June 25th Update

This past week went well, despite a rather annoying day where my internet was flaking out and causing my laptop to freeze in mid-sentence. Even with that, as of last night Halls of Power was sitting at just over 103,000 words. While I don’t claim to be certain, I have fairly high confidence of finishing the draft this upcoming week. If not this week, next week pretty much for certain. Incidentally, I’m beginning to wonder if a different name would be more appropriate, but I think I’m going to stick with what I’ve got.

As of this writing (pre-writing on Saturday night), the Audiobook ofย Spells of Old hasn’t been approved by Audible. I hope that it’ll be available sometime Sunday or Monday, but I can’t promise anything, alas. We’ll see how it goes there.

Anyway, I don’t have much else to say, save that Tyria’s personality when I actually write about her has ended up being very, very different than what I expected. Not in a bad way, I need to say, just… very different. Anyway, I’m happy to say that things are progressing well! Hopefully I don’t have to add or remove too much to the draft once it’s done.

12 thoughts on “June 25th Update

  1. Spoilers for book 2 below.

    Considering what Wenris did to Medea/Tyria in Spells of Old, will there be chapters from Medea/Tyria’s POV?

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    1. As of yet, no. I’m trying not to do things from too many more characters points of view, or add too many additional characters in this book. Now, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but there’s also the issue of me getting into Tyria’s head. I’ll have an honest answer once I finish the book, but until then, I just don’t know.

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    1. Oh, I totally understand! For me, I generally change perspectives when I ask myself the following and the answer is yes: “Do I want to know what this person is going through, or what the situation is from someone else’s perspective?”

      This probably is why a fair number of people loathe the number of perspectives in the trilogy thus far. I’m hoping to keep it to a more sane number in subsequent books, but we’ll see how it goes.

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      1. I’m one of the anti-multi-POV people. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        To me (speaking very generally), a different POV is warranted if the character in question has their own development and plot going for themselves, with a big portion that’s independent of what happens to the other POV/s, but not as a method of providing extra information. Exceptions might be made for a Prologue or similar, but even that I tend to dislike.

        I understand that multi-POVs are tempting – like, take The Traitor Baru Cormorant: it’s literally about someone constantly betraying everyone around her. And it’s exclusively told through her narrative. Shouldn’t we want to know how they are feeling about it? Are they suspecting her? Are they surprised? Angry? Sad? Is what Baru tells us even true, or is she a biased narrator?

        But those are questions the reader should deduct from the reactions shown and comments made in the novel, if at all, not something that’s simply told them via a new POV.

        Well, in my opinion anyway. Not that I’m a professional or anything ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      2. Understandable. I think part of my issue is twofold.

        First: Sistina being locked to a single location in Ancient Ruins set the tone for the series. She was also almost completely on her own, which made the story difficult, since so much of what was going on was outside of where she could possibly find out about it. My choices were to go with that, which would have led to a much shallower book (in part because in writing about her foes in their shoes I actually developed the plot in far greater depth), and would have made it seem very deus ex machina.

        Second: I’ve spent years reading books with dozens of points of view, like David Weber’s novels. I’ve also been a GM of Roleplaying games for over a decade, where I have to play dozens of NPCs. I didn’t even think about it when I wrote Ancient Ruins, I just wrote what I’d like to read.

        The long and the short of it are that once I published Ancient Ruins, I felt committed to the style I started with. It’ll carry on about like it is to the end.

        Also, I don’t consider myself a professional author. Have I made a decent amount off this, when I didn’t expect it? Yes. But I’m still learning a lot of the ropes.

        That being said, for Born a Queen it’s a lot fewer viewpoints. For those that are more than a paragraph or two, it’s about 5 in total, and only 3 of them are common. I’m not going to change it because then I’d lose at least a quarter of the book. For Through the Fire, I intend to restrict myself to two characters with the occasional interlude of ‘other events’ far away. And with Sisters of Radiance, I may restrict myself to the two main characters. But that’s for the future.

        Hope it helps with explaining why I did what I did.

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  2. It wasn’t so much a specific criticism of your series anyway, more of a general comment, although I certainly would have tried being more restrained, but, eh, that’s always easy to say once everything’s done. And since it’s not actually happened nobody can compare how it’d have turned out and say “naw, that was a stupid idea, totally didn’t work” ๐Ÿ˜‰

    With Sistina being the unique protagonist she is additional POVs certainly make sense. And like with Weber, it also makes sense to show glimpses into the enemy’s mindset and what they are currently up to in relation to the “good guys”, although that’s always a balance of “tell the reader too much and it gets too predictable and don’t show enough and it’ll feel like they’re always pulling rabbits out of hats.” Like, a corrupted goddess suddenly appearing in the third novel with no previous mentions would have been seriously odd. But if not shown directly there still could have been foreshadowing ala “they’ve been doing something to those priestesses and those temples and we don’t know what but it’s going to be baaaad”.

