Halfway there

15 Jan

The Day Magic DiedI’m about halfway through the rewrite of The Day Magic Died, Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy.

And for those of you who are waiting eagerly to read it, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that “halfway” is about 60,000 words. That means the book is probably going to be longer than 100,000 words, and could be around 120,000 words.

What’s that mean? Two things:

  • At 120,000 words, it would be about one-third longer than The House in the Old Wood.
  • With 120,000 words, you are far more likely to find at least 1,000 you enjoy.

The bad news is, I’ve fallen behind schedule on the rewrite. At this point this is simply a first warning that the book might not be ready for a February release. I am still aiming for a February release. I’m just having some doubts. Here’s why:

The main reason I’ve fallen behind is that the book needed far more work than I initially thought. I’ve mentioned before that I had to swap out one major character with another – which is a lot of work to start with. But as I worked through the book, I realized I also had to fix Karia’s relationships. It’s one thing if she’s confused about love; she’s 15 years old. But it’s quite another if she bounces around like a ping-pong ball.

So when I get done with these changes, I’ll read through the book one more time, and it’ll be proofread, and then it will go out to my critical readers. If everything goes well there, we’re right on track.

But I’m not sure everything will go well there. I’ve been moving chapters around and writing new ones and changing the sequence of events. Do you know what that’s likely to cause?

Well, you know those scenes that creep into a movie or TV show where the character is eating a donut, and at first it’s halfway done, then it’s missing just one bite, then it’s almost gone? Those are continuity errors, and things like that happen in books too.

You see, writers get so involved in the moment – in crafting that scene, just like the director crafting the shot – that we might write something that doesn’t really fit. Characters might say something and later contradict themselves, or act or speak in a way that is out of character. An explanation might not make sense with something that happened earlier. Or I might simply forget something important that preceded the scene I am writing at that point – such as forgetting they are outside in winter and that means it’s cold.

For instance, as I was looking over my rewrite, I spotted a chapter where one character who is normally reticent to speak just comes right out and explains something. That’s out of character, and I’ll need to fix that.

Another type of error is simply omission. In replacing one of the key characters, I made a set of notes on what that character needs to say and do. And as I was looking over it, I realized I left one out. If he does not explain that certain something to Karia, there is no foundation for something that happens later in the book. I’ll have to go back and write that in.

The other error is irrelevance. I’ve written three or four chapters in which Karia interacts with other faeries, and I’m quite fond of them. A number of people have commented on how much they like Generality, so I wanted to give people a look at more faeries. (Yes, they’re apparently all a bit like him.) But as I’m looking back over those chapters, I have to ask myself: Do they do enough to advance the story? Are they relevant?

So it’s likely that my critical readers will spot issues of continuity or omission or irrelevance that I will not have the perspective to see. That would mean more rewriting, and possibly a March release.

As much as I’d like to just plough ahead and get the book out, I’d rather not inflict sloppy writing on you. I’m still embarrassed by the typos in the first edition of The House in the Old Wood, and I added another layer of proofreading because of that. I’m going to have The Dwarf’s Legacy thoroughly checked over before I put it out, and while I know you want to read it soon, I don’t think you want to read it before it’s ready.

I will keep you posted.

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