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bear by san

December 2021



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rengeek skinhead fortinbras

"genius is eternal patience"

Okay, I have a plan.

Upon further inspection, Jessica-my-editor-Jessica's Cunning Plan will not work, because it would make the ending of book one seem a total deus ex machina, and involve withholding a good deal of information until sometime in the middle of Book 2. So that's a no-go, because I'd have to find some way to salt even more flashbacks into an already complex narrative. And but also, it would be tricky to do it without seeming coy, and I expect the spine of the trade paperback wouldn't hold up to that much bouncing.

However, I'm not happy with my original Cunning Plan either, which involved cutting the book in the middle of Act III at a cliffhanger, rather than at the end of Act III, where (as there should be in a five-act structure) there's a natural resting point.

But then the opening of Book Two is in media res like an in media res thing. Complete with a vicious midnight ride and a long walk down a longer stair, if you know what I mean, and I'm sure some poor sot will read them out of order and his head will hurt and he'll blame me and write cranky Amazon reviews.

The problem, for those of you joining us in progress, is that The Stratford Man, as it stands, is an 1190-page book. Which is being divided into a duology, Ink & Steel and Hell & Earth. Because, um. 1190-page book? Not so much. And because of production costs, Roc would really like it if each half of the book was under 130K. However, W&W and B&I were both around 155-160K. Yeah, long books. Lots happens.

Well, I dunno if 130K is going to happen. As it stands, Acts 1-3 run 151K, and acts 4-5 run 106K or so. Thus my cliffhanger solution, to get more of the book into the second part.

And thus Jessica's restructure, to do the same.

However, I think I can get part 1 down to 140K, with judicious cutting, even though I have to add a character and a certain amount of exposition, and really try to fix the plot surrounding the Jew plays, because I am so not happy with it. So, here we go; yours for ultra-tight prose, Elizabeth Bear.

The adjectives are quaking in their boots right about now.

Gah. You know, I started writing these books in 2003?

Once more into the breech, dear friends.


You know, I started writing these books in 2003?

But you are getting near the final version, right?

And both sound wonderful, and I am so glad you & your editor are taking the time to make them right. Best of luck, and looking forward to reading them...
This should be the last major revision, between now and November 1. And then there's the copyedit, and then the galleys, and then...

Off into the world.
Hey, I was in Forbidden Planet in London yesterday and I saw the Promethean Age books hanging on the shelves. Good luck with the edits on the next.
Thank you!

The Other Other Book

I keep meaning to have a look at Edwards, David L. A History of the King’s School, Canterbury (1957) and Woodruff, C. Eveleigh Schola regia Cantuariensis: a history of Canterbury School, commonly called the King’s School (1908) to see if they mention CM. I'll let you know.

Re: The Other Other Book

Oh! Thanks!

Please do!

If anybody ever buys The Cobbler's Boy, I so need to read those.
You will keep flashing back like an EVIL FLASHBACKY THING, you will. But somehow it will turn out all right.

(Oh, and I will poke you in this direction, I will, because though I fear your reaction, I do believe you will cackle like a madwoman when you hit THAT phrase.)

I'm sure some poor sot will read them out of order and his head will hurt and he'll blame me and write cranky Amazon reviews.

Well, that's certainly not YOUR fault. Praps you can convince the publisher to put one of those "read the first book first, dolt!" disclaimers right after the title page...

It's locked?

Shows how many people read my reviews. Five days and no one mentioned it.

It's unlocked now. oops.
Actually, you spelled it right. *g*
My memory is not as awful as I thought!

(This once, mind you.)
Tad's books -average- 765 pages. His "To Green Angel Tower" was, in manuscript, thicker than the OED. Had to be split into two for the paperback. Took him 7 years to finish that one alone. Four years shouldn't scare a publisher.

That's not how the business works these days, though.

If I want a contract for book five, I'm going to get book three in under 140K.
If the adjectives aren't scared, they're dumber than I thought; they've seen what happened to the adverbs, have they not?
Heh. If you leave one in ten, is it a reverse decimation?
Yeah, there isn't much you can do.

I'm lucky enough that they're publishing them back to back, so hopefully it won't be a career-killer....
So many things are more forgivable when you understand the constraints.

Like the slightly choppy editing on this TV show I watched tonight....

I try to remind myself, I don't know.

Or sometimes I do know. Which makes it easier.
However, W&W and B&I were both around 155-160K. Yeah, long books. Lots happens.

Huh, that really surprises me. They didn't *feel* that long!

And I guess I like long Promethean books, then, so the demands of the market make me sad. Ultra-tight prose for the win, though!
I started Blood & Iron in 1986 or so. Not that it matters, except in terms of emotional commitment when it comes to letting go of a book.
Are you handing it in somewhere soon?
Regardless of what the pundits think, I actually enjoy a long complicated book if it is well written and well edited. If there is just a lot of juicy complicated story.. then it takes a lot of words. The last HP book where I really wanted them to edit out at least a third? not so much..
Tell the story and be true to it. I am looking forward to reading the glorious tale.
2003? Although I'm not writing enough, that makes me feel a little better about progress on Mysterious Paris, which I started in November 2003.