    Where I’m fairly I’d be content with cutting off scenes would be the adventurers. That feels more like material to a side-/short-story or something to me. And most of the information could have been conveyed through Sistina spying on them in the dungeon or other characters just knowing that stuff and talking about it to her, instead of the “newbie adventurers learn from more experienced adventurers”.

    And then there’s a bunch of “they got a single POV scene and then never again”. That’s the type of thing I’d try to avoid. I mean, Weber uses those too, I know. Usually showing someone’s POV just before they got blown to pieces, and he uses it to show that they aren’t just statistics getting killed but “real people” who have their own families they worry about and such. They tend to be some of the better scenes of Honor novels in my opinion, so I can’t even complain too much about them, but it really should be reserved to super-important events.

    And all that being said Weber has some notorious pacing problems, although it’s more the info-dumping I suppose. Like when Honor chases that Q-ship in the first novel and he suddenly launches into an explanation and history of FTL-travel. Well. I suppose “true scifi nerds” might like that sort of thing but I’d say generally it’s to be avoided ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. Oh gods… don’t remind me of that incident in On Basilisk Station… *cringes at the memory*

      That scene is one of the things that made me determined to try and avoid infodumps for the sake of infodumps. If they come up, they come up, but otherwise mysteries will stay as they are.

      For me, I try to make sure that when I write about a named character, no matter how unimportant they are, I have their basic background, and what they want out of life. Mind, for, say, Private Merric on the border of Alcast, he’s just your average soldier. He grew up in a small town, wasn’t going to inherit the farm, so joined the army to put food on the table. His goal is to have enough money eventually to own a tavern. That’s pretty much everything I figured out about him, but it helps me write the character, however briefly he was there. Now, I did consider the possibility of him coming up again, which was why he was named. His chances are nearing non-existent, though.

      Also, Daniel was an accident. He wasn’t in my original outline/ideas at all. I originally named him because he was part of the first scouting group, but he just… grew. I have a problem with things like that, I admit. Sometimes I latch onto minor characters for reasons I don’t understand.

      …I’m getting long-winded, and rambling rather than writing. Suffice to say, I hear your points, and I agree within limits. If you’re getting my newsletter, you might notice that Into the Eternal Wood is entirely from the perspective of Sistina Constella, so hopefully that helps.

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    2. It’s funny, the adventurers are the one POV I rally appreciate. Daniel is a pretty good surrogate for learning about adventuring in the world (giving an excuse to talk about steampunch magitech, the other countries, etc) while the rest of the proper adventurers’ internal looks show how powerful/crazy whatever Sistina is doing happens to be. Some of my favorite scenes are with them.

      The characters POVs I don’t enjoy are the ones that aren’t related to Sistina. In Ancient Ruins that was the Jewels. The whole thing from their capture, to the rape of their minds, bodies, and souls seemed to be expository misery porn and didn’t tie into Sistina until the very end. In Spells of Old that role seemed to fall to the Diane Yisara and her daughter, as their entire (rather depressing) storyline could be exised from the book and it wouldn’t make a difference to anyone else.

      I realize both were table setting but I just didn’t care about their characters’ plight and their actions didn’t affect any character I DO care about. So those were a bear to slog through.

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      1. Fair enough, though obviously I don’t agree. My editor was fascinated by Diane, and wanted to see more of it on a personal basis (I didn’t add anything there). I personally wanted to do more, but chose to curtail it because while her situation has some bearing and an important impact on the story as a whole, it isn’t her story. I’ve several times wondered how things would have changed if Topaz, Diane, or even Beryl were the main characters of the books, but it’s more of an idle wondering and ‘what if’ situation.

        I’m happy with things as they stand, though one day there are details and plots I’d like to expand. I already cut a HUGE amount from Spells of Old that involved the Academy, simply because it had even less bearing on the primary plot than Diane did.

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      2. I liked those POV changes, mostly because it helped describe Kelvanis and the slavery issue which would not have otherwise been as obvious.

        I am also a fan of David Weber’s work, and multiple POV changes and interconnected storylines are something that I enjoy. When it is done well (and I find Ancient Ruins and Spells of Old to be done well), when the story lines merge there is a lot more depth to the character interactions when you have a feel for both sides.

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      3. *nods* It’s a tricky balance, especially since not everyone enjoys every style of writing. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to convince myself to completely abandon it, or want to, for that matter, but I feel that in most cases I can reduce the frequency a lot, to focus on the major characters. No matter what I do, though, Halls of Power is going to be pretty heavy on the other POVs.

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