I have a tentative release schedule for Karl Thorson and the Jade Dagger of mid-November. And that means editing. What fun.
I had a party at my house last night, a triple celebration: my fiftieth birthday, the tenth anniversary of my marriage to MBW, and MBW’s U.S. citizenship. The house echoed at times with the play of what seemed a hundred children, but couldn’t have been more than a half dozen. At the end of the night we discovered that a glutinous jar of pink slime, some sort of kid’s plaything, had been ground into the HA’s carpet. While a few remaining adults got down to cleaning that up (it turns out ice cubes are useful in that regard — helpful tip for you) I went back downstairs to pack up leftovers and load the dishwasher. The aftermath of the party.
Naturally, that got me thinking about war. Specifically the aftermath, the cleanup. And more specifically, how fantasy novels tend to deal with (or not deal with) the aftermath of the epic battles that fill their pages.
Editing hurts. If sculpting is removing all the bits of marble that aren’t the statue, then editing is cutting away all the words that aren’t the story. Except the sculptor didn’t create that block of marble first; someone else delivered it to his studio. When I’m editing I’m modifying something I’ve already gone to the trouble of creating.
Sometimes those modifications are easy. “What the hell was I thinking? That makes no sense and contradicts what something that comes later.” Slash, gone. Or revised to fit. Other times the process is more difficult. It might be a particularly good scene. Or it provides greater insight into a character. Or I happen to find it clever and amusing. But is it necessary?
Shortly before noon yesterday I finally completed the first draft of Warlord. Needless to say, this pleased me. I looked forward to celebrating. But life does not give a damn about my desires. Instead of celebrating, I was laid low by whatever malady my daughter has been suffering since Thursday.
So, if you’ll forgive me, I’m going to stop writing this and crawl back into bed.
It ought to be clear by this point that I will not have a book out in January. We can all agree on that, right? So, how do matters stand on the writing front? Let me tell you.
Advice from a man who probably has no business giving advice: Remain grateful but beware contentment. There, that ought to cover Thanksgiving.
MBW, the HA, and I drove to the Oregon Coast Wednesday for an extended Thanksgiving weekend. The weather was appropriately Oregon Coast-ish: wet and windy, though we did enjoy occasional sun breaks.
The second draft of Captain is now complete. Mostly complete, that is. There remain a few blanks to be filled in, currently with such place holders as [Name.] I still need to finish the final polish of Boss in order to recall the names to fit in the blanks and to ensure that characters are consistent between Boss and Captain.
I am undecided how to proceed Monday morning during my standard writing time. Saturday I took MBW’s car in for brake servicing. Sitting, waiting, and drinking coffee I was able to finish outlining Warlord. That is good. Hearty pats on my own back. However, this leaves me with some uncertainty, as I will explain.
Last Wednesday I wrote “The End” on the first draft of “Captain.” Saturday I celebrated.
There remains a way to go before I can consider the novel complete, but most of the heavy lifting is finished. Now I need to set it aside, turn my mind to something else before commencing the second draft. That something else is book three of the series: “Warlord.” I began outlining Thursday morning.
Writing is an incremental process. At least for novels; you can, theoretically, knock out a short story in a single session, though in practice that is rare. Creating a novel is a process. It is bricklaying, spreading the mortar and applying a layer of bricks every day.