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Michelle West DAW books update

rco-2
I have good news and bad news.

The good news first: DAW is buying three more Michelle West novels!

The bad news: the 1st of those three is actually the second plot arc of the book I've been working on for the last fifteen months.


Yes. The Michelle who cannot for love or money figure out how long it takes to tell a story has once again written herself out of the range of a single book. In June of last year, I wrote that I was tying up two plot arcs in House Name on the way to Terafin.

It took a little bit longer to tie them up than I thought it would, but not a lot. And I had said it was going to be 'one more book', so I kept on writing because surely I could fit the second plot arc in a few hundred pages.

Well. As long as we define a few hundred pages to be eight hundred or more (because I am not yet finished), the answer is, yes. But if we define a few hundred pages in a more consensual-reality way, the answer is: No.

This is, as usual, entirely my fault. This is not DAW, or DAW's fault, or something DAW insisted on. If I wanted to finish in one book, I would have had to cut several hundred pages, and my editor felt that this was not an entirely rational approach, given the pages I was suggesting I would have to cut.

And, of course, because it's me, the "shorter" of the two halves, which will be coming in March 2010 as City of Night (I have a scan of the artwork :D. I can't post it because it's not mine V.V. As soon as I have covers, or if Jody Lee does put it up on her web-site, I will send link), will be about 185-190k words.

The longer half, which is still called House Name, will be about the same length as Hidden City (which was mumble words), because in my panic about length I may have left out a couple of things that are probably necessary (which is what I do when I start to panic about length).

But the good news there is that I'm probably about two months from finishing House Name now that I can, you know, breathe again.

And if I say anything about how many books any particular arc or series will take me to write ever again, please feel free to kick me. Or mock me.

ETA: articles. Because articles are good.

Comments

( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
manga_crow
May. 3rd, 2009 07:37 am (UTC)
Yay! More Books!
Ah well, if there's one thing fantasy fans have shown over the years, it's that we would prefer a complete story to a rushed, unfinished one =)

(of course, this is the same fan base that practically cheered when Brandon Sanderson announced that he was turning Memory of Light into three books, and some of us have been waiting twenty years for the conclusion to that series, so the evidence of our insanity is strong^^)
msagara
May. 3rd, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay! More Books!
(of course, this is the same fan base that practically cheered when Brandon Sanderson announced that he was turning Memory of Light into three books, and some of us have been waiting twenty years for the conclusion to that series, so the evidence of our insanity is strong^^)

There was no way he was going to be able to tie everything up in one book. And given that he's handling a whole legacy, in his position I would have gone for 3 or 4 or 5 -- whatever it took to actually finish it properly. I really admire the research/reading he's done, and I really, really admire the respect he's showing both Jordan's original work and Jordan's readers.

But, ummm, I don't think Sanderson said in advance it was one book. I think Jordan might have said that -- but Jordan told us, in person when he came to sign at the bookstore, that it was Six Books. So...
manga_crow
May. 4th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay! More Books!
Well said. I don't remember if he actually said it was going to be one book, but I know when I talked to him in person, he was at least going to try...

But yeah, thank god he's not. Given how poorly some of the other recent legacy writings have turned out, it's really refreshing to see both his skill and his dedication towards this work.

But enough about other series; I want more House War books! And I'm really burning with curiosity about whats going to happen when we catch up with the current timeline =)
lyssabits
May. 3rd, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay! More Books!
I hadn't heard that yes, oh GOOD. As much as I am OVER that series, I also didn't want it to finish up it in just one, horribly rushed book.

..it hasn't really been 20 years, has it? Oh man, when did THAT happen?!
nightsinger
May. 3rd, 2009 07:48 am (UTC)
Hooray, more books!

Seriously, I don't think a lot of people care how many books or pages or words it takes to tell the story; tell the story how YOU think it's best told, and we'll love it.
mizkit
May. 3rd, 2009 10:06 am (UTC)
And if I say anything about how many books any particular arc or series will take me write ever again, please feel free to kick me. Or mock me.

