As I mentioned yesterday on Twitter, I finished Epic Fantasy With No Dull Parts yesterday and sent it off to my agent. This is a big deal for a lot of reasons and I have so very many things I want to say about it, but at the moment what I feel is a genuine relief. Anyway, let me skate over some of those topics.
1) No dull parts? God, I hope so. There’s one scene where they eat kabob that could maybe go, but…
1A) After sending to my agent, my son immediately found a grammar error on page one. It’s too late to do anything about it now, but, shit.
2) It’s 136,000 words long. That’s HUGE! Take a look at the printed manuscript with a life-sized Batman statue beside it!
I’ve never written anything that long before. All the Twenty Palaces books were 90- to 105K words. Weirdly, as I wrote, plot elements ended up taking way, way more space on the page than I’d expected. It’s epic, right? Epic is big? Well, I’d promised to make this a stand alone novel, but I’m breaking that promise. It’s going to be two books. (But no more! I’m serious!)
3) I started it on October 7th by doing the exercises in Adventures in Fantasy by John Gust. It was a homeschool project for my son, and he wouldn’t have done it without me. Actually, it turned out to be fun for us to do the exercises together. Being me, I had to mess around with the plot format, which I’m sure is a gigantic surprise to everyone.
However, when I sat down with my agent last summer, she told me that it would be good to be more prolific without a loss in quality. Two books a year, people, that’s what she suggested. That’s what I was aiming for.
Obviously I didn’t manage it, because this was just over eight months to finish. In my defense, the death of my father-in-law shut off all productivity for weeks and it was tough to get my momentum back. Still, only 8 months!
4) I was still late with it. Most of you reading this have probably watched Neil Gaiman’s 2012 Commencement Speech, in which he talks about freelancers staying in business if they have two out of three things: they do good work, they’re easy to get along with, and they meet their deadlines. Me, I’m afraid to admit that I’ve had problems with deadlines.
I’m not talking about externally-imposed deadlines, either. I find it incredibly difficult to judge how long a particular job will take. I promised my agent that I would send the revised manuscript to her in early May. This is mid-June. Not cool.
There’s no production schedule to ruin, no publishing slots to miss. This is just me, the pages in front of me, and my ability to sensibly judge how much time I need to finish a book.
To remedy this, I’m going to start carefully recording everything I do, writing-wise. Every day of the week, how many hours of writing, how many words I write, how many words I revise. It won’t be a goad to productivity; it will help me understand the way I work right now.
5) Last night, I celebrated the completion of a new manuscript in the traditional way:
My kid took the picture, and he didn’t know to zoom in so the freeze frame of Burn Notice would be cropped out.
Today is for reading and recharging my creative batteries. Maybe I’ll even (gasp!) get to play a video game! I know! Crazy!
6) You know how the latest big thing in fantasy is twisty grim pseudo-medieval political fantasy with very little magic? I didn’t write that. Whether that’s a smart choice or not, I dunno, but there it is.
Bonus last thing: My book giveaway is getting a lot of sign ups. If you missed the post yesterday, I’m giving away a signed copy of an anthology I’m in.
Time for a break from sitting and typing. Catch you guys later.
Update: These books have been released! Read more about them or pick up a copy here: