NewBook I has had a partial read by Agent now, and I called to find out what his reaction was so far (about 1/3 through it.) Still some concerns, things to work on, so I’m back in revision mode sort of, hoping to also get back to work on NewBook II while it still has life in it, so I don’t have to revive it from coldsleep when NewBook I is deemed ready for its debut in the market. NewBook I needs to read like the new beginning of something that it is, and now like the added-on “tail” of Paladin’s Legacy, which finished with Crown of Renewal. Yes, there are carryover characters from earlier books…Aris Marrakai from Divided Allegiance for instance, as a young schoolboy in Fin Panir, right the way through Paladin’s Legacy where he’s a page in the palace in Tsaia growing older through those five volumes and developing a close friendship with Prince Camwyn Mahieran. That friendship, and the future of both boys (Camwyn’s older by three years but they’re both too young to be squires, for instance) is left in doubt at the end of Legacy, after Camwyn’s critical injuries from an iynisin attack and his removal by Dragon for a chance at life.
So far, Agent says, the first chapter or two of the book doesn’t feel like a new start. And, of course, if it IS a new start, that means it’s a new entry point (potentially) to the entire story-universe for potential new readers, and new readers need some background (can’t insult them with “You should’ve read the previous 10 books”) without boring those who’ve read the previous ten books repeatedly and know exactly who all the repeat characters are. The question of “simple straightforward “Here’s the background you may need” vs. trying to slot in 10 books’ worth of background without reducing the story proper to endless lumps of infodump” has been raised, and when raised in this blunt fashion makes it clear that “Background in the forward” would be kindest to all. If it’s short enough. (It’s also becoming clear to me that with this many books–and words!–in print, there needs to be some kind of place where ALL the stuff new readers need is in one place. I thought I’d done that–before even starting the Paladin’s Legacy group–in the Paksworld website, but it’s not working as well as I hoped, even considering that Legacy doubled the number of volumes and the wordage.)
So…once again into the breach to build the story-wall up so the whole thing is sound and will work for most (never all) readers. No writer really enjoys the moment at which “Needs more work” (whether in those words or couched more gently) is uttered instead of “Amazing, wonderful PERFECT in every way!!” but every writer with some insight knows that books (and stories) DO need more work more often than not, and that reflection will show how true it is that this one (whichever one you just finished) does in fact need more work. (The same is true in every craft and art. A choir full of really good singers still doesn’t sing a big piece perfectly at the first…or second…or fourth…rehearsal. “Begin at measure 83, all the way to the solo…” and everyone suppresses a groan but then sings it better.)
I will be more absent than present unless I have more news, which isn’t likely anytime soon. Agent’s buried in work, and I’m about to be. This will be mirrored in the Paksworld blog, for the benefit of all.
4 thoughts on “Once Again…”
thank you for the update; I just saw a weather alert saying the Texas panhandle may get heavy snow this weekend, I know you are south and east of the panhandle, but the storm is tracking south east from the Pacific northwest. I’ve been in Texas amid snow and it wasn’t fun. Hope you are all stocked up, that the solar batteries are completely charged and you and yours stay warm and dry. Praying the High Lord and saints give you clarity of thought and purpose to write all you need to make Horngard I ‘perfect’ for the agent and that Horngard II continues to simmer in the background
Leslie, thanks for the heads-up–lots of warning from local news, but it stayed north of us. We got a freeze but the tank was full of propane & the power didn’t quit on us. I’m continuing to work on the book, and my agent continues to find ways I could make it better. Closing in on it, I think and hope. There ARE things I should’ve seen earlier, but it was such FUN just roaring through the story. I have one remaining comment from him I just can’t figure out and it seems to be puzzling him, too. He’s finding the POV sections for one character just don’t work for him. I have two male first-readers, and neither feels the same way, so it’s not a “men will have trouble with her” problem. It’s something else and we may just have to let the book’s eventual editor help us out here. The character is Gwennothlin Marrakai–third child, oldest daughter–who was Dorrin’s squire in several of the Paladin’s Legacy volumes. Gwenno is now a knight, having made it through the Bells’ training, and has now spent a couple of years with the Royal Guard, stationed at Ferryhaven on the Honnorgat. We meet her first as a very unhappy young officer, because she’s been relegated to indoor work, clerks’ work. She’s done it too well, is part of the problem. She considered Dorrin the perfect senior and knight, exactly what she aspired to, and she matures a lot in this book as she struggles out of the expectations of a duke’s daughter.
Happy Thanksgiving, Elizabeth and Richard!
Thanks, Kathleen. Very quiet family dinner but quite pleasant. Just a small turkey, so not as many leftovers as usual, but easier to put up as ingredients.