Late last week I was informed that A Sea Sought in Song had been selected from out of a well-known publisher’s infamously vast slush pile “for closer examination.” This was a pleasant surprise, as it’d been eleven months since I’d deposited my manuscript in that particular quagmire. Who knows if it’ll make the next cut, or how long that might take, but I consider this a big achievement in any event.
Since I always try to pair my news reports with authorial insights, I’ll observe, in a spirit of undaunted uncertainty, that Book Three continues to progress elliptically. I’ll write a scene, think through its ramifications, then go back and rewrite one or two past scenes before circling back around to the front lines. I’m calling due a lot of the open-ended place-markers with which I’ve strewn my path, connecting heretofore-unseen dots, complexifying the narrative matrix. It’s slow going, but quite rewarding. A certain knowledge of future events has proven unnecessary to weave a tightly-plotted tale.
Kinda like in real life.
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.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have an agent.
Since requesting the full manuscript only four minutes after my initial query, James McGinniss of McGinniss Associates Literary Agency has become one of the biggest extant fans of A Sea Sought in Song. I’m pleased and proud to call him my representative in the rarified realm of NYC publishing.
brb gonna take said realm by storm now