Boxing Day for West readers, plus meandering

Posted in Essalieyan, writing, chapters.

I’ve been going back and forth with myself (and possibly fretting at other people in my household who were foolish enough to vacate the room after the first sentence).

About what, you ask?

About posting a preview chapter–in this case, the prologue–of War. I haven’t had the revision discussion with my editor yet; I hope to do that after the holiday break. So the fretting is mostly whether or not what I post will survive in the published book.

I mean, it’s not much of a preview if it doesn’t actually serve as a preview of the book itself. It’s kind of a hopeful preview, but uncertainty abounds. Since the book is very very long in its current state, there are words that might not survive to reach print, and words that might not survive even before then, and even if I personally think they work.

It’s not hard to get rid of words that don’t work.

No, let me try that again. It is very hard to get rid of words that don’t work, because a lot of time went into the writing, regardless (think Touch and Grave. But the driving force is practical. It doesn’t matter how much one slaved over them if they don’t work.

If I think the words do work, it’s much harder, because I have to assess what’s there, and then pull a plot strand out of the whole tapestry without destroying the tapestry in the process. It’s not does this work at that point; it’s will the book be a book if this is not in it? Or, conversely, can I make the book work without this?

And some parts of War are up on the whiteboard of things I might be able to do without, but the whiteboard itself is up in the air until my editor and I discuss it. I have an internal editorial voice, and it’s Sheila Gilbert’s. But my internal voice doesn’t have the weight of her actual voice; it prevents me from doing things that she would stop me from doing, but doesn’t always catch things the real editor might catch.

So… that’s the fretting part. Those are the caveats. What I post here, before the book is revised and finalized might not actually be part of the book when it’s published.

But: here’s the War Prologue, if the caveats haven’t discouraged you.

38 Responses to Boxing Day for West readers, plus meandering

  1. hsmyers says:

    I’m torn. On the one hand I’m desperate to read more of what has become my favorite work, but on the other hand I recognize the let down when I reach the end of the offering. And on the third hand, there is my love of dithering! What to do, what to do what to do…

  2. Heather Arnould says:

    And just like that I am back in a world that challenges and enchants me and leaves me longing for more. As soon as possible please (and thank you).

  3. Zia says:

    Well I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am definitely excited! Thank you so much for this extra surprise. I hope you’re taking some time off. I’ll have to read this at lunch!

  4. Debbie H says:

    You are definitely a Master of words. I hope the book does not lose these, but they won’t be lost, because now we have them. Thank you.

  5. Lisa says:

    Please never lose your sense of the “wholeness” of the story you are building. What you practice is an art and it conveyes the wonder of words made whole. I am so grateful I found you to remind me such skill is not entirely absent from the present day offerings that proliferate so frequently. Blessings on you and yours❤️.

  6. Lauren Isaacs says:

    Love everything you do. I would be happy if you made the last War book into two last War books. It is such a great story, it needs two more.

  7. Nevada says:

    Gah! It sounded like you weren’t going to actually give it to us; that would have been horrible. The rational part of me acknowledges that your editor must know what she’s doing since I have unequivocally loved your Essalieyan books so much, the fangirl part of me is wholeheartedly unimpressed and unconcerned with the opinion of an editor that wants to take away the words of a world I’m both eager and sad to finish. Personally, I think you should just upload the entire book for download to people who can prove proof-of-purchase of War. Christmas is the season for dreaming.

  8. michelle says:

    @Nevada: I wouldn’t have made this post if I wasn’t going to post the chapter (well, prologue) :). But – I wanted to make clear that I’m not certain that this is entirely set in stone before I did. So probably too much disclaimer, not enough chapter.

  9. MHughes says:

    Thank you for sharing. I love the chance at an Ellerson-POV. Just finished my reread of Oracle, so this was a lovely surprise.

    The Other Michelle

  10. Tchula says:

    Wow, thank you, thank you, thank you for the prologue! Even if the words change in the final version, it was great to have this perspective to start off War. I hope the words cooperate and you have a wonderful 2018!

  11. Christine Stevenson says:

    Fantastic. Can you give us a hint on when we are likely to be able to purchase “War”? Months? Spring?

    i wish i had found you years ago, but at least i still have a lot to catch up on. Thank you so much.

  12. Karen says:

    Many, many thanks! We’re especially gifted with this “preview” if the words don’t make the final cut.
    All the best to you and your family for a healthy and happy new year.

  13. Stefan Engel says:

    Michelle, the prologue was awesome. I felt like I was there… you are unequivocally the best. Thank you very much. It was the highest caliber Christmas present.

  14. Geoff F. says:

    Good read. I’d really love it if you could buckle down and have a book completed though. It’s way too long between novels.

  15. Vance Marker says:

    First, Happy Holidays!!! Thank you so much for sharing the prologue with us! As always, your writing is stunningly beautiful! I am so thrilled to finally have some word of Ellerson, whether it survives into the book or not.

    Like so many, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of War and this only serves to heighten the anticipation!!! I hope the New Year is filled with with much joy and happiness for you and those you love!

  16. Kin says:

    For a movie – that would be a “deleted scene” and would be in the deluxe box set as an extra. For books its usually in the “short story collection” part of a series. And for Paetron… its the “special Paetron rewards”. I like it even if it will NEVER make the main novel.