Or simply quadruple the number you propose. :)
twiegand
May. 3rd, 2009 10:52 am (UTC)
You're writing long? Again? And the world is still round. Just keep writing, please. I do have one request, though. That you finish the story before we retire to watch grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Thank you.
suibhne
May. 3rd, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
The more, the merrier! I truly think your fans know you tend to run longer than you think you will and from our perspective we just get more books out of it. I love that you tell the story the way you need to tell it, rather than trying to hack it up into whatever is expected. Yay for more wonderful books on the way!
jpsorrow
May. 3rd, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
And you scoffed at me on the DAW blog when I suggested that I doubted you'd be able to finish the House series in a single novel. HA! I say. HA!

Would you like to post this announcement over at the DAW blog, or would you like me to post it there for you?
msagara
May. 3rd, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
And you scoffed at me on the DAW blog when I suggested that I doubted you'd be able to finish the House series in a single novel. HA! I say. HA!

That wasn't scoffing. That was the Dire Look of Doom.
hhertzof
May. 3rd, 2009 12:15 pm (UTC)
And if I say anything about how many books any particular arc or series will take me write ever again, please feel free to kick me. Or mock me.

I always take your estimates with a grain of salt (or a whole box), so don't worry. More books is not a bad thing and I am very patient. :)
arouraleona
May. 4th, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
I agree with this; more books - especially from a good author - is not a bad thing!
estara
May. 3rd, 2009 12:26 pm (UTC)
Yay!
First of all, yay for more of your books in this particular series (although Kaylin is also close to my heart)!

Second, I buy you for the way you write so why would I think it was bad news that you're now able to tell the story in the way you want to tell it (otherwise you wouldn't have the words there, I believe). I do love me a Jody Lee cover, but while I will check any book with her cover for the blurb, I don't buy all of them, because some of the writers just aren't to my taste.

Third, the only thing I would like to have clarification for now, is if any of the new books thematically come after the Sun Sword series or if you are filling the Hunter gap up to Sun Sword with all of them (so I know where to put them on the shelf ^^).
estara
May. 3rd, 2009 12:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay!
Addendum: Fourth, yay for the DAW people and editors who are willing to add to the number of books as needed!
msagara
May. 3rd, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay!
Third, the only thing I would like to have clarification for now, is if any of the new books thematically come after the Sun Sword series or if you are filling the Hunter gap up to Sun Sword with all of them (so I know where to put them on the shelf ^^).

Book 4 and Book 5 (book 4 is what I started while waiting to hear back from my editor because nothing moves quickly in publishing, and I didn't want to lose the writing time to waiting) is the first book that takes place in the present time-line (post Sun Sword) :D.
estara
May. 3rd, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay!
Thanks for the prompt answer ^^. You're getting a whole shelf in my Billy bookshelves to yourself now (what with the Sundered books and the Kaylin ones - and me starting to buy you in hardcover).
motteditor
May. 3rd, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay!
So how long until we get to book 4? I'm so curious about what happens next, and especially what's going on in Breodanir. (OK, and with Diora and in Terafin, etc.)
msagara
May. 4th, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
Re: Yay!
So how long until we get to book 4? I'm so curious about what happens next, and especially what's going on in Breodanir. (OK, and with Diora and in Terafin, etc.)

It will probably be about 14 months from now until it's finished, so not really soon. But I did start work on it, and I can pretty much work uninterrupted once I finish three, and revise two, which I'll be doing, oh, now.

... right after LJ time...
falcongirl
May. 3rd, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)
Wait.. MORE Jewel books?! YAY!!
-T
morgie
May. 3rd, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
*ahem* To follow the crowd...

Yay! More books!

also....

Yay! More /Jewel/ books!
bondo_ba
May. 3rd, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
Congrats on selling the books. Seems like you had quite a story to tell!
rolanni
May. 3rd, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
It took a little bit longer to tie them up than I thought it would, but not a lot. And I had said it was going to be 'one more book', so I kept on writing because surely I could fit the second plot arc in a few hundred pages.

LOL! No, I'm laughing with you. Really.

Honestly, I don't know how Grownup Writers figure out how long the story's going to take. I wish I had this superpower; it would be really useful for when I become a Grownup Writer.

