Sunday, 10 April 2011

Novel Update: Now, With Title

I've already mentioned two or three times that I'm working on a new novel, but up until now I've been a bit cagey on the details - those little things like, say, title, genre and plot.  Well, no more!  Um ... except for that last one, anyway.

As is perhaps completely obvious by now, the reason I've started a new novel in such an out-of-the-blue fashion is that my just-announced deal with Angry Robot is for both Giant Thief and a couple of sequels - and the new book is sequel number one.  Or, as I'm tentatively calling it right now, Crown Thief.

Did I plan to write a sequel to Giant Thief?  The honest answer is "sort of, maybe" - or, perhaps more truthfully, "yes and no."  In the early days of its conception, I was dead set that Giant Thief should stand alone.  One of my biggest pet hates in genre fiction is reaching the end of a novel only to realise I've been reading what was, in effect, a sales pitch for a fifteen book series.  I was determined I wouldn't do that, and one of the most obvious ways to avoid it seemed to be to write an ending that was sequel-proof.

My intentions were honest, my heart was true ... but the further I went, the more I came to understand the characters, the wider the world grew, the more I realised there's no such thing as a sequel-proof ending.  Giant Thief definitely concludes, and it's a real conclusion, one I hope ties up every loose end raised by the preceding chapters in a satisfactory fashion.  But the closer I got to the finish line, the more I just couldn't help wondering what happened next.  Because, after ninety thousand and some pages of turmoil, there was no way these people were just going to pack up and go home.  Sure, maybe some of them would try - but would those homes by how they left them?  After all the crazy stuff that had happened?  No way.  Life just doesn't work like that.  And really, what kind of book would Giant Thief if everything could go back to normal at the end of it?

So, by the time - about a year and half later - that Marc from Angry Robot asked about the possibility of sequels, I knew the answer.  I even had a pretty solid idea of where I'd want them to go.

Now here I am writing my first sequel.  Which is kind of a big, crazy thing to get your head around.  And, who'd have thought, writing a sequel brings a whole new set of problems with it.  Some stuff is much, much easier.  I know the characters, I know the setting, and for the first time I have a sound, detailed plan to work off.  On the other hand, I now have to wrestle with things like continuity, and my imaginary reader has alarmingly split into two people, one of whom's read (and presumably enjoyed) Giant Thief and the other just happened to pick Crown Thief up because he or she dug the cover.  Is it possible to please both of those people?  I certainly want to try, but it isn't always easy.

Anyway, since this post is called 'Novel Update' I should probably mention that I'm almost bang on my planned wordage - actually a little ahead, because I've got a busy-with-other-stuff week looming at the end of the month.  If I don't get back into regular work, I'm all set for a late June finish.  Of course, if I don't get back into regular work, I probably won't be able to afford electricity, and I'll have to write the last few pages in my own bodily fluids on a toilet wall or something. 

Is there anything in my contract that says I can't submit in bodily fluids and toilet wall?  I should really check that one.

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