  17. @Geoff: I promise I will buckle down once my editor has had a chance to fully read the manuscript and we’ve discussed revisions.

    At this point, until we do, the book is done (except for mistakes). But… I just want to say here that it’s 3 times the length of a CAST novel. I wouldn’t be considered a slow writer, but I’m not as fast as many; it’s not possible for me to write something that long in the same time frame as a single CAST novel (which is once a year).

    It is possible to write a book that’s 1.5 times the length of a CAST novel in a year. But in general, for the West novels, the books are as long as they are–I start hoping for short, I sometimes succeed, but, they take as long as the story itself requires.

    As a reader, I understand the frustration of having to wait. I understand the impatience with gaps between books. If, as a writer, I could ameliorate that, I would; it’s always a bit of a stress because I do know some people are waiting, and have been waiting, for a while. Stress tends to mount as the time between books increases–in particular I have a strong fear that people will say I waited this long for THIS?–but in my experience, that stress is not productive; it doesn’t hep me write the books any faster.

    But, WAR is with the publisher now, and how finished it is now depends on editorial reaction.

    @Christine: I promise the minute I have a pub date, I will let everyone know!

  18. @kin: the thing about out-takes is this: are they canonical? Or is canon decided by what’s actually, physically published?

    For instance, there are a couple of scenes I cut for a variety of reasons that I still consider to be “part of” the book and the world (this would be West), but there are things cut from the CAST novels which aren’t, and can’t be, considered that way.

    I haven’t started a Patreon; I think I’m so bad at keeping in touch with community when I’m writing that I’m not sure how it would go, or how unhappy people would be. I am considering it if the final West arc doesn’t have a publisher, but – that’s in the the future.

  19. Thank you for the War Prologue. It was a great way to spend part of a bitterly cold day, Although we all realize that the publisher may not want the book to be too long, those of us who love your writing are perfectly happy to have a longer story to read. So please try not to cut too much.

  20. DeDe says:

    ” I will serve them until I am incapable of service. There will be no other master.” You made me cry. I so hope those words stay. of course – I hope the entire prologue stays. :-)

    Seriously, thank you! Even if the words are eventually cut – I will be re-reading them when War arrives. Is that cheating?

  21. DeDe says:

    So sorry if the above was a spoiler for anyone! Got too excited. Woke up at 1am with the word ‘Doh!’ smacked onto my forehead.

  22. Beautiful prologue, loved it, I really do hope that war will be as long as it can be, House War series will always be the first for me, I love Cast series as well but Jewel resonates with me on another level. Thank you for writing this series i’ve read it so many times ive lost count.

  23. hanneke28 says:

    Thank you for posting this prologue-preview. Especially if it doesn’t end up in the final printed version, it’s lovely to have been able to read it here, so it won’t be lost if it needs to be cut from the book. The information and view of the characters it gives are a worthwhile addition to my mental view of these people. I’m glad you decided to post it.

  24. I would LOVE to read it but… I am a greedy person…. and when I go into my books I want it all… not a page, not a chapter but the whole thing. And i really really look forward to reading the whole of WAR.. I have already made plans for it, with hygge ( a danish word that cant be translated really, and i mean really, but you can look it up :D ) favourit candy, thick blanket and a dog to snuggle up to, so all I am waiting for is a releasedate :D thank you for the wonderful imagination your books are filled with :)

  25. Andrea says:

    I’ll answer the question about the take-outs, since no one else has yet. It depends. Sometimes they are canonical and the writer had to cut the scene due to pacing or because it gives too much away or something similar. Other times they are non-cannonical and the writer just wanted to share what they wrote because they love it even though it didn’t fit the story (aka deketed scenes).

    Brandon Sanderson is a good example of an author who does both kinds of take-outs. He has a section on his website for each book where he posts deleted non-cannonical and canonical scenes that he couldn’t fit into the book. Sometimes he even posts the version of scenes that made it into the book alongside the version that didn’t so the changes can be seen. I personally love reading them, as I find it cool to see his process, and any more time I get with the characters is major plus.

    If you don’t feel like you would communicate enough to do a Patreon but still want to release the scenes somehow, there are a couple of other ways you could do that. You could make a collection out of them and release it as a kindle book for a couple bucks. Or you can create a section for them on your website and post it there. You can also do some sort of author’s process book and include the scenes in there, though that would obviously be a lot more time-intensive. These options don’t require any consistent communication, so thry would be easier than Patreon.

    P.S. Huge fan of your Cast series. It’s one of very few series that I think has just as good or even better later books in the series.

  26. Tchula says:

    I second adding a section to the website to post content such as deleted scenes, etc. It’s great to be able to refer back to them during re-reads. Great idea, Andrea! ;-)

  27. Tracy in Texas says:

    Thank you so much Michelle for having the courage to share this and for blessing us with your gifted writing. It made my eyes tear up to be transported back to that special world. It doesn’t matter whether this makes it into the final cut, we all understand that whether this remains in the the final version is beyond your control to know at this point, it was a blessing just to read your words. You’re a true artist! I’d be happy to read War in a three part series. Whatever you write is never enough… I’m always greedy to read more about this world :-). thank you again for sharing. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

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