Getting the writing back on track

With the requirement to spend all my free time looking for a job now a thing of the past, I desperately need to get back on track with Dreamdarkers.  I had originally planned by this time to have it ready for outside review.  That didn’t happen.  I was on a roll with it through late 2006 but fell way behind over the last three or four months because my priorities shifted so dramatically—and necessarily.

So now that I have a job to start in a few weeks, it’s time to refocus on the novel.  I still believe I can have it ready for agent submission by early summer at the latest.  That is assuming, of course, that work doesn’t interfere or that some other catastrophe doesn’t pop up to take my attention elsewhere.

At this moment, the manuscript contains about 450 pages.  It will grow.  Does that mean the book will be that long?  I can’t say right now since this is only the first rewrite of the original “Darkness Comes to Kingswell” short story.  I know there’s much more to add and expand, but I also know the edit session to follow this rewrite will undoubtedly remove content.  That means its length will fluctuate up and down while I continue manhandling it throughout these various writing and editorial passes.

Keep in mind, as I’ve pointed out before, I don’t know how the number of pages in the document translate to the number of pages in a printed book.  I doubt anyone could know that.  The margins, font size, and spacing of the current digital text ultimately convert to something quite different, and even that depends on the margins, font size, and spacing of the bound paper.  There might be a relative correlation derived from some abstract, variable-controlled equation, but it would offer nothing more than a guesstimate.

Relatedly, one of the friendly folks at Starbucks has been following this project for some time.  She recently asked me what chapter I was on.  I explained to her then what I explained to you last November:

I know there are writers who include [chapters] up front, but I’m not one of them.  It forces my hand in a way that I don’t like.  Instead, I want the story itself to be my focus, not on how long each chapter is or where I need to go before including a new pause.  When it’s done, I’ll go back and work out where the chapter breaks should be.  They do serve a useful purpose, I know, and as an avid reader I appreciate them.  Nevertheless, guessing at the number now is being foolish.  Once I’m happy with the story, I’ll go through it and find the places where a reader can comfortably pause without losing the spirit of the chronicle, and that’s where I’ll put in chapter breaks.

With that in mind, I have no idea how many chapters are in it now or how many will be in it later.  For me, that’s not relevant and is something I’ll figure out once I’m happy with the story.

I still intend to follow Dreamdarkers with End of the Warm Season (assuming that’s what it’s called).  I have explained to both xocobra and Jenny in the last few weeks this very real truth about that story (from an e-mail to Jenny):

The more I think about that one, however, the more I think it’ll be two books.  Either that or a very long single book (like [Stephen] King’s The Stand at almost 1200 pages).  We’ll see how it works out.

I say that because the narrative spans centuries (whereas Dreamdarkers spans a few days).  Likewise, the second tale is based on two antagonists and their slowly yet ultimately intertwining lives.  It also must cover a methodical discovery by the protagonist(s) regarding both the bag guy and the bad god, what they’re up to, what could happen if either or both accomplish what they wish to accomplish, and how to stop them.

Oh, and it will also delve into a bit more history surrounding Kingswell, my little East Texas town, as well as a secret or two from Dreamdarkers that won’t be told in that novel.  I can’t promise you all the answers the first book doesn’t share, but I can promise a surprise or two will be contained within the second story that will shed light on what really happened in the first.  I won’t give any hints on that since I think it makes for a great surprise to see how Dreamdarkers ultimately is told from Dave Lloyd’s perspective versus what you find out in End of the Warm Season.

I won’t guess beyond that story.  I do still have plans to write The Breaking of Worlds, a lengthy series of books to number perhaps 6-8 novels.  Will it follow immediately upon the heels of End of the Warm Season?  Or will there perchance be another story more centralized on Kingswell before that larger tale unfolds?  Or more than one?  Only time will tell.

[Update] One more thing…  There will be no more excerpts from Dreamdarkers posted here.  I’ve shared enough to give a feel for the book.  I’ve shared enough to reveal some of what it’s about.  At this point, sharing any more tidbits would become obsessive behavior used to hide a lack of other post material, I think, so the rest of the story will only be available in the final book.

And for those to whom I promised a signed copy of the final manuscript, you will still receive one—after the book is on store shelves.  Consider it a bit of protective behavior.  I believe the story will change a bit for the second release in paperback, not to mention the possible third release in mass-market paperback, so what you receive will be a copy of the original hardback novel.  That should ensure its greatest value and rarity.

But I know you don’t want it just so you can turn around and sell it…  Right?

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