In the meantime, Fledgling was supposed to be one book and morphed into two. The book I'm working on now has already been upgraded from 100,000 to 120,000 and I'm looking at another upgrade to 150,000, and crossing my fingers...

msagara
May. 3rd, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
In the meantime, Fledgling was supposed to be one book and morphed into two. The book I'm working on now has already been upgraded from 100,000 to 120,000 and I'm looking at another upgrade to 150,000, and crossing my fingers...

I am so very happy to hear this. I mean, not happy -exactly-, but it makes me feel less alone. I know that Kit Kerr's first four Deverry books started life as a short story as well. I always want to ask how people figure out how long a story will be before they've written it.

The only way I keep things short is by limiting myself to a single viewpoint. And even then I've been told that my short is not short.
starlady38
May. 3rd, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, that sounds like all good news to me. Except for March 2010, but I know there's no way it could be in print earlier. ^_^

So, because I'm slightly confused: The House War is now going to be (at least) five books instead of four, now that House Name is two books? And new post-Sun Sword material starts in the book after House Name?

OMG, I'm so psyched.
msagara
May. 3rd, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
So, because I'm slightly confused: The House War is now going to be (at least) five books instead of four, now that House Name is two books? And new post-Sun Sword material starts in the book after House Name?

Yes. Exactly that. I am almost finished book three (as in: almost finished, not as in: I think all this stuff should fit in one book). But! I did start the first post-Sun Sword book while I was waiting to hear back from my editor. I'm not very far into it, but, yes.
andpuff
May. 3rd, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
1. Yay for three more books.

2. This is me not being surprised. *g*

All we can do is tell the stories we have to tell; we're just VERY lucky that our editor agrees with that.
msagara
May. 3rd, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
2. This is me not being surprised. *g*

All we can do is tell the stories we have to tell; we're just VERY lucky that our editor agrees with that.


Well... you were working full-time with me when my short story became four novels, so your lack of surprise is, well, not surprising.

And yes. I feel very lucky. You'll appreciate this part, though: After we'd discussed the split, and where (I held off sending Jody Lee any of the book until I'd finished the arcs because I wanted her to have the strongest emotional moment possible in the text), she then told me about all the things she really thought the third book needed.

I mentioned that they were not entirely trivial to add -- i.e. not short -- and she said "Yes, but now that we've split the book, you have the room to work with".

And I'm looking at both halves, which are by far too long for the rest of the market at the moment. But when she's in editing mode, she really doesn't care about the length at all; just the story.

Edited at 2009-05-03 08:12 pm (UTC)
burger_eater
May. 3rd, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the three book contract.
janni
May. 3rd, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Yay! More books!

I'm somewhat jealous of your and kateelliott 's ability to generate more and more extra plot with even trying--that things always seem to spin outwards rather than twining inwards every chance they get ...
msagara
May. 3rd, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
I'm somewhat jealous of your and kateelliott 's ability to generate more and more extra plot with even trying--that things always seem to spin outwards rather than twining inwards every chance they get ...

I think it's a function of characters, viewpoints, their ages, and the breadth of the world. One character can only ever see so much - that's how I keep the CAST novels down to a 140k length.

But with characters of various ages, cultures, and political affiliations, the overlap, and the reactions ripple outward. It's easier in some ways because you don't have to try to figure out how a single character can stumble across all the necessary information so that the reader has it as well, since you've now got viewpoints with a wide range of event-accessibility; it's harder because each viewpoint has, and demands, its own emotional weight.

Personally? I'm still jealous of the incredible economy of Bones, which I am almost finished now, and which is fabulous.

But then again, I think we're often impressed by things we don't or can't do naturally *wry g*
janni
May. 3rd, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
But then again, I think we're often impressed by things we don't or can't do naturally *wry g*

Heh. That, yeah.
kateelliott
May. 3rd, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
I'm just impressed you've got a book coming out in the fall, one in the spring, and another a mere 2 months from completion. I think I'm feeling ENVIOUS.
msagara
May. 3rd, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, but think about how envious you would be feeling if you had 2 books to publish because you had to split the one you'd been working on for a year and a half, and then also explain why...
gerriwritinglog
May. 3rd, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
*envy envy envy*

Love to have your problems. :)
morgan_dhu
May. 3rd, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
Considering that part of what I love about your books is the depth and the complexity of your characters, worldbuilding and plots, knwoing that I'm going to get more of that in the House books is a very happy-making thing to know.
ovirginsaint
May. 4th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
I'm of the opinion that more from you is definitely a good thing--though I can see how it could be a problem if the publisher has said that they're only buying X amount of books. I also rather like long books (which is one of the reasons I picked yours up in the first place <3) so this makes me an extra happy camper. I'm looking forward to House Name and the next Cast book as well. :)

On twitter, you'd said that you're watching a bit of Last Exile with your kids, and I have to say, it was a really good anime. I want to go watch it again now. :)

Edited at 2009-05-04 12:55 am (UTC)
msagara
May. 4th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
On twitter, you'd said that you're watching a bit of Last Exile with your kids, and I have to say, it was a really good anime. I want to go watch it again now. :)

We're four episodes into it right now, and at the moment, I really like it. We tend to like a lot of the same things, but the youngest doesn't like too much intensity in terms of emotion or terror or grief, so when the complete set of Last Exile came out on DVD, we picked it up, and will watch it to the end.

We've liked Scrapped Princess, The Last Airbender, Noien (but my youngest kind of lost interest at the very end because he simply did not understand a villain who could -forget- that there were also -good- things that happened in life, along with the bad ones), Scryed. Oh, and Kenshin.

I'm probably going to try Bleach when I can get complete seasons.
estara
May. 4th, 2009 10:23 am (UTC)
Can I plug Princess Tutu!?! If you can handle the later episodes of Last Exile and Scrapped Princess, that should be no problem ^^
What some clever people have to say about it
(spoilerfree)
http://kate-nepveu.livejournal.com/253973.html
(fairly spoiler-free)
http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2007/12/11/mangaanime-a-great-present-for-kids-of-all-ages-princess-tutu/
(with spoilers)
http://meganbmoore.livejournal.com/tag/anime:+princess+tutu
http://salimbol.livejournal.com/1030.html
http://mbeasi.livejournal.com/10748.html
estara
May. 4th, 2009 10:34 am (UTC)
On second thought, don't watch the second video on the Dear Author review, that is too spoilery.
lianthe
May. 5th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
I just finished Princess Tutu myself and it was quite charming! It was satisfying in a way that many anime are not: it had an ending! A real one! One that actually made sense.
estara
May. 5th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
Yes, they didn't betray the storyline at all. Quite amazing for an anime ostensibly not aimed at adults, really.
ovirginsaint
May. 4th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
If your youngest isn't fond of those things, another series you might want to see is Honey and Clover. It's a would-be romantic comedy centering around some college age art students.

Bleach is good, but it's also very long--though if you've gotten through all of Kenshin, I don't think that's much of a problem :) I have yet to see The Last Airbender, though my husband says I MUST see it. And I will, but probably after I'm done with Full Metal Alchemist's do-over.
beautiflntmr
May. 4th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
Write the way your brilliant self always writes.
I'll be patient.
Hey! More books for me!
The whole Sword universe is one that I don't ever want to let go of.
Speaking of . . . Any chances of another Aidan appearance? Ya know . . . all grown up(tear)?
beautiflntmr
May. 4th, 2009 06:34 am (UTC)
And!
Any chance of any omnibus editions?
Cause.
Wow.
Are your books filling my shelves.
msagara
May. 5th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
And!
Any chance of any omnibus editions?


The thing about omnibus editions is they're often compilations of books that are significantly shorter than any of the Sun Sword novels are. I don't think you could do one of the Sun Sword, unless you did a trade paperback format and tried to fit 2 of the books in each, and that would still make them really, really wide, spine-wise.

Which would be the disadvantage of the whole long book thing.
beautiflntmr
May. 5th, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
Umm.
I like long books. It took me a week and a half to read Hidden City.
But as far as the omnibus thing... if it's another six to eight inches taller than the standard novel size, that would likely make it about as wide as one standard novel, if you only fit two books into each.
Eh, either way I'll manage!
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