While I wanted to give myself a little time from writing, my other related side project (which I’ll talk about at my book launch party on January 31st) hasn’t kept me busy enough. Yes, I’ve been getting bored, and book 4 has been calling.
Since mid-December, I’ve actually been working on editing the fourth manuscript for D’mok Revival. I’m thankful for the many lessons I’ve learned to date. It clearly has impacted my approach.
Most notably, I’m not going to positon this as the fourth book in the series. What I’ve found is a great resistance to people reading books 2 and 3 if they didn’t read book 1. Or, if they have read the first book didn’t like it, they wouldn’t continue forward. Again, I understand why. If the first one wasn’t something people liked, why would they continue? However, my writing style dramatically shifted as I revised the manuscript for book 2. I feel like there’s literally thousands of people (since book one has sold thousands of copies) that have not experienced this new style, and would like it more.
Therefore, the new book will come next with respect to the timeline (“the fourth book”) but it will be positioned as a new entry in the D’mok literary universe, perhaps as a new trilogy, but not just as “book 4.” It may seem subtle, but if people read it as book 4, they’ll assume they have to read the first three to understand it. That will not be the case. This new book will cover what a reader needs to know without going back and experiencing the first three in sequence. 😉
My other observation diving back into the fourth manuscript is how painful it can be to look at “old work.” Sure, this manuscript was written back in 2010 and was the best writing I did to date, but… Yiesh… I’m very proud of how far my style has come, which I can attribute to an amazing editor / mentor, and great feedback from an equally amazing fan base! Honestly, I’m very grateful for the honesty and support I’ve been given. It drives me forward, and pushes myself to evolve and become a stronger writer!
Pulling the proverbial curtain back a moment, one of the more embarrassing aspects was the four unique story threads that fired off at the beginning of the book. This wasn’t just a parallel storyline (which I’m told is difficult to do effective), no I had four. As if the reader was going to be able to keep any of it straight! Perhaps George Martin can handle that (Game of Thrones anyone), but I should probably avoid it. 😉
Instantly, entire sections of the manuscript began shifting around. I’m also going to take one of the early threads and push it into a separate novelette, much like I did with the Mindwalk story. There are other candidates within the book 4 manuscript that may join it as well.
One of the biggest challenges is how evolved the D’mok universe, its locations and characters have become. For instance, the contemporary version of Kiyanna would literally not do a number of the things presented in book 4. By the end of book 3 she’s doing exactly what she’s always wanted–always planned–to do. She’s not just going to up and abandon that for a side mission. However, in the right circumstances, while not having to give up the momentum she gained at the end of book 3, she would do the majority of what I originally wrote in 2010.
I get really excited when most of my original content holds up. It’s a great feeling! While still a bit painful, it’s fun to go back and upgrade these original manuscripts and see what happens. It’s funny; I still remember the original story and approach. I’ll have to do a post sometime about viewing rewrites as “quantum-realities” or “retconning.” But I honestly enjoy this final version.
The characters constantly surprise me, and I can’t wait to see how book 4 transforms. It’s not due out until holiday 2015 (sorry). But, maybe I can publish some of the book 4 short stories… maybe the prolog too. Maybe. 😉