I have been absent for all of November, in part because of revisions and in part because of general stress and anxiety. I have copy-edits for Cast in Conflict on my computer now. Copy-edits are the part when I realize: Oh, I’m an idiot. Again.
(If I made no mistakes, if I were competent the first time, I wouldn’t have to deal with … my mistakes. And neither would anyone else. Paralyzing writer-brain at it’s finest.)
Writing has therefore been slow. Well, worse than slow. I realized, with the new West novel, that I had made a critical error (character introduction) and that the book would be much better if I fixed that. Which means, because of my process, losing 110k words of writing and starting again at the end of chapter nine.
I’ve started the next Severn novel about four times. Some writers hate endings, almost all writers hate middles, and some hate beginnings. I would be the latter =/.
I intend to continue the short stories — but I ran out of steam. We’re once again in a lockdown situation, but it’s a partial lockdown compared to the last time. The bookstore is still doing curb-side pickup and mail order, which means people have to be in the store to prepare those. So continuing with the short stories here probably won’t happen until January =/.
And now for the news portion of this post:
Some of you may remember that I took part in a charity drive for the Pixel Project, on-line. I offered a short story of indeterminate length and allowed the person who paid for that a choice of prompts. The winner chose Severn. As is probably totally clear, the “short story” part failed to be short. I know this will come as a shock to all of you.
I donated a second prompt as well. The second prompt was for an Augustine short story, a world that exists only in my short fiction. That did not turn into a novel. But it did turn into a novella that is too long to sell anywhere else (the cap is about 30k, and it was over 50k). For length purposes for awards, anything over 40k is considered a novel.
So… I had a new short novel.
The drive to write it was due to the charity, and it was – as was the Severn story – long delayed. I did finish it before the Severn story, because when I reached chapter seven of that story, I had to admit that it was not a novella. And a novel required publisher interaction, because it’s a new novel, and option clauses exist.
The Augustine story, I finished and sent to the person who donated to the charity (hi, Joey!), and to be honest, I thought that it was the short story I’d be writing when I offered the prompt as a donation incentive.
I then had a short novel in my hands. One the plus side, it was already finished. On the minus side, it was 50k, which is short. But on the plus side, novellas are becoming more mainstream as standalone books in the SF/F genre. On the minus side, it was too long for that.
I decided I would make it someone else’s problem, and sent it to my agent.
Of my many novels, I think this is the one that my agent has loved the most.
So. We discussed things, and then sent the novella to DAW, to my editor Sheila Gilbert. And then covid happened. And then various other things happened, as there are always actual publishing emergencies for editors, because I am not their only author.
But this week DAW made an offer to publish the book. (It will include reprints of the other two stories set in the same world, and we don’t have a title T_T). I have no publication date yet – we’ve yet to discuss that part of the process.
I know it’s not a traditional West novel, and the West novel will be later because I have to start again at 90k words after revising the beginning to better support the tone and texture of the change. But the Augustine book is not instead of, and the first book of the last West arc is only late because of me. Again. T_T
And to be honest, I’m kind of excited about this new work. I’m happy to have this published as a book. I know short stories in general don’t get as wide a readership, so I’m delighted that they’ll be available.
…and now, back to the copy-edits.