I can has the edit letter for Ink & Steel. (Edit letter for Hell & Earth still forthcoming.) Jessica-my-editor-Jessica has come up with a tidy solution to the Cliffhanger Issue, which I will be adopting.
Oh yes I will.
So, that's what I'll be working on until it's time to go to VP.... and probably once I get there, too.
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.