This is technically the November edition, but I have been neck-deep in page proofs for Firstborn. Which were due today.
November was actually a really productive writing month (until page proofs). I found the beginning of The Black Gauntlet, title entirely tentative, and have one prologue and three chapters.
I have more of the Severn book, but some changes from novella structure were necessary. Not as many as I was afraid there would be–but to be fair, I was afraid I would have to ditch all 30k words, so.
I have copy-edits for War incoming today, which will eat some writing time – but War is a June title. So: February 2019 and June 2019 for Firstborn and War.
I made a comment over at Tor.com, on a review of the new GRRM book, which, because I’m not on-line that much, I can’t figure out how to link. So, it is cut and pasted below.
“65. Michelle Sagara
Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:13pm Favorite This
You wouldn’t be okay if you told your kid to clean their bedroom and instead they cleaned a different room. So why is it okay for GRRM to write a different book than is desired?
Because GRRM is *not* my kid. I might tell my kid to do their chores, and have a discussion with them if they don’t–but they’re MY KIDS. They’re not a total stranger whose only intersection with me is the book I buy from a bookstore.
You can’t fire him because you don’t employ him. A reader fires an author by ceasing to read their books–and you’ve done that. But the support – i.e. read his books – or the lack of support – i.e stop reading his books – is all that we as readers are entitled to.”
I’ve spoken about this before. In 2009. It’s almost ten years later, and my thoughts haven’t really changed all that much. Do I feel that my readers are entitled to an end to a series? Yes. Because they took the chance on the start of the series. They took that chance on my books. It’s true that without readers, I wouldn’t be able to finish them. It’s always been true.
But conversely, I don’t actually feel that I am anyone’s employee. I certainly don’t feel that I’m anyone’s child (except my mother, who would probably not be thrilled if I randomly assigned parent roles to total strangers).
I want to talk about this a bit.
It would kill me to be GRRM. It would close to kill me to be Patrick Rothfuss.
Not the success part, of course, and it’s often the success that is seen first, foremost–or at all, which is why most people will not tell you that it would kill them to be either writer.
When I was going through page proofs of Sea of Sorrows, the anxiety and stress of this late book was great enough that I couldn’t look at the published book for six years.
This was going to be my next book? This book? Everyone was going to read it and everyone was going to hate it and everyone was going to say, I waited 2.5 years for THIS? I wanted to throw it all out. To throw it out and start it over. But Sheila said No, I was wrong. This is probably the only reason that the book escaped my house. I was so stressed out I couldn’t see the book clearly.
You can’t really talk about this in public, because some readers believe that you are deliberately turning out garbage because you don’t care about them. You have to be careful, because, in fact, the opposite is true.
Some readers do think it’s as simple as turning on a tap. You need a glass of water? Get off your butt and go to the sink! But… it’s not that simple. Sadly. Writing comes from a blend of emotional and intellectual brain space. When your emotional space is out of whack – say, because you know people have been waiting for this, and waiting, and waiting, and you’re desperately afraid of disappointing the expectations that have been (sometimes less than quietly) building for literally years…
Every sentence is under the gun. We all write a sentence at a time. If every period causes you to go back and look at the sentence, if every pause dumps you into a minefield of doubt, it’s paralyzing.
The voice of your book is swamped and overwhelmed by the Voice of Doom that is fear and anxiety. You need to be certain that this will be worth it to readers. And, in front of your computer, that sentence on the screen… you’re suddenly certain that it isn’t. It’s not good enough. You can do better.
You can do better.
So… you fix that sentence. No problem, right? But then you look at the whole scene.
And the scene is flat. It’s wrong. It’s not going to pay out the anticipation. You will be nothing but a disappointment and people who loved your early books will fall out of love with your books. And and and and…
Sea of Sorrows is, at the remove of many years, one of my favorite of the volumes that comprise Sun Sword.
And yes, Firstborn is even later. It will be 3.75 years from the date that Oracle was published. It’s 3.75 years. Not 7. Not 8.
This is why I tend to stay off the internet, as well. When I can just focus on the writing itself–and not the pressure and not the fear of failure and the building anxiety–it is much easier to write the book I want to write.
I can hear the voice of the book, and not the voice of my fears. The two don’t really go together well =/.
If I were GRRM or Pat Rothfuss, I’m not sure I wouldn’t be trapped in an iterative rewrite, a constant purge of the words that do exist. I’m not sure that I wouldn’t pull the book back and throw it out and start it again, because this time, I would get it right. I’m not sure that Sheila’s reaction would be enough to somehow get me back to the place where I trust myself and my story.