Book Three recently passed 60K words, but still needs the equivalent of two more chapters’ worth of content before I can declare its first Part complete. This puts it on track to equal or exceed the length of my first novel.
Speaking of Book One, I’m still waiting around for word from the acquisitions editors currently perusing it. Just this morning I got antsy enough to check my calendar, then took a calming breath. It hasn’t actually been that long yet. I just have to take life as it comes—kinda like the readers of this intermittent blog.
And speaking of taking things as they come, I’ve been mildly amused to find myself twelve years and 278K words into an epic high fantasy saga, with seemingly nothing left to do but write meet-cutes and awkward dates. Le sigh. Such is life, especially when I’ve arranged for the narrative to take a sharp turn into espionage-thriller terrain. I just hope the incessant banter comes across as witty rather than as self-indulgent. It’s certainly a change of pace from Book Two’s dire sobriety.
The second half of this book is shaping up to be a doozy. I keep tossing new locations, items, people, and events into the stew like there’s no tomorrow—kneading and layering the narrative for all I’m worth—all the while cringing at the callback commitments I’m racking up. I aspire to complexity, so I can’t just introduce cool things without making them an integral part of the story, which means they gotta reappear at some point as significant plot elements. My running list of Unexpected Things That Need To Also Be Inevitable continues to expand. Fortunately, my main cast has yet to show up there.
As a discovery writer, I’m never entirely sure how I manage to turn chaos into order. “Instinct” is my go-to explanation, but I can’t be certain about a cause whose operation I can’t describe. All I know is that, nine times out of ten, connections will be made if I just keep writing. It takes some amount of skill to recognize and capitalize on those connections, yes, but I couldn’t have foreseen them before they appeared on the page. Maybe I’m just such an editor at heart that I can’t get truly creative until there’s some preexistent material to mold and finesse.
Things don’t play out according to some grand master plan I dreamt up beforehand. Instead I simply put in the work, never quite sure where it’ll lead, and things always seem to work out okay despite my uncertainty.
I feel like there’s a life lesson here.
Excitement is afoot in Arlam!
First off, some big names are currently reading A Sea Sought in Song. Saying more would be imprudent at this point, but hopefully I’ll have positive news to report soon. Anything could happen.
Secondly, Book Three passed 55K words this past week, and continues to climb. A few months ago I realized that an encounter I’d begun describing carried more ramifications than I’d anticipated, and required additional setup. So I skipped back several chapters to insert several thousand words’ worth of character development, and have been working my way toward my last point of departure ever since. It’s going great. This section of the book involves a ton of exposition (at last, the answers you seek!), and it’s required my full attention to keep it from degenerating into a perfunctory data dump. But fear not: some of the revelations in Part One of Book Three count as the most thrilling stuff I’ve written to date, at least to me.
And yet I can’t wait for the upcoming scenes in Part Two. As characters begin to converge and subplots to commingle, this tale’s gonna blow wide open—slowing my progress with exponentially-expanding complexity.
But I did go ahead and write its epilogue already. That’s the second one of those I’ve tapped out on my phone whilst wedged into a seat on a crosscountry flight, so I guess that makes for a tradition. The strange, freefloating mental state engendered by being alone in a crowd at 30,000 feet has leant itself to the task of epilogue-writing, since the last two have been set so completely outside the normal parameters of the narrative.
I do feel similarly about my publication prospects at the moment. Things are happening, quite swiftly in some cases, but I can’t see out the windshield to anticipate what’s next. Instead I must content myself with awkward glances over a stranger’s shoulder at the unfamiliar terrain flowing past me far below. But such is life.
Time for an update!
First off, Book Three passed the 50K-word milestone a few weeks ago. It continues to expand and coalesce into something that not only excites, but also moves me in unexpectedly deep ways. I’m juggling more locations, interwoven subplots, and POV characters than ever before. I’d expected this book to run to roughly the same length as its predecessors, but now I think it may have to go longer. It definitely hasn’t reached the halfway point yet.
Secondly, it is with great ambivalence that I report Ilina’s failure to woo David Farland. That’s right—my follow-up entry to Writers of the Future didn’t so much as place. Which is perplexing to me, as I consider it a much stronger story than the one which netted me an honorable mention earlier this year. But be that as it may: neither entry was written to win a contest. They were merely the most self-contained excerpts I was able to extract from the much larger “Seed of Glory Sown in Sorrow” narrative.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any other such excerpts up my sleeve. The rewriting that’d be necessary to detach another chapter from its contextual matrix would require more time and effort than I’m willing to invest in something that wouldn’t directly serve the story I’m telling. So I hereby abandon my pursuit of WOTF glamour. FutileFistShakeAtSky.gif
My WOTF certificate from the first quarter of 2019 arrived by mail today. It certainly looks legit. Though L. Ron’s ginormous gilt endorsement has been posthumously appended, the signature of David Farland appears real enough.
So now that Hugh has been honorably mentioned, we’ll see how Ilina fares. An episode from her backstory is currently charging the Great Farland Wall. For those of you interested, it appears—with minor adjustments—among the first four chapters of A Sea Sought in Song. And if you’d like to see what it was that convinced David Farland to sign such a pretty paper, The Pull is available here.