Tag Archives: A Song of Ice and Fire

10 factoids about Book 5

17 Nov

Here are ten things about The White-Silver House that you may find interesting:

The White-Silver House1. From six to five: When the series The Day Magic Died was first drafted, there were six books. But when I re-read the first drafts, I saw that the original fifth book looked good for about the first 20 percent of the book, then wandered like a confused faerie. When I cut the last 80 chapters, that first 20 percent fit perfectly with Book 6. That grafted draft was the foundation for Book 5, The White-Silver House.

2. From five to six? In the process of creating the final draft, I came to the point where the original fifth book ended. It was, I thought, working really well up to that point, and I knew there were some issues ahead. Also, I was about the half-way point in the book, which is the longest yet. (See the next point.) So I considered splitting it into books five and six again. I decided that would be stringing readers along, so I kept it as one book and kept hammering away at the draft.

3. More to love in Book Five: Book 1, The House in the Old Wood, is 90,000 words. Book 2, Karia’s Path, is almost the same length. Book 3, The Hall of the Prophetess, clocks in at 95,000 words. Then came Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy. That reached 115,000 words. But you have not seen anything yet. Book 5, The White-Silver House, is nearly 135,000 words. (That’s more than a half-million words for the series, by the way.)

4. In the end, I got to the ending: The ending of The White-Silver House, in many ways, differs greatly from the ending I wrote at first. I wrote the original ending when I was about 20,000 words into The House in the Old Wood, and knew I needed to know where I was going if I was ever going to get there. (That’s right. It “only” took me 20,000 words to figure that out.) But when I wrote it, I was anticipating writing one book. Just one. When I hit about 60,000 words, and I had barely started the story, I figured I had three books. When everything shifted on me in the third book, I thought I had five. As noted above, I ended up with six books initially. Needless to say, the ending changed as the story changed. On the other hand, the elements that are probably most important are still there from the first version of the ending. They guided me through a half-million words.

5. In the end, I decided against another ending: I wrote an alternative ending. On the basis of that alternative ending, I outlined a sequel. I bounced the alternative ending off two of my critical readers. (Someday, perhaps, I’ll let others see it. Perhaps.) Their response? No no no no no no. Yes, two people told me six times not to do it. I took their advice.

6. It’s back: Some astute readers have asked me about a particular object that seems very important in The House in the Old Wood, and comes up again a few times in Karia’s Path. But then it disappears. It’s not even mentioned in The Hall of the Prophetess or The Dwarf’s Legacy. (Well, not overtly. There actually is a reference to it in The Dwarf’s Legacy, but it’s veiled.) Now I can tell you, astute readers, it does indeed play a key role. You’ll just have to wait until near the end of The White-Silver House to find out if you’re thinking about what I’m talking about.

7. They’re back: Likewise, two characters who played major roles in the first two books, The House in the Old Wood and Karia’s Path, also disappeared, and for good reason. But in the final analysis, they redeem themselves in The White-Silver House.

8. The problems continued: The fourth book, The Dwarf’s Legacy, took far longer than I expected to complete because I had to replace a major character. That character was involved in almost every part of the book, and this necessitated a serious rewrite. The character played less of a role in the fifth book, The White-Silver House, but I still needed to do more work than I had anticipated in order to complete the changes begun in the fourth book.

9. Wait, how many races are there? The House in the Old Wood introduced readers to three races: Teneka, Dr’Zhak and Inamali. But one more came up in the fourth book, The Dwarf’s Legacy. And book five, The White-Silver House, introduces a fifth race. But they’re actually people you’ve met before – at least, one of them – in the third book, The Hall of the Prophetess. Oh, and by the way, that fourth race that you met in The Dwarf’s Legacy? You may have missed it, but there are references to them in The House in the Old Wood and Karia’s Path – references that you probably won’t be able to connect until you read The White-Silver House.

10. Three years in the making: I started writing my series, The Day Magic Died, in November 2011. So I think there’s some poetry in the fact that I completed the final draft of the final book in November 2014. So basically, in the time that Song of Ice and Fire fans have been waiting for one more book from George RR Martin, I’ve released five books. OK, so the fifth book in my series isn’t actually out yet. Anyone care to bet that The Winds of Winter will be out before The White-Silver House? I didn’t think so. Therefore, Game of Thrones and Song of Ice and Fire fans, I have given you something to read while you wait. And wait. And … well, OK, I won’t rub it in. That is, I won’t rub it in if you buy my books. All of you. Now.

10 reasons The Day Magic Died is better than A Song of Ice and Fire, part two

15 Jul

You may have heard people say that George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (that’s the books on which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based, in case you missed that) is the best fantasy series of our time. And yesterday I gave you five of the ten reasons my series, The Day Magic Died, is better.

Here are reasons six through ten:

6. Trustworthy: Look at the man. George RR Martin has a beard! I always say, never trust a man with a beard. Yes, I have a beard too. So? What are you implying?

7. You knead this: Never once, in all those words in all those books in A Song of Ice and Fire, does Martin give a detailed description of making bread. You’ll not find one in the Game of Thrones TV series either. But The House in the Old Wood, the first book of The Day Magic Died,does. Just like all those other pieces of great literature with baking scenes. I can’t think of any right off the bat, but I’m sure they’ll come to me.

