The Calm Between Novels

He waits beneath the bridge. Dark, with long arms.
He waits beneath the bridge. Dark, with long arms.

As announced elsewhere, I finished the first book of the Ravensgate Chronicles a week ago. Yep. Draft uno of Of Rooks and Ravens is behind me, complete at 86k and change. The next book, Redemption of the Yellow Wolf, which will feature the undead hunter Ulls Sturmgard, the silent monk Whisper, and the feral Bloodood rider Melkin, gets underway soon. It’s already mostly outlined and just waiting for me to pick it up. The third book is set for next year’s project. And then I may spin the survivors from Of Rooks and Ravens out into an epic fantasy espionage series. The characters and where I leave them kind of call out for it.

None of that starts until next week.

There are a few other things in my hopper at the moment.

First off, I’m taking another, fresh look at an old project. Originally conceived over fifteen years ago as a screenplay, then re-imagined as a novel (the second I ever finished, in point of fact), it turned into an idea for a trilogy. But there were a few hold-ups. Despite liking the concept of the trilogy, I was having a difficult time with the second and third books. The second felt padded when I looked at the outline. And the third I couldn’t even get through an outline. I knew what the end of the series had to be, but I couldn’t stretch it into a novel. It was solid, but short. So after pitching the novel a few places (and having one very enlightening conversation with an agent where she told me that “no one will publish an urban fantasy with a married hero.”), I let it sit in a drawer. But I’m looking at it again, realizing I can strip it down to a leaner, meaner project.

And along the way, I have the opportunity to fix some of the diversity problems that I didn’t think about when I wrote the original draft. In the entire original novel, the primary cast was all very white. The only exception was a support character, a folklore expert who happened to be Chinese-American. And the hero was a reclusive millionaire. So, that needed to be changed. In stripping this down, the only characters who remain mostly the same are the cop support character (though I changed his name), and the protagonist’s young son. Everything else has gotten an overhaul and put back together in an outline that feels much more vibrant than the original. And rewriting it from scratch, it will reflect where my writing talents are now, compared to when I wrote the first draft, ten year ago. Bonus!

So I’m mostly finished with outlining the three pieces. I hope to have it done soon, then I can boil it down into a presentable format.

Maybe I’ll find the time to re-write a few short stories and get them back out to markets while I’m at it.

Next Saturday…heck, maybe by Thursday, I expect to be back in the world of Ravensgate. I need to get this second book done in time to let me edit stuff from last year and then prep for NaNoWriMo 2014.

This is shaping up to be a busy year.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

4 thoughts on “The Calm Between Novels

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