Posted: October 12th, 2010 under Editing, Revisions, the writing life.
Tags: , ,

Though I can almost hear the cries of Woe! No! from here, the braiding process always results in dropping some overwritten sections (or parts of them) and tightening this and adding to that.  Unlike cooking, where once you put the salt or the spices in, they’re in for the duration, writing allows do-overs…trying whether something works and then removing it if it doesn’t.  (Would love to have had that option the time I put way too much tarragon in the tarragon chicken!!)

One of the large chunks recently removed will become a side-story when given a full-arc structure, and I plan to release it between the launch of Kings and the launch of Book III.   It’s a good story,  just far too long for this book, especially where it sits chronologically–it unbalances it in several ways.

Another chunk was removed both to save space for Something Else and because–though I like quiet, leisurely, atmospheric openings–I have the advantage of knowing that the next crisis is just out of sight.   When I read someone else’s quiet, leisurely, atmospheric opening, I trust that writer to have the same aim in starting quietly that I do.    (And when it proves a mistaken trust, there’s another book headed for the giveaway box.)   Readers, I’m told by reliable sources, prefer a story to get moving, show some spunk.   They may have been disappointed too often by slow starts.

So instead of that unadventurous start to  everyone’s favorite “not-a-thief”‘s journey…we start with a tower of vultures and a dead body.    On reflection, nothing else in the journey to that point was likely to have any plot-relevance through the entire group of books.

And instead of two POV sections covering the same time and the same events in the same place…we now have one.

This kind of work needs to be done in long sessions (impossible to tell in five or ten minutes what sections need to be re-ordered, then move them and remove fossils), so the workdays are now running 7 am to near midnight, with a break for a short nap in midafternoon when my brain goes numb.


  • Comment by Eir de Scania — October 12, 2010 @ 11:18 am


    I, for one, love to see those bits dad didn’t fit in the finished work posted here!

  • Comment by Eir de Scania — October 12, 2010 @ 11:23 am


    *that* didn’t get posted…having two Miniature Poodles discussing who will sit in Mum’s lap while she is writing isn’t helpful.

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 12, 2010 @ 11:27 am


    Yes, but these chunks are too long–waaaay too long. They’ll have to be formatted and uploaded to the website when the time comes. And they’re both (the biggest so far) major spoilers until after Kings is out. Both are early enough in sequence that they can fit between the books.

    Right now, my focus is on getting the existing text in order and then finishing it.

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 12, 2010 @ 11:27 am


    I sortakinda figured that (grin.)

  • Comment by Ray — October 12, 2010 @ 2:05 pm


    I finally got to read “Oath of Fealty” recently. Definitely loved it! Well worth the wait and I can’t wait to read the next one! (yes, I can be a fan-boy sometimes)

  • Comment by Shane — October 12, 2010 @ 2:45 pm


    Thank you for planning a side-story. Side-stories are fun and not just for the ‘status’ of saying “I’ve read ALL the side stories.” I enjoy seeing what’s been happening off stage.

    Doesn’t hurt that keeping the main story focused helps new readers enjoy things. While I’d read about Arvid or Stammel even if all they were doing was maintaining their gear, new readers probably wouldn’t find that interesting. (Though it would be interesting to learn how many weapons Arvid hides on his person.)

  • Comment by Eir de Scania — October 13, 2010 @ 7:51 am


    We might find out in “Kings”…

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 13, 2010 @ 7:59 am


    Huh…there’s also the question of which and how many we might recognize as “weapons.” Arvid is just a wee tad fastidious and has with him items he maintains and prefers to use over those commonly available during his travels. Eating utensils, for instance.

    There’s a funny scene (I think it’s funny, anyway) in the current work-in-progress where we find out how Arvid views ordinary objects in light of both defensive and offensive possibilities.

  • Comment by Kathleen — October 13, 2010 @ 12:21 pm


    I hope the funny Arvid scene survives the cutting process.

    Are you still struggling with a title for Book 3? If so, I was thinking that first title was about the Oath that binds the two parties. The second title is about one party to the oath. Logically, the next title could be about the other party. But I’m not sure “Dukes (or Knights) of the North” really fits.

  • Comment by Tina B — October 13, 2010 @ 12:45 pm


    “The Oathbound”. So much better than “Vassalage Can Be Fun!”

    But there will be so many books that the price of various pledges will play out. No doubt, the price of breaking pledges will also play out,

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 13, 2010 @ 1:09 pm


    Ideally, in a group of books, all the titles are relevant to the long-arc story, and to books on either side, and pick up resonances from various levels in their, and the other, volumes.

    This particular book has been laying on complexity with a dozen trowels, making a title choice, um, tricky.

  • Comment by Genko — October 13, 2010 @ 5:48 pm


    “Vassalage Can Be Fun”!!! Too funny. Or a variation: “So You Want to Be a Vassal!”

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 13, 2010 @ 11:10 pm


    I’m afraid that would suggest a very different book than III has chosen to be.

    “So You Want to be a Vassal” would have to be written by Diana Wynne Jones, whose “The Tough Guide to Fantasyland” has exactly the right tone.

  • Comment by Kathleen — October 14, 2010 @ 6:16 am


    “So You Want to be a Vassal” appeals to my sence of humor, but not for this series.

    I could also see Esther Friesner of “Chicks in Chain Mail” fame writing it.

    I know I will enjoy it whatever it is called.

  • Comment by Gillian A — October 14, 2010 @ 6:44 am


    Riffing off Kathleen at 9’s suggestion could result in titles like:

    Vows of Allegiance / Ties of Allegiance / Chains of Allegiance

  • Comment by Jenn — October 17, 2010 @ 8:05 pm


    I love the fact that Arvid carries his own eating utensils. Probably safer as poison seems to abound in Pak’s world.

    Since we are on titles…

    Could we ever have character spaces? You know…
    Everyone love Arvid
    Kieri’s Korner
    Dorrin knows best

    Okay maybe I need less free time.

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 18, 2010 @ 3:02 pm


    Hey, if you’ve got free time can I rent, beg, borrow, or steal it? Pleeeeeeease?

  • Comment by Maureen — October 21, 2010 @ 11:00 pm


    Bloodmages probably have blood vassals. 🙂

    If you were writing Star Trek, you could have somebody claim to be a science vassal. If you were Shakespeare, you could say that “The empty vassal makes the loudest sound.” And you could always go in for professional vassaling. 🙂

    Nil nisi illegitimi carborundum.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment