Moving along, moving along. I’m doing an average of 4000 words a day, but not paying all that much attention. This isn’t a book where I have to set a minimum and try to stick to it. (Yet, at least.) (Hopefully that won’t happen, though.) Even after all this time, I’m kinda surprised how many words it takes to get anywhere. I know I need these things to happen: a, b, c, d, e, f, g. But then I wind up having to write a whole transitional chapter to get from d to e and another half chapter before I arrive at f, and so on. How much of the transitional stuff will be in the final draft? Don’t know. I never know, not this early.
I thought I’d have arrived at the river by now, but no. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. One more scene and then I’d like to move everything ahead briskly and boom, river, but we’ll see how it goes.
During the journey back through the winter lands, I’ve been building two main plotlines: I’ve been developing the relationships between Ryo and Darra and between Ryo and Elaro because it would be impossible not to while showing anything of that journey at all; and I’ve had to show the journey because I’m using it to develop the main personal problem that is going to be a Thing in this novel. Many of you have undoubtedly figured out the basic shape of this problem, though I think some elements may surprise you.
We have not yet had a glimpse of the main, what should I call it? impersonal problem, plot problem, whatever. We won’t see that for a while. Quite a while. A long time, actually. No need for me to look nearly that far ahead as yet.
Crossing the river into the summer country will end the first chunk of the story. This story is very chunkable. If I were doing it in parts — Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV — we’d cross the river and step into Part II. I’m not going to divide it up that way explicitly, but that’s how it’s going to feel. The cast of characters will change a lot, as Darra and Elaro turn back toward the north. Geras will definitely go on toward Avaras, but I don’t think Suyet and Lalani will; I’m almost sure they’ll stay in the borderlands. I believe Esau and Keraunani will turn up, though I’m not sure whether they’ll have a particularly noticeable role and I doubt they’ll appear in Part III or IV, except perhaps right at the end. I would like to bring in Aras’ wife and daughters and most particularly his little granddaughter, but this story is going to be long and I don’t believe any of them are going to be important. Although I can see one way they might be. We’ll almost certainly meet them, regardless. I wrote a little of that scene a long time ago and don’t really expect to cut that part. I know a lot of readers would like to meet them!
Lots of stuff to do the moment we’re across the river. I had to sit down and make a list in the order that Aras might consider most crucial and time sensitive to least, because so many important things have to happen and they all have to happen fast. Dealing with Kerren Rahavet and his family is at the top, but maybe not right at the top? Not sure, but I think a few other things might have to happen first, even though the thing with the Rahavet family is direly important. But besides that, I mean, just imagine the mail that has stacked up for Aras over the past year. Including more than one letter from the summer king, by the way. Not to mention that he hasn’t seen his wife and family for more than that year. And none of that is the part I’ve actually written, even though I’ve written two scenes that do occur in that part of the story.
Hard to guess how many words it might take to get on the road toward Avaras. More than a few.
I’m at about 84,000 words now, by the way. For an ordinary book, that would be about halfway to the end. (A short book would be finished! Wow, that’s hard to even think about!) Instead, this is about a quarter of the way to the end. Or so.
Questions that various people have asked fall into three main categories:
A) If Tasmakat is really long, do you plan to publish it in two pieces?
No. The big reason to do that is marketing. That isn’t relevant for Book 6 in a series. If the thing turns out to be 900 pp long, fine. That’s actually not that much longer than Tarashana. (Tarashana is 210,000 words, in case you wondered.) Tasmakat is going to be long, no doubt about that. I’ll put a slightly heftier price on it on the theory that fans of the series will be willing to pay a bit more for the final Ryo POV installment, and besides that, the length will be an asset in KU. There’s no practical reason that length is a problem.
B) Are you going to do ______ to ______?
Maybe! But, listen, though I don’t want to provide actual spoilers, I will say that I expect most readers will enjoy how the story ends.
C) When is Tasmakat going to come out?
I hope I will have a complete draft by, say, October sometime. That gives me time to produce a really, really long draft if I keep going at about 4000 words per day. But then comes revision, and proofing and a lot more proofing, and a little more revision.
Also, I was pretty happy with how many preorders Suelen picked up. My actual goal, which I may not make but I think is achievable, is to put Tasmakat up for preorder waaaaay in advance and get something close to 1000 preorders. I have the cover for Tasmakat already, which is a first, having the cover in hand well before finishing a draft! I’ll put Tasmakat up the moment I have a complete draft, way before it’s ready for release, and probably that means the release date will be about a year from now.
Meanwhile … back to trying to get all the way to the river …