8. Use your imagination: You can watch Game of Thrones on TV. But there’s no TV series or movie version of The Day Magic Died, so there’s nothing to keep you from using your own imagination to picture the characters and scenes as they play out. However, I should add in case any producers are reading this, I’d consider sacrificing my readers’ imaginations for the right amount of money.

9. Speaking of imagination: The Day Magic Died has better mythical creatures. I’d put a ferebeast or a redbear up against a direwolf any day. But A Song of Ice and Fire has dragons, you say? Well, I’ve got a dragon too – and she’s immortal. Take that! Wait. She’s also dead. Sort of. Hang on, my immortal dragon is sort of dead? Boy, I wish I would have noticed that before I was four books in …

10. But in the end: My dwarf is taller. Need I say more?

You ought to run right out (or really, open another tab) and get your copy of my series today. Available in paperback or for Kindle:

The House in the Old WoodKaria's Path

10 reasons ‘The Day Magic Died’ is better than ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ part one

14 Jul

As long as I’m talking about George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (that’s the books on which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based, in case you missed that), I should tell you, I am tired of hearing that it is the best fantasy series of our time.

I’ve come up with 10 reasons my series, The Day Magic Died, is better. Here are the first five:

1. Peace and quiet: People seem to be talking about Game of Thrones and the books it’s based on, A Song of Ice and Fire, a lot. It can get really annoying. So next time that bothers you, mention The Day Magic Died. Aside from the odd looks and the occasional, “What?” you’ll get the peace and quiet and solitude you want.

2. Readable length: When it’s all done, A Song of Ice and Fire will be roughly 47.635 million words long. Who can read that much? In fact, at an average pace of 10,000 words an hour, that would take 200 days to read. Without stopping to sleep, eat or do anything else. The Day Magic Died will be about 500,000 words. That’s a nice round figure that, read through without stopping, would only take one weekend. You can survive that. (Note to self: “You can survive my books” goes in the bin of rejected marketing slogans.) I mean, you’ll enjoy that journey.

3. Northwestern University: George RR Martin went to some elitist Midwestern college with pretensions of Ivy League-ism. I went to … wait, never mind.

4. Playing the percentages: A Song of Ice and Fire is 71 percent complete, and if it goes to eight books instead of seven, as George has hinted, it’s only 63 percent complete. The Day Magic Died is 80 percent complete, and the final book is set to come out this year. Yes, whenever I am reading a book series, I calculate percentages. Don’t you?

5. Faster is better: George RR Martin’s first book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire came out in 1996, and the fifth book came out 2011 – 15 years later! And it’s not done. The House in the Old Wood came out in 2013, and The White-Silver House, the final book in the series The Day Magic Died, comes out in 2014. And everyone knows faster is better, right? How else do you explain why so many people eat at McDonald’s?

Check out reasons six through ten. And please check out my series, available in paperback or for Kindle:

The House in the Old WoodKaria's Path

Why I think fans should lighten up on George RR Martin

11 Jul

So it seems some fans got under George RR Martin’s skin with their self-centered concerns about his health: “What if he dies and I don’t get to read how A Song of Ice and Fire ends?” (Those are the books Game of Thrones is based on, if you were wondering …)

And George fired back with an expletive and a hand gesture. (I call him George because of the nature of our relationship: Someone close to me met him once.)

While I hope I never react like that to people who want to read what I write (or anyone, for that matter), I’ve learned some things in writing my series, The Day Magic Died, that make me want to cut George some slack.

Writers have one speed. Someone who writes slowly, as George does, writes slowly. Someone who writes quickly, as I do, writes quickly. You really can’t change that.

I already knew that. Even way back in high school, I was that annoying kid who always got done with the test first. I usually scored in the high 90s, but never 100 percent. Teachers tried to get me to slow down. “You should be able to get 100 if you slow down,” they’d say. And being the kind of annoying kid who thought scoring 100 was a good thing, I tried. And tried. And I always did worse.

While I already knew that I had just one speed, the process of writing a book series has made it all that much more apparent. I write quickly … and I need a good editing team to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Which is especially important because …

A big book series takes a massive amount of focus. Sometimes I find the scope of my series – all the things I have to keep track of – overwhelming. I am on the fifth of five books, all told from the perspective of one character, and the series covers less than one year of her life in about a half-million words.

I cannot imagine the focus required by the complexity of A Song of Ice and Fire.

I can tell you that as I am working on Book Five, The White-Silver House, I have a set of notes I keep coming back to. Yet as recently as two weeks ago one of my critical readers/editing team members asked what happened to one particular character, and I had to admit: “Oh. I forgot about that.” (Not to worry, it was a minor character and a minor incident, but it bears wrapping up.)

But as much as you want to just buckle down and focus …

A writer cannot simply focus on the books. Come on, you know this if you’ve followed me. I got bogged down in Book Four, The Dwarf’s Legacy so I stopped for a bit and made my wife an Elizabethan doublet gown. It meant Book Four took longer to finish, but it also meant it was a better book.

George said something similar himself. The Independent quoted him as saying, “I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game.”

Now, as I am wrapping up the series, I am finding it even more important to step back from Book Five. Frequently. The intensive focus it takes to pull this together is not something I can maintain for long. Maybe it’s time for me to make that Viking outfit I’ve been thinking about.

So, fans of George RR Martin, please lighten up. He’s going at his speed, and working through his process. If you get the books any other way, they won’t be the same.

Shameless plug alert: While you’re waiting, you can check out my series. Four books are out, and the fifth and final one is due out this year. Start with The House in the Old Wood

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