two level 1 spells a day - a fireball can only be yay big - or whatever. We trusted Tolkien that along with the mystery there would be an appropriate restraint. Gandalf was never going to say 'sod this let's fly' and magic them into the air, he was never going to turn the balrog into a toad. His power enchanted more than his enemies - it enchanted us - remnants of lost lore and ancient traditions, embodied in and by the man.

If I had to frame a law it might run:

Lawrence's First Law of Magics: An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the author gains the reader's trust and draws them into his world.

But both versions miss the point somewhat. The primary reason for including magic in a book (if you're me) is for the magic of it. To give the reader chills - to excite them - to make them wonder. Magic isn't there to solve conflicts - that's what cleverness and bravery and fortune are for. Magic is there to rock.

And if you do happen to wipe out thousands of men with magic and nary a hint of a cog-wheel or subsection to rule 27 paragraph 2 ... sometimes people go with it anyhow. Because they're in there with you, they trust your vision, they're sold.

That's the magic. Writing is the magic. Rules are for games.

Thursday 6 December 2012

List of Lists .... Two!

(I did this last year ... I'm doing it again!)

List of Lists

2012 has been kind to King of Thorns!

Below are the 31 'Best of 2012' lists, 7 'Best of 2013' lists, 3 'Best of 2014' & 1 'Best of 2016' lists that I know of featuring King of Thorns (presented in chronological order of publication). The two main reasons for assembling this list of lists are:

i) A thank you to the reviewers in question. It's a labour of love maintaining a book blog.

ii) You're probably here because you liked King of Thorns. These reviewers (or in one case, these 50,000+ voters) appear to share your taste in one book, perhaps you will enjoy the other books on their lists.

Rob J Hayes

Myth and Mystery (Rick Riordan)
The Upstream Writer

Pompous Barbarian
A Fantastical Librarian
J. Michael Melican
Fantasy Review Barn
T.L. Gray
Fantastical Imaginations
Rants of Fantasy
SFF World members vote
A Fantasy Reader
Fantasy Book Review
Fantasy Book Critic
Ranting Dragon
Elitist Book Reviews
Reddit r/fantasy poll
Wilson Geiger
Barnes & Noble
The Royal Library
Adam P Reviews
Founding Fields
SFF Meta
Draumr Kopa - Fantasy Book Blog
Only the best scifi/fantasy
Musings of a restive mind
Fantastical Imaginations
Lynn's Book Blog
Knutter's Choice
SFF World
Great Reads
Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
The Flushies
Forbidden Planet
Nightlife Books
The Reading Frenzy
The Streetlight Reader
Goodreads Choice Award
Isaac Hooke, author