Chapter Twenty is now online.
The serial is paid for through Chapter Twenty-Two. Chapter Twenty-Three is getting close.
I’ve started writing Chapter Twenty-Five.
Chapter Twenty-One will be posted Wednesday, November 3, but perhaps not at the usual time — it’s possible I won’t get to it until late that evening, rather than the night before, and I’m afraid any books purchased may not ship until Thursday, November 4th, because I have family plans that may not allow me to get to the post office until then.
And with the usual stuff out of the way, I’d like to say something about how this novel is developing.
I’ve been asked several times whether writing a novel as a serial affects how I work, and I’ve always answered that I don’t really know. Up until now it’s been a theoretical point of little practical importance. In the three previous serials I didn’t see that it mattered.
However, it’s now moved from the realm of theory to the real world, because The Final Calling is turning out to be one of the novels that’s changing shape as I write it. That didn’t happen with the other three serials. It’s happened lots of times with other novels, but never with a serial before.
It didn’t matter with ordinary novels because no one but me ever saw the first draft. This time, though, thousands of people have seen at least part of the first draft, so I need to explain what I’m talking about.
What’s happening is that as I write it, I’m rethinking it, mentally throwing out things I’d intended to include, and adding or altering others, and these changes are significant enough that the complete novel is not going to be the one I thought I was writing for, oh, the first dozen or so chapters. Or more.
As I say, normally this is no problem; I fix it all in the second draft and no one else ever knows anything about it. This time, though — well, some of what’s coming up later on may contradict what you’ve already read. To cite one trivial example, there weren’t three Chairmen of the Council of Warlocks in Ethshar of the Spices, there were about fifteen. More importantly, certain characters are going to do stuff in upcoming chapters that doesn’t follow very well from what’s come earlier.
When I revise the novel I’ll change the earlier chapters, but there’s no point in doing it before I finish the first draft — you’ve already read the original version, and besides, I don’t do that; it slows me down far too much. Not to mention that when I finish the first draft I may wind up undoing some of the later changes instead; I can’t really know which stuff I want to keep until I have a complete story.
This may be somewhat confusing or annoying. I apologize for that. It will all be fixed in the second draft, and the final, published version of the novel will be as cohesive as my usual.
I may be worrying about nothing here; it may be that the shifts will be too minor or subtle to bother most readers. I honestly don’t know. I only know how it looks from my side.
But now I know that no, writing it as a serial doesn’t change how I work, but you might wish it did. And it’ll change how you read it.
If something doesn’t seem to fit, or doesn’t match what you thought you’d read, it’s probably not your imagination.
I thought you’d want to know.