Skirmish Summary, part 2 of part 3, and a note about the differences between reading and writing

Posted in Books, DAW, Essalieyan.

This is the final part of the summary of the events of The Sun SwordSkir­mish Summary 03.b.

There are — as I think Michael pointed out in the previous thread — events that I didn’t mention, in part because it would add enor­mously to the length of the summary, and if I hit 60k words, it pushes the meaning of the word “summary”. It prob­ably wouldn’t surprise anyone, but it also wouldn’t be finished until next month.

I think the summary contains the back­story neces­sary to under­stand what’s happening now in Skir­mish, but if there are points that are confusing, this is the post to ask ques­tions in. I will try to answer them as they come up.

I also want to add some­thing here. I did have a spoiler thread for Cast in Ruin discus­sion. I am happy to have a similar thread for Skir­mish discus­sion, but when people begin to discuss, in depth, the contents of one of my novels, I try to absent myself from the discus­sion. This isn’t because I’m not inter­ested; it’s because I don’t want to be a damper on the discus­sions that do arise, and if I weigh in, it frequently has that effect. What we perceive as writers and readers are different.

There are char­ac­ters that I love that some readers hate. (I think Sendari holds the title as the char­acter that’s caused the most conflict: my editor and several of my friends really loved & empathized with him; my mother and Kate Elliott loathed him). I obvi­ously can’t argue with their reac­tion. I have my own — but my reac­tion in no way inval­i­dates reader reac­tion. I didn’t intend that he be hated. I can’t change him after the fact, and to be honest, wouldn’t. He is, in my mind, who he is.

That’s an obvious example. But when discus­sions devolve into “what do you think the author intended”, it gets trickier. I can tell you what I intended (or didn’t intend, see: Sendari above), and I can some­times do that without killing discus­sion completely, but not often. “Where do you think the author is going” is another example. I can’t really weigh in, because some people hate spoilers of any kind; even if I say “it is never going there”, it will close off those possi­bil­i­ties in a way that will leave some readers disgrun­tled.

I’m happy to answer ques­tions — but some readers prize the discus­sion itself, and answering ques­tions often kills that discus­sion. So: if you want my (non spoiler) answers to ques­tions you have about my books, ask me here or in a blog post that’s not devoted to spoiler discus­sions, and I will try to answer them in a way that doesn’t step on reader toes.

9 Responses to Skirmish Summary, part 2 of part 3, and a note about the differences between reading and writing

  1. Michael says:

    When I commented in the last thread about the Kovasachi, I wasn’t thinking of it from the perspec­tive “what we need to know to under­stand Skir­mish”, I was thinking of the suggested polit­ical machi­na­tions withing House Terrafin. For me, the thought that someone in the house would see Jewel as enough of a threat to hire the best assas­sins in the world to end her was a reve­la­tion.

    That conver­sa­tion between Kallan­dras and the Lady has always stuck with me. I also under­stand that if you were *really* going to summa­rize the Sun Sword series, it would prob­ably take seven or eight books, so I completely under­stand why you were working so hard to hold your­self to a novella.

    :D

  2. DeDe says:

    Thanks Michelle. The summaries are a wonderful bonus. I’ve read Skir­mish twice now (I think my husband is going to hide the book until I restock the refrig­er­ator…) — and once again I find myself in a Catch-22. It’s so hard to simply enjoy the book, because as soon as I finish it — all I’m doing is wanting MORE of the story. :-)

    But I have to Thank you — for creating such a vibrant world…Love the trees…Thought they way Jewel finally claimed Terafin was perfect (although I too was ready to smack her upside the head — she was taking so long…) And I’m very curious to see if you let the cats meet Kiriel’s ‘dog’. LOL

    Also curious that none of the den has asked about Kiriel — their youngest member…and on that note — I’m off to the ‘spoiler discus­sion’.

  3. Hilda says:

    BEWARE!! My comments are :spoilers” so they are for this thread. For the past two years I have prac­ti­cally read nothing but Sagara/West novels (again & again). I don’t read a book straight through; I go back & forth in same books until I capture details and what I call “seeds” that you plant along the way. I also like to read these threads and enjoy the readers “smart” comments. What a clever, clever book..Amazing; it took me way beyond what i had expected to read, The twist and turns were not what I had in mind for Skir­mish: Ishavriel and Jewel (he was busy in the S) ??, Celle­riant confronting him ???Now, I wonder what will happen to Avandar in WAR, become second fiddler to Celle­riant; and the cats? He seems to be puposely pulling away from her. I know there isn’t romance as such in House as in Cast, but for a second there, on that bridge, I had the idea of a spark between Jewel and Avandar. Is the spark gone?. When she told him “take me home”, what a wasted oppor­tu­nity for him to play Rhett Butler and carry her in. The Winter King does it better. This book was full of surprises for me; when I thought it was going one way, it went another. Love it.
    Michelle, you have created so many heroes, and I’m looking forward to find in WAR the future for each and everyone. But how can you possibly end the series with one more book.? All these incred­ible complex char­ac­ters in House and Sun Sword books. Even if you have to split War in two books, let us know their future. Even some of the “bad” ones need that; like what will happen to the beau­tiful Alasiani v. the ugly demons. You are amazing, we may even come to like some of them.

  4. kitty says:

    All these incred­ible complex char­ac­ters in House and Sun Sword books. Even if you have to split War in two books, let us know their future”

    I am hoping there are still plans for The Black Gauntlet to continue all of the other lines from the Sun Sword.…

    I’ve been lurking for a while but not posting — love, love, love Michelle West/Sagara books. The Sun Sword is prob­ably my favorite fantasy series.

  5. Erin says:

    Thank you for thinking of those of us who don’t like spoilers! My copy finally came in the mail yesterday. I’m sooooooo excited to finally have it!!!

  6. ambyr says:

    Just wanted to chime in to say that I find Sendari a very compelling char­acter. I don’t think I’d want to be best buds with him, but he’s flawed in tragic and under­stand­able ways, and I always enjoy his PoV segments.

    Of course, there are other Essalieyan/Annagar char­ac­ters I can’t stand that I know other people love. That’s part of what’s great about the books: so very many char­ac­ters that there’s some­thing for everyone.

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