Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Okay, this was a different writing experience —

So, yesterday I sent off the new, revised manuscript of Door Into Light to my agent, Caitlin. You recall this is the sequel to House of Shadows, and Caitlin said that half the plot was too talky, not enough stuff happening, the protagonists too passive. And of course I immediately recognized that she was right.

Well, I revised this ms in two weeks + two days, a very fast job for how much work got done to it. That wasn’t unique, although it’s not super common either. I seem to experience Flow more for work that isn’t under contract; no doubt that’s only natural.

But the unique part was: when I got Caitlin’s comments about Door Into Light, I was just about halfway through Kate Elliot’s Spiritwalker trilogy, and I stopped dead, turned off the Kindle, and did not even think about the Spiritwalker trilogy for those two weeks and two days. That’s never happened to me before! I always finish books I’m reading, I never stop in the middle — I mean, presuming I’m enjoying them, which I was — but this time was different.

I have now picked back up where I left off. I will tell you all about the trilogy when I finish reading it. Very, um, cluttered worldbuilding. Celtic-African post-Roman society, plus zombies and the intelligent descendants of dinosaurs. I love it, but I must say, I had to backtrack a bit to remember exactly what had been going on. If you’ve read it, I was just at the point where Cat was flailing around in the ocean beating off sharks with her bare hands, if you remember that scene. I left her there for two weeks beating off sharks to work on my own manuscript. That is some powerful Flow right there, let me tell you.

Anyway! I added various exciting new plot elements and tried to end each chapter on a OMG type of note. With five pov characters (!) it can take a while to get back to one particular plot thread, and in fact I still need to re-check the timing because even at the end of the revision I was still doing things like suddenly moving chapter 21 to the chapter 17 spot — I fear I may have forgotten to change the day chapter 21 was happening when I did that. Ah, continuity! Such a nice thing if you can manage it.

I sent Karah to Kalches with Taudde and Prince Tepres rather than leaving her in Lonne, so that changed things. I wound up giving most of her pov chapters to a different one of her sisters and writing a couple new scenes from Karah’s pov. This is what increased the number of pov characters to five, which is A LOT of pov characters for me, though they vary a ton in how much space each character gets. Taudde gets the most space: 166 pages. Leilis gets almost as much: 133 pages. Nemienne gets, oh, about 90 pages, I think. Enelle gets maybe 50 or so, Karah gets 22 pages. I am treating Taudde as the “main” character; he gets the first and last chapters.

The whole ms is now 485 pp, about 155,000 words. That seems fine to me for this particular book. I could even see further revision making it longer, not shorter.

So, done for now, again. Now I am going to finish the Spiritwalker trilogy and then it would not surprise me if Caitlin sends me comments about The White Road. Busy fall, coming up…

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1 Comment Okay, this was a different writing experience —

  1. Elaine T

    This sounds interesting. I liked Taudde. and now get to see him (in trouble, probably) on his home ground where the others are the strangers. Looking forward!

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