Monday, October 31, 2016

Work Update - Blood of Heroes and Company of the Damned

The muse is not amused.
Four or five years ago I had a conversation with my friend Ed over dinner.  I’d been mulling around re-writing my first fantasy novel.  Well, not so much re-writing it, as tearing it down and rebuilding it.  Having started it when I was 16, it suffered from all kinds of tropes and clich├ęs and immaturity.  The basic premise was still solid, and I have a long and abiding love for the characters, but everything else needed to be chucked.

But I needed help.

Writers do not write in a vacuum.  Flip open any contemporary novel or work of fiction and at the very least you’ll see a dedication, an acknowledgement, or both in praise of people you don’t know.  These esoteric notes provide a pin-hole view of the process that went into the creation, editing, and final production of the work.  Having gone through that process several times myself, I now always read the dedication and the acknowledgements.

Four years ago, I knew nothing.  I’d never heard of a “beta team.”  I wanted people urging me to keep writing, and to give me brutal feedback on the story as it developed.  So, I asked Ed if he and another good friend would be willing to do these things.

They did.

The result was The Blood of Heroes, the first installment in what I hoped would be a fantasy series.  I was pleased with the book.  It was one of the best things I’d ever written.

But it wasn’t ready.

The Blood of Heroes is the story that I’ve always wanted to tell.  I wanted it to be the best that it could be, which meant that even finished, it wasn’t finished.  It needed to sit for some time on a shelf, while I worked on other projects.

Del is not amused.
But then Del is almost never amused.
That’s exactly what I did.  I pulled out Tears of Heaven, which itself had sat on a shelf for a couple of years, and I went hunting for a publisher.  My goal was to work with someone who would help me become a better writer, a better storyteller.

Surprise, surprise—I found exactly what I was looking for.

The past four years, I’ve published two books and been in three anthologies.  I’ve written a steampunk book, a samurai book, and, yes I’m working on the third Flames of Perdition book—Company of the Damned.

So why all the background on The Blood of Heroes?

Simple.  Tor has an open call for novella submissions, and this book, this story, these characters, actually fit that open call.  As soon as I read all about it, I immediately stopped work (sorry) on the Company of the Damned (sorry!) and pulled out The Blood of Heroes.  Blood is a novel just over 100,000 words, which means to turn it into a novella of under 40,000 words, I have to do some major, major editing.

The upside here, for all you Del fans (thank you!) is that editing, while a pain in the neck, is a lot faster process than writing and re-writing and re-writing a new work.  So, while Del is hanging out in a bar somewhere, nursing an absinthe, I’m tearing through this work, getting it ready for submission.

Thanks for your support and patience!

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