What my fans want

salryc-on-horsebackTenacity, Rise of the Iliri 5, is ready for release (available now for pre-order, releases December 24th).  Now, I’m on to the next book, working to clean up the mess that is the rough draft of Iliri 6.  Halfway through the read-through, I had this massive epiphany.  I wasn’t reading ONE book, I was reading two.

This meant I had to make a decision.  Did I cut the fluff and focus on streamlining the story, or did I break the book in half and organize it a little better?  Knowing the good arguments for both, I took to social media.  On Facebook, my most interactive fans all said basically the same thing: more is better.  I’m listening.

And so, what was intended to be a single segment of Sal’s quest to defeat her arch nemesis (prejudice, the Emperor, herself, society… all of the above?) has become a major deviation.  I spent last night tweaking the scenes, lining everything up in an order that made a whole lot more sense, and have almost 10k words in the places I want them.

That may not sound like much, but there’s almost 100k words sitting in the MS that are waiting for their place in line.  Thanks to the miracle of modern writing software, a change like this is so much easier than it used to be.  There’s a lot less cutting and pasting, and more dragging and dropping.  I move chapters, scenes, and chunks around until it flows nicely.

I can also spread out three days into about a week, and add in the details that I always felt were missing.  Those Anglian soldiers talking to the civilians?  It’s a major part of the story, so deserves a little more than a one line mention.  A chapter would be nice.  Cyno’s amma?  Zep’s relationship with his parents?  Audgan getting comfortable with how he fits into the pack?  I’ve always thought those were things that needed more time, and now I have it.  Plus a few more tidbits that were left hanging after Sal moved on, like that adorable little bookstore in Prin.

This change means that I have about a week’s worth of writing ahead of me to make new content – and then a couple of weeks of editing it all to flow smoothly.  Oddly, it already feels better to me.  The thoughts aren’t as hectic and jumbled (which was my main concern).  The plot is flowing in a sensible way.

And when I’m done, my alpha readers will get to voice their opinions on it.  If they don’t demand some major change, I’m hoping to have this one ready to go in 2 – 3 months.  Say a February release?  That’s what I’m working for, at any rate.

Plus the paperbacks.  I’ve got the team working on bringing the Rise of the Iliri to physical copy.  Many people prefer to feel a book in their hands, so we’re going to give it to them.  With the weather pushing us back indoors, a lot of “behind the scenes” type stuff is happening, and I hope it’s exactly what my fans want.

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