Friday, April 17, 2009

Tinkering Under the Hood

With the publication of Avempartha, and all its associated marketing materials out the door, I can at last relax a bit and get back to, well…work. Unless reading this post is the first you’ve heard of me, you know that the six books comprising the Riyria Revelations series are complete. Complete is however, a relative term. The story is all there and I have gone over each volume enough to say they are in better than draft form and yet those who proof and edit for me might not so much agree. In anticipation of a general audience, they delight themselves in crash testing my work, looking for weakness, confusion, inconsistencies, and screw-ups. In this way, they submit to me arguments for adding new sections or hacking out passages.

The whole first chapter of Avempartha, (a scene detailing the attack on the Wood family that led Thrace to journey to Colnora), was cut from the book. The third chapter concerning Arista’s trip to Ervanon, was at first cut, (because of its long-winded historical nature that everyone felt would bore readers to tears), then replaced, (because it was determined that the information was important), then extended for clarity’s sake. Other minor plot-holes led to massive rewrites to patch them—all of which made the book better. Following this comes the detailed and lengthy process of line-editing and proofing—a seemingly never-ending quest. So, story-complete, and print-complete are two very different things.

This leaves me presently working on book 3 of the series entitled: Nyphron Rising. I went over it during the cold winter months then submitted the manuscript to my editors (namely Robin) who, as usual, found fault. She requested two new sections, which in reviewing the book alongside her arguments; I extended to five, much of which has to do with a consistency of presentation and an attempt to maintain the “stand alone” nature of the novels. As the series grows, it becomes harder to keep the reader apprised of previous events. I now realize that I don’t have to—I merely need to provide enough information to make the present book understandable. That’s still tricky to do using a mind that can’t forget that it knows everything about the story.

So, for those of you who’ve already finished Avempartha and are clamoring for the next in the series—book 3 is up on blocks in the garage getting an overhaul. It is already much better than it was and growing a bit in length. (Don’t expect to see a 700 page book coming your way any time soon. The novels do grow longer as the series goes on with book six being more than twice the length of book one, but this is a gradual thing. Some of you may already have noticed that book 2 was a little thicker than its predecessor.) Right now however, Nyphron Rising is covered in a tarp, with parts laying all over the place. The next few months I will be caught up in book signings and general promotions,
but with Avempartha out the door, I can at last get back to work on it.

Now if you excuse me, it’s a nice day so I’m going to prop open the garage door and tinker. Gonna need to tighten the screws on Melengar—where did I leave that three-quarter inch sentence?