Suelen: Making decisions

Okay, first, you all have persuaded me that it’s better to call this Tuyo: Book 5 than to make it just associated content in the series. I think you’re all surely correct that this will make it easier for people to realize this book exists. The clincher was when I was thinking about that and realized that at the end of one book in a series, a Kindle ought to offer the reader a chance to click to the next book in the series. That can only happen if the book is actually IN the series, so there we go.

That does mean that the symmetry of BOOK ONE — short prequel novel — BOOK TWO — shortish concurrent novel — BOOK THREE will be ruined. Nevertheless.

I think at this point I’m might need to go through and make sure the description of all the books except the first makes it crystal clear where each book belongs. “A Prequel Novel” or something like that. It remains true, and always will, that Tuyo should be the first book one actually reads, because otherwise there’s that significant spoiler regarding Lord Aras.

Lord Aras remains the single character who appears in every single Tuyo-series story, by the way. Not sure that will always be the case, but Aras appears in two flashback chapters in Suelen. He’s the one who warns Suelen that the Ugaro are bound to regard any sort of magic used by Lau physicians as a kind of sorcery and therefore forbids Suelen to use anything but what is called the “ordinary practice” while he’s in the winter country. Ryo also makes an appearance, but in the actual story, not in a flashback.

I learned a lot about Lau medical practices (as well as real-world medical practices) while writing this book. Coming up with terms for Lau medicine and the practitioners of medicine was a fun challenge. It turns out to work like this:

There are surgeons and physicians, the distinction much as it is in English, but both can be lumped together as “mediciners.” That’s not a term Ryo has ever used, but that’s fine; he just defaults to “physician” because he hasn’t ever had reason to sort out the differences, exactly as he used to consider “sorcery” and “magic” basically synonyms.

But then besides that distinction, there are three types of practice: ordinary, magical, and dedicated. The titles for a, say, a surgeon are: surgeon ordinaire, surgeon magicora, or surgeon dedicat. The same for physicians, or you can say that someone is a mediciner magicora, for example. I haven’t sorted out exactly how magic intersects with religion, but I can tell you for sure that a surgeon magicora is quite distinct from a surgeon dedicat; the later is a kind of priest as well as a kind of surgeon.

I don’t know what other professions might have a kind of dedicated practice, but probably some besides medicine do. I’m thinking that perhaps astronomers might have ordinary and magical practices, but perhaps astrologers have a dedicated practice.

Anyway, Suelen is actually both a surgeon magicora dedicat and a physician magicora dedicat, plus he holds high prelacies within each profession. He’s a top-notch mediciner, right at the top. He is nearly ninety years old; you can’t reach those heights without plenty of experience. Of course that’s not as old for a Lau as it would be in the real world.

I think I have this book in fine shape at this point except for proofreading, so I’m starting that now — I just ordered a proof copy with a fake cover. That does mean that I took a stab at writing back cover copy. Here it is:

This short novel is set directly after the events of Tuyo.

Following the final battle in the winter country, a handful of surviving Lau, too badly wounded to travel, were left to the care of the inKera tribe.

Surgeon Dedicat Suelen Haras Soyauta, personal physician to the king of the summer country, can’t bear the thought that injured Lau soldiers have been abandoned in the winter country, subject to who knows what barbaric medical practices, perhaps even to neglect or outright abuse. He’s determined to cross the river to care for those soldiers, no matter the risk. Even if the Ugaro may condemn even magic dedicated to the healing arts as forbidden sorcery.

His act of courage and mercy may change the world.

Your comments always help me tweak this kind of description, so what do you think? Do you think it’s a good idea to lead off with a statement that places the story in the series this way?

I didn’t want to mention specifics about that battle because I don’t think it’s right to put spoilers for anything in the actual description if that can be avoided. But I’m not sure about the word “final” here either. That’s almost the only battle in the whole book, for one thing.

Does the rest of the description sound appealing, given that the prospective reader has read Tuyo? I thought of possibly mentioning Aras and/or Ryo in the description, though I don’t know, maybe that wouldn’t make a difference to how appealing readers find the idea of this story.

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11 thoughts on “Suelen: Making decisions”

  1. Kathryn McConaughy

    The sentence beginning “Even if” is a fragment. Other than that, this already looks good to me.

  2. I know it is, Kathryn, but that didn’t bother me until you pointed it out. I could replace the period with a dash. That might preserve the basic structure of the sentences, add pizzazz, and improve the look of the paragraph.

  3. Also, you use the word “even” twice in the last sentence / fragment.

    I think beginning as you do is a fine idea.

  4. I don’t think you need to mention Aras or Ryo—by now readers are in it for the world & excited to see the ramifications of earlier events.

    I would suggest condensing this line:
    “ Surgeon Dedicat Suelen Haras Soyauta, personal physician to the king of the summer country, can’t bear the thought that injured Lau soldiers have been abandoned in the winter country, subject to who knows what barbaric medical practices, perhaps even to neglect or outright abuse.”

    “Surgeon Dedicat Suelen Haras Soyauta, personal physician to the king of the summer country, can’t bear the thought that injured Lau soldiers have been abandoned in the winter country, victim to the rumored barbarism or neglect of Ugaro medical practices.”

  5. I like it, better than Mary Beth’s condensed version. I get more of a sense of the character from the original version.

  6. Saying “final” battle doesn’t bother me. I think it is clear for people who have read Tuyo without giving much away to people who are just browsing the summaries of the whole series.

    I don’t think you should mention Aras or Ryo, because based on what you said above, they are each only there very briefly. I think it’s better to set readers up for a pleasant surprise when one of their favorites shows up than disappointment that someone mentioned in the blurb is only a minor character.

  7. Those are good points, Elise — especially about letting appearances by Aras and Ryo be nice surprises. In fact, that’s a GREAT point. I didn’t see that potential problem at all until you pointed it out, but I think you’re absolutely right. Thanks!

  8. Yes, no need to mention anyone specific from the other books. But do keep the note at the start about it being set directly after Tuyo, that’s extremely helpful for readers who haven’t yet read the rest of the series, and who may prefer to read it after Tuyo rather than after Keraunani.

    I know that I personally practically always prefer to read books in in-world order when there isn’t a good reason to do so (which statistically means always for already published books, except prequels which I learned from experience tend to quite often assume they’re not being read first). So having the info very obvious, for someone who hasn’t read the books so can’t get it from the described content, is very helpful. And not having it, and figuring it out later when I get to the book, is quite annoying.

  9. Rather than “final battle”, how about “great battle” or some such? No implication of multiple battles or outcomes, and to me “final battle” gives the impression that there will never be another battle, presumably because the winter country was wiped out.

  10. I can’t actually figure out why, but I want that first sentence to be just “A short novel set…” and treated as a separate line, not part of the description. (The same way Victoria Goddard uses “A Tale of the Nine Worlds” on the cover but not as part of the description? Only having it in the description and not just on the cover is fine, but separated from the actual descriptive bit, and I hope I’m making some sense here!)

    I also prefer something other than “final” for the battle – honestly I’d say it could just be “the battle in the winter country” since that is the only actual battle (not just running skirmish) we see in the winter country.

  11. Thanks, Ailis — I only saw this comment now, but it’s good timing, as I’m going to fiddle with this today as I need a second review copy for proofreading.

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