Power’s Shadow: Quick Update

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3A couple of quick notes. First of all, I had a pretty decent writing day yesterday, and at about 6PM last night I completed the first draft of Power’s Shadow.  One of the best parts of writing is being surprised, and a couple of things happened in the final chapter that I honestly wasn’t expecting. The implications for the next book are significant, but since I have a book in a completely different series that I have to finish before I even think about starting the next book in The Laws of Power series, I’m not going to worry about that yet.

The draft was just a couple of hundred words over 88,000. Not a doorstop, but a decent length. When someone asks me if I’m a “taker outer” or a “put-er inner” in revisios, I always say “yes.” I cut everything I can, but I rewrite and add just about as much. I tend to ramble a bit when I’m sorting out how a draft should go but a completed first draft tells me things that need expansions or explanations or clarifications, so I put in a lot too. In general, after cuts and additions, my first and final drafts usually work out about the same length. I’ll get on the rewrite as soon as First Reader is done with it, so it will be a few weeks before the ebook version is available. There will be a print version, but those always take longer.

As promised, I will finish posting Chapter 14 before the hiatus–or if it works out, just as the ebook is available–but I’m going to be out of pocket a little bit next week, so the Monday post may get delayed. I’ll get it back on schedule as soon as I can.

Finally, a big thank you to Charles de Lint for the kind words and to all the readers who picked up The Blood Red Scarf. Makes a working slob feel appreciated.

Zen and the Art of Beating Your Head Against a Wall

Subtitle: What Do You Think You’re Doing?

On another forum not too long ago, a well-known editor was expressing puzzlement. There was a very fine writer whose work he’d been promoting for years, buying their stories, featuring them prominently, doing all that was reasonable to do in an attempt to get readers to understand that this writer is worth paying attention to. And it wasn’t a complete bust by any means–the writer has done well by most standards: prolific, won several awards, publishes all over the place. Yet despite it all, they have no “career” to speak of. Sure, nearly every writer in the short-story field knows their work and most have high respect for it; if you follow the sf/f field at all in short stories, you’d recognize the name. But they have never developed the readership or name-recognition that the editor thought they deserved, and why is that?

Later in the thread the editor, in my opinion, answered his own question–it’s because the writer’s stories are too different. Not too different from what’s being published in the field; so far as I can see the sf/f field has a huge tolerance for the different, especially at short story level. Rather, the problem is that the writer’s stories are too different from each other.  Tone, theme, subject matter, you name it. Any reader could read three or four of the writer’s stories, all excellent, and never once realize that they were all written by the same person. Continue reading

The Heavenly Fox, Reviewed

Charles de Lint, writing in the November/December F&SF really liked The Heavenly Fox

Quote:

“I’m not sure how much of this book is based on actual Chinese fox mythology. I just know it’s a delight from start to finish: fresh, with a charming cast of characters, and the kind of prose that is both immediate and timeless.

In other words, Parks has delivered another winner that I can shelve in the keepers section of my library—right alongside my Thomas Burnett Swann books like The Goat without Horns and Moondust.”

It’s not every day I’m compared to Thomas Burnett Swann, who I confess was an early influence. You can read the full review here at Books to Look For.