Novel update

Okay, I have got Guardian of the Sky Realms out of the way, and am very happy indeed.

(Not novels, but what the heck:) My short story anthology set in my world of Evyntyde is coming along nicely. Of my target 19 stories, I have written 16 – so it is a matter of getting inspired and writing them, refining them, and submitting them for publication. I believe that I can get this pretty much finalized by about March next year.

My first novel, the mammoth 220k The Scepter and the Orb, needs to be revised  – not madly, but the simple fact is that I am a much better writer now than when I wrote it. It is a huge investment, of time and spirit, and also represents the core of my Evyntyde mythos – it just has to be published. So… I will be working hard over the next 6 months to revise it. Target: June 2011.

My second novel, also set in Evyntyde, called Crystal Peak, is about two thirds finished. As much as I want to hit it hard I need to finish The Scepter and the Orb first. Patience grasshopper. So I suspect my target for that novel is December 2011.

Then there is this scifi/adventure/set now novel (Crichton style). It has been bubbling in my head for years. I would be happy to writer a good outline by June 2011. Project code name: Bitter Creek.

I am just sure that a sequel to Guardian fo the Sky Realms will pop out some time soon 🙂

That’s the roundup for now. Will regularly report on how it goes, and possibly throw in teasers, maps etc.

Two Weeks

In two weeks Jen, Erin and I will go for a short break to the Fiji islands and the Gold Coast in Queensland. Needed beyond belief.

In the meantime, winding up my current assignment at my day job, and also furiously trying to complete editing Linda Penhall’s wonderful book, They Never Gave Up. We really want to publish it in October, so the completion of the editing and proofing is critical. Of course, I continue to do my own writing, and looking closely at what I do with The Scepter and the Orb.

Finally, looking forward to what IFWG Publishing comes up with for my novel’s cover. It has to be good, and feature prominently Penina’s artwork that I acquired.

A busy two weeks.

A Big Decision

I should start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year! I haven’t been blogging much for a while, which is mainly because of a holiday where I had some trouble gaining access to the Internet (only my Blackberry), but also just really busy with editing work for IFWG Publishing. Things are going well on that front.

I finished before New Year editing The Wicked Heroine, by Jasmine Giacomo – a truly excellent writer and a great fantasy novel. What sparked me to make a big decision was the fact that the novel was about 120k in length, and was part 2 of a duology. Now, I haven’t actually asked the question of her whether she originally wrote a larger work, and chose to split it, but her decision was right regardless. If there was a single universal truth about the publishing business, it would be that publishers (and consequently agents) simply don’t want to publish large tomes. Refer to this link that describes it succinctly.

So I got thinking. I always knew that my first novel, The Sceptre and the Orb, had an uphill battle, because it was 200k in length. Industry looks toward about 100k, and for fantasy, due to world building, up to about 140k. I got figuring that I needed to cut my novel into two, and do a duology, like Jasmine.

Of course, things aren’t that simple, especially if I am restructuring on the fly. I found that the obvious split point was 120k into my novel, leaving a small 80k for the second. This isn’t good. So I need to think about expanding my second half, without making it waffle.

This is my challenge. The consequence of a big decision.

The Sceptre and the Orb

Where do I begin? This is my first novel, my baby, and I genuinely believe it’s very good. It is epic High Fantasy, all 200k words of it. It is also reasonably uniquely structured and has the right story lines to introduce the world where Evyntyde exists.

As I stated in another blog, the world I write about was not altogether my construction – there were a bunch of roleplay game designers who collaborated on convention modules, and with a great deal of enthusiasm, we did a lot of world building. I was one of the most active, but certainly not the only one. The group eventually went their separate ways in terms of this project, and I continued it pretty much solo for a while, and eventually realised that the world had a lot to offer from a writing point of view. The other designers either formally handed over rights to the world to a smaller subset of designers, and those that remained consented to allowing me to dip into the stuff we collectively built. I should point out that my creative writing effort is mine, and mine alone, and by far the bulk of the world building used to construct the novels (and short stories) are also mine.

For fear of jeapardising my chances of selling the book through a publisher, I will refrain from quoting from my work, at this stage, and for that matter, divulging too much about the story. The following is what I am willing to offer.

The Sceptre and the Orb (‘scepter’ in US English) are two ancient artefacts, one created by a god-emperor, while the other by one of the greatest alchemists of all time, who used god-originating materials to construct it. They were designed to work together. They symbolised the right to rule the Kingdom of Waymoor, as well as the Kingdom of Evyntyde, that came out of a Great Migration from the earlier land. They also are powerful items of magic in the hands of people who know how to wield them (spell casting alchemists), and who have the Gift.

The novel is set in two places and timeframes, and appear to be two different stories, although each have spell casting alchemists of the Cimiaric Order, and the two artefacts play an important part in the conduct of events. The earlier thread takes place in the Kingdom of Waymoor, about 550 years prior to the events in the Kingdom of Evyntyde. The lives of three alchemists are followed, each having challenges in their lives, but also being entangled in the fate of the Waymoorian Sceptre and Orb.

Civil War, treason, jealousy – great events take place and near the conclusion of the novel all threads join together and add meaning to each other.

The story is truly epic, and I am proud to have written it.

My Novels – Completed & Planned

Hmm, can’t give too much away, but I would like to talk about my writing efforts, particularly in the medium that I enjoy the most.

The core of my writing at the moment, and certainly over the last few years, has been The Chronicles of Evyntyde. Stories set in the world where that island kingdom exists. It is so unique and expansive, and there has been so much work put into it, that it just oozes plot lines and characters. I suspect I will be writing Evyntyde short stories and novels until the day I die.  Having said this, I am not limited to this series, and I have just made a strategic decision where I am placing all of my major writing effort into a YA novel (see below).

The Sceptre and the Orb

This novel (200k) is my first, and it is done and dusted, in terms of readiness to be picked up by an agent and/or publisher. It has been polished so much I can see my face reflected in it, and I figure any further changes would be as a result of professional editing assistance. I will post another log on this work, as it deserves its own discussion.

Crystal Peak

Before I finished the final polish of The Sceptre and the Orb, I planned and then began drafting Crystal Peak. This work is about two-thirds complete (120k written, and it will probably resolve to about 160k). This is a fun story to write, although my day job has caused a major slow-down in production. I enjoy having characters from my first novel play roles in this story, but also introducing new ones, and in particular a female astrologer who is one of the main characters. All good.

Guardians of the Sky Realms

This novel has an interesting history. I wrote a short story, inspired by a painting (via a writers’ challenge), called The painting. It is one of my best stories and I wrote it deliberately for the younger set – to be specific, females aged 13 to 18 (although not inclusive). As soon as I wrote it I knew it had immense possibilities, and about a month later I plotted out an outline for a YA (or perhaps slightly younger age group) novel, and I also wrote the next chapter. I deliberately left it in hibernation, as I really wanted to progress Crystal Peak, and so it was left uncooked for quite some time.

Two things caused me to rearrange my priorities.  Firstly, Text Publishing (a small Press here in Melbourne) announced the winner of it’s second annual YA novel award – the prize was getting the novel published the next year and $10,000 advance on royalties – which seemed a really good target for my YA effort for next year’s awards – so I have until about July next year to get it written. The second reason why Guardians could be given higher priority was the simple fact that I have come to the conclusion that it is simply a more marketable work while I am still unpublished and have zero street cred. So, I have decided to swap the priorities between Crystal Peak and Guardians of the Sky Realms, and make a BIG push to getting the YA novel completed as soon as possible.

This is a wonderful baby for me – it just reeks of being a publishable, marketable work, and possibly even more. My decision to emphasize my YA novel is the right one.

Other Works

It is always dangerous to forecast far into the future, and to describe things that are, by their nature, subject to change. So dear reader, take this with a grain of salt, and forgive me for being deliberately general, as I don’t want to give away trade secrets ;-).

I have a third Evyntyde Book in mind, whose working title is The Crimson Pirate. Evyntyde is a seafaring nation and an enjoyable part of Crystal Peak is the sea based chapters (of which there are many). I thought it would be very enjoyable indeed to have a novel largely devoted to the topic.

Ah, my secret project. When I was in my late teens I was a passenger on a long country drive in inland New South Wales, Australia, and I saw a bleak landscape and an idea sprung in my mind. A pretty much complete storyline entered my head in the space of about ten minutes. Periodically, I thought about the story, and then forgot it (hibernation again), and about two years ago it made it’s timely return, and I started to put pen to paper. I genuinely believe it is a very good story, and I consider it a jewel that I need to work on in the next few years. What makes it interesting for me, aside from it’s conception, is that it isn’t a fantasy, YA, or even conventional Scifi. My best description would be to say it is a Michael Crichton style novel, set primarily in Australia and Antarctica. It’s working title is Bitter Springs.  This is likely to be the final title.

I have other ideas, but they are not worthy of mention at this stage. I am a contented soul when it comes to creativity, as I have about a couple of years’ worth of work lined up, if I was a full time writer.

As an aside, I am putting together an Evyntyde Short Story Anthology, which, I suppose, can be considered a large piece of work, rather than short stories